7 Tips for Hosting Great Summer BBQs on a Budget

Follow these seven tips if you're looking to barbecue on a budget this summer. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Follow these seven tips if you’re looking to barbecue on a budget this summer. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Summer means hot days, tons of sun, poolside parties, and lots of weekend barbecues   Unfortunately, entertaining can be expensive which can limit your ability to bring your friends and family together as often as you would like.  But this year, you can use these tips to throw brilliant backyard BBQs without bottoming out your budget.


  1. Set the Budget Before You Shop

This might seem like simply common sense but most of us don’t do this.  Even if we are pretty strict about following a weekly or monthly food budget, we often fail to use those sound financial practices when it comes to entertaining.  Start off knowing what you can spend.


  1. Cut Back on Meat Costs

There are a couple different ways you can cut back on meat costs without sacrificing quality.  First, look for local Arizona grown meat at farmer’s markets and direct from producers.  You may be able to get a better price, especially if you are buying in volume, if you go to the source.  You can also choose less expensive cuts like using wings and thighs instead of boneless chicken breasts.


  1. Plan a Perfect Potluck

There is no shame in asking other people to pitch in and it provides a great way to get people together without breaking the bank.  Plan ahead so you can keep track of who is bringing what and make sure you have a list handy to give people suggestions when they ask what they should bring that includes things that don’t have to be cooked for any culinary-challenged guests.


  1. Get Creative with Condiments

If you are sticking with standard meats like chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs, you can still elevate the eats by providing creative condiments that elevate any barbecue like home made salsa, barbecue sauce, or other toppings, unusual veggie toppings like Arizona avocados, and flavorful cheeses beyond American and Swiss.


  1. Be Frugal with Fuel

One of the ways we waste money when we BBQ is by using significantly more fuel than is needed to produce the desired result.  Read up on grilling techniques, paying particular attention to the amount of charcoal needed or how long you should keep the gas on high heat and you can easily cut back on your energy expense.


  1. Be Good to Your Grill

If you are focused on being budget minded when it comes to entertaining, another common sense tip is to take really good care of your grill.  Read the manual to determine what you need to do to take excellent care of the grill so it can provide you with safe, flavorful food all summer long.


  1. Decrease the Drinks

Another way that our entertaining expenses can quickly spiral out of control is when it comes to stocking drinks for our guests.  Don’t feel the need to provide a broad range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for your guests.  Buy lots of water, make some fresh iced tea and a couple batches of fresh lemonade and tell guests they are free to bring anything else they like to drink.  It will cut your costs and everyone will have the beverages they like the best.


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