5 Tips for Holding a Frugal Barbecue

by Miranda Marquit · 6 comments

One of the things I love about summer is the barbecue. I think it’s fund to gather together friends and family, and then have a barbecue. However, if you do a lot of outdoor entertaining, it can start to get expensive. If you are looking for ways to save a little money on the barbecue this summer, here are some tips:

1. Bring Your Own

The classic barbecue frugal tip is to have guests bring their own. They can bring whatever type of meat they want — or other items to grill, including fish, veggies, and tofu/soy based meat substitutes. Not only can this save you money, but it also ensures that everyone is happy with the barbecue offerings.

Even if you don’t have your guests bring their own meat, it’s possible to have them bring their own drinks. This is a great way to make sure that everyone has the drink he or she wants, and it can save you money — especially if your guests prefer alcoholic drinks.

2. Pot Luck

Perhaps you want to provide the meat and the drinks. You can reduce your costs in other areas by asking guests to bring something to share with everyone. Assign out chips, fruit bowl, veggie tray, buns, condiments, and other items. You can even ask someone to bring the paper plates, napkins, and cups. If you are doing a themed barbecue, ask someone to bring decorations. This will help you save a little money on the affair, and ensure that everyone has a good time.

3. Consider Plastic Dinnerware

If you are serious about providing barbecue entertainment, you can purchase inexpensive, reusable plastic dinnerware. The initial outlay is a little bit more, but you can reuse the plates, cups, and utensils year after year. You won’t have to keep buying the paper versions (which can get expensive). The clean up isn’t too bad, either, as long as you get dinnerware that is dishwasher safe.

4. Carefully Consider Your Meat Purchases

Those who like providing the meat can do so less expensively by taking care to consider what they choose. Bone-in steaks are often less expensive than boneless varieties (and it helps keep the meat from drying out). You can also buy ground beef and form your own patties, rather than buying pre-made patties. Another option is to make kabobs. You use less meat, and more veggies, so you can keep the costs down. Get creative, and you will find that you don’t spend as much money on your barbecues.

5. Buy Your Grill Items Off Season

Finally, if you want to save more money over time, you should buy your grill items in the off season, and on sale. Get a grill in the fall, and you can get it for much less. The same is true of cooking utensils, as well as outdoor furniture and other items. You can also get charcoal, propane and other related items on discount if you are vigilant about prices. Pay attention, and you can save more over time, and reduce the per-barbecue cost of your outdoor entertaining.

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  • Diane says:

    Our church has Mens Meat Burning. Men all bring their choice of meat host and his spouse provide sides, salad, dessert and beverage. This could work for whole families as well.

  • Jean says:

    We always told our guests they could bring their own meat if they wanted, which was code for ‘bring some meat to the table!’. Also a good idea to buy the equipment off-season. You can get some great deals.


  • Marbella says:

    I do not know where to save, here in spain is chicken so cheaply, wine from 60 cents per liter (really good wine starts at $ 1 per liter), lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, asparagus, onions, etc. growing fast under the sun and sold by growers directly in their small shops at low prices. Barbarque is an inexpensive family party in Spain.

  • Gavin says:

    We always make sangria using cheap red wine and it taste great and the red wine goes a whole lot further. Sometimes we add a little vodka to give it some kick!

  • Shane says:

    One thing I like to do is get a bunch of chicken wings and season them differently, chicken wings are very affordable and its fun for everyone to try out the various flavors.

  • William Lee says:

    Just had a barbeque few days back but all the cost are on me because I invite friends and family members to the barbeque. It was a party though. 🙂

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