One of my favorite summer activities is hosting a BBQ. Sitting out in the backyard on a nice sunny day and enjoying a few beers with some well-cooked steak in the company of a few of my closest friends … I try to host a few BBQ’s a year, unfortunately this year have not been able to host as many as we’d like. BBQ’s don’t have to be a budget buster; you can host a fun and entertaining BBQ without breaking your bank account, how? [This is an updated version of a previously published post]

Avoid Prepared Foods
Pre-pared food maybe more convenient, but this convenience comes with a higher price tag. Plan to make your own side dishes for your bbq. Purchasing your own ingredients and taking some time to make the side dishes may require a little more time, but can save you in extra costs.

Bring Your Own Meat
Not everyone seems to agree with this one, some believe it is rude to ask your guests to bring their meat, but it works great. This has several benefits. First of all, it saves you money. Second, you do not have to worry about who likes what. I have friends from various backgrounds some eat beef, some only chicken, others do not eat pork, etc. By asking them to bring their own meat I am sure there will be a variety of everything for everyone. If the purpose of the party is just to get together and have fun, this should not be a problem.

Stock up on Charcoal
It maybe a little too late for this, but if you are planning on hosting BBQs than stock up on charcoal when they are on sale, there really isn’t an expiration date for Charcoal so you can keep them for next year if needed. This is if you use a charcoal grill.

Bring Your Own Drinks
If you provide the meat than ask your guests to bring the drinks, it’s similar to bringing their meat. Everyone may have different preferences this way you will be sure that there is something to drink for everyone.

Use Plastic Dinnerware
This maybe a little counter-intuitive at first, but paper plates are a waste. Paper plates may seem like a good idea, and although they are easy to clean – garbage them – they are not the cheapest way to go. If you will have regular BBQs than I suggest you purchase some plastic dinnerware from a department store and keep it for years coming. This will not only save you money in the long run but will also save the environment.

Buy in Off Season
Again it maybe too late for this, but something to keep in mind for next year. This can apply to many things in life; make your equipment purchases during the off season. Between November- April is a good time to purchase BBQ equipment it will save you some money.

Have Snacks and Ice-Cream for Kids
If you going to a park for BBQ than make sure you have some ice-cream and snacks for the kids. No matter how much you feed kids they always want ice- cream so having some with you will ensure you do not have to purchase from ice-cream trucks for triple the price.

Purchase Bone-In Cuts of Meat
If you’re looking for money saving ideas that let you do more with your budget, purchase bone-in cuts of meat. Bone-in meat will not only save you money but the bones help keep the meat from drying out on the grill and add additional flavor.

Here are some tips from our readers and twitter followers.

@JoeTaxpayerBlog Buy Chicken Breasts/ Steak Tips on sale. Put in Ziplock, add sauce/dressing, suck out air. Freeze. No air eliminates fzr brn [Joe Taxpayer]

@JeremyVoh Smoke a butt! A pork butt that is. Very cheap cut of meat, feeds a crowd, and is super delicious. [Gen X Finance]

@debtblackhole Ask guests to bring a dish/food. It helps make the cost to each person small. Most people won’t be offended by the request!

@lecanardzero to save money you should use fattier cuts of meat slow cooked. Cheaper and will taste much better.

@FourPillars Don’t burn the burgers!