There's still plenty of great weather left this summer for a backyard barbecue with friends and family.  You can do it without destroying your grocery budget.

 

Here are some tips on having a great barbecue and keeping costs down.

  • After determining how many people will attend, give or take a few, make out a menu and the shopping list that goes with it. This way you can avoid those last minute trips to the store for full price items like buns and soda that you could have picked up on sale at an earlier time.
  • Use things you have on hand.  If you have a bag of potatoes in the pantry, make potato salad. If you have extra pasta, make a pasta salad. Likewise if you have a garden, use that fresh, home grown produce to your advantage.
  • Watch for sales or buy in bulk. Watch the store circulars a few weeks in advance for items you know you'll need and purchase them when they're on sale. Hunt down coupons for those items (especially beverages, condiments and snacks). Freeze any perishables like meat or buns that you buy ahead of time. A coupon paired with a grocery store sale could result in a lower price than you can find at a warehouse store. If certain items you need don't go on sale, buy them in bulk, and save whatever is left over for future use.
  • Try and get away from disposables. A few extra minutes washing the dishes can save a lot of money that you can use somewhere else.
  • Stick with one specialty beverage. If you try to cater to everyone, you'll spend too much and end up stuck with drinks you may not want. Make iced tea, lemonade, or sangria. Put out pitchers of ice water instead of bottled water.
  • Make the classics gourmet. Think of burgers and dogs with condiments besides the usual ketchup, mustard and mayo. Try a specialty cheese, peppers, bacon crumbles garlic aioli  and so on.
  • Think beyond burgers and dogs. How about chicken, bratwurst, inexpensive fish like tilapia fillets, or veggie kabobs? Watch for sales in advance and stock your freezer.
  • Make it a potluck. Provide a main dish or meat on the grill and invite people to get creative with sides. You can also score some great recipes this way.
  • Don't spend a lot on decor. A backyard barbecue is all about the food and the company, so your money is better spent elsewhere.

 

Click here for some out of the box grilling and barbecue ideas.