Grilling on a Budget: A BBQ That Won't Break The Bank
One of my favorite parts of summer is cooking out on the grill. After a long day of playing, swimming, or gardening, it’s so relaxing to fire up the grill. I love the smells, the taste, and the fact that my kitchen is just as clean at the end of dinner as at the beginning. My husband is in charge of grilling, so having a personal chef for the day is an extra bonus.
We’ll invite friends and family over at least a few times a month for a cook out. I’m a big fan of potluck dinners, so we’ll usually ask guests to bring a side or dessert. Still, the backyard barbecues can get expensive. If you’re cooking up plans for gatherings this summer, here are a few tips to keep your guests and your wallet happy.
1.) Bakery outlet shopping
Commercial bakeries make the same amount of bread every day whether it sells at the supermarket or not. This leaves grocery shelves overcrowded with buns, breads, and desserts. These baked goods are perfectly fine, especially if you plan to use them in a day or two. Still, they’re pulled from grocery store shelves to make way for a fresh supply.
The “old” baked goods are often sold at a discount. If you need a lot of hot dog buns for your cookout, this can be an excellent place to save.
2.) Plan the meal for savings
If you’re buying meat for the whole family, the costs can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are a few ways to knock the cost down a little bit.
If you have a very large gathering, consider getting beef by the side. Buying in bulk usually means spending less per pound. Sides contain about 200 pounds of meat. You’ll get several premium cuts of steak and enough hamburger to feed an army!
You can veggie up your cookout too. Asparagus, zucchini and potatoes all do well on the grill with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. They’ll absorb some of the cooked meat juices for extra flavor. Veggies are cheap, nutritious, and filling.
3.) Mix your own drinks
One of the biggest cookout expenses can be the drinks, especially if you buy individual bottles and cans. Doing so also leaves you with the unpleasant task of picking up dozens of half-empty cans. Try this instead: Large plastic pitchers can be used to store homemade drink concoctions. Loaded with ice and kept in a shady spot, those pitchers will keep your drinks cool for hours. This is a great chance to be creative. Mix iced tea and lemonade for big batch of Arnold Palmers, a refreshing summer drink!
Not only will you save on costs, you’ll also save the planet. Using washable plastic cups instead of disposable Styrofoam will reduce your waste and make cleanup easier. Be the host with the most fun, not the most expenses!
This evening, I’m going to kick back, relax, and enjoy some great food off the grill. I hope you’re able to do the same. I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading.