How to Host a Cookout on a Budget

“Let’s keep it low key. We will just grill and have some drinks.”

Sounds like a relaxing inexpensive night in, right? Unless you are the host.

If you love the convenience of entertaining friends and family by firing up the grill and pouring a few cold ones this post is for you. With a little planning, you can have it all – the convenience of home, good food, and happy guests without draining your wallet.

Next time you decide to have friends over to barbecue, whether it’s a big gathering or a small get together be sure to keep these tips in mind!

Buy in Bulk

Napkins, paper plates, plastic utensils, etc. can and should be bought in bulk to save money. Don’t forget about the fuel for your grill as well, by purchasing items in bulk such as charcoal or propane tanks you can save a lot of dough. If you already have a membership to a bulk warehouse, great! If not, convince one of your friends or family members to take you at the beginning of the season. Get enough to last through grilling season to avoid paying a premium price at the regular grocery store.

Search for Sales

Use the “vagueness” of the term barbecue to your advantage. Don’t tell your guests exactly what you are having until you’ve checked out the sales that week at your local your grocery store. One week chicken is on sale, the next week steak. Be flexible and prepare the menu based on what’s on sale.

Plan A Potluck

Save money on side dishes by asking guests to bring one. Whether it’s just one couple/family or a whole bunch of people, the less you buy or make, the better. When going over to someone’s house, it makes guests feel more comfortable to contribute, so let them!

Go Light On Décor

Use white Christmas lights or inexpensive candles to set the decor (dollar stores are great for disposable decorations). If looking for something fancier, buy decorations this year at the end of the season on sale. Then pack them away for years to come.

BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze)

The two most expensive parts of a barbecue are the meat and the alcohol. You provide the meat, and they provide the drinks. Not providing alcohol for the crowd cuts down a ton on expenses.

DIY Side Dishes and Desserts

If you don’t like the idea of potluck side dishes and BYOB didn’t go over well, save money by making homemade side dishes and desserts rather than picking them up at the store. The simpler, the better; the more ingredients, the more money. Here are a few easy side dish and dessert recipes to make at your next cookout.

Click Here for Potato Salad Recipe: Southern Style Potato Salad


Click Here for Macaroni Salad Recipe: Mom’s Macaroni Salad


Click Here for Pasta Salad Recipe: Millie’s Holy Guacamole Pasta Salad


Click Here for No Bake Cheesecake Bars Recipe: Oreo No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Bars


Click Here for Peanut Butter Pie Recipe: Dreamy Creamy Peanut Butter Pie


Click Here for Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe: Texas Style Chocolate Chip Cookies