By Jenna Sagen
Barbecues are a really fun way to celebrate the summer, and you get to keep the party and the mess outside. While it’s really festive, all that fun comes at a cost. Coupon sites like Cut.com help to keep things a little less expensive, and so can smart strategies like these:
Mind your meat. Meat can be one of the most expensive elements of a barbecue, but there are several clever ways to save.
• If you make the right selection at the meat counter, it can save you money without impacting flavor. Try a bone-in cut of meat like a T-bone steak. These cuts cost less, and the bone provides flavor and moisture to the finished dish.
• Stock up on hot dogs and hamburgers during summer sales or at your local discount warehouse so that you’ll be ready for summer gatherings.
• Kebabs are fun and festive, and the meat is only a small part of what goes on the skewers. Everyone will be excited to see them, and you’ll get the most bang for your meat buck.
Make it a potluck.
• Reader’s Digest suggests you ask for appetizers or desserts, but side dishes work, too. Most people love the opportunity to share their signature recipes, and your guests will get more variety. You’ll save money, and everyone will be happy.
• Make sure to have plenty of large serving spoons on hand. People often bring casseroles or other large dishes but forget the utensils needed to dish out the food.
• Have some large bowls and other serving dishes on hand, too. These will be perfect for that guy who brings the bag of chips, and it will make everything a lot easier as people travel down the serving table.
Skip the alcohol.
• If you must provide adult drinks, stick to beer and wine, so you don’t bust your budget. Alcohol is expensive, and the costs can add up quickly. Let your guests know what you’ll be providing, and they can bring their own alcohol if they need something stronger.
• If you’d like to serve wine, try an inexpensive sangria recipe. The fruit juice extends the wine, keeping the cost down, and you’ll be serving something fun and festive with a lower cost. Sangria is refreshing for summer, and it’s got a little less alcohol, which is great in the summer heat.
• Non-alcoholic punch is fun, too. Make up some lemonade, or iced tea, or break out those old recipes with ginger ale and rainbow sherbet. If you guests are having a good time, they won’t care that there is less booze.
Get out there and enjoy your friends, knowing that you won’t have to worry about huge price tags for your barbecue. Have a great time saving on your fun in the sun. It’s time to get this party started!