Skint Dad

Save money on your summer BBQ

With BBQ season fast approaching read Skint Dad's top money saving tips to stay ahead of the game.

I always find summer a very busy time of year, just behind the festive season! As the weather is (usually!) warm and dry there are always lots of opportunities to get together with family and friends to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible before the dreaded cold weather sets in.

Pretty much every weekend we have something happening. In the next few weeks we’re attending three birthday parties, one wedding anniversary party, and a BBQ with some close friends. My social calendar has never felt so packed.

With so many gatherings, my thoughts ultimately turn to my skint wallet and how I will handle taking a thank you bottle of wine, or even catering for a garden full of people. Wanting to spend as little money as possible will never put me off attending these events or indeed hosting one myself.

Work out your budget

With anything, before you start to think of food or drinks you need to work out your budget. How much money do you have available to host a party?

If you’re not going to have the money for a lavish do then you won’t be able to host one. Have a tally up of what you want to spend and then see if you can find any gift vouchers, coupons or use store loyalty points to stretch your budget further.

Cook from scratch

Instead of buying everything pre-made, buy fresh ingredients and make your food from scratch.

A pack of mince, mixed with an egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning can easily make enough burgers to feed your guests (plus you know exactly what goes into them!).

The same goes for seasonings, marinades and salads. There is no need to buy a pre-packed salad when you can easily buy a lettuce for cheaper and chop it up yourself!

Cook something else

Why not stay away from everything BBQ’d. Use your trusty slow cooker (I love mine!) and batch cook something that guests can help themselves to at a buffet.

My slow cooked pulled pork in a bun ALWAYS goes down a treat at gatherings. A huge piece of pork shoulder from Lidl costs just £4.50 and after feeding everyone there are usually some leftovers. Plus, using the slow cooker means that there’s very little effort put in so you’ve got more time to do other things and just enjoy the party yourself.

Head to the pound shop

If you have a fair few people coming then you may not have enough plates, knives, forks and glasses for everyone (I certainly don’t). This is where the trusted pound shop comes in! For no more than – you’ve guessed it – £1, you can pick up some essentials to help the BBQ go smoothly.

Remember to keep a list of what you need to get and don’t impulse buy in a pound shop as you can easily overspend!

BYOB

Do not be afraid to ask your guests to Bring Your Own Bottle – or even salad, side dish or puddings. Most guests will bring a bottle of some kind as a thank you to their host but, as a way to bring down the costs, you could specify this to your guests. I’m really sure that they would not be offended.

BBQ – disposable or not?

If you don’t cook in the outdoors that often then a disposable may be the best bet, however they can work out more expensive in the long run. They are also quite small and don't stay hot for too long so you may need to buy a couple (you can usually pick them up from a pound shop as well).

A full sized BBQ can be picked up for as little as £10 and can be an investment for a few years. Coal is cheap enough and lasts for ages!

Be good and recycle

Don’t add to the cost by buying firelighters to get the BBQ going. Hunt through your recycling box and pick out some paper (old bills are a favourite!) and scrunch them up into balls. If you use a tumble dryer then pull out any lint and use that instead.

Keep it clean

If you’re using a full sized BBQ, once you’ve cooked, remembering to clean the grill properly will make sure that your BBQ lasts for longer and it will stop it rusting.

Clean out all the coals, wipe everything down and don’t neglect the grills. As an eco-friendly option, try rubbing half an onion on a warm grill. It really cuts through any burnt on bits and leaves a great flavour for next time.

Love food, hate waste

Finally, when everything is over and done with, you can continue to save money by making sure you plan for the leftovers.

There are always leftovers after a BBQ and there is no point wasting food. You could easily use the leftovers to get a lunch or stretch to a dinner. Does anyone ever eat all the salad?

Having a get together needn’t be expensive and you can follow these money saving tips to keep the costs down and make sure your summer BBQ doesn’t break the bank.

What other ways do you save money when having a BBQ or summer gathering?