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How to Host a BBQ without Busting Your Budget


May 4, 2023

Summer’s the perfect time to fire up the grill! If you love to entertain, you may be planning to invite your friends and family to your backyard for food and fun. But hosting a memorable summertime event can strain your finances. So, let’s talk about how to host a BBQ on a budget!

We’ve gathered expert tips to help you with planning and hosting a backyard cookout without spending a small fortune. We’ll also share some money-saving products from our partners that will help you make your outdoor gatherings a rousing success.

7 Tips for Planning a Perfect Barbecue on a Budget

Planning a barbecue seems easy enough – invite friends and family, buy food, grill food, and have fun. But if you want to throw a backyard cookout that your friends and family will rave about, it never hurts to invest in a little planning to get things just right. Here are a few tips to guide you.

1. Plan ahead

Create a plan for your barbecue, including the guest list, menu, and seating options. If you’re going to decorate, plan that out, too. Creating a plan will help you keep your budget in line and avoid any last-minute expenses. It will also allow you to shop around for the best deals.

2. Keep the guest list manageable

You don’t have to throw an all-out bash to host a memorable backyard barbecue. A smaller guest list will help you cut down on costs. Consider inviting close friends and family members to create a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

3. Go potluck style

Ask your guests to bring a dish to share. This will help reduce your overall expenses and create a diverse menu. You can assign specific categories to your guests (like appetizers, salads, and desserts) to make sure you get a balance. Do you have guests you know won’t be into cooking? Ask them to bring things like disposable plates, cups, napkins, or cutlery. 

4. Shop smart

Look for sales and discounts! Buying in bulk at wholesale stores like Sam’s Club or choosing generic brands can help you save money. Seasonal fruits and veggies also tend to be more affordable, so stay focused on those. 

Sam’s Club

$15 off your Club Membership Was: $50.00 Now: $35.00.

5. Choose budget-friendly meats

Opt for less expensive cuts of meat, like chicken thighs, drumsticks, or pork shoulder. There’s also nothing wrong with ground beef hamburgers and hot dogs – both affordable options. 

6. Use reusable or disposable plates and utensils

Disposable plates, cups, and utensils can make cleanup easier, but they’re not the most environmentally friendly option. If you like to host guests often during the summer, consider investing in some affordable and reusable melamine plates that are perfect for the outdoors. Bonus: They’re also great for camping!

7. Plan affordable entertainment

It’s perfectly cool to just hang out and socialize, but if you want to give your guests something fun to do, there are plenty of budget-friendly options. 

  • Set up a badminton or volleyball net for game time
  • Create a party-time music playlist and play it on a Bluetooth speaker
  • Create a backdrop for a DIY photo booth and encourage people to take selfies
  • Know anyone who plays the guitar or ukulele? Invite them to bring their instrument(s) and start a sing-along or even a jam sesh!

Save On Backyard BBQ Essentials

Gathering the essentials for a great backyard cookout doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are a few essentials you can save on as an member!

Pro Tip: Download the Shop Chrome extension to get instant savings and cashback as you shop!

Outdoor Barbecue Grills
Grilling Accessories

Save with Cash Back

Use your login to get sweet cash-back offers from our partners. It’s simple!

  • Visit Shop and browse your favorite retailers from dozens of categories.
  • When you select a store with a cash-back offer, click the “activate cash back” button (or choose a cash-back offer) to head to the store’s website. 
  • Make your purchases as usual, and in a few days, you’ll get a cash-back confirmation email from 
  • Every three months, if you have a cash-back balance of $10 or more, you’ll get your cash-back dividends through PayPal. (Otherwise, your cash-back balance will roll over until you have enough for a payout.)

Pro Tip: Many retailers offer convenient interest-free payment plans such as PayPal’s Pay in Four or other third-party financing options. Check out what’s available to increase your spending power.

Let the Backyard Cookout Commence!

With a little planning, you can host a memorable, fun-filled backyard cookout. Now that you’ve gathered the necessities, invited friends and family, planned a menu and prepared your grill, it’s time to get cooking!