5 Ways to Save on Summer Barbecues – How to Grill on a Budget (Recipes Too!)

5 Ways to Save on Your Summer BBQ

Summer is the time of year people are taking out their grills and enjoying family get togethers. It is also a time when a lot of families go over their grocery budget! Last minute BBQs, expensive cuts of meats and additional people to find can easily put a dent in the family finances.

Here are some creative ways to enjoy your family barbecues all while keeping your grocery budget in tact.

Stock up on Condiments
Condiments like ketchup, mayo and barbecue sauce tend to get more expensive during the summer months. Grocery stores know people are going to buy these items whether they are on sale or not. Buying these condiments during the winter and spring will save you money, sometimes up to 75%! You can easily store unopened condiments in your pantry.  The one time condiments are often on sale in the summer are the one week before each of the major holidays – Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.  Check your local store flyers for sales then adn stock up!

Accept Help
This one is a hard one for me, but if you want to save money, you need to accept help. Every time a guest asks you if there is anything they can bring, say YES! Even if it is something as simple as a bag of ice. Giving every guest that offers an item to bring will dramatically decrease the amount of money you are spending.

Selecting the Right Meat
You do not need a fancy New York Steak to impress your guests. In fact a simple and more affordable cut of meat can sometimes taste even better! Using those marinades you got on sale can turn an ok cut of meat to an amazing cut of meat! The trick is to marinate your meat over night and make sure to tenderize it. If you are going to have a lot of children at your barbecue, do not be afraid to serve hot dogs for the kids. (And you know lots of adults will eat one too – I always do!)

Supplying Drinks
Don’t fill up the ice chest with bottles of water and juice boxes. Instead get some pitchers and fill them up with water, slice up some cucumber and add it to the water. You can use just about any fruit you want to give the water a nice flavor. If you want to serve adult beverages ask your guest to bring something.

Make Sides from Scratch
While it might take a bit more time, making your cole slaw, potato salad and other sides yourself, rather than buying them from the deli case, can save you up to 75% or even more!

BBQ Side Dish Recipes

To help you out, here are some awesome barbecue side dish recipes:

Grilled Garlic Herb Sweet Potato
Zucchini Gratin
Corn on the Cob on the Grill
Loaded Baked Avocados 
Sweet Green Bean and Bacon Bundles
Tahini Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus
Homemade Mac & Cheese
Greek Pasta Salad
Grilled Corn, Bacon and Shrimp Pasta
Easy No-Mayo, No-Cook Cole Slaw
Homemade Cole Slaw
Sweet and Spicy Apple & Pecan Coleslaw Recipe
KFC Copy Cat Coleslaw
Japanese Salad
Leftover Salad
Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos
Jalapeno Poppers
Caprese Salad
Marshmallow Fruit Salad
Snickers Salad

What are your tips to save on summer barbecues?
thriftyjinxy@live.com' About Chrysa

Chrysa is the founder and owner of ThriftyJinxy.com, a site dedicated to living a fabulous life on a frugal budget. Her approach is that by spending less on the boring everyday stuff, you can have more money to splurge on the things you REALLY want, whether it’s travel, fashion, electronics – you name it! Chrysa is married, has a 8-year old nephew she dotes on, as well as three lovable cats and a big sweetie of a German Shepherd.


  1. I love BBQ food! Thanks for including my recipes!

  2. These are great tips for any party or small meal gathering. The rise in price for food and everything else definitely puts a damper on social gatherings when you have to watch your budget very strictly. I think accepting help (or the potluck method) is perfectly fine. It’s a great way to ensure that everyone has fun and one person doesn’t have to be overburdened with the cost. The water with fruit or cucumber added in sounds like a healthy alternative that still keeps everyone hydrated.

  3. Thanks for sharing my recipe! From scratch is always the best way to go. Off to check out a few of the other recipes!


  1. […] check out these great recipes to grill on a budget! Grilling is one of my favorite ways to prepare […]

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