It’s been raining non-stop in Boston, where PerkStreet is headquartered, but behind the clouds it’s barbecue season again. Everyone loves a summer barbecue — it’s probably one of the most neighborly American traditions around. But saving money while hosting an awesome barbecue is a tough line to walk. Here are some quick tips to make it a more affordable shindig without loosing any of the luster:
1. Serve a mix of meats
One of the most expensive things about a barbecue is the meat everyone will expect you to serve. (Of course, you won’t want to forget about the vegetarians either.) The trick to saving money on this part of the barbecue is to buy a mix of meats. Hot dogs are considerably cheaper than sausages, so buy more of the former. Hamburgers are generally more expensive when they’re pre-packaged, so buy your ground beef in bulk and make them yourself. Finally, go easy on the ribs and steaks to avoid breaking the bank. The best way to be sure you don’t blow your barbecue budget is to make sure you don’t spend it all on the meat.
2. Ask friends to contribute
Depending on the circumstances of the barbecue, you might want to have a pot luck and save a ton of money. If you’re intent on hosting, consider reaching out to your closest friends for specific things. At the bare minimum, be sure to welcome your guests to bring beverages. This is a standard almost anywhere you go, so you won’t look rude for mentioning it.
3. Keep the entertainment simple
You might be tempted to provide a lot of entertainment at your barbecue, but before you start digging a horseshoe pit, consider what your guests will really want. A little music, good lighting, mosquito repelling torches, and plenty of seating are all much more important than whatever you think would add some pizazz to your barbecue. After all, people go to events like these to socialize. Don’t be afraid to put them up to it.
4. Make more of less
Trying to serve dozen different side dishes will end up costing you twice as much as it would if you just made six. Feed the same number of people fewer things to save money. This is a rule that moms with big families have been following for generations! Besides, people generally expect the standards at a barbecue: Grilled meat, pasta and potato salad, corn, etc. To save a little more, consider making the sides yourself rather than buying them pre-made at the grocery store. Afterall, what’s cheaper than pasta or potatoes and a little mayonaise.
5. Use real dishes rather than paper ones
There’s one expensive thing that seems to be a fixture at barbecues these days: The paper plate. Paper plates save time on cleanup, but they also add unnecessary costs. To trim a little bit of cost off the bottom line, serve your guests on washable plates. If you need some extras, ask a friend to borrow some. Your guests will have an easier time eating and your whole barbecue will feel a little classier. Dishes wash almost as well the next day, anyway!
Interested in banking with an institution that wants to help you save money? Welcome to PerkStreet FinancialSM, where the average American family could earn $600 per year without changing their spending.