NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Summer Barbeque Savings


 Summer and grilling are a perfect combination but does it feel like your grocery budget is taking a hit with all that grilling. There is no reason you can't save money while enjoying some tasty barbecue.  The key to keeping within your food budget is hunting down deals and asking friends to chip in.  Following are some ideas to master the art of throwing a low-cost summer party on a budget.

     You'll need a plan before firing up the grill.. How many people are attending? What’s on the menu? Tailor your offerings around coupons from your local grocery store to avoid high-cost dishes, and then itemize the list of ingredients to ensure you’ll stay on target while wandering the aisles.

 Purchase a few pounds of the sale-priced split chicken breasts and freeze them for future backyard get-togethers. Do this a few times and your next summer party will only require a trip to the freezer. 

One of the cheapest barbecue headliners is the burger, but is it best to go with pre-made frozen patties or do-it-yourself ground beef? If purchasing pre-made burgers, look for those that are at least 85% lean so avoid flare-ups on the grill and major shrinkage in size of the burger.

Few barbecue items balance budget and flavor like the kebab, the delicious anything-goes-on-a-skewer dish that can be tailored to every wallet. Combine low-cost cuts of beef and chicken with a variety of inexpensive ingredients, such as canned pineapples, green bell peppers, squash and onions. The possibilities are endless, and you won’t have to dig too deep into this month’s paycheck.

 Next use Google Docs or social media to list what the party needs and have guests sign up to bring everything from extra chairs and cutlery to cups and a portable stereo.

Just like with going out to eat, the cost of drinks can add up quickly. Everyone has their own favorite beverage, which is why barbecues are well-suited to be BYOB affairs. 

To save money on condiments at your barbecue, transfer small amounts of dressings to lidded containers to avoid tossing out that entire leftover jar because it spent all day in the sun. Keep the bottles and jars in the fridge and refill the trays as needed.

Even low-cost parties need quality entertainment. Instead of making a trip to the nearest big-box store for a selection of backyard games, head over to your local thrift shop or secondhand sporting goods outlet for entertainment without the sticker shock. 


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