How to Save on Your Summer BBQ


Happy 4th!

Chances are good part of your celebration this weekend will involve hosting or attending a BBQ. After all, it’s an American pastime. But don’t be surprised if you experience a little sticker shop as you roam the aisles of your local grocery store. Due to a number of different factors (droughts, avian flu, cattle shortages, and so forth), food prices have climbed.

Take beef, for example. Fewer cattle at market have resulted in a beef shortage not just in the U.S., but overseas as well. This means beef prices, from ground beef all the way up to prime cuts for steaks, have increased. In fact, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price per pound for ground beef is $4.14.

That means that yes, your BBQ will be more expensive this year.

But an increase in food prices doesn’t mean you have to cut back on the food or fun that comes with a BBQ. Here are a few ways to save money on your summer backyard get-togethers:

Shop the sales and stock up. 

Grocery stores want to be competitively priced, so most of them have some pretty phenomenal sales. Instead of immediately tossing your weekly circulars into the recycling bin, pull them out and make a shopping plan of action.

Holiday weekends (like this one) tend to have some of the best meat and produce sales. The Kroger in my area, for example, is selling ground beef for $2.99 per pound, and chicken breasts for $1.99 per pound. Think ahead and stock up. Meat and many fruits freeze well, so you can shop the sales and be ahead of the game for your next BBQ.

Do a potluck. 

If you’re hosting a party or BBQ, consider a potluck. Potlucks are win-win for everyone. Everyone gets to try new things, and the cost is split by all. Even asking guests to bring their own meat or alcohol can help you cut costs. (Keep in mind that these are best for casual get-togethers. You wouldn’t invite guests to a wedding reception, for example, and ask them to bring a covered dish to share.)

Plan for leftovers.

How many times have you cleaned up after a BBQ only to end up throwing most of the leftover food away because bugs got to it or it wasn’t refrigerated properly? Instead of throwing money down the garbage disposal, take steps during your party to keep your food “safe.” Keep cold things (especially mayonnaise-based salads) on ice, and cover foods when not in use.

These are just a few of many ways you can cut costs on your summer BBQs. Do you have any tips? Share them below!

Posted in: Food and Grocery, Money

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