Grilling on a Budget: A Blow-Out BBQ that Won't Break the Bank

Hosting a cookout on Memorial Day weekend is an excellent way to celebrate our freedom and respect the memory of those fighting for it. Like any party, though, hosting can get expensive. 

With summer vacations and college tuition payments right around the corner, it's important to save as much as possible. Here are some handy money-saving tips for your next cookout. 

1. Bakery outlet shopping

Commercial bakeries make the same quantities whether sold at the supermarket or not. While perfectly fine, these baked goods are pulled from grocery store shelves to make way for a fresh supply and taken to a day-old bakery, where you can purchase at a significant discount. 

If you need a lot of hot dog buns for your cookout, this can be an excellent place to save. Remember to pick up mini doughnuts and other desserts while you're there!

2. Plan the meal for savings

Costs can add up quickly if you're buying food for the whole family. Fortunately, there are a few ways to save. 

If you have a large gathering of 50 or more people, consider getting beef by the side. A side has about 200 pounds of meat, so you'll have several premium cuts of steak and enough hamburger to feed an army! 

Or opt for veggies! Asparagus, zucchini and potatoes all do well on the grill with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Veggies are a great option because they're cheap, nutritious and filling. You can even offer some veggie alternatives to cookout classics. Meatless patties made of beans, spices and rice are about half the cost of a similar-sized beef patty. Plus, veggie alternatives don't have the same dangers of undercooking.

3. Make it yourself

Drinks can be one of the biggest cookout expenses, especially if you buy individual bottles and cans. Doing so also leaves you with the unpleasant task of picking up dozens of half-empty cans. Try this instead:

Purchase large plastic pitchers to store homemade drinks. Loaded with ice and kept in a shady spot, those pitchers will keep your drinks cool for hours. It's also a great chance to be creative. Mix iced tea and lemonade for a big batch of Arnold Palmer, a wonderfully refreshing summer drink!

Not only will you save on costs, but you'll save the planet. Washable plastic cups can also reduce your waste and make cleanup easier! 

Cheers to hosting your next affordable cookout!