I’m typing this post as a storm is forming outside, but I’m willing the weather to be beautiful this weekend so this post is not in vain! We need sun for our BBQs!!

I LOVE to entertain.  There are few thing I enjoy more than a houseful (backyardful) of people I love. But being the host can get expensive if you let it. Follow these tips to throw a BBQ on the cheap:

The Food

* Just like we always preach on our site, NEVER pay full price for food items. A BBQ is no exception. If you have stocked up on chicken at a rock bottom price, then put chicken on your menu. If you can score free hotdogs, juice, marinades or BBQ sauce like you can starting Sunday at Albies, you are on your way to a thrifty BBQ.


* Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring a side dish. I personally love cooking up something yummy for a friend’s BBQ, and chances are your friends might too. But if they have the cooking skills of my 3 year old, assign them something simple like hot dog buns or a bag of chips! Dividing up the menu items disperses the cost to all of your guests, without you ever having to ask them for a dime!

* If you aren’t able to get free juice this week and you don’t have a stash of free Capri Suns lying around, opt for pitchers of lemonade and water to drink instead of soft drinks. And if you plan on letting the alcohol flow, make it a BYOB event. Those four letters alone will save you a ton of money!

* Unless you have some paper plates you picked up for free, using disposable plates/cups/silverware will eat through your budget in a hurry. If you don’t already have reusable plastic serving-ware, invest in some cheap dollar store items that will last you for many BBQs to come.

The Decorations

* I like to keep party stores in business. I enjoy hosting themed parties and buying up every last coordinating decoration that relates to my theme. DON’T DO THIS!!! Your guests are not there to be wowed by your over the top decor. They are there to enjoy some good food and good company.

* Use items you already have as decorations. Pick a few wild flowers to arrange in vases as centerpieces. Hang an American flag as a backdrop, buy a few red, white and blue balloons and table cloths at a dollar store and TADA: decorations complete.

The Entertainment

* Play music, and have many outdoor games available! Some cheap examples include: volleyball, horseshoes, footballs and baseballs, badminton and croquet. There are also many inexpensive game ideas HERE and HERE.

Final Thoughts

* DON’T STRESS! Your guests will not remember the details, but they will remember if you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Take a deep breath and remember to enjoy your own party!

Do you have any money saving BBQ tips? Share the love! Enjoy your holiday weekend and BE SAFE!


  • Sophie

    Sunday is supposed to be the PERFECT day! Great day to have a fantastic BBQ!

  • Suzanne

    You’re so right that people aren’t going to be thinking, “What’s with the white paper plates?” if you don’t buy themed partyware! One tip for picking up those kinds of items for cheap, though, is to buy them after the holiday is over and save them for next year’s party. As soon as a holiday is over, stores are desperate to get rid of all the themed stuff, so they sell all their inventory at a discount. If you know you have a Christmas party or July 4th barbecue every year, then stock up when everything is on clearance, and you’ll have it all for next year! (Or maybe you have it as your contribution to someone else’s party – I’m all about the potluck!)

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