Great summer eats!

7 Ways to Save On Your Summer BBQ

by Paige Estigarribia

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Summer is the perfect time to plan a grilling get-together with family or friends. But you might be rethinking your party plans if your grocery and entertaining budget is small. Even on a tight budget, you can still throw a fantastic BBQ with these money-saving tips.

1. Make it a pot-luck.

One of the best ways to cut down on the costs of throwing a get-together is making it a pot-luck party. Not only do you spend less because you aren't preparing all the foods for everyone attending, but you also get the opportunity to sample dishes from other kitchens! Depending on how many attendees you have, you should ask for volunteers to bring desserts, snacks, sides, salads, and even ice or drinks. This can cut down considerably on what you spend at the party as well as your preparation time.

2. Buy dollar store supplies.

When you are shopping for plates, napkins, cups, and utensils, don't forget to check a dollar store for deals on all of these party necessities. Sometimes you can also find great deals on these at wholesale clubs. And keep it informal. There's nothing wrong with using paper towels as napkins when you're slathered in BBQ sauce!

3. Consider your cooking technique.

Match your cooking technique to your food choice. Grilling often means that you're cooking food quickly on direct heat or a flame. Grilling is a faster way to cook and is perfect for things like hamburgers and hotdogs.

Barbeque often means that you are cooking meats slower at low temperatures, using indirect heat. Often, you can buy a budget cut of meat on sale and turn it into a tender delight using slow, indirect cooking.

4. Dress it up!

Hot dogs don't have to be just hot dogs. Add a little chili and you have chili dogs. Or roll them in batter for corn dogs. Consider marinating sausages in beer before grilling them. Stuffed burgers are hot now. It wouldn't take much to give you a pitmaster reputation!

5. Make your own salads.

Sure, you can buy coleslaw, potato salad, and baked beans from the deli section of your grocery store. But you can easily make them yourself. If you don't have a recipe you like, try searching on the net. You'll find hundreds of them.

6. Check wholesale clubs for buns and chips.

Last, if you are planning to host a larger group, be sure to check your local wholesale club like Sam's, BJ's, or Costco for deals on breads, buns, and even chips. Often, you can find large quantities of these kinds of BBQ supplies fairly inexpensively.

7. Serve seasonal desserts.

Are peaches in season? Then it might be time for a peach cobbler. Are watermelons readily available and cheap? Sounds like a good dessert choice to me! Or find someone in your group that has an ice cream churn. There's a good chance they'll be willing to whip up a batch of homemade ice cream!

You don't have to break the bank to host a great summer get-together. Just check out a few of these tips and your summer BBQ can be a success without costing a fortune.

Paige Estigarribia is a writer for The Dollar Stretcher who enjoys writing about food, frugal living, and money-saving tips. Visit Paige on Google+.

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