Inviting friends and family over for an old-fashioned cookout is perhaps the quintessential laid-back summer activity. Although, let’s face it, the cost of feeding so many people can leave you feeling anything but relaxed. So, here are several tips on hosting a summer cookout on a budget, without sizzling away your finances.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to shop sale items and use coupons when you can to save money. To help you save even more, pick up store brands for items such as paper plates, napkins, utensils, condiments, or snacks, as these are often priced lower than name brands. Or, buy in bulk at stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. This will give you more bang for your buck and any leftovers will save you an extra trip to the store when preparing for other parties.
Shopping farmers markets in your area can offer a great deal on locally grown produce, while supporting local businesses. You can stock up on regional favorites and cookout staples like corn on the cob and potatoes or find unique items to surprise your guests. Plus, there’s the added bonus of purchasing organic products at a fraction of the cost compared to the prices offered by big chain grocers.
If your own summer garden is in full bloom, use it to help you further save even more time and money. Incorporate popular herbs such as cilantro, rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives, mint, and basil into recipes for marinades or dips. These can also come in handy when paired with tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, zucchinis, squash, cucumbers, or mushrooms for salsas, side dishes, or appetizers.
And, who says that you have to cover everything by yourself? Consider organizing a potluck and have each guest bring a dish to share and offset some of the costs. This can be an easy way to quickly cross appetizers, side dishes, desserts, drinks, or even an entrée off your list. If you’re attending a barbecue, consider returning the favor by offering to bring a dish.
Great cookouts are one of the best parts of summer. Take advantage of these helpful tips that will take care of your guests and keep your wallet, and your stomach, full.
To keep the money you saved on your summer cookout safe, consider opening a new savings account. Wintrust offers several options, including Passbook Savings, Statement Savings, and a money market account.