BBQ on a Budget

CanadaSummer is upon us, and so is the season of outdoor entertaining. Hosting a backyard BBQ is a summer rite of passage, but can also be costly without the proper planning and preparation. Here are some tips to host with the most without draining your wallet.


Shop Ahead

Just because your BBQ isn’t until next month doesn’t mean that you can’t start planning right now. Map out a guest list and needed items. Start watching for sales on items that can either be frozen or are non-perishable. Not only do you save by watching for sales, but you spread out the cost of hosting, rather than taking the financial punch solely over a couple of days before the event.


Think Big

Buy where you can in bulk, swapping out cans of pop or juice boxes for larger bottles. This saves quite a bit of money and helps reduce waste. Things like burgers, snacks and condiments are also good buys when bought in volume.



While it is nice to feed everyone you know, it is far nicer to be able to share a meal without fretting about a cost. Open your BBQ up to pot luck, and have everyone contribute their favourite dish. You can put a spin on traditional pot luck by incorporating a theme, like favourite food from childhood or international dishes. Another way to cut costs is to ask guests to supply their own meat, and you supply all the side dishes and dessert.


Reusable Dinnerware

Not only is this a more environmentally friendly option, it offers a chance to trim your BBQ budget. Opt to use your actual plates and glasses and wash them afterwards, rather than spending a bundle on paper plates and cutlery, which will just create loads of trash and take your cash. Another alternative is to buy reusable plastic plates that you can wash and put away for the next time. This goes for things like table linens as well, where possible.


Low-Key Décor

When it comes to decorating, less is more- literally. While having decorations for any party is nice, there is an opportunity to utilize the natural decor that the great outdoors provides you with. Use things that you already have around your house, like potted plants or candles that can be centrepieces.


Host Lunch Instead of Supper

While a BBQ is fun at any time of day, you generally serve a smaller meal during lunchtime rather than suppertime. If you plan to serve alcohol or desserts, people will generally consume less during daylight hours, which translates into savings for the host. For the drink menu, serving beer over wine or liquor is generally a little cheaper as well.