Want to spend more time with loved ones? Then inviting everyone over for great food, drinks and conversation is a great way to go about it. And in the summer, there’s nothing better than firing up the grill and enjoying some alfresco dining. The only problem as the host is that these costs can really start to add up, and so it’s worth thinking of ways to keep the costs down so you can enjoy these kinds of occasions without breaking the bank. Here are some of the ways you can go about it!

Get your garden in order

First things first, when you’re having guests over you want your garden to be in order. Spend a little time cutting the grass, potting some flowers and putting away anything that shouldn’t be out into the shed or garage. If you entertain regularly then it could be worth investing in some garden furniture, companies like Snappy Loans give you access to cash fast if your event is coming up quickly. If you want to spend less, how about putting out some picnic blankets on the lawn? That way everyone has a seat without having to stand around, even if your garden furniture isn’t big enough. You could even search through your cupboards for blankets and pillows, otherwise picnic blankets can be found cheaply in plenty of places at this time of year. 

Go potluck style

Asking guests to bring a side dish or something to throw onto the barbeque can really help you to keep costs down. You all get to sample each others dishes, and you’ll end up with more of a mix of different foods to make things more interesting. It’s a winning situation for everyone. It’s only a small expense for each of your guests, but could save you a small fortune overall- especially if you have quite a few people coming to the party. Even if some guests bring simple things like bread rolls or drinks garnishes, it’s one less thing for you to have to purchase.

Avoid pre-packaged 

When you’re planning a barbeque, the temptation is there to run into the store the day before and swipe all of the tasty, prepackaged barbeque foods that are ready to be thrown into the grill. However, this is always going to be the most expensive option. You can save yourself a huge wad of cash just by preparing your own- purchase chicken drumsticks from the freezer section, defrost them and coat them in your own herbs and spices. Buy big packs of ground meat and make your own burgers, there are plenty of recipes online if you want to make them more interesting. Cut up your own veggies and skewer them onto bamboo skewers, not only can you make whatever combination you want but you’ll get so much more for your money. Have a look on sites like Pinterest to find out what kinds of combinations for seasonings and meat work best, you can prep it all the day before and that bit of time can slash your budget by a huge amount. If you have a meat warehouse store that sells large packs for cheaper prices then getting your staples from there can be a 

Bulk up with inexpensive side dishes

Meat is never going to be the cheapest thing to buy, but it’s the star of the show when you’re having a barbeque. However, you can bring these costs down while still filling everyone up by preparing some inexpensive, tasty yet bulky side dishes. Big batches of pasta salad, potato salad and rice salad cost next to nothing to make, and you can add all kinds of different herbs, spices and veggies. You could whip up some homemade coleslaw, as well as a salad with plenty of lettuce leaves, cucumber, tomato and onion for people to garnish their burgers and fill up their plates. You could pop some jacket potatoes in the oven and serve these as side dishes, or make up some vegetable skewers with onions, mushrooms and peppers and pop on the barbeque. Not only are all of these things suitable for your vegetarian guests, but they’re something everyone will enjoy and can fill up on. 

Consider entertainment

Great parties get everyone mixing and having a laugh, and entertainment is a fantastic way to do this. You could purchase some cheap lawn games like Jenga or Connect Four, you could create a photo booth in the corner of your garden with a white bedsheet and some silly props. You could buy some face paint which would be fun for the kids (and maybe adults too!) Simple card games and party games would all be good options especially as you get later into the evening and everyone is sitting around together socialising. 

Come up with some cocktails

Finally, with any party you need to keep the drinks flowing. Again, alcohol can be expensive, and so asking guests to bring a bottle is no bad thing. Another thing you can do is mix up some cocktails, pour your spirits of choice with mixers, juice and chopped fruit with plenty of ice and you have a tasty concoction that people can help themselves too. All of the drinks are the same strength meaning you don’t end up adding far too much alcohol to your glass! Again, there are so many recipes and different combinations online so do some research, something fresh and fruity will suit most people. Don’t forget to buy ice so people can pop a few cubes into their glass before pouring their drink, on a hot day your drinks will quickly warm up, and no one wants a warm cocktail! You could always fill a second dispenser with juice and mixer and leave out the alcohol to make a nice mocktail for anyone that’s not drinking or is under the legal age limit. 

How would you throw a barbeque on a budget? What sort of garden parties do you have planned for this summer?

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