Photo by Minted.com
Summer without barbecue would be like Batman without Robin, Charlie Brown without Snoopy, or SpongeBob without Patrick--depending your age. Kate Sorenson of Coupon Cravings battles this age gap as a mother of two, and offers tips and deals to enjoying outdoor activities while battling a budget. Try these tips to make the most out of your BBQ’ing this summer without breaking the bank:
- While charcoal grills are typically less expensive, gas grills are far more economical in the long run due to the cost of charcoal briquettes vs. propane, says Derrick Riches in Barbecue & Grilling Cost Cutting.
- Whichever option you choose, the best deals on purchasing a grill are often found during the off season.
- Once you invest in a grill, don’t forget to maintain it. Riches recommends regular cleanings to remove accumulated grease and food, as well as keeping your grill covered when not in use so that it stays dry inside and out.
- For a charcoal grill, keep your eyes peeled for sales on briquettes. “There really isn’t an expiration date for charcoal,” according to Financial Highway’s Frugal Summer BBQ: 7 Money Savings Tips for BBQ. This means you can buy in bulk and save until the next year.
- For gas grills, Riches recommends shopping around for the best deals on propane since prices can very from station to station. Try finding a central propane distributor where stations buy their propane from, where propane can be up to a dollar cheaper per gallon.
- Real Simple’s 7 Money-Saving Ideas for a Summer Barbecue cautions beginning BBQ chefs against being overly ambitious. Don’t start out with the expensive cuts of meat, but instead start slow with things like burgers, vegetables, or even fruit.
- Financial Highway recommends trying bone-in cuts of meat. They are less expensive, don’t dry out as quickly, and the bones help keep flavor.
- About.com’s Riches suggests being your own butcher; save money by buying “large ‘primal’ cuts of meat” at the store, then cut into smaller pieces at home. A whole pork loin becomes pork loin chops for a fraction of the price you would pay for those chops at the meat counter.
The key is to be a smart consumer and a smart griller, says Riches. That way you can save money and be a BBQ master this summer.