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The $100 BBQ: How To Throw A Great Summer BBQ On A Budget

The summer BBQ is a tradition pretty much everyone loves. It's an opportunity to get together with friends, eat good food, and spend a little time outside.

When there’s a crowd, though, it's hard to throw a BBQ affordably. Feeding a lot of people always costs money, and making sure you're stocked on the basic condiments and drinks really adds up.

That said, having done the math and researched some basic savings tips, we can say with confidence: the $100 summer BBQ is possible!

For a group of 10-12 people, even if you don't have the usual burger condiments already in the fridge to turn to, you can still get away with staying under $100.

The $100 summer BBQ 

The premise: Throw a barbecue party for $10 or less per person, with at least two meat options and drinks included. In this scenario, sides provided by guests.

Keep in mind, some of these prices may vary depending on where you do your shopping or the brands you go for, but the amounts should be pretty close to what you'd find.

  • Hamburger meat for 12 burgers: $16
  • 2 packs of hamburger buns (16 buns total): $12
  • 24 cheese slices: $3.48
  • 8 hot dogs: $1
  • 8 hot dog buns: $1
  • A bag of tortilla chips: $3.18
  • Mustard: $1.77
  • Mayo: $2.50
  • Ketchup: $2.50
  • Homemade salsa: $1.51
  • Meat seasoning: $2
  • Homemade BBQ sauce: $2.13
  • Bag of charcoal: $7
  • Aluminum foil: $5.38
  • 24-pack of soda: $12.99
  • 12-pack of beer: around $10
  • A bottle of wine: around $10

The total for these items comes to $98. If you've already got condiments in your fridge, are happy to go for a cheaper bottle of wine or are willing to make a couple more items on the list homemade (like the chips or ketchup), your savings go up.

Everyone's favorite BBQ recipes and sides are going to be a little different, so mix and match based on your preferences and see if you can manage to still keep it below the $100 mark.

13 tips for extra summer BBQ savings

For even more inspiration to get those savings up, here are some additional BBQ ideas that cost less.

1. Don't splurge on fancy meats.

People are almost always happy with a hamburger or hot dog at a BBQ, you don't have to bother with steak or salmon. You can stick with one protein for extra savings and to make it easier to manage with fewer toppings, or opt for kabobs to save on the cost of buns and condiments.

2. Use cheaper veggies and sides to supplement the food.

You can probably get away with buying less meat by offering ample other options for munching. If people snack on chips and dips while the meat's cooking, they won't care if there's not enough for seconds. And veggies marinated in cheap Italian dressing and cooked on a grill are delicious.

3. Speaking of those sides, make them homemade.

Making salsa, bean dip, or potato salad at home is cheaper than buying them at the store. Here are a few side dish BBQ recipes for you:
* 25 Easy, Cheap Bean Dip Recipes
* Restaurant Style Queso Dip
* Easy Potato Salad
* Budget Friendly BBQ Sides

4. Ask guests to contribute.

Put your guests in charge of some of the food and drinks, and you'll only need to focus on the basics. If you end up with more food than you need, you at least have leftovers so you can save money on meals through the next week.

5. Turn off the grill as soon as the food's done.

You'll save on gas or charcoal.

6. Do your shopping at stores like Costco or Sam's Club, if you have a membership.

When you're feeding a group, those bulk savings can really make a difference.

7. Don't bother with the paper plates and plastic utensils.

Yes, they're a bit easier, but they're also an unnecessary cost. Those plates and cups in your pantry are already paid for.

8. Check your pantries before you shop.

You might have things you can turn into snacks, sides, and condiments that will save you on your trip to the grocery store.

9. Stick to the cheap drinks.

Most people aren't expecting fancy wine or craft beers at a BBQ. A $7 bottle of wine will probably go over just as well as a $20 one. You could even make Sangria or punch to help the alcohol you buy go further.

10. Create your own seasonings and sauces.

The only benefit to the expensive ones at the store are that they're easier. Your homemade stuff will probably be better.

11. Use zip-close bags to stock up on the ice from your fridge.

A bag of ice from the store might not be that expensive, but the stuff your fridge makes is even cheaper. Start stocking up a day or two in advance so you don't have to worry about running out.

12. Figure out your menu based on what's on sale.

There are grocery apps that help you figure out which items are discounted before you head to the grocery store.

13. Hang on to complementary condiments.

You know the ones, the little ketchup and mustard packets widely available at lots of restaurants. If you already have plenty of those, you can skip buying condiments at the store.

Now you don't have any excuses. Throw an awesome summer BBQ for your friends without fear of blowing your budget in the process.

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