Barbeques are known for being informal get-togethers, but unfortunately informal doesn’t always translate into affordable. Too often the trappings of the party get in the way of the purpose: to enjoy a backyard dinner with your friends and family. Be kind to your budget and yourself by hosting a barbecue that feeds everyone without emptying your wallet.
Invite guests by phone or email to skip the cost of invitations and postage.
Plan an affordable menu. Hamburgers and hot dogs are standard barbeque fare for a reason -- they're inexpensive. Nab extra savings by purchasing bulk-sized packages of meat and by watching for sales on buns and condiments. Around summer holidays many grocery stores put these barbecue items on sale.
Make it a potluck. Have everyone you invite bring a side dish, chips or dessert, so you limit your expense to only the main dish.
Serve drinks in bulk. Canned and bottled drinks can get pricey, so stick to things that can be made and served in bulk. Lemonade and iced tea are inexpensive for a crowd, as are batches of frozen blender concoctions.
Decorate with what you have. Leftover party streamers, Christmas lights and candles borrowed from your home can all be used to set the mood for your barbeque, and won't cost you a penny.
Keep the seating informal. If you are short on tables and chairs, don't buy more. Just lay blankets around the yard and you've got instant seating, picnic style.
Serve your guests on your regular dishes, not paper plates, cups or plastic utensils. While it will take some time to wash everything after the party is over, it beats the cost of purchasing paper goods that will only be thrown away.