If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be firing up the grill this week to celebrate the Fourth of July in true patriotic fashion. And why not? A little backyard barbeque is not only delicious, it can also be rather economical … especially if you follow these six tips.
Spend a Little Extra on a Grill – How will spending more money on a grill help you save money? It’s simple. If you have a nice grill, you’ll be more likely to use it. And if you’re more likely to use your grill, you’re less likely to go out to eat (which can cost a lot more than grilling at home). You don’t have to buy a top-of-the-line grill, but don’t be afraid to spend $300-$400 to get a grill that gets the job done and won’t break down after six months of use.
Don’t Go Overboard on Accessories – Now that you’ve got yourself a nice grill, you might be tempted to run out and spend $150 on a fancy 12-piece set of grilling accessories. Don’t do that! All you really need are a simple set of tongs and a spatula. Maybe a grilling fork, too. But guess what? If you’ve got all three of those things in your kitchen already, you don’t need to buy more just for your grill.
Protect Your Grilling Investment – A nice grill will last seven to 10 years, but only if you take good care of it. That includes regular cleaning and keeping it covered and out of the weather when not in use.
Don’t Go Overboard on Meat – You don’t need a bunch of fancy accessories and you also don’t need a bunch of fancy meat. For many backyard grillers, meat is the biggest part of any barbeque budget, but you can trim the fat by skipping the steak and fish and opting instead for staples like hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken. If you really want steak, try some more affordable options. Even the cheaper cuts will taste great when cooked over an open flame.
The Butcher is Your Friend – Want to save money on meat? Of course you do. The easiest way to do that is to talk with your grocery store butcher on a regular basis. He or she will tell you when certain meats might go on sale and be able to suggest cheaper options.
Embrace Leftovers – Like any meal, making a little extra means more leftovers the next day. Sometimes that’s not cost effective, but barbeque leftovers taste great even three days later. Grilling extra is also a good idea because it allows you to get more from the fuel you’re burning (especially if you’ve got a charcoal grill).