1. Make a Budget and Stick to It- I always have a round about idea of what a summer BBQ will run us before I even start inviting. This is very important...as then you know what to expect to have put out....one less surprise! I always write a list of what I will serve, how many guests I will invite, beverages we will serve, kids fun activities we will have, supplies we will need (paper goods, cups, utensils, etc.).
2. Have Guests Bring Something- Anytime we are ever invited to a get-together (with the exception of a Birthday party...as then we bring a gift) We always bring something....an appetizer, or perhaps a dessert I homemade. Most times when I RSVP that we will be attending I ask the host "Is there is anything special you would like me to bring?" I do not mind bringing a dish......as it is just my little way of showing the host/hosts "Thanks so much for Having Us"!!!
3. Keep the Menu Simple- Go with the less is more approach. This way whatever food you do offer you are able to spend a bit more time preparing and perfecting it. You will also save yourself from going crazy trying to make so many different things the night before or morning of the BBQ!! Also plan your menu around what meat is one sale that week or buy meat in bulk at the Wholesale Club (Sam's Costco, B.J's). Plus, remember guests are going to be bringing a dish as well!!
4. Are Kids Attending?- If so you may want to have a few activities planned for them to keep busy and have fun while at your home too!! Some great things we have done at BBQ's that the kiddies really enjoyed were hitting the pinata, having a slip n slide or kiddie pool, making sand art, running threw the sprinkler , playing Play-Doh, having water balloons for tosses, making Lei's using dyed macaroni (which I dye ahead of time, of course)...and the list just goes on!! Just think of a few fun things your kiddies like to do...or ask them what kind of fun things they might like to do at the summer BBQ!
5. Keep Invites Simple- Invite Guests by using Evite, or make some phone calls....this will avoid the cost of invitations and postage stamps. I have used Evite for a few occasions....and I love it!! It is very easy to use, free, and guests reply back right online. And for those guests that do not have Internet access just simply give them a call.
6. Keep Drink Selection to a Minimum- I love to just get the Party Cocktail Buckets, some beer, a pitcher of iced tea, water, and a few bottles of soda. I am sure as long as you offer a few different choices your guests will be more than happy with the selection!! Oh and remember....if you are having a huge number of guests...look into the price of a keg...as it may be cheaper than purchasing cases!
Is there a certain something that is a MUST when planning your summertime backyard BBQ?? Any tips to share to help us save a bit more? Something you've tried to save a little money that did not pan out as you'd of hoped??