BBQs are one of my favorite things about summer! Food just seems to taste extra tasty when it cooked on a grill, don’t you think? My husband loves cooking out, so we eat a lot BBQ food! Plus, my family has thrown more than its share of outdoor parties over the years. Between regular weeknight dinners and huge family events, I’ve learned a lot about how to save money on BBQs! I’m sharing a few of my favorite tips for you so you can trim a little fat off your budget (pun intended!).
How to Save Money on Your Family BBQ
This post is sponsored by Sam’s Club. All opinions are my own!
1- Buy your meat in bulk!
We usually serve chicken on family BBQ night because everyone likes it. While my husband does love burgers, my mom and I don’t eat red meat. My son likes some burgers, but he’s super picky about them. So chicken it is! Here’s my best money-saving tip: buy your chicken in bulk.
We love Member’s Mark chicken breasts from Sam’s Club. At just around $2 a pound, it’s super affordable. My husband says to look at the number of breasts versus the actual pounds. We got 8 breasts for over $12. They were thick enough that we could have cut them in half length-wise if we needed to stretch them further at a party.
2- Buy and Make extra!
It sounds counterproductive to buy more than you need when you’re trying to save money, but trust me, it’s not. It’s a whole lot easier to buy a little extra on your main shopping trip than to realize that you’re out of BBQ sauce, ketchup, or even worse, meat! You can always freeze leftover burger patties or use the leftover chicken in a salad.
3- Use paper towels instead of napkins
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: paper towels are more expensive than napkins! In theory, that’s true, but when was the last time you used just one napkin at a BBQ? I always end up using a handful! Paper towels are so much sturdier, so just one can hold up to even the messiest barbecue sauce or craziest hot dog toppings! Plus, you’ll use them around the house for other things.
I bought a 15-pack of Member’s Mark Super Premium paper towels when I was shopping for my BBQ supplies there. With two puppies still potty training, we go through them like crazy.
4- Delegate tasks like a pro
You cannot be the cook, the host, and the grill master, so learn to delegate! Trust me, very bad things happen when you try to micromanage everything. One person should be in charge of each task, otherwise things gets all messed up and you end up wasting time, money and food. Speaking of delegating, you can even sort of do it with your shopping! Use Club Pickup at Sam’s Club. Order everything you need online, then have them all ready to be picked up at your local Sam’s Club. It doesn’t cost a penny more than if you were going through the store in person and putting things in your cart.
5- Don’t go overboard with sides
When we have a BBQ, we usually keep the sides as simple as possible. Some sort of potato and some delicious sweet corn on the cob is more than enough.
If you’re having a huge BBQ party, ask family and close friends to bring along a side dish. That way you still have a variety but aren’t taking on the whole cost yourself.
6- Serve pre-made desserts
Unless you’re a rock star baker with a kitchen constantly stocked full of ingredients, just serve desserts that are already made. I’ve bought cakes and made them, and honestly, I spent more to make things from scratch. Plus, the pressure to make beautiful desserts is just too much for me sometimes. For example, last week I wanted to make a pudding poke cake with angel food cake (which, for some reason, is the most expensive cake mix on the planet). I bought a weird one that required like 20 steps to get it to the right amount of fluffliness. I screwed up ONE little step and my cake came out rock hard. I wasted about $5 worth of cake mix and pudding on that fiasco.
If you want a super easy yet incredibly decadent and delicious dessert, pick up a container of Member’s Mark Sea Salt Caramels. OMG you guys, they are SO gooood! Look at those pieces! Huge, right? Just one is enough to totally satisfy your sweet tooth and only has 100 calories. The combination of chocolate, caramel and a dusting of sea salt makes every taste bud in your mouth say “ahhhh!”
7- Shop Sam’s Club & Get Everything in One Stop!
One of my favorite things about shopping at Sam’s Club is that I can buy everything I need in one stop. It saves money on gas because I’m not running all over town, plus the prices are just right. With so many Member’s Mark offerings, you’ll save a ton of money without sacrificing quality.
In fact, Sam’s Club recently expanded and upgraded their Member’s mark private label brand, adding 300 new items to the line to bring the total up to They actually worked with product developers and food scientists who traveled the world to source best-in-class ingredients and processing methods. I was super pleased with the quality of everything I bought. The caramels were by far my favorite, but I have a major sweet tooth.
The Member’s Mark line also includes all your entertaining and party essentials, like plates, napkins (or in my case, paper towels) and utensils. You can literally get everything you need in one trip. Seriously, you can even get a grill if you need one! Oh! I don’t want to forget one of my favorite features: Scan & Go! This is the best thing since sliced bread. As you shop, just scan your items in to the app. You’ll be able to see how much you’re spending. Then, when you’re done, click Check Out and pay right on your phone. Keep the little bar code confirmation open, head to the door, let the person scan it and leave. No lines! EVERY store should have this.
Definitely stop by Sam’s Club or SamsClub.com to check out the newly reinvented and expanded Member’s Mark brand.
What are your favorite ways to save money on family BBQs? Share below!
Great ideas. I had to laugh with you about the dessert. Been there done that and I shouldnt have looked at those salted caramels. We also save by having a potluck if we have people over.
Using less expensive cuts of meat is how I save on the barbecue, and I can take a chicken thigh or leg and barbecue it and make it taste so good!
Great advice. I need to shop at Sam’s more often. I have never bought my meat there but you made some very valid points. I also like the idea of using desserts that are already pre-made. Keeping things simple help to keep things from becoming overwhelming or stressful.