Summer Savers: Budget BBQs

Apart from the weather (usually) improving, summer often brings garden parties, beach days, and the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy being outside. But one of the downsides to having a much busier social calendar during the summer months is the associated costs. While attending barbecues and parties might be fairly easy on the wallet, when it’s your turn to host, your finances can take a bit of a hit. Maybe your previous gatherings are legendary or maybe you’ve just shirked all dinner party responsibilities until now, but if you’re faced with the financial challenge of hosting a big summer barbecue, you might want to try a few of these cost-saving tips.

Save in Advance

Obviously, this might not be possible if you’re throwing together a last-minute bash, but most summer barbecues are date-saved well in advance so you should have at least one or two paydays to get together some spare funds. If it’s your turn to host and you haven’t picked a date yet, go for an end-of-summer weekend to give yourself extra time!

Affording last minute social events is one of the many benefits of having savings, as well as accommodating emergency expenses and generally feeling more financially secure. So, if you haven’t already, starting a savings account might be something you want to consider going forwards to ease your day to day money management.

Maybe you decide to miss your usual weekly takeaway or maybe you repurpose your normal savings instead. Whichever way you choose to find a little extra cash, don’t put yourself through financial difficulty or risk arrears on your normal financial commitments. It’s okay to reshuffle your disposable income but you shouldn’t compromise on your priority bills and essential expenditure.

Budget Accurately

We couldn’t discuss money saving measures without touching on budgeting. It’s the key to successful money management and while budgeting is unlikely to bring in loads of extra cash, it might turn up a few extra pounds which can make all the difference. The best way to budget is in advance: look at your upcoming financial commitments and if you have any irregular payments in the near future. One-off payments like car MOTs and boiler services can often throw your budget out if forgotten about, which makes planned expenses, like garden parties, all the more difficult to afford on your usual paycheck.

If you do have a one-off but planned expense, consider adjusting your usual day to day spending to accommodate it. If you come across an emergency expense that you haven’t budgeted for, you could consider using payday loans to manage your cashflow until your next payday. Of course, you should only borrow money to finance unexpected expenses if you know you can afford the repayments. And, while borrowing can be an option for emergencies, we wouldn’t recommend you take out a loan to finance your summer barbecue.

Organise and Share the Responsibilities

Just because you’re hosting, doesn’t mean you have to be solely responsible for every aspect of the party. If you’ve got close family or friends coming, ask them to bring a dish or a bottle – most people will offer anyway and it’s common to accept. If you feel a bit awkward about asking friends to bring alcohol or food, consider asking them to bring soft drinks or a dessert instead. You don’t have to feel guilty because soft drinks are cheaper than wine or gin, but it will still save you a few quid and every penny counts! You could also get organised well in advance and add a couple of extra bottles of lemonade or bags of crisps to your usual weekly shops in the run up to the day, so it doesn’t hit your bank account all at once. Just remember to store them separately so they don’t get consumed with the usual groceries!

Consider going for a theme

Not all themed parties have to require costumes. You could run a wine and cheese night where everyone brings a bottle of wine from a different country. Or even host a gin tasting evening where everyone brings a different gin (this may require planning to avoid doubles!). This way, you massively reduce the cost of supplying drinks, but you still fill your share of hosting responsibilities.

Just because people tend to have barbecues in summer, it doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box. You can always stick a few burgers on the grill if you really want to! Another way to reduce the financial challenge of hosting is to base the barbecue around a particular event. For example, something like Eurovision or the World Cup could mean giving each couple or friend a country and asking them to make a dish or cocktail from that place. This is an easy way to reduce your individual costs while still creating a fun atmosphere.

Best Cash-Saving Tips when Hosting

The best way to manage your money is almost always by planning and sticking to a budget. You don’t need to completely strip back your spending, but if you know you have increased expenses coming up, then being a little conservative and reducing your invisible spending can make all the difference. For example:

  • Make temporary financial compromises to free-up cash ahead of the party. Making your work lunch at home instead of buying daily meal deals could save you up to £20 a week which is an extra £80 a month in the run up to your barbecue. Similarly, forgoing the morning coffee could quickly accumulate some spare funds. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment (though you might find you enjoy having the extra cash).
  • Try to do a last-minute shop focusing on discounts to maximise the food you can buy for your budget. Consider buying from the reduced section – especially for salad bits and dessert fruit. It will likely all get eaten that day so you won’t need to worry about waste, and often buying food that’s been reduced due to the sell-by date could save you more than 50%. It might be a stress trying to get to the supermarket before everyone arrives, but if you can squeeze it into the schedule, you’ll likely save a fair bit of cash.

Summer is a great time of year, but it can be a financial burden with extra childcare costs, holidays and increased social activities. It’s great to get out the house, but it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg or cause stress and anxiety. The social pressure to host a show-stopping garden party can be immense, so get creative with ways to save and ask your best friends or close family for help. You could even organise a family picnic at a local park if you’re struggling for outside space or you just really can’t afford to have everyone over right now. Summer is a time to be enjoyed, so try not to get too bogged down by your finances!

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