Frugal Backyard Barbeque Party, is that possible? Of course it is!
Summer is now in full swing and if you are like us we are getting invited to parties left, right and centre. All these parties can add up and of course if you are hosting the party it can also cost you a pretty penny. We don’t budget in extra expenses for summer time parties so our expenses are coming out of our grocery budget. For example, we are going to a backyard party next week where we were asked to supply 2 boxes of burgers. We figure if we weren’t eating at a party we would be eating at home so the food we bring whether we eat it at the party or home is coming from the grocery budget.
When we want to host a large party in our backyard we like to plan ahead to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Have you ever been to a party where there wasn’t enough food or so disorganized you get bored? There’s nothing worse than your guests wanting to run to the nearest pizza joint after they leave your house because they are ready to bite their fingers off. That being said we typically like to make sure we have more food even if we have to send some of it home with our guests at the end of the party.
Have you ever been ready to attend a party where you already know….. you should either
1-Eat before you go
2-Plan to eat out after the party
Have you ever watched the TV program Come Dine With Me Canada where couples host dinner parties for other couples in a 5 day battle? The show makes me spin-off my seat with laughter with some of the things I see. It’s also a great way to learn what NOT to do at a dinner/barbeque party.
Seriously though, it’s not fun when you go to a party and the hosts don’t go out of their way to make it a pleasurable experience. Some people may argue the toss with me but that’s why you either click with people or you don’t. Our mates like to have a good time as do we when we attend or host a party.
No offense but a bowl of lettuce leaves cut in half, salad dressing and a pack of sausages with no buns on the barbeque is pretty boring and not filling at all. But wait….then out come the chips left over from last nights party still in the bowl. You are now either thinking one of two things, crikey that’s awful or who care’s I’d eat it, after all my friends are my friends. It truly depends on what a “Dinner Party” or ” Backyard Barbeque Party” means to you. I like to think as I age that I should host frugal yet sophisticated allure type parties for my friends and family. We certainly aren’t Mr and Mrs. Money bags nor are we skint so we like to keep it somewhere in the middle. It’s no different from wanting the Prada bag but getting the Prado bag but no one really can tell the difference.
I do understand that maybe that’s the way some people host but certainly not how we would host a proper dinner party. We are less likely to want to return to a party of this sort but would rather suggest drinks the next time around. We also never leave home empty handed when attending a party. We like to bring a little something whether it be food, desert or wine out of respect for the host/hostess even if they say not to bring anything.
Overall I think it’s great that people want to invite people over but if you can’t afford it in the budget or you don’t like to cook, don’t host a barbeque/dinner party. There’s nothing worse than looking cheap at a party or even worse that you put no effort into it.
Options and Ideas
You can host a frugal posh-like party on a budget with some planning and your guests will be left in awe. Offering nice back ground music is always enjoyable to set the tone of the party.
Another option if you don’t like to grill is to invite your guests to show off how they can Grill It like Bobby Flay. You could also simply invite friends over for drinks or host a themed pot-luck party where each guest brings a dish. With the economy the way it is we realize not everyone has lots of money to splash around. We love it when we get to show off foods from our culture and enjoy eating foods from other cultures. It also opens up the lines of communication between couples who don’t know each other. They become experts on the food and talk about the dish and where it originates from. Stories just keep on flowing and we all learn something from each other.
I would suggest to choose the event according to your budget but don’t cheap out on everything. Do a bit of on-line research on bbq party hosting etiquette so you know what a great host does to prepare for a night of food and fun.
Here are some ways to keep the party full of good food, decorate for less, and keep organized.
- Serve appetizers that are frugal but you add one or two ingredients that are a splurge such as stuffed olives, feta, sun-dried tomatoes,brie cheese.
- You want to offer them the best but you don’t need to buy the most expensive so shop around for variations of products.
- Shop the sales flyers for the week and prepare healthy foods around what’s in season.
- Keep a check-list handy so you don’t miss anything and look unorganized.
- If you are hosting a barbeque make sure your propane tanks are full otherwise you will be flipping the bill for pizza with a fake smile.
- Host a Desert only party with a theme if cooking is not your thing.
- Don’t overstock the alcohol but still have it available. You can offer punch, cocktails, fruit smoothies,water. Options are best.
- If you prefer ask everyone to bring a dish for each course as a pot-luck.
- Keep the food simple such as sausages,burgers,chicken,veggie burgers, skewers,potatoes, rice,vegetables, tuna pasta salad, tomato salad, cucumber salad and a dip such as guacamole.
- Always garnish and add colour to your plates to make them look lavish and inviting. A simple bunch of herbs will do the trick.
- You can have guests snack on pita chips, veggie platters or seasonal fresh fruits while the main meal is prepared.
- Hit up the dollar store as they always have decorations for any party or borrow what you can.
- Check Freecycle, Kijiji and Craigslist for items people are selling off or giving away free from their party.
A well planned party can be a fun party even when you have limited funds. Your guests will appreciate the effort you put in and rave about it the next day with all of their friends. At least you know they will go home full if you offer them a meal fit for a king but not costing you a lot out-of-pocket.
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