Host an Epic Backyard Shindig on a Tight Budget

The pools are starting to open, the sun is shining, and Memorial Day is right around the corner. You really want to throw a BBQ for your friends and family, but you’ve been faithfully sticking to your new budget and feel guilty spending any extra money. No need to worry! Hosting a backyard shindig can be one of the cheapest ways to celebrate the summer if you follow these tips:


It stands for “Bring Your Own Everything” and is the best way to party on a budget. Send out e-invites and let everyone know that your BBQ is going to be a potluck event. Ask your guests to each bring their favorite dish plus a dessert, and let them know they will be responsible for their own adult beverages. You provide the space, the music, and the bottled water (plenty of stores sell a 48 pack of water for under $5).

Go Green:

Forget putting out plastic utensils that are expensive and bad for the environment, instead, you can place your everyday forks, knives and spoons in baskets or cups on the picnic table. Give everyone one non-disposable cup from your cupboard and let them know where they can rinse it off if they need to. Kids cups are the most fun! And you can purchase recycled paper goods like plates and napkins at the dollar store for pennies on the dollar.

Back to Basics:

Sure it’s fun to provide a massive bouncy house or ball pit to keep the kids busy, but the rental prices on those types of things are outrageous. Instead, grab a few bottles of cheap bubbles, a handful of squirt guns, and a package of water balloons from the dollar store and let the kids go to town the old fashion way. You can even offer them a few of your Mason jars for collecting fireflies. And don’t forget to have them look for sticks around the yard to use for roasted marshmallows later in the evening!

Forget Fancy:

Even if you’re doing a potluck, you may still want to have some food available, in case people don’t get the message or don’t bring enough. Forget providing meats like fish, shrimp, or steak! You’re on a budget, so it’s perfectly acceptable to find the cheapest hot dogs and hamburgers that are on sale. And don’t forget to grill some tofu for the vegans! It’s almost always less than $2.00 per pound, and a one pound block is usually enough to go around. No frills chips and pretzels come in large bags that can be presented in bowls you already own, so no one has to know they’re not the brand name kind. And you could provide homemade iced tea in your personal pitcher so you don’t have to buy expensive soft drinks.