Doing your last minute planning for the 4th of July weekend celebrations–but looking at your budget, too? Here are a few tips to the rescue, all to help you plan a fabulous BBQ on a budget. We tapped into consumer savings expert Jeanette Pavini, who works with the philanthropic savings site, CouponsForChange.org. Her tips include:
· TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE HOLIDAY SALES – Build your menu around the items that are on sale at your grocery store and for double the savings, find coupons that match those items as well. Sites like CouponsForChange.org have printable coupons on tons of grocery items and for every 3 coupons you clip, a free meal will be provided to a food-insecure child or adult.â€¨
· KNOW WHEN TO SHOP – Ask your butcher what time of day they typically mark down meat-it’s usually in the early morning or evening. Some stores have two rounds of markdowns. For example, a package of chicken might be marked down 30% in the morning, and if it doesn’t sell by evening, it will be further marked down to 60%.
· ADD COLOR TO THE GRILL – Remember, the grill is not just for meat. Make your grill do double duty so you’re getting the most out of your charcoal. Grilled vegetables are easy and delicious. If you’re serving a crowd, see if there is a wholesale produce market in your area. That’s where the restaurants shop so you’ll get the same wholesale prices as they do and the freshest fruit and veggies available.
· BE A BUDGET BARTENDER – If you’re looking for a low-cost beer alternative, sangria is a great and refreshing option – and a little goes a long way. Buy whichever fruit is on sale: pineapples, oranges and berries work well. Combine with a bargain bottle of wine, add carbonated water and a sweetener like orange juice.
· BUY IN BULK – Usually a large cut of meat will be cheaper than the same amount cut into smaller pieces. And you can always ask the butcher if he will cut it into smaller pieces for free. You can save even more if you buy bone-in cuts of meat.
Use these tips and see if you can create some positive “change” around the way you eat–not just for Independence Day, but all summer long!