One of my favorite parts of summer is grilling out. I help with the prep work, but my husband does the work. There’s minimal clean-up. The kids love it. My house stays cooler, and we enjoy all the different flavors that cooking over an open flame can bring.
I also love it when I can make a good meal for less, and grilling is no exception.
How To Make Grilling Cheaper
Save money on your grill
If you don’t already have a grill, you’ll need to get one. Save money on a grill by shopping the end-of-season sales in the late summer, or if you missed those, try to hit the first sales in late spring. Check out estate sales, garage sales, Craigslist and your local Facebook selling groups for secondhand options.
If you live in a rural area or a neighborhood that allows it, consider a wood fire for cooking. Wood is a renewable resource and if you live in the country, easily accessible. Build a small fire pit in your backyard with bricks or stones. You can find cooking grates for your campfire at many home improvement and outdoor stores.
Save money on your fuel
You’ll need some kind of fuel to grill. I’ve already mentioned using a wood fire, but there are other ways to save on fuel for your fire.
Buy charcoal for your grill when it is on sale. Make sure you check for coupons. Sometimes you can find coupon savings on charcoal when you also buy meat. Skip the lighter fluid and try making some homemade fire starters instead.
If you have a gas grill, watch for sales on propane, and remember, you can exchange your empty tanks for a savings on propane. Some companies like Blue Rhino offer mail-in rebates to help you save, so look for those savings, too.
You can make grilling a less expensive endeavor by making the most of your grill time. That means grilling a large batch of meat and veggies at one time and making sure to remember to shut off the gas grill when you’re done cooking.
Save money on food to grill
If you have the luxury of your own garden, you’ll have a bounty of fresh produce to grill. Corn, Zucchini, cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mushrooms are all delicious when grilled. If you’re willing to forgo meat in favor of fresh fruits and veggies for grilling, you’ll save quite a bit expense and calories.
Shop for meat, vegetables and fruits when they’re on sale. You’ll usually find great deals on things like hot dogs, ground beef , steaks and condiments around Memorial Day weekend, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day, so stock up then. Consider making your own veggie burgers or buying pre-made veggie burgers on sale, as this is a cheaper option than buying meat. Or make kabobs using reusable barbecue skewers so that you can use less expensive meat and more veggies to create a filling meal.
Skip buying pre-made hamburger patties and make your own to save on burgers. You can add a little Worcestershire sauce, minced onion, salt and pepper to your patties to give them a great flavor boost.
You’ll also save money by skipping store-bought marinades, sauces and seasoning mixes. There are a ton of delicious homemade marinades and BBQ sauce recipes available online or in cookbooks from your local library. You’ll also save yourself from all of the preservatives found in those store-bought products.
If grilling means a big gathering, make it potluck. You’ll save money when you tell guests to bring your own meat and veggies to grill.
Save money on clean-up
Cleaning your grill after each use will make it work more efficiently and extend the life of your grill. You can make the task easier by making sure veggies and fruit have a bit of olive oil on them. You can also use a special non-stick grill spray to prevent food from sticking (look for coupons!).
You can use scrunched up aluminum foil to scrub your grill grates, but that can get expensive. Our family really likes using the Grill Daddy Pro Grill Cleaning Brush, which uses the power of steam to clean the grill, but you can also get a regular barbecue grill brush to scrap off the grill grates after each use. The grill is easier to clean if it is still warm.
Grilling is a great way to add flavor to your meals, keep your kitchen clean, and enjoy the outdoors. Use these tips and you’ll make grilling easier on your wallet, too.
What tips do you have for making grilling cheaper?
Note: This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog at no additional cost to you. Please read my full disclosure policy for more info.
I’ve grilled a few times…but I don’t even have a grill! I’ve lived in a couple apartment/condo communities which have shared grills on the property, or I go to a public park. It can be a hassle getting all the accoutrements to the grill area, though!
Christina Brown says
Excellent idea and one I had forgotten! Just be sure to make sure that public grill is cleaned well before you use it!
Jeannine Moss says
When I run the self-cleaning oven in the house, I throw in the gas grill grid.
Christina Brown says
I’ve never run the self-cleaning part of my oven…. but I bet it would work pretty well.