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Affordable Cookout Ideas

inexpensive cookout

Inexpensive Cookout Ideas

Discover our inexpensive cookout ideas! It’s that time of year again! When the weather is nice, having friends and family over for a cookout can be a great time. Whether it’s for a holiday or just to get together, cookouts can easily become costly if you do not plan accordingly. Before your next cookout, use these cookout budgeting tips to help you save big!

Cheap and Easy cookout ideas

Ask for help
: While you are hosting the event at your house, you do not have to do everything yourself. In need of a few essential items; like a cooler or extra chairs? Ask the people you invited over or your neighbors! This way you do not have to spend money on items you will only use once or twice a year. Also, make the cookout a potluck. Keeping track of what dishes and desserts people are bringing over will reduce how much you have to spend on food.

Cheap Cookout Food: It is easy to go over the top when preparing food for a cookout. Avoid doing so by planning a simple, yet classic menu for your guests. For a main dish include hamburgers, hot dogs, and rolls. Grilled chicken is also a cheap meat to include, but avoid steak and seafood because they are expensive to buy for large groups of people. Save even more, and thrill your vegetarian friends, by adding veggie kabobs to your menu. Veggies are cheap, healthy and delicious for outdoor cookouts. Regardless of the main dish you choose, you will most likely be in need of a grill. Checkout our Grill Buying Guide to help you easily choose the perfect grill for you and your family.

Sides: If you plan on cooking hamburgers and hot dogs, do not forget to include ketchup and mustard. If you decide on chicken, grab a cheap bottle of BBQ sauce or Italian dressing to use as a marinade to add flavor before it hits the grill. Bonus: The left over Italian dressing can be used to make pasta salad! Chips or macaroni salad make great cheap side dishes as well.


Store-bought desserts can be costly and often not as tasty! Homemade desserts can be more cost-effective, and leave your guests begging for the recipe. Purchasing a watermelon and cutting it prior to the cookout can satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth and be refreshing on hot summer days as well.

Cookout Drink ideas: Soda purchased in liter containers, rather than cans or small single serving bottles, is more cost-efficient for cookouts. Also, do not feel like you have to buy the name brand; generic is just as good and will save you money. Sweet tea and lemonade can be made in a large batch for a low cost as well. Thinking about serving alcohol? Make your cookout BYOB to avoid spending money on drinks your guests may not even like.

Odds and ends: You are going to need to keep your beverages cold. While ice should only cost you a few dollars at your local grocery store, empty your ice trays into a cooler before the cookout to save on that cost. Purchase paper plates, plastic cups, and disposable utensils, which can be bought at Walmart or your local wholesale club for cheap to additionally save.

Whether it’s your first cookout you have hosted or one of many, taking these suggestions into consideration can help keep it affordable. If you are in need of a new grill, outdoor patio furniture, or need help financing your next outdoor cookout, Mariner Finance is here to help. We make loans for a variety of reason, and will work with you to help you find a solution that best fits your budget and needs. Contact your local Mariner Finance branch today to discover how we can help!

The information provided in this article does not constitute financial advice and is provided for educational purposes only without any express or implied warranty of any kind. This article is not intended as legal, tax, investment, or any other advice, and Mariner Finance does not offer credit repair services. Consider talking with an appropriate qualified professional for specific advice. Blog posts are for informational purposes only.