Throw a Memorial Day BBQ for Under $100
If you’re like us, you want every party you host to be #MarthaStewartgoals, but you might feel like your bank account dictates more of a “Martha in jail” party. Luckily we’ve got you covered with all the tips and tricks to throw a party on a budget!
We can’t wait for Summer and all the BBQs that come with it. The official start of Summer, Memorial Day, is when everyone in Philly heads down to the shore for the weekend and BBQs can be found on every block, down the shore and in the city alike.
To start this party off, we’re going to assume you have the basics covered: yard, grill, cooler, chairs, tables, fire pit, etc. You have all those things? Great! So how do you throw a BBQ on a budget? Glad you asked…
No party is complete without some great decorations! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have all the patriotic decorations to make your party scream “We love America!” Check out discount stores like Dollar Tree, Christmas Tree Shops (our favorite!) and Party City before you head to Walmart or Target. Definitely splurge on something you think is worthy (and you’ll use over and over again), but know that you absolutely do not need to have Pottery Barn decorations to make your party look classy.
For our Memorial Day BBQ decorations, we’re getting…
- Star Garden Stakes to put around the yard – 8 at $1 each (from Dollar Tree) = $8
- American Flag (5’x3′) – 1 at $7.99 (from Party City) = $7.99
Decorations Total: $15.99
Combine these things with some red, white & blue party supplies (see below) and your backyard will look patriotic as fuck. That’s the goal, isn’t it?
Food & Drink
If you have a wholesale club membership (Sam’s Club, BJs or Costco are all the tits), we highly recommend buying food in bulk from there!
For our party, we’re going to have a build your own hot dog bar. We’ll supply the hot dogs and will invite our friends to bring their favorite toppings. We’ll supply some basic toppings, too, because we’re good like that.
Main Course – Hot Dog Bar
- Hot Dogs – 4 15 oz. packages (8 in a package) at $8.79 (from BJs) = $8.79
- Hot Dog Buns – 3 packages (12 in a package) at $2.59 each (from BJs) = $7.77
- Red Onion – 1 onion at $1.28 per lb (from Walmart) = $1.28
- Shredded Cheese – 1 bag (32 oz.) at $5.97 each (from Walmart) = $5.97
- Chili (no beans) – 1 can at $1.28 each (from Walmart) = $1.28
Presentation Tip: Put out whatever ketchup, mustard and hot sauce you have in your fridge. If you don’t like the look of the bottles, put each in a little ramekin with small serving spoons.
- Cape Cod Potato Chips – 1 bag (18 oz.) at $4.99 each (from BJs) = $4.99
- Cape Code BBQ Potato Chips – 1 bag (16 oz.) at $4.99 each (from BJs) = $4.99
- Seedless Watermelon – 1 at $7.99 each (from Shoprite) = $7.99
Presentation Tip: Cut the watermelon into slices and serve on a tray. Don’t over-do it on the sides. Chances are some of your friends will bring snacks without being asked.
Chip Tip: Cape Cod Potato Chips are Martine’s ABSOLUTE favorite. It might be the Massachusetts roots, or just the fact that they’re uber delicious. Either way, she probably won’t judge you for getting another brand… Probably.
S’mores are our favorite Summertime dessert. They’re also one of the easiest desserts on the planet and require zero prep, so as Charlie Sheen would say #winning.
- Marshmallows – 1 bag (10 oz.) at $1.25 each (from Walmart) = $1.25
- Graham Crackers – 1 box (14.4 oz.) at $3 each (from Walmart) = $3
- Chocolate Bars – 6 count at $3.11 (from Walmart) = $3.11
- Lemonade – 3 pack (59 fl oz. in each bottle) at $9.99 (from BJs) = $9.99
- Vodka, whichever brand you prefer – at the time of this post, 1 L of Svedka Vodka was on sale for $5.99 (from Fine Wine & Good Spirits) = $5.99
- Strawberries for garnish – 2 lbs at $2.28/lb (from Walmart) = $4.56
- Pitcher of Ice Water – Use whatever water you drink from on the regular = *free*
Presentation Tip: Put the lemonade in a pitcher and keep the vodka separate. Put sliced strawberries in a dish next to the pitcher. Guests can serve themselves and that also leaves an option for guests who don’t drink. Aren’t you thoughtful.
$ Tip: Keep costs low by buying alcohol that’s on sale. Don’t feel bad about only supplying 1 type of alcoholic drink. You’re broke and your friends know that. They should appreciate the mere fact that you’re taking on the burden of party hosting in the first place. And if they want something specific (like a certain beer, etc.), let them know you’ll have space in the cooler when they bring it!
Food & Drink Total: $70.96
Misc Party Supplies
These are essentials that your party absolutely has to have. The good news is that after a few parties, you’ll probably have extras which can be reused for future events! The bad news is, they can get pretty pricey if you don’t shop around. But you do shop around, because you’re so smart.
- Red & White Cutlery – 2 bags (1 bag of each color with 16 forks, 16 spoons and 16 knives in each bag) at $1 each (from Dollar Tree) = $2
- Americana Party Pack – 1 pack (includes 24 large plates, 24 small plates, 24 napkins & 24 cups) at $9.99 each (from Christmas Tree Shops) = $9.99
- Bamboo Skewers for roasting marshmallows – 1 pack (100 count) at $1 each (from Walmart) = $1
Presentation Tip: Put the cutlery in mason jars. If you have some on hand, tie red, white and/or blue ribbon around the top of the jars for an extra patriotic touch. (If you don’t have mason jars- you can put the cutlery in regular glasses or out on a plate.)
Our advice? Skip the tablecloths! Unless it’s a kid’s party that you know will be very messy, save the few bucks on plastic cloths and put it towards something more important (like food or alcohol). If you happen to have a real tablecloth that fits the theme, definitely go ahead and use that. So fancy!
Misc Party Supply Total: $12.99
Depending on how big your yard is, you might have limited options for entertainment. If you take after we do, you’re totally fine just gathering your friends together for a night of drinks and laughs.
If you want to have something more “concrete” for your guests to do, you might have to be prepared to shell out some cash, but know that you’re investing in a whole Summer of outdoor fun, so that definitely makes it ok. (You can quote us on that.)
- Christmas Tree Shops has this activity set for only $19.99! It includes a volleyball, flying disk, catch ball set (which we think are the velcro pad things that a ball sticks to), scoop toss set, 2 badminton rackets and birdies, plus a net and pole set and hand pump.
- You can also get a set of 6 birdies for only $2.29 and a set of 8 badminton rackets for only $4.34 from Walmart. We recommend this avenue if you want to play “broke girl badminton” aka badminton without a net.
- Walmart also has a bocce ball set for only $12.62! (If you’ve been paying attention all these years, you know bocce has a special place in our heart.)
- And if you have your heart set on cornhole, you better be ready spend some money. The cheapest set Walmart has is $35.99, but we recommend splurging for a sturdier set that will stand up to even the toughest toss. Don’t forget to read those reviews before you buy!
*Since we don’t plan on buying any entertainment, these are not included in our budget.*
PARTY TOTAL: $99.94
Budget Party General Tips
- Make it a pot luck! The easiest way to cut down on food costs is to have everyone bring their favorite dish.
- Don’t hesitate to take your friends up on their offers to bring something, or come early to help set up, etc. Every little bit helps when you’re throwing a party! And every item you don’t have to buy yourself means more money in your pocket.
- Keep it simple. We know you want to go all out with the decorations, themed food and drinks, but keeping it simple will keep costs down. If you absolutely have to, pick one area to go crazy and simplify everything else.
- For outdoor events, “invest” in some tiki torches (JK, they’re super cheap). They offer great lighting at night and go with most outdoor party themes. They last for a while, so you’ll save money by not having to purchase themed string lights for every party. PS Walmart sells them for only $2.5o each!
Check out our Pinterest board for more Memorial Day inspiration!
Prices are not guaranteed. Pricing in this post reflects prices found online at the time of the post and does not include tax.