Hooray!! May is almost over!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love springtime as much as the next gal, but with 4 kids, May is definitely one of the craziest, busiest months in our home.

With all the award ceremonies, graduation parties, early dismissals, and final performances, it’s a totally nutty time of year. 

But in the midst of all that insanity, suddenly, Memorial Day weekend comes into view, and we can all take a much-needed deep breath. 

And what better way to spend some relaxing time with our families and celebrate our children’s achievements than to host an amazing Memorial Day cookout for family and friends? 

Except…this is also the time of year when a bunch of random expenses, expected and unexpected, pop up. Graduation gifts, teacher gifts, the closed-toe water shoes your kindergartner’s teacher just emailed you about for splash day tomorrow – and all this, right after spending on Mother’s Day gifts, and right before spending on Father’s Day gifts!

You might be feeling the pinch just a little, but you can still have an amazing, affordable cookout with just a few Dinner For A Dollar-style tweaks to your plans.

1. Budget, budget, budget!

If you’ve read my book, you know how important having a budget is. Take a look at where you are in your monthly food budget, and determine honestly how much you have available to spend on a cookout. (Check out this blog on how to determine what your food budget should be!)

Don’t have much? That’s OK! Plan a potluck! Pick up some hot dogs and buns and ask your guests to bring the sides and drinks. 

Got a little more? Great! Then decide how much of that you want to spend on this cookout. Create a mini budget to keep yourself on track, and then stick to it.   

2. Grab those sales flyers and plan your menu! 

The next step is to figure out what you can serve that will fit into your budget. Planning your cookout menu around your local grocery stores’ sales will get you the biggest bang for your buck. And you’re in luck, because Memorial Day weekend is a huge meat savings holiday! 

You’ll likely find everything from ribs to brats to chicken breasts on sale, along with popular grill sides like fresh corn on the cob and watermelon. Choose the meats and sides that you can afford, and make them the stars of the show.

3. Waste not, want not!

It’s hard to be exact when planning how much food you’ll actually need for a party. Try your best to estimate how much each person will eat, and don’t go overboard buying too much extra, of course.

But you can also think of creative ways to ensure that you don’t end up with too many leftovers in the trash.    

You can’t repurpose someone else’s half-eaten chicken breast for your own family dinner the next day, so why not try serving something that doesn’t waste an entire breast if someone isn’t that hungry? Try kabobs instead, so leftovers are only a chunk or two of chicken that won’t be nearly as painful to toss. Or sliders instead of giant burgers. Half ears of corn instead of full ears. You get the idea! And then, whatever leftovers you do end up with – only the uneaten ones, of course –  you can repurpose for the next day’s lunch and dinner! Win, win, win!

No matter what your budget, it’s not hard to host a fun and affordable Memorial Day cookout for your friends and family, with Dinner For A Dollar. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful, relaxing long weekend, so you can catch your breath and make it through to the end of the school year with your sanity intact!!

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