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May means we’re all starting to think about Memorial Day weekend–not only is the extra day off (for many of us) a great treat, but it also signifies the unofficial start of Summer when we dust off the picnic tables, fire up the grill, and celebrate that the sun and warmth are finally here. 

But even though backyard picnics aren’t usually front-of-mind when we think of expensive celebrations, any group gathering can start adding up once you’ve got your cart full of hot dogs, 12-packs of pop, and all the other accouterments that make for a great Summer celebration. So here are just a few ways to save some cash while still having a joyful Memorial Day BBQ this year:

1. Take advantage of public spaces

Hosting a Memorial Day BBQ in your backyard can put pressure on you to be the ultimate host who spares no expense: if you’re fretting about seating, you’re more likely to impulse-buy some folding tables and chairs. If you’re worried that the kids won’t have any fun, you’re more likely to splurge on some fancy new yard games. And if you’re worried about impressing your guests, you might go out of your way to buy more decorations than you need.

So instead, take the pressure off yourself and your home by hosting at a nearby park or public space. Here you can often find plenty of picnic tables and charcoal grills, with playgrounds nearby for the kids and plenty of open space for adults to gather. Of course, be sure to check with your local municipality or park board to see if you need to sign out the space first!

2. Cheap cuts make the best BBQ

One of the most clever ways to simultaneously save cash and make this Memorial Day BBQ one to remember is to hit up your local butcher counter for the cuts of meat that everyone overlooks: skip the spendy sirloins and pricey pre-packaged dogs and burger patties and go for the big cuts that can be prepped in bulk. 

Think brisket, pork shoulder, whole chicken, and more–they’ll take longer to cook, but with proper time and care they’ll turn out more tender and flavorful than anything else. And yes, the initial sticker price may be a shock to the system, but they feed plenty and when you compare that per-pound price to buying the more processed options, you’ll see you often come out ahead in the end.

3. Make from scratch, save some cash

Just like how buying whole cuts of meat can save you money compared to packaged hot dogs and hamburgers, making from scratch can be a great way to save money on side dishes when you’re cooking in bulk. 

Would you normally buy several tubs of potato salad? Bags of potatoes are cheap as can be and the recipes are often just as easy! Pre-cut fruit plates? Spend a half-hour in the kitchen and you can save so much money by buying in bulk. Even buying a powdered lemonade or drink mix can save cash compared to 12-packs of pop, and provide a more nostalgic and memorable experience to boot!

4. Have everyone chip in with a pot-luck celebration

Of course, one of the simplest and most effective ways to save money on any celebration–Memorial Day BBQ included–is to spread the cost around by having everyone contribute something, pot-luck style. It’s not uncommon for the host to provide the meats and for everyone else to fill in the rest, and it’s an easy way to keep you from breaking the bank.

Worried about looking miserly? Don’t be! These are celebrations for families and loved ones to celebrate together, and the cost burden doesn’t have to fall entirely on your shoulders. Rarely will your friends and family object to an easy ask like bags of chips, buns, or paper plates, and every contribution by someone else is another couple dollars off your bill.

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Memorial Day signals the start of Summer, which hopefully means great weather, lots of time outside, and fun with family and friends. But if financial troubles have you stressed out and unable to enjoy the celebration, we’re here to help. At Spotloan, our simple online application process can help you qualify for the money you need, even if you have bad credit or need a loan quickly. All you have to do is go fill out our application to see if you qualify, and you could receive a decision within minutes. Fill out our application now!