Time for some Brilliant Frugal Grilling!

As of this week, the family tree is putting summer vacation plans in high-gear, and the kerosene heater is solidly back in the storage shed.  Yup, grilling season has officially started!  Yes, outside temperatures (here in the Philly area) are lower than I’d like, but we’ll be tapping into the 70’s and 80’s sooner than you think.   In all honesty, it’s a huge money saver to help keep the kitchen cool in the hottest days of June, July and August, and now is the time to harness the best money-saving deals for maximum savings.  With this fabulously short and frugal checklist, you’ll soon be sitting pretty outdoors with a cold beverage in one hand and charcoal-scented spatula in the other when the heatwaves inevitably hit.

— The Equipment.  If you’re looking to buy your first grill this Spring/Summer, or perhaps upgrade to something bigger (oh, yeah!), now is the time to hit the Classified section of your newspaper, Craigslist and/or Facebook Marketplace.  Over the last two weeks or so, grill loving households have been purchasing brand new shiny equipment at local hardware stores.  Which is fine and dandy, because this is the week they put all of their “old” equipment (usually less than 2 years old and used a dozen times at most) on Craigslist & Facebook Marketplace, where you and I snap it up at big discounts.  Everybody’s a winner.  Research the grill names and models that work best for you, and don’t be afraid to respectfully negotiate for a lower price.

Pro-Tip – today’s grills look manageable in the catalog, but can be a monster hassle to transport to your house.  The latest (rather obnoxiously large) grill I bought for Victor on FB Marketplace disassembled into multiple large pieces that barely fit into my Station wagon & still required two trips.  If you’re driving a smaller car, perhaps negotiate with the seller to have them deliver for a fee, or borrow a friend’s truck to get it home, paying them back with a full tank of gas and making it clear that they’ll will be top of your invite list for the first barbeque of the season.

— The Food – Supermarkets are going do everything in their power to make you loyal summertime shoppers.  That means great upcoming deals on grilling essentials like burgers, chips, hotdogs and pork ribs.  You probably won’t find as many deals on steaks and the big ticket items quite yet, but you’ll find fabulous savings on baked beans, BBQ sauce, corn on the cob, and – lest we forget – fixings for S’mores.  Don’t be afraid to stock up now in bulk, marshmallows have a rather scary shelf life, and your other go-to barbeque staples will stay perfectly fresh in your cupboards and/or the freezer.

— The stuff you don’t think about until you realize you forgot it – Sunscreen, Bug Spray, Charcoal and Tinfoil.  This is the time of year where a lot of these items can be found for great discounts in stores.  Research which brands of sunscreen, bug spray and charcoal fit your lifestyle best, and then stock up with abandon when it goes on sale over the next few weeks.   In my experience, these items will be in perpetual demand in our household, and they honestly don’t have an expiration date so long as you keep them in a cool, dry place.   The tinfoil recommendation comes straight from personal experience.  Can you live without it?  Sure.  But if you want to save yourself from my grilling missteps, get at least two boxes of the heavy duty stuff at the beginning of the season.  It’s a huge help with keeping grilled meats hot, last minute baked potatoes perfectly cooked, and s’mores super toasty when you’re making them faster than you can eat them.   Frugal On!

Kristen’s new book Brilliant Frugal Living 2.0 is available on Amazon, and The Kristen Hagopian Show airs on 200+ Stations Nationwide every week via BizTalkRadio Network. She lives with her fabulously frugal husband & two kids in their finished fixer upper in Chester County, PA.  You can find her at www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com and listen on-demand at https://biztalkradio.com/kristen-hagopian/