With summer right around the corner, BBQ season is about to be in full swing. So, you'll want to plan an epic backyard BBQ, right? Sometimes that's easier said than done. The expenses can add up when you're buying for a large group, but you shouldn't be forced to spend a lot to throw a good gathering — and you don't have to. 

There are plenty of ways to cut back on the spending, you just have to know what to do, like take shortcuts and maybe don't serve a five-course meal. Here are some tips and tricks to help you have the most epic backyard BBQ without spending too much, and still making something for all your guests to enjoy and remember. 

1. Skip the Meat 

courgette, salad, corn, vegetable
Jackie Kuczynski

BBQ's typically include some type of meat, but don't let that force you into including that on your menu. Buying hamburgers, hot dogs or chicken breasts can be expensive, so make a veggie salad instead. A recipe for a zucchini and corn salad like this one guarantees a tasty meal while spending less. Zucchinis can be bought in bulk for under $4 and corn can be less than $3. Not too bad.

2. Don't Get Paper Products

avocado, salad
Grace Goettman

This might require a little more clean-up for you, but it will definitely save you money in the long run. Buying paper plates, plastic utensils and cups can add up. Just use what you have at your house and keep up with the dishes during the day. It might be annoying, but your bank account will thank you later (and so will the environment). 

3. Make Pasta Salad 

vegetable, pasta, pepper
Morgan Nielsen

Pasta salad is so simple to make — it only needs a few ingredients and it's always a crow pleaser. You can get a 1-pound box of garden pasta at Sam's Club for $6, and tossing a bottle of Italian dressing on top is as cheap as $2. Try out a pasta salad recipe like this one, but don't feel pressured to add all the extra ingredients — they're not necessary. 

4. Reuse Old Decorations

cookie, gingerbread, cake
Maddy McGunagle

Do you have a lot of leftover string lights from Christmas that you don't know what to do with? Well, take them out of the box and use them for your backyard BBQ. They're perfect for adding extra lighting to the backyard when the sun goes down, and it won't cost you anything to look extra bougie.

5. Make It a Potluck 

feast, salad
Makaya Pratt

Don't feel bad asking family and friends to bring a dish with them — they'd probably bring something small even if you didn't ask. Doing this will give you more variety in your dishes without having to buy a bunch of food to make it all yourself. And you won't have to guess your guests' favorite BBQ dishes, you'll get to taste them right then and there. 

Note that this is also a great way to fill up your at-home bar (or cooler) for the event. Ask your guests to bring a bottle of wine or their favorite six pack and you'll have drinks on drinks for everyone.  

6. Keep the Drinks Simple 

cream, milk, citrus, lemonade, lemon, sweet, juice
Jocelyn Hsu

It's okay to keep the drinks as simple as possible — think lemonade and water. You can and add fruit to a pitcher of water for a tangy taste and buy the Country Time Lemonade mix at Target for $3 (just mix with water). I mean, what's better than a refreshing glass of lemonade during a summer BBQ

7. Get Creative with Dessert

Dessert doesn't always have to be something decadently rich — it can be something as simple as sliced watermelon. You can get one for as little as $3! There's nothing that goes better with BBQ than fresh watermelon for dessert. Don't be afraid to mix it up by throwing it on the grill or even creating a watermelon cake. It'll taste just as sweet as any dessert might, and it'll be healthier for you. 

8. Use Your Phone for Music

date, coffee, tea
Justin Shannin

Create a playlist on Spotify (or any music app), then connect it to a wireless speaker and you have yourself a self-made DJ! Keep the music quiet in the background, but not too quiet that no one can hear it. Like any good house party, also be sure to have a variety of tunes.

BBQs are nothing to stress about — it's a great way to spend quality time with your friends and family. They can be so simple to put together and even easier to plan on a budget, especially if you follow all the tips above. With these tips, you'll spend around $20 on the whole event, so you can worry more about refilling your guests' plates and less about the funds in your wallet.