Save Money With an Open Grill Potluck

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Save Money With an Open Grill Potluck

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Using the tongs, I scraped together the broken slivers of meat from the edges of the pan and placed them on my plate.  It's all that was left.  Sometimes that's the best you can do when you're a gracious host  and wait to be the last person through the line at a neighborhood potluck gathering.

Potluck dinners have long been touted as the cheap way of having a night of entertainment with friends. 

The concept is good, every family brings something to contribute giving every guest a chance to try a large selection of different foods.   This works really well for appetizers, sides and deserts as they are relatively inexpensive to make.

But what about the main course?

Many times what Vonnie and I have done when we invite friends over for a potluck is to supply the main course ourselves, and request everyone bring a side.  But that can get crazy expensive when you start having a large gathering. It can also be time consuming and stressful. 

As a charcoal loving, spatula flipping grill lover I enjoy cooking for other people, but sometimes I want to enjoy being with my friends and not have the pressure and responsibility of cooking everyone's main course.

We came across a solution to this dilemma almost by accident.   We were planning on grilling some steaks on a Friday night, when we decided last minute to invite another couple to join us for dinner.  They also had some steaks in the fridge and said they'd just bring them over if we didn't mind them using our grill.

Concept: Open grill potluck!

Instead of having one family supply the main course, or even having each participant bring a main course to share, we decided that the next time we hosted a large neighborhood gathering we would ask everyone to bring a side or desert, as well as their own meat. 

We'll fire up the grill, set out some spatulas, and let everyone take their turn in front of the fire.

Open grill potluck has many advantages:

1.) it still embraces the potluck theme where we all share food and save money

2.) no pressure on one person to prepare the entire main course perfectly

3.) no one family has to foot the bill for the costliest portion of the meal.

4.) No leftover main course - unless you cook extra on purpose!

Have you ever tried an open grill potluck?  How did it work for you?

Related Links:

Socializing on a Budget

Stepping up Your BBQ Game

Economic Downsizing; Now It's Personal

Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc.Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

To connect with Travis on Google+ click the following link; <a rel="author" target="_blank" href="">Travis Pizel</a>

You can follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • We've done this in the past but I've been the one grilling all the meat. I like your idea better, that way I don't have to guess how to cook what they bring!

  • Never had one myself, but its a great way to save money & it helps stimulate social interaction with the neighbors!  Obviously it may not be practical to have a potluck dinner every night, but perhaps once a week is possible.  Great post!


  • FI Pilgrim - yeah, that's how we did it for a long time too.....but we're looking to switch it up a bit.  if you try it out, let me know how it works for you!

  • Toby, not losing touch with our social friends is very important to us. Finding inexpensive ways to have fun with our friends is one thing that has helped us enjoy life even as we are fighting our way out of debt!

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