11 July 2013

The Charcoal Challenge

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One thing you need to think about when organising a barbecue is the price of everything. This post is entry into #TheCharcoalChallenge  from Money Supermarket whereby I show how I can host a barbecue for only £50.
Food and drinks, not forgetting charcoal and other accessories can add up and become quite expensive. I'm going to give you my tips on keeping the price down and having a great day without the huge cost.

First of all is buying the charcoal. Now, if you've had a barbecue before, you will know that ordinary charcoal is, well uhmm... crap! (for want of a better word). After spending ages trying to light it, buying fire-lighters, lighting gel and trying to get the option of throwing turps onto it out of my head (do NOT try that!) I gave up and last time we ended up cooking the food on the grill instead. So don't go for ordinary charcoal. Go instead for Lumpwood charcoal which comes in an instant lighting bag. You basically put the bag into the barbecue and set that alight. It then burns all the charcoal inside, lighting simple and easy without having to buy all the extra lighting fluids. You can pick up a 3kg bag for around £4.99 but since our barbecue is big, we buy two bags.

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Next up is buying food and drinks. This can get expensive as for some reason, as soon as the weather gets warm, supermarkets bring out their own ranges of barbecue food and hike the prices up. So we make our own.
Marinades are easy to do and the spices you need are usually really cheap at around maybe 50p per pack.
We are doing pork steaks, pork belly strips, chicken drumsticks and chicken kebabs and bought different marinades to suit. Barbecue flavour marinades, garlic and herb, Chinese and many more.
Simply put the meat into a bowl, add a little oil and tip in the marinade and mix in with your hands. Then cover with cling film and put in the fridge for a few hours, overnight would be best.
For burgers and sausages always go for bulk packs as these are usually better value for money. We buy the bulk pack of 20 fresh sausages from Asda for £3.
You can purchase salad boxes which are already cut up but these are never great value. Opted instead for full sized products and cut them up yourself into a nice salad bowl at a fraction of the cost. A big bag of potatoes to make jacket spuds and you can even use them to make your own potato salad.

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Somewhere always has a sale on beer, it's just a case of looking around at the supermarkets to find the best price. We managed to buy a case of Budweiser for £10 and the rest were brought by guests. We hosted the party and they brought the booze. Always a great way to cut down on money.

Next up is thinking of a theme. We were planning a pirate theme but after looking at the price of costumes and the fact that this heat-wave we are getting means that we want more clothes off than on, we decided against that and instead opted for a water fight party.
With it being summer, water guns are easy to come by and are usually quite cheaply priced. We bought a pack of 3 small ones from our local pound shop and then bought 2 huge ones from Asda at 2 for £6.
Jugs and cups to make up the rest and even the hosepipe for those thrilling freezing soaks and we were away.
Not only is it fun but it's also great for the kids as it keeps them cool.

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We had a fantastic day and it was made even more special by the fact that it was my parents 28th Wedding Anniversary and so was great for them to have a nice day spent with the whole family.

We spent the whole of our £50 on having a great time. The costs were:
£20 on food
£2 on juice
£9.99 on beer
£8 on water guns
£9.98 on charcoal
Total - £49.97

I think that hosting a party for only £50 is great and exceedingly cheap as long as you budget and do your research to find where you can buy the best products from.

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At the end of the day it was great to chill out in the now shaded garden and laugh about the day we had just had. Great fun having a huge water fight and lovely food and company is what made it special.
Both kids fell asleep on the sofa not long after everyone went. The sign of a great party!
All that was left to do was to clean up afterwards. Oh, can't we leave it till tomorrow?

- I was sent a £50 to take part in this challenge and all thoughts and experiences are my own honest opinions


  1. We are also doing this. Can't wait. I love BBQs


  2. Greta post :) can't wait to do mine :)

  3. I cannot remember last time I was to a BBQ. I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks.

  4. it looks like you had a lot of fun! I love good BBQ!

  5. well done, looks like you had a fun day

  6. Brilliant - looks like you had a great day without spending too much!

  7. Well done, very economical.

  8. Well done!!! So many bbqs lately!

  9. we love roasted pineapple and red peppers with veggie burgers

  10. It looks like you had a great day. Having a big family BBQ next month so I will use some of these tips. :)

  11. oh this is making me hungry! gonna plan my next bbq now!

  12. Lovely blog and you all looked like you had a great time.

  13. Pam Francis Gregory16 September 2013 at 19:53

    Looks like you had lots of fun! I love hosting BBQs too.