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Shop Smart & Think Creatively: Tips to Save This Summer

I love entertaining, but summertime is my favorite season to do so thanks to the laid-back feel of it and the ability to actually enjoy my efforts and guests. Whereas the holiday season is always a bit more glamorous, I always feel so much pressure to get menu selections, decorations and the rest just right.

Though I'd like to blame it on the heat, it was the lack of pressure that led me to recently forget my cardinal rule of entertaining: shop smart and optimize what you've already got!

So, lest you forget, let me reiterate: you can save lots when you entertain during the summer! Fulfill your promise to friends of good food, good drinks and good times all season long. We've got a few tips on saving we've found reliable with summer entertaining as well as a video highlighting some of these tips to show you just how easy it can be to celebrate without breaking bank.

Tips to Save on Summer Entertaining

Smart shopping and creative thinking in the kitchen will get you and your budget a lot further this season than you could possibly imagine.

Hit the grocery store and see what's on sale. Don't just default to the same old burgers and dogs. The list is endless with what tastes good grilled. Eggplant, chicken legs, fresh fish, sausage and pork loin are all popular choices in our home. If it's on sale, grab it and go with it.

Take advantage of seasonal produce. Once you've got your main entree then think about what you'll serve alongside. Summer usually finds squash, zucchini and tomatoes on sale. Grill some up! Potatoes will also feed a crowd, so make a homemade potato salad (a BBQ staple) instead of buying it. You'll have more control over the flavor, ingredients going in and you'll get more bang for your buck.

Do yourself a favor, grow an herb garden. There was never a shortage of fresh veggies or herbs in my house growing up when summer arrived. Tomatoes, eggplants, squash, mint, oregano, parsley - my dad grew it all and in a small yard in Queens. Optimizing your yard (or windowsill!) to grow whatever fresh foods you can will save you big in the long run. Plus, it'll mean shorter and fewer trips to the grocery store and more lying by the pool!

Once you've got your ingredients, use them wisely. A bunch of cilantro can be added to meat marinades, veggie kebabs and even cocktails. Just watch our video if you don't believe it! Get creative with your food and don't be afraid to try something new. Garlic, onion and herbs will add tons of flavor to any food for a whole lot less.

See These Tips in Action

Sometimes it's easier said than done, but not so in this case. Check out our video where we put our tips to the test and create a flavor packed tequila marinade and tangy mojito using just a few base ingredients -- the perfect summer dinner awaits and you won't spend a ton!

Don't you just wish you could grab that steak and mojito? Fortunately, you can make them quicker than you can say happy summer.

Get our Tequila Spiked Marinade

And, check out our Tangy Tequila Mojito !

Find more party planning inspirations for Summer Parties

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