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Plan a cookout on a budget using coupons

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Posted at 11:41 AM, Jun 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-01 07:39:28-04

Friends. Family. Food. Fun.

There's something wonderful about cookouts — the glorious smells, the delicious tastes, the sounds of laughter and conversation, the delightful feeling of grabbing comfort food and the view of the sky above.

RELATED: Save on your grocery bill with our weekly circular! | Area July Fourth celebrations

The only downer about hosting cookouts is they can cost quite a bit if you aren't careful. Between the food, preparation and clean-up expenditures, your bank account could take a big hit.

Thankfully, there are these little things called coupons that can help tremendously when it comes to managing the havoc hosting a cookout can wreak on your pocketbook.

We've broken down several different ways you can use coupons to plan a cookout on a budget.

Food
Sausages/Hot Dogs: Good old manufacturer coupons are an effective way to get a price cut on sausages and hot dogs. Brands like Oscar Meyer, Ball Park and Johnsonville frequently release coupons via newspaper inserts or online printables on Coupons.com. Also make sure to check out their Facebook pages as they are all known to periodically post coupons for their fans.

Hamburgers: Peelies and loyalty programs are two of the best sources for hamburger discounts. Several grocers are keen on putting peelies (coupon stickers attached to the product) on ground beef that might be nearing its expiration date. Supermarkets are also increasingly offering breaks on items like ground beef if you join their free loyalty program and/or download their app.

Ribs/Seafood: It's not as easy to get coupons for ribs or seafood, but there are still options. Keep an eye on daily deal sites like Groupon to see if you can get a voucher to a local meat or fish market. You can then use that voucher to get your ribs or seafood at a fraction of the cost.

Another option is to monitor the postal mail for store-wide grocery store coupons. Some grocers prefer to provide offers like $5 off $25 the total bill rather than give coupons for individual items. You can use that to your advantage to buy higher-priced stuff like ribs or seafood.

Vegetables: Few items are tougher to find a coupon for than fresh produce. All is not lost, however. New cash-back apps like ibotta present an opportunity to save on veggies. Basically, you just search through the app and select the items you purchased. Numerous vegetables are among the choices. The app will tell you how much cash-back to expect for each item and you'll upload a screen shot of your receipt into the app to confirm the purchase.

They will then send you your refund, although you typically must meet a minimum threshold before you get sent the money. Typically, it's $20.

Snacks: There are tons of coupons available for chips, crackers, candies and other types of snacks. Due to the multitude of options, we suggest you stack coupons to gain extra savings on snacks. By combining manufacturer coupons with mobile coupons and clearance sales, you can sometimes score huge discounts.Preparation

Paper Plates: Don't even think about using your formal plates for a cookout. It's just not worth the hassle or the risk of having them break. While you can potentially find coupons for paper plates, your best bet is probably just going to the local dollar store and buying them there.

Plastic Ware: We also advise you bypass handing out your nice silverware at a cookout. Instead, go ahead and buy some plastic ware. Rather than search for a particular coupon, you are likely better off just scanning the circulars to find which local store has the best sale price at the moment.

Grill Tools: This is one area where you don't want to skimp. Buying decent grill tools is essential for both your safety and for making tasty food. A great way to get a discount on grill tools is to use a coupon code at a store like Sears and buy them online.

Napkins: Another fantastic stacking opportunity. Go to a store like Target and combine a manufacturer coupon, a Cartwheel app coupon and a sale to nab a massive bargain.

Clean-Up
Paper Towels: Paper towels are versatile and a staple of any clean-up operation. Luckily, they are also cheap and there are plenty of coupons available. Pay particular attention to in-store tearpads (coupon booklets on store shelves) as they sometimes feature excellent coupons for paper towels.

Cleaning Products: Hang tags are often used on cleaning products. These are coupons that hang from the snout or neck of the product. Always be on the lookout for these when shopping at the store.

You should also keep tabs on manufacturer coupons and branded social media profiles to find coupons on cleaning products.

Trash Bags: There are a fair amount of coupons available for trash bags, but we suggest you just go to the nearest dollar store. The quality of the bags isn't as good, but since you are buying something for the purpose of immediately discarding it in the trash, we don't put as much stock into quality.

Just be a bit more careful when using dollar store trash bags as they are more vulnerable to splitting open if over-packed or carelessly filled with bones.

By using our coupon tips, you should be able to have an enjoyable cookout at a fraction of the cost.

RELATED: Save on your grocery bill with our weekly circular! | Area July Fourth celebrations

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