The merry month of May is here, filled with warming weather and 3-day weekends. While you’re planning out the inevitable family barbecue, here are a few quick RIFT tips for managing bank holidays on a budget.

Get to know your local butcher

For most people, barbecue strategy comes down to little more than slinging whatever meat’s on hand onto the grill. If you fancy something a little less pick ‘n’ mix, your butcher can often steer you right.

It costs nothing to get chatting with the man behind the counter, and you’ll probably find him more than happy to point out the cuts with the best prices.

Don’t be put off by unusual options like lamb breast or neck. It’s all good meat, and the less common cuts are often the least expensive.

Keep it simple

There’s a bewildering range of barbecue accessories flooding the bank holiday market each year. Most of it’s unnecessary at best and pointless at worst. Pretty much all you need is a decent set of tongs – although, depending on what you’re cooking, a meat thermometer could be a worthwhile investment.

Know your onions

You’re probably not grilling onions – although, with the right sauce and some foil to wrap them in, they’re actually pretty good cooked that way. What we really mean is it’s better to know how to use a simple barbecue well than to buy an expensive one and use it badly.

You’ll get better results with the right preparation and information, plus you’ll waste a lot less food. YouTube’s actually a pretty good resource for barbecue tips and recipes, but there’s information all over the internet if you take a moment to look. Also check out guides to keeping your grill in good working order. A well kept barbecue will last many years, and be a lot kinder on your wallet in the long run.

Don’t waste fuel

A lot of people tend to go overboard when piling on the charcoal, wood wool and lighting gel. It doesn’t take a huge amount of fuel to get a good barbecue going.

If you’re using a gas grill, remember that many barbecue meats benefit from cooking a little more slowly. Turn the dial down after the first few minutes for things like brisket, and let it take its time for the best results.

Skip it altogether and have a day out

A family barbecue sounding too much like hard work? Why not treat the kids to a day out instead? You could be Walking with Dinosaurs for free at the National History Museum in London or teaching them the history of the Beautiful Game at Preston’s National Football Museum. There’s no shortage of inexpensive bank holiday activities up and down the UK, so jump on the internet and scout out a few ideas.

However you’re spending your May bank holidays, RIFT is here to help you make the most of them. We’ve been putting tax refund cash back in your pocket since 1999, and we’re the UK’s leading experts at it. From travel refunds to Self Assessment, you’re better off with RIFT.

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