There is nothing like the heat of a late-spring or early-summer day to inspire someone to light charcoal and prepare a meal on the grill outside.
But getting started can be expensive, especially if you don't yet own a grill or any of its accompanying tools. Here are some ways to save money on the cost of grilling.
1. Research the purchase
Many people look to big-box hardware stores, like Home Depot or Lowe's, when they search for a grill. In reality, many stores sell grills, including Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sam's Club, Costco and even Amazon.com.
Before you drop hundreds of dollars on such a major purchase, shop around. Don't just compare prices -- read reviews to learn about each grill's durability and performance.
Don't make a decision on the spot while browsing at the store. Instead, after doing research and reading reviews at home, decide exactly which brand and model of grill you want before you head to the store.
2. Shop outlet stores
Many of the above-named stores also have outlet stores, where they carry overstock, scratch-and-dent or gently used grills.
After you decide on the model of grill you'd like to buy, check out the outlet store to see if it carries your preferred model at a discount price.
3. Shop at the end of the season
If you can wait for a few months, you'll find that all types of summertime and seasonal equipment -- ranging from swing sets to grills to patio furniture -- may be discounted by 50 percent or more.
If you are really frugal, try to wait until late August or September, when you will enjoy nice end-of-the-season clearance sales.
4. Look for supplies online
Your grill isn't the only costly item in your outdoor cooking arsenal. You'll also need to buy charcoal, lighters, cleaning supplies, utensils, covers, carts and cookware.
Compare prices in your local store to the cost of ordering these online. In some cases, you may find better deals on the Internet.
Paula Pant helps people ditch the cubicle and live on their own terms. She's traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental property units and hasn't had an employer since 2008. Her blog, "Afford Anything," is the gathering point for a tribe that refuses to say "I can't afford it." Follow Paula on Twitter: @AffordAnything.