6 Tips for Tailgating on a Budget

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The football season has started and that means its time to start planning your tailgating parties. While always a time for fun, throwing a pre-game get together can often get expensive–but it doesn’t have to be. Here are six tips for tailgating on a budget to get you through the season in style.

Buy Supplies in Bulk

Bulk bins full of goodies for game day.

Start shopping early to take advantage of any discounts, specials, and sales that are offered on folding chairs, canopies, portable grills, coolers, and other tailgate essentials. Make sure to check your store websites or download their apps to find deals on food, beverages, and party items. If you plan to tailgate throughout the season, you can save a lot on non-perishable essentials, like condiments and disposable utensils, by purchasing them in bulk at stores. There are tons of apps that track store sales and discount available for free that you should take advantage of.

Not sure what to buy for your cookout? Check out this post on what healthy things to buy that are in season.

Make Your Party a Potluck

Potluck pie that is pregame ready.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest expenses for throwing a pregame party is the cost of food. Instead of buying everything on your own, try hosting a potluck event. By asking others to contribute, you’ll be able to cut down on your expenses, and you’ll get help bringing everything to the stadium. Just provide the location and the grill, and let your friends and family bring meat, side dishes, and beverages to share. This will also help with making the grub options more diverse.

Buy Beverages in Bulk When Tailgating on a Budget

Enjoying some BBQ while rooting for your team is great but it’s practically impossible to not consider the cost of what you drink while tailgating as a separate, and often costly, expense. Whether buying alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, the cost can add up quickly if you don’t plan ahead. While purchasing ahead of your event, opt to buy in bulk to save; you’ll often save more and more than likely won’t risk the chance that you will run out while partying. If the cost still is too much, remember that you can always go the BYOB route. Everyone brings what they want, and you won’t have to strain your budget.

Consider Parking Options

While busy thinking of saving while you tailgate, you may forget to include the cost of parking. Consider carpooling with your friends or family. Fit as many people and tailgating supplies as possible into each vehicle, so you can split the parking fees and save on gas. Make sure to get to the stadium early to find a good spot. You can also save some cash by parking further out, and either walking or taking a shuttle to the venue. If you plan on tailgating regularly, think about buying a season pass to your home stadium to score a discount. These are just a couple of ways to save of the cost while tailgating on a budget.

Make Your Own Games

To host an entertaining tailgate party, you’ll need to have a few games to play. Avoid buying expensive, pre-packaged tailgate games in the store or at your favorite team’s website. Instead, make your own. You’ll find a variety of online tutorials at sites for how to build a ring toss, corn hole game, or pong table that you can decorate with your favorite team colors.

Create Your Own Fan Gear

DIY fans tailgating

Official jerseys, shirts, flags, and hats look great and show your team spirit, but they cost a lot of dough. If you can’t afford to pay for official apparel and decorations, try making your own. A quick search on the web should yield sites with printable team banners and logos. Print them on inexpensive iron-on, sticker or other types of paper to make your own flags and bedazzle your clothing. Go wild. Another handy tip is to check out thrift stores around the area. Such places are bound to have a few cheap team apparel options. Remember, you can have fun without spending a ton.

Having fun supporting the team in the last few days of summer is something everyone should have a chance to enjoy. If you are planning on tailgating on a budget during the season, try out some of these tips, you may be surprised with how much you save.

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