Football season is back. For many, that’s good news. If that’s not you, enjoy your free time not watching games. But if you are excited, chances are you may have some tailgating in your future. It’s a great way to get together with your fellow fans but it can be expensive. Here are a few ways to keep costs under control without sacrificing fun:
Keep it DIY
Sure, it’s easier to pick up pre-made snack platters and side dishes, but you’ll pay for that convenience. Put in the time yourself and you will save plenty. Don’t go overboard, either. Tailgating is about hanging with friends, not appreciating fine gourmet food. Here are some great recipes you can make for under $1 per serving (it’s easy to find many others online).
Buy in bulk
Visit warehouse stores like Sam’s Club for the best deals, especially if you’re planning to tailgate more than once this football season. Buying items in bulk, especially things like condiments, chips, and disposable utensils can lead to big savings.
Skip the pricey meat
We know, it seems sacrilegious to tailgate without some choice meat on a grill, but that can get seriously expensive. You can save a ton by getting your protein in other, cheaper ways. Think hot dogs and brats. And non-meat items, too. If your tailgaters are stuffed to the gills with nachos, seven-layer dip and deviled eggs, nobody’s going to complain. There are plenty of amazing meat-free recipes to add to your arsenal here.
Explore beer options
Nothing against beer snobs, but insisting on only your favorite craft brew is a quick way to run up your tailgating budget. Keep your mind open to some different labels and you’ll find some big savings.
Sharing is key
Consider having a “potluck” for tailgating gear, as well as food. Coolers, canopies, chairs, and portable grills really add up if you’re buying, especially if you have to get them in team colors. Pool resources with your other tailgaters and borrow whatever is left.
No purchases at the game
It doesn’t matter if it’s food, beer, or souvenirs; everything costs more inside the stadium. Fill up at your tailgate and make sure you packed appropriate gear for the weather, so you’re not stuck buying an overpriced rain poncho out of desperation. Remember, too, you don’t need officially licensed gear to be a real fan. A plain shirt in your team’s color shows your spirit just as well. If you must have the jersey, pick up one at a thrift store before the game.
The most important goal of tailgating is to have a good time. And if you’re hanging with friends, enjoying the atmosphere and time together is so much more important than what you’re wearing or eating.