Tailgating is a great way to get ready for the big game on game day. Whether you're supporting your local university or pro football team, tailgating can be awesome.
Some people even spend the entire game out in the parking lot. It's a huge activity, but it can also be expensive.
If you want to save money on tailgate parties, there are some easy things you can do. Let's take a closer look at how to save money on tailgating and host a tailgate party on a budget.
Tailgate with Friends
Rather than just tailgate with your own group, tailgate with friends. You can then split the costs of the items needed or even provide the main dish while they provide all the side dishes.
This is such a great way to save money. It also allows you to tailgate more often with less worry about the total cost.
Park Farther from the Venue
Even though it would be great to host your tailgate in an amazing location right in front of the venue, those parking spots come with high premium parking fees. Choose a spot to tailgate that is a bit farther from the venue to save money. Or, even better yet, find a spot to park that's free!
If you really want that great (but expensive) spot closer to the stadium, pay to park one car and have your friends park farther away and walk to your spot. You can split the cost of the prime tailgate location.
Plan Your Menu by Sales
Check what's on sale at the grocery store and plan your tailgating menu based on those sales. For example, if ground beef is on sale, plan to have hamburgers. If chicken breasts are on sale, and you're in the mood for buffalo chicken, cut the chicken into strips and do buffalo tenders.
When you plan your menu based on the sale, you can save even more money.
During football season you can find some awesome coupons for snacks, hot dogs, and other tailgating essentials. Check to see which coupons will be available that week and purchase the number of Sunday papers that makes sense to you and your needs.
Look for Sales
There are also awesome sales to be found during football season. You can find great deals on chips, soft drinks, meat, and almost anything else you need, even paper plates. If you match these sales to coupons, you can save a lot of money. You may even walk away with free items.
You could even look for sales on sports-themed paper items and decorations at the end of the season and store it for the next year.
Buy Store Brand Items
Not everything has to be name brand. You can save money on the extras by buying store brand condiments and paper items.
Choose Less Expensive Foods
You don't have to grill top-of-the-line steaks for the game and blow your food budget for the month. You can choose less expensive foods for your tailgate.
Or, if you do want to have an amazing entree for your tailgate, save money on the rest of the meal by choosing less expensive filler foods, like beans, potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, and chips.
Use Your Slow Cooker
Rather than prepare everything right on site, you could prepare food ahead of time (like pulled pork or pulled chicken or even a chili or other stew) and bring it warm in your slow cooker.
You save time on grilling and have more time to spend enjoying the tailgate with your friends. Plus, you can possibly plan a less expensive meal to share.
We all know that there aren't coupons available for some items. However, if you have coupons that will result in an overage, you can use that overage to pay for meat and other items you don't have coupons for. There are stores that will allow overages, such as Walmart.
Decorate with Team Colors
If you plan on decorating your tailgate party, don't feel like you need to splurge on specific (and usually expensive) team gear for your favorite team. Instead, look for items like tablecloths, plates, and napkins in team colors and buy them instead. You can get most of those paper goods items from the dollar store for a fraction of the price.
Tailgating has grown so much over the past few years that some people enjoy it more than the actual game. If you want to enjoy the experience without spending a lot of money, follow the tips listed above. You will drastically cut the costs and be able to enjoy tailgating more often.