If you’re a football fan, you’re probably familiar with tailgating and may be looking forward to holding your own events this season. You can gather with friends and family to catch up, laugh, and of course, eat before the big game.
Planning the perfect tailgate requires more than a few hotdogs and buns, though. With some preparation, it’s possible to put together a great pre-game party without spending a lot of money. Here are a few tips to help you do it.
The biggest outlay for a tailgate is food. You probably want to serve a few side dishes in addition to a main one. Look at the specials on meat, which will be the most expensive thing you buy, and purchase whatever is on sale. That could mean bratwursts, chicken drumsticks, or even ham steak.
Following a vegetarian diet or have friends who are? Find whatever pasta is on sale that week and whip up a main pasta dish as well, which will likely cost much less. If you combine the circular specials with online coupons, you can easily save on your tailgating grocery bill.
Your grocery store probably carries premade party trays and dessert spreads, but these are usually more expensive than assembling your own. You can make a simple veggie tray by purchasing a premade dip, slicing your own vegetables, and using a platter you already have on hand. For desserts, mix and match store-bought items like cookies, brownies, and even candy.
Tailgating is typically a shared event, so don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring their own items. From games to food to party supplies, you can cut down on costs by sharing expenses. For example, you may only have enough lawn chairs for your family but buying one for each guest would be costly. If you don’t have all the supplies you need, see what you can borrow from neighbors or friends. Chances are your guests have a favorite football snack of their own. Ask them to bring it along to help round out the food table.
If you have a number of friends tailgating together, be sure to use the fewest number of vehicles possible to get to your destination to avoid paying what can be steep parking fees at many stadiums. Some minivans can fit up to eight people, greatly reducing your parking cost. You can split gas or tolls between the group so one person isn’t taking on the majority of the expense.
For your disposable items, dollar stores usually have cheaper products. Stock up on utensils, plates, napkins, and whatever else you need for a fun day. Toss in a pack of balloons for a little added décor. If you’re in need of games or entertainment, you can find them here, too. Grab extra decks of playing cards and frisbees to keep your guests entertained before the game starts.
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