11 Tailgating Tips to Save Some Cash

posted September 6, 2017 in Blogs

Football season is right around the corner, and there’s nothing better than grilling out in the parking lot and enjoying the game. But, tailgating weekend after weekend to cheer on your favorite team can make it way too easy to drain your bank account. Use these 11 tips to spend a little less and still have the perfect tailgate.

1. BYOB (Save $40)

sodaThe more people at a tailgate, the merrier, but that also means the more refreshments you would have to provide. Instead, tell everyone to bring their own drinks. This not only saves you a couple bucks, but also saves you from having to hear your friends complain all day long about the brand of beer you bought. It’s a win-win!

2. Go Vegetarian (Save $25)

veggiesThe price of burgers, brisket and even hot dogs can definitely add up. Luckily, there are lots of other budget-friendly meals that you could have for people to munch on. People go crazy for nachos, chips and dips, or if it’s an early game, a breakfast buffet. However, if you think skipping the burgers may cause your friends to riot against you, make it a potluck. You provide the meat, and ask everyone else to bring side dishes and desserts.

3. Buy in Bulk (Save $20)

bulkIf you plan on having a large party or tailgating more than once during the season, it may be a good idea to invest in a membership to a bulk retailer.  Although it may cost a bit upfront to belong to a place like Costco ($60/year) or Sam’s Club ($45/year), it will definitely pay off in the long run. Buying food and other tailgate necessities, like plates, silverware and napkins, in bulk can be a lot cheaper than buying a new package each weekend.

4. Don’t Get Fancy (Save $30)

grillTailgating necessities, like a portable grill and a cooler, can end up costing an arm and a leg. Research around to make sure you’re finding the best price, because there are lots of great, reasonable options like this tiny camping stove or this all-in-one tailgate kit.

5. Pregame the Game (Save $15)

foodMake sure to use your time wisely at the tailgate, and fill up on all of the great recipes mentioned above before you go into the game. There’s nothing worse than spending an unspeakable amount on a hot dog inside the stadium when you could have been eating the same thing before for a fraction of the price.

6. Go Thrifting (Save $50)

thriftYou can find some great deals on some game day favorites at your local thrift store. Although you may have to search a little bit, things like jerseys, sweatshirts and other apparel will often be at these stores for a fraction of the cost of buying them new. Another low-cost option is the dollar store. Pick up things like table cloths, balloons, and other decorating essentials for a dollar a piece. Instead of looking for things with your team’s logo on them, go just for the colors and save big.

7. DIY the Tailgate Games (Save $20)

gamesWhat’s a tailgate without the classic games, like cornhole, ring toss or washers? Instead of handing over a small fortune for these favorites at the store, try your hand at making your own. Supplies can usually be found for pretty cheap at your local hardware store and tutorials are all over the internet, like this one. If handywork isn’t your style, look for these games during the off-season. If it’s not tailgating time, you’re a lot more likely to score a good deal.

8. Carpool (Save $20)

carNot only is carpooling great for the environment, but it’s also great for your wallet. On game day, parking can cost quite a bit, so encourage everyone in your party to ride together. If you can’t all fit in one car, a good alternative is parking in a commuter lot and walking or taking a commuter shuttle to the tailgate. It might not necessarily be free, but it will cost a lot less than trying to park right next to the stadium.

9. Skip the Ticket (Save $50)

ticketBuying a ticket to the actual game can be an easy way to blow a pretty penny, so why not enjoy the game from the comfort of your tailgate? Stream the live broadcast on your smartphone or laptop and hook it up to a TV that you brought from home. This way, you can enjoy the game time atmosphere and still be able to hear what the person next to you is saying. Another option could be hitting up the bars around the stadium. It’s likely that they’ll be playing the game, and if you’re still hungry, you can get a snack or a drink without paying the stadium prices.

10. Have a Rotation System (Save $600)

groupIf your group of friends tailgates together for each game, it would only be fair to split up some of the costs. Work out a system where each of your friends picks up the tab for the entire tailgate for one weekend. This way everyone can enjoy a great tailgate each weekend, but one person isn’t stuck footing the bill every time.

Total Savings = $870

11. The Super-Special-Not-So-Secret-Tip To Saving Even More

boardOnce a year, you can skip the BYOB, buying food and the majority of the other tips above just by becoming a member of Greater Iowa Credit Union and joining us for our annual member appreciation tailgate! For JUST FIVE BUCKS you can eat and drink until your head explodes!

This year’s tailgate is September 9th at Jack Trice for the Cyclone-Hawk Showdown!

Membership sure has its privileges!