Before I took up the mantle for financial prudence and bargain hunting, I was a sports writer. Before that — long before that — I was an athlete. Always, though, I’ve been a fan of Saturday afternoon college football and the NFL.
I’ve seen, and participated in, my share of tailgates, too. Never have I paid to do it, as apparently some folks over at Auburn may this year.
No, I’m for budget tailgating; the kind focused on fun and fervor for your favorite teams. The kind that doesn’t cost you much. It’s not really a tailgate if you don’t go to the game, but you can still enjoy the festivities with friends from your home. The people at We The Savers are with me. They’ve compiled a list of eight ways to save money, whether you’ve parked the car in the lot, or left it in your driveway.
1. Tailgating? Don’t go hungry, but don’t go crazy. Stadium food and drink can drain your wallet faster than you can say “hut-hut.” Bring some burgers and hot dogs from home and fill yourself up in the parking lot rather than leaving a week’s salary on the stadium concourse.
2. Steer away from the gear. Of course, you just gotta have that cool throwback jersey. But skip the long line and go online for the best deal. Better yet, wait until the off-season when it’s a bit cheaper. Talk about old school.
3. Driving to the stadium? Split parking fees and gas expenses with your pals. And leave the gas guzzler at home if you’re traveling light. If you can, hop on public transportation to the stadium. Start a cheer (or the wave) along the ride.
4. Huddle up. Whether the party’s in the den or at the stadium, make sure to have a gameplan for who’s bringing what. Spreading the wealth will save you from buying something you don’t need or bringing something already on the list.
5. Turn Saturday’s dinner into Sunday’s football party. Bring mom’s homemade chili to the party. No one’s going to notice it’s a leftover and if they do, that won’t stop them from eating it.
6. Bringing the little ones to the big game? Bring your own pigskin, horseshoes or any outdoor game, too. Just in case. Kids are kids – they’ll eventually get bored before kickoff, but they’ll play with anything.
7. Avoid the crowds. Idling in traffic before and after the game is not only no fun, it’s a huge waste of gas money. Leave early for kickoff and think about hanging around the stadium well after the two-minute warning.
8. Never leave the couch. We don’t condone laziness, but a true armchair quarterback can get their football fill from home without spending a nickel. Plus, watching the big game on TV means extra replays, a better view and a chance to track your fantasy football stats during commercials.
Now, are you ready for some football?
What’s your ultimate tailgate? And how do you do it without spending too much money?
Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains
Have a story idea? Email firstname.lastname@example.org