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Parties and the Super Bowl go together like peanut butter and jelly, mustard and pretzels, pizza and, well, you get the idea.
Just think about it: Across the country millions will be tuning in Feb. 3 to watch the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers battle it out for the National Football League’s championship in Super Bowl XLVII.
If past performances are any indication, the game will become the most-watched program in television history. Last year’s Super Bowl was watched by 111.3 million U.S. viewers and holds that record, according to AOL’s Sporting News.
It’s fun to be a part of something that big, even if it’s rooting from your armchair for your favorite team – or a favorite commercial.
A survey by credit card giant Visa Inc. last year showed the average American planning a Super Bowl party expected to spend $118 on food, drinks, and other things for the big game. Men had planned to spend more – $123 – than women – $114 – not a big surprise.
Whether you’re going big or small, with a little planning, your game day shindig can score a big win without penalizing your wallet. Here are eight tips to trim the party budget without giving up the fun.
1. Forget the decor
Instead of decking out your house with team colors, encourage your party guests to wear the colors of the team they think will win.
For the Ravens, the colors are purple and black; the 49ers use the colors red and gold.
2. Rally the team
Enlist the help of your friends and share the expense of party supplies and food for game day.
You can assign specific items to people including the plates, napkins, and cups. Give friendly reminders to your friends to bring the items with them – you don’t want to find out at kickoff time that someone forgot to bring paper plates.
3. Keep the food simple
Serve finger food including nachos, chips, dips, nuts, sandwiches, pizza, wings, and chili to keep those hungry football fans satisfied, say party planners Dawn Sandomeno and Elizabeth Mascali of PartyBluePrints.
Other fan favorites include barbecue pork, ribs, and Italian sausage.
4. Pick appropriate beverages
It is a party after all, but you don’t want people to feel uncomfortable – so choose drink options that are appropriate for your setting.
The party-planning duo suggested limiting the drink choices to three to trim costs.
If you choose to serve alcohol, make sure those drinking have a way to get home that doesn’t involve them driving. Call a cab or make sure there’s a designated driver.
5. Bring on the games
Even though it’s a Super Bowl party, don’t forget some of your guests may not be really enthusiastic to watch the game.
Be prepared for those who would rather talk or do something else by setting up a game room next to the room where everyone else is watching football. Stock that room with board games – you can even keep the food there – and encourage the nonfootball fans to relax and enjoy themselves too.
6. Don’t forget the kids
Age-appropriate games or crafts will keep busy the kids who don’t want to watch and cheer during the football game.
Explain the game to those kids who want to learn what all the fuss is about and get into the spirit of the big game.
7. Make the party memorable
Everybody likes to have something to remember a good time.
For some inexpensive fun, set up a photo booth in one area of the room – away from the television – and hang the team colors in cloth or paper streamers, recommends event designer Michelle Lynn Buckley on NFL.com.
You can even include a football helmet, pom-poms, and other props for people to ham it up in front of their camera phones.
8. Give them something
While the party itself is fun, giving your guests something to take with them adds just that much more sparkle to the evening.
The gift – a thank you for coming – doesn’t have to be big and can even be something as simple as a football cookie to munch on on the way home, Buckley says.
The point is you’re showing your guests you’re willing to take the extra step to let them know they are appreciated. They’re your friends, after all.
A Super Bowl party is a chance to get together with friends, relax, and enjoy the big game. Whether you plan a big or small party, trimming just a little can result in savings to your wallet.
It will make the game all that much sweeter knowing you’re having fun without breaking the bank, whichever team wins.