Photo (cc) by Anders Ruff Custom Designs
Football season is in full swing, and you’re hyped because it’s your turn to host the annual rivalry game.
But the excitement comes to a screeching halt when you reach the checkout counter and discover that it’s going to cost you more than you anticipated to put on the perfect event. To make matters worse, money’s tight, and you’re too prideful to back out of the plan.
No worries. Here are some simple ways to slash the cost of your football gathering:
1. Solicit input
Once you’ve confirmed the guest list, compile a list of food selections to choose from. It’s senseless and wasteful to purchase items that won’t be eaten. Give the guests an opportunity to voice their opinion and make suggestions.
2. Do it yourself
Skip the caterer because their dishes will come at a premium. Instead, compile your own ingredients to create a savory dish.
If you’re absolutely crunched for time or can’t cook, go frozen. A few ideas:
- Buy pizza and wings from the frozen section. It beats the cost of a Pizza Hut combo, plus the delivery fee and tip.
- If you’re a fan of TGI Fridays, consider their frozen appetizers. Be on the lookout for buy-one-get-one deals on these items.
- Grab a bag of chicken strips and ranch or blue cheese dressing, and create your own platter.
Also, consider generic or store-brand rather than name-brand items, such as chips and dip, but test them out first. This should save you up to 50 percent off.
3. Make it a potluck or charge an entry fee
Here’s a rule: If you want to eat and drink, you must contribute to the potluck or dining fund. (Assuming you want to go with the admission fee option, be sure to solicit the input of your attendees first.) This creates a variety of options for picky eaters.
And guests who desire alcoholic beverages can bring their own to curb your costs. (Make sure they have a designated driver or a ride home.)
4. Be selective with your guest list
The more people, the more money spent on food and drinks. So invite only those who actually enjoy the sport, and exclude moochers who are only looking for a free meal.
5. Serve snacks
There’s no need to serve a full-blown meal, like sandwiches, chili or lasagna. But stay away from pre-made platters and cut up your own fresh ingredients to serve. You’ll not only stretch your money but have more food on hand for your guests to enjoy.
If you’re simply serving snacks, let the guests know beforehand so they can have a real meal at home before they leave for the game.
This video by Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson provides a recipe for a delicious football party snack.
6. Look for sales
During football season, bargains on party-friendly food are everywhere. Each week as I flip through my local grocer’s circular, I see that items such as chicken wings, chips, dip, soft drinks and party platters are frequently on sale. (Avoid the party platters unless the offer is simply irresistible.) If you spot coupons that will further reduce the cost, take advantage of those rock-bottom prices.
7. Keep it simple
Skip the fancy team logo decorations and stick with the standard team colors instead. You’ll likely find the best deals on party items at the dollar store. Since the party will more than likely be held in the comfort of your home, the guests won’t mind. They’re there to watch a game, not to inspect your decor.
8. Plan ahead
Don’t get stuck making arrangements for the big day at the last minute. Start making preparations early to give yourself an adequate amount of time to find the best deals on food, drink and decorations. If you have enough time, you could make your own decorations like these clever ideas on Pinterest.
What tips have you used to save on football festivities? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.