Now that it’s football season, your weekends will be filled with good food and socializing. Usually that means spending money, which can be hard on your budget, but that doesn't mean you have to sit it out. Here are some strategies to help you stay financially afloat on game day.
At the pub
Start your search early for coupons, which typically save you anywhere from 10 to 50 percent off your tab. Check electronic sources such as Groupon and Facebook, but don’t forget to search for paper coupons as well. Leaf through the free publications and mailers, and invest in a coupon book featuring local places.
To keep other restaurant costs down, eat a meal or a snack before you leave so you aren’t tempted to overdo it. Split some appetizers, a pitcher of beer, or an entree with friends. Finally, the absolute easiest way to save is to volunteer to be the designated driver. If you’re lucky, your grateful friends may pay for your food!
Any frugal host would go potluck. Besides, most people will have a favorite snack they'll love to share. If you choose to decorate, search for simple DIY crafts, such as these football-themed Mason jars from the blog Country Chic Cottage.
Whether you're hosting or heading over to a friend's house, you don't have serve high-end fare to please the crowd. The blog Wise Bread has this great list of inexpensive and easy potluck treats. And, again, you'll want to gather coupons and plan ahead, so start clipping early from the Sunday paper. It should have plenty of game-day favorites sprinkled in over the many weeks ahead, including snacks, cheeses, and meats. Then wait for an item to go on sale at the grocery store and pair the deal with your coupons to maximize your savings.
Some venues charge a premium for the privilege of tailgating within walking distance of the game. Save money and find a spot farther away, checking local fan sites for free popular gathering places. As before, collaborate on the food and drink — don’t feel you have to do it all.
Don't feel you have to go the distance with lavish spending on food and drink. The entire point of football season is to enjoy the game and the company of your friends. Let those two components take center stage.