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Tips for Tailgating on a Budget

Football is back and if you’re like us, you’re more than ready to celebrate with tailgating food and fun.

But you don’t have to break the bank to have a good time cheering on your favorite team. You can throw a great party with the help of good deals, good friends and great planning.

Here are few tips for tailgating on a budget this season:

Keep it simple.

If you’re trying to stick to a budget, keeping the menu and décor simple is a great start. Instead of serving fancier faire, opt for affordable tailgate classics like burgers, hot dogs and chips. After all, they’re fan favorites, serve plenty of people and don't require much extra preparation.

When it comes to decorating without breaking the bank, just opt for a few table cloths in your team colors and your favorite team apparel. It can make it feel like a party without the extra cost.

Still want to add a little extra spice? Set aside a night the week before for crafting with kids or friends. Make some banners or signs to show your team spirit or thrift a team t-shirt and make it your own.

Buy in bulk.

If you’re planning to have quite a few guests or to host more throughout the year, you might want to grab the necessities in bulk. Plates, napkins, cups, silverware, and non-perishable food items are great for stocking up.

Even if you run into rain or have some left over, you can always store them and use your extra supplies throughout the season. 

Score more with sales, coupons and cash back.

Keep an eye out for ways you can save money by getting the best deals. Opt for sale items at the grocery store, check out the local dollar store and do a quick search for coupons on things you know you’ll need.

And when you buy your supplies, take advantage of rewards like unlimited cash back on purchases with a Purdue Federal Visa® credit card. Getting points on every dollar you spend can cut a little of the cost of tailgating.

Borrow necessities (and fun) from friends.

Supplying everything for your tailgate just isn’t realistic or budget-friendly. Games like corn hole, ladder toss and horseshoes can be fun addition, but are pricey to purchase and a lot to store between seasons. Chances are someone attending the tailgate has you covered.

Folding tables and tents are also great to grab from friends or family if they can spare them. While you can do a traditional “tailgate” with your vehicle, extra space to put food and a shield from inclement weather are basically party essentials if you're serious about maximizing fun and comfort for your guests. 

Make it BYO.

Even if you’re technically hosting the fun, everyone knows the best tailgates are all about teamwork. Make it a “bring your own” event. Have guests bring side dishes, drinks and even chairs to help cut a few costs. The more everyone pitches in, the more food and fun there is to go around.


No matter how you handle tailgating on a budget, remember that friends and family are really what make game day great.

The information and topics featured are for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. All financial situations and circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. Seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, or legal counsel to obtain guidance specific to your needs.


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