Three Budget Tailgating Tips - Quicken Loans Zing BlogWhen I think of the fact that summer is coming to a close, the pain I feel is indescribable. I get a headache just thinking about winter parkas and my eyes burn when I look at the slowly dropping temperatures each day. What’s a warm weather lover like me to do (besides plan to be a snow bird in the future)? Put on my team threads and gear up for a day of tailgating! Since I pride myself in being money savvy, tailgating on a budget is more my style. If it’s yours as well, check out these simple cash-saving tips:

Beef Up The Guest List

And by beefing up the guest list, I don’t mean adding new meats like prosciutto or capicola to your spread of traditional deli slices. Instead, invite a few new friends to join in on your tailgate fun. I always say, “The more, the merrier!” when it comes to college football Saturdays, and I’m able to keep my costs down in a fun way. If you can stand to leave your sweet little sports car at home and split gas money riding along with your pals, I’d say go for it! It also lightens the burden of having to pay for all the delicious snacks, drinks, and other supplies yourself!

Bring the Luck to Your Team

Potluck, that is! So you’ve decided to include a few more people than usual at your tailgate, right? Be sure to map out a plan as a group to delegate who’ll be bringing specific food, drinks, and extras. You can only devour so many bags of Wavy Lay’s, right?

If you’re a wizard in the kitchen, stick with easy to tote recipes – especially those you can whip up in my good old friend, the Crockpot. Just toss the necessary ingredients into your slow cooker, and let its magic create a succulent game time meal with minimal effort! Besides, aren’t chili and pulled pork always fan favorites? Deviled eggs and chip dips are also inexpensive and quick to make, too.

You’ll also want to stay away from wallet-draining grocery store selections (pre-made salads and sandwich platters are usually marked up by nearly 100%!). On condiment, grilling meat, or bagged snack duty? Head over to a bulk goods store to save on value-size items (and don’t forget to check out the yummy free samples while you’re there). If you don’t use it all, just remember you’ll have some left over for the next tailgate (just be sure to freeze the extra meat)!

(Nearly) Free Parking

Do not pass go or collect $200 until you do your research on the cheapest parking rates! Of course most prime tailgating locations are closest to the stadium, but they’ll burn a hole in your group’s wallet. And the only thing you’ll want to be worried about burning up is your team’s play on the field! Do a bit of detective work online, and ask veteran tailgaters for their knowledge of inexpensive parking lots once game day hits. Don’t worry about the inconvenience of a more distanced lot either: Most offer shuttles and you won’t get stuck in a logjam once the guys are done on the gridiron!

Think you’ve got the hang of money-savvy tailgating? Hit the store for goodies, grab your friends, and don your team gear – it’s game time! Ready, set, break!


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