Tailgate on the Cheap

Tailgate on the cheap
It’s tailgate season!

Following our last post on why we are very excited for this month, as we enter the second week of September, football season is now also in full swing. It is the time to celebrate your favorite team with family and friends – and saving without skimming the fun will be the cherry on top! Here are some tips for your next tailgate:

  • Pool a tailgate

Invite your friends not just to your tailgate, but to help put it together. By delegating dishes and sharing cooking resources and ingredients, you can help each other lessen the work load as well as budget burden. Most people will be happy to be part of the tailgate simply by bringing one dish or contributing some equipment. Pooling a tailgate together also extends to carpooling with as many people as possible to save gas and parking fee for everyone. The more the merrier – and the cheaper!

  • Plan in advance

Much like what we have stressed in other posts, saving usually comes with some extra planning ahead. Buy ingredients early and save them in the freezer until you need them. This way you can look for sales, compare prices at different stores and have more time in the end to double check that you have everything needed for the tailgate. Also figure all the details while you are planning to make sure everything is ready. Even little things such as forgetting napkins or not having enough utensils can potentially affect the tailgate experience for your family and friends.

  • Buy in bulk or at dollar stores

Since you will be cooking for many people, buying from discount clubs like Sam’s Club or Costco can help you save on meats. For utensils, plates, decorations, drinks or even cooking equipment, browse first at the dollar stores (after asking around if your friends can help out, of course). It can be surprising how many things you can find for cheap at these stores!

  • Cook some dishes in advance

While grilling is one of the greatest things about tailgating, you don’t have to cook everything on the grill. Instead, save cooking time and fuel by preparing some of the dishes in advance at home. Dishes like salad, chili or dips can be easily made in advance for cheap and will nicely compliment your grilled food.

  • Consider your menu

Going along with cooking beforehand, you can save on what you decide to cook for your tailgate. For some inspirations, myrecipes.com compiled a list of tailgating dishes under $1 for each serving. Also, to avoid paying more for concession food during the game, make sure everyone is full from the tailgate by serving up several filling dishes, like potato salad or baked beans.

With these tips, we hope you are ready to enjoy sports without hurting your budget these coming weekends! How else have you saved while tailgating?

29 thoughts on “Tailgate on the Cheap

  1. Being a soon-to-be LSU graduate, I am starting to think of tailgating as a more financially complex event. Before, I would rely on my fraternity to pay for all tailgating supplies (i.e. alcohol, food, tents, tables, etc.). Once I graduate and move on from the fraternity, I will need to think more frugally because I will be paying for all of the “expected” extravagance that goes into creating a successful tailgate. I plan to join forces with other recent graduates so that the total cost of payment may be divided among all individuals involved. Additionally, instead of relying upon convenience as a reason to make tailgate-necessary purchases, I will need to adjust my reasoning towards price and overall value. For example, I will no longer search for the biggest tent regardless of the price simply because I hope to draw in the most guests. Instead, I will look for a tent that is within my (our) price range, as well as being a fiscally-appropriate and super fan-worthy cover. Finally, I will look to buy materials in bulk rather than for the image. Discounted and generic-brand alcohol will enable me to buy more for less. This will help me remain within my budget as well as help me have as much fun as possible with the greatest amount of people as possible.

  2. I have been to numerous tailgates in my life and while at LSU. The food has always been awesome and a LSU tailgate isn’t a LSU tailgate without the drinks. If I had to pick, I feel that when throwing a tailgate party everyone participating in the party should chip in for the costs of the snacks, refreshments, and entertainment. I have several friends with SAM’s and Wal-Mart cards and it’s much more cost efficient to purchase supplies at these stores rather than somewhere else. Most of the time there are left overs. If there is a home game the next week, we will usually use them, which saves money and makes things a lot easier and more cost efficient.

  3. After reading this article I have come to realize that your can still tailgate but be on a budget. Over the years, I have hosted many tailgate parties during football season and found that it is very costly. I think with taking these tips into consideration, myself and others, can still manage a budget and have fun. Also, a tailgate includes everyone not just the person hosting the party. If everyone can contribute, that will also help reduce high cost issues for only one person to cover.

  4. One of the best ways to spend money on entertainment is to throw a tailgate with friends and family to support a sports team. This is a great article expressing the many ways to tailgate on a budget. I look at tailgating as a free flowing covered dish party with an attitude that usually consist of a solid amount of alcohol. It is always better to pool money for tailgates especially if there is a large group involved. It is best to delegate different necessities to different people that way no one person gets stuck with all the work and expenses. I look at it as if college students can tailgate every week than anyone can tailgate if they have the desire to do so. This is a great article detailing several ways to save many and still have fun. I will be passing this on to my colleagues.

  5. This is a sound guide on how to minimize your expenses when tailgating. I believe colleges should educate their students and provide them a similar guideline. This considering that college students tend to have a much lower budget than the average working person, and thus it is significant for them to allocate their resources in an intelligent fashion. I will argue that “Tailgating” should be part of someone’s financial plan ( entertainment expense), and should be kept at a minimum. This given that “fans” tend to fall in the “animal spirit” trap and end up spending more in this activity than what they can actually afford. I wish this article would’ve included more links to equipment people use for tailgating (i.e. grill, tent, chair, etc) and compare and contrast the benefits of making a good investment in let’s say a tent you can use for 5 years, versus a cheap tent one can only use for a season.

  6. I am an LSU student and we tailgate for everything from football to baseball to even track events but tailgating can get expensive but there are simple ways for you to make it cheaper. If you can have friends or family to pitch in money before hand it can help with the expenses. Also buy things in bulk because it is cheaper and easier as well as ask friends or family who are coming to the tailgate to bring drinks, snacks, or paper plates. Ask them to each provide something to the tailgate so it will become a success. This past football season I put on a tailgate and asked everyone to bring $5 dollars for the keg we bought and bring a bag of chips for people to snack on and it made it so much easier for me to have a successful tailgate just by each person helping out a small bit.

  7. Being from LSU we grew up to love and cherish tailgates. I think this article does an excellent job of helping people who don’t have the privilege of growing up tailgating to help them get started. Two important points this article highlights are 1. Pool together. Just like it says it is much easier, cheaper, and more fun if you do this. 2. Plan in advance. It makes life easier because when you know what you’re doing a week before the tailgate it makes tailgating much more fun and stress less.

  8. I’ve been to countless tailgates in my time at LSU and food/beverages is definitely a must. It would be nice to have all the extravagances of an expensive tailgate, but that can’t happen every time. I definitely agree with pooling funds for a tailgate, that way everyone has split the burden of cost and supplies and no one feels that they are shouldering the bulk of it. Additionally, I have several friends with SAM’s cards and it’s much more cost effective to purchase supplies there. Often times, there will be something left over, making one less thing needed for next week’s tailgate.

  9. I think that this blog post is a great way for students to be able to be social while staying on a budget. These ideas can be used for tailgating as stated, but also for any other social gathering. In my experience the best way to have an efficient tailgate is dividing the items needed amongst each other. This way everyone can contribute a little and not one person is responsible for all of the items. Not only can you divide up the small items for each game but at the beginning of the season you can divide up the more costly items that will be used at each game such as the tent, tables, chairs, etc. Another idea that I have seen people do is have a jar out for donations. This way if people show up that did not contribute anything to the tailgate they have an opportunity to.

  10. I am in no way surprised that practically every comment on THIS particular page is from an LSU student. Fin1060 ftw?

  11. Best way to make tailgating easier on everybody is for everyone to pitch in to pay and set it up. Also buy all your supplies at Sam’s Club or other bulk selling places, more for less. Cooking and preparing the food yourself will also run cost down. When it comes to buying the beer get kegs because you get more beer for cheaper. By making all these expense cost cuts you will save plenty while still enjoying a fun day of tailgating.

  12. As a LSU Tiger currently pursuing an undergraduate degree, I have spent countless hours preparing, actually tailgating, and deconstructing a tailgate. To make the costs less expensive and ultimately more enjoyable for all those involved. First we have often combined our tailgate with other fraternities to combine funds and equipment for our tailgates, Its much cheaper to rent one bar-b-que pit than multiple. We share speakers and chairs as well as generators and couches with cut cost significantly. One thing in particular that helps manage cost is going through wholesale dealers for both food and alcohol. By buying all of our beer and hard liquor with the same company and always using that company we are given much better deal than if we went individually and purchased it. Also cups and hamburger meat cost alot less at Sam’s club versus a local grocery store. Saving on tailgates doesn’t have to cut back on the fun or even make you look cheap by properly allocating funds you can create a great tailgate for all involved

  13. I haven’t thrown a tailgate but I have had a tailgate party. I’ve found that if you invite your friends and tell them to help it takes a huge load off the host. One thing I was not successful was planning ahead. When you plan ahead everything else falls into place. When you plan ahead you can prepare a guess list, prepare the menu, you can buy a things cheaper and cook ahead of time. I will be prepared for my next tailgate party.

  14. My family and I have been tailgating together for a few years, but it wasn’t always very organized. It gets messy when dividing up the different responsibilities for food and items needed. Luckily, it has come together, and it all ends up pretty even throughout all of us spending. Like it says above, it is helpful to buy in bulk because most items will last all football season. I got a good deal from SAMs on utensils and plates and napkins and still haven’t run out yet. Also, freezing a lot of the bulk foods helps to save when buying in bulk. Tailgating is not cheap, so it’s definitely worth it to be prepared and save in any way you can.

  15. This year was the third straight year that my group held our own tailgate. The most important aspect of throwing a successful tailgate is communication. Each contributing member must know what they’re responsible for bringing and what their role is in the set up process. Various items such as tents, grill, music, tables are pretty evenly split up among our core group and then people who just like to show up usually bring some kind of food or supplemental beverages to contribute. Splitting up responsibilities is definitely a big help in cutting the cost for each individual, but it also important that the people involved are competent enough to follow through with them.

  16. Growing up in Baton Rouge, tailgating for LSU games is as important as anything else we do in the South. Until, recent, im not going to lie I use to be an interloper and just reap the benefits off other people’s tailgate:) Now, my friends and I have our own tailgate and from experience have found that buying in bulk is the most effective way to provide for a large number of people. At first, we tried planning in advance for everyone just to brings something of their own, but that never worked out. Now we all put up the same money, and are equally satisfied

  17. As a student at LSU and a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge i can appreciate the hard work and planning that go into preparing a successful Tailgate. All my life i have witnessed my family use these exact techniques to plan our tailgate and it has proved to work great. We pool money for communal items such as tables, ice, and a tent. Different families take turns cooking each week, everyone discussed what they plan on cooking beforehand so that no dishes are repeated in the same season. The thing that i have learned over my years tailgating at LSU, is that communication is key. If communication breaks down then everything is significantly harder.

  18. Another idea that you could consider is to get together with a group of people and make that your tailgate group. So all the supplies, such as the tent and chairs, can be divided up among all of you. Then, let one person, or couple, host each game. Therefore, you only have a one time expense a season, but still benefitting from a tailgate every week.

  19. As long as I can possibly remember, we have been tailgating for some sort of football game. I have learned over the many years the essentials to putting together a great tailgate on a budget. First we make a plan and assign everyone different items to contribute to allow everyone to have an equal contribution. We always buy the food in bulk, splitting it up between the burgers, sausage, and charcoal or whatever is is we are cooking that week. But we have been doing this together for about 8 years and it has been working out perfectly, never incurring an outrageous expense.

  20. From experience I have learned that tailgating get get very expensive very quickly. While i suggest that if you plan to host a tailgate you should definitely go in with a group to cut down the cost. Pre-planning is always a good idea as well. Pre-planning will keep you from buying extra food that is not need. Next I also suggest that you go to a store like Sams and by what you can in bulk but not everything. Buying everything in bulk can sometimes result in over spending on unnecessary items.

  21. Tailgating is a big deal at LSU. Each week, my friends and I pitch in to make it budget friendly for everyone involved. From buying in bulk, catching things on sale, and each person providing something from food to chairs, this process makes it worthwhile and fair. As college students, our budgets are already tight, so there is no need to strain it even more. These tips that are given are definitely what we try and implement each fall semester.

  22. For every LSU game, we have a huge tailgate that we put together each week. All of our friends and parents come and everyone brings something to contribute which helps with us not having to buy everything on our own. We plan who is bringing what, and it works very well that way. By preparing in advance, our tailgate runs smoothly every week and is very enjoyable. It also saves money by doing it this way because if I was in charge of buying, cooking, and bringing everything we use and need each week, I would be in a lot of debt.

  23. I help out at a tailgate with some old high school friends each gameday, and we definitely use these great principles. The tailgates cost several hundreds of dollars per week between all the food, drinks, and even gas for the generator. Not to mention waking up at 4am to set up (you could bring some opportunity cost or consumer surplus aspects into it there). Keeping it cheap is operative, and these are awesome tips.

  24. Buying in bulk is a huge deal when tailgating. Purchasing items at grocery stores can lead to a massive budget and overpaying for smaller items. Utilizing dollar stores for forks, knives, spoons, and food containers can save you a lot of money. The information provided in this article is great. Simple tips like these can really help you in the long run for more than just tailgating and should not be overlooked. This is articles is a great resource that breaks down the information in a very basic form. I’ll definitely be relaying this article to friends and family who head their own tailgates.

  25. Being a student at LSU, football game tailgates are a way of life. This blog post is a great guideline to being able to tailgate even when money may be a little tight (as it is for most college students). Every football season, my friends and I put together a tailgate for at least one of two of the games. This year we did one for the Alabama vs. LSU game. We planned in advance what we would have available to eat and to drink and asked that people contribute a little money before hand in order to cover the costs. We also bought all of our items in bulk as this provides some savings in overall cost. My friend’s girl friend also decided to make some things in advance such as salsa and various baked goods for everyone to snack on while waiting for burgers. The tailgate was a success and we plan to do them more often for next football season.

    1. Spending money on entertainment can be expensive, but that does not mean you have to sit at home every weekend. Living on a budget can be a stressful task. Dividing up the cost at a tailgate among all of your friends is a good place to start. If you feel that you are in a position in which you really need to save money, then take the initiative and offer to be the planner so you have the choice to purchase cheaper items rather than buying from expensive stores. Also, with taking the role as the planner you will have the opportunity to buy goods in bulk instead of individual items. Although some people believe that completely cutting out their entertainment expenses, there are several ways to save money and still have a good time.

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