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Fall and football go together like peas and carrots in the South, and many fans look forward to the tailgating experience just as much as watching the game. Planning a fun and memorable tailgate with friends and family doesn’t have to be a budget buster. These six tips will help you get “Rah, rah, rah” ready for football season.

 People Grilling

  1. Plan Ahead –

    Make a list of items that will be needed for each week of the season. Estimate the number of people who will attend your tailgate and ask about special dietary restrictions. At the end of summer, plan to purchase equipment and supplies such as folding tables, coolers, tents, and folding chairs. Watch for sales as retailers work to move out summer merchandise as they prepare for the holiday season. As you make plans, take note of the proximity of your parking spot to the tailgate site and think about how you will move the supplies to the location.

  2. Stock Up at Bulk Stores –

    Disposable paper and plastic products can run up tailgating costs quickly. Purchase enough non-perishable items such as paper plates, trash bags, and plastic utensils to last the entire season. You may also find great bulk deals on traditional tailgate meats such as hamburgers, hotdogs, wings, and ribs at wholesale club stores.

    Shopping cart going down an aisle in a grocery store

  3. Gather Your Team –

    Divvy up assignments to your friends and family to spread the cost and preparation time amongst the entire group. Take advantage of organizational apps such as SignUp Genius or Meal Train to track what each family will be supplying for the tailgate. These apps allow you to create slots for each food or supply item that is needed and will send reminders in advance of the event date. If you are planning several tailgate events throughout the season, ask each family to assume responsibility for the main dish for one tailgate.

  4. Plan for Parking –

    Parking at sporting events can be extremely expensive and carpooling can help cut costs. Think about the proximity of your parking spot to your tailgate site and take into consideration how much you’ll have to haul with you. Make sure the route has ample sidewalks or look into options that may have shuttle access. If supporting community organizations is important to you, find parking lots at churches or businesses where proceeds earned benefit missions, charities, or other philanthropic ventures.

  5. Take it to the House –

    Many college campuses and sports venues are making it increasingly difficult and cost prohibitive to set-up a tailgate on-site. Hosting a party at your house will save on travel, parking, and equipment costs. Also, having access to a kitchen increases your food prep options. Give your guests the full game day experience by setting up several television sets playing multiple games and make use of outdoor entertainment spaces.

    Men watching a football game

  6. Save What You Can –

    To cut down on annual costs, take care of your tailgating supplies and carefully store reusable items such as coolers, tents, electronics, and chairs. Clean off any grass, dirt, or food after each use and repair any damaged items as soon as possible. Invest in a few collapsible wagons and bungee cords to make transporting your supplies safe and easy.  

No matter which battle cry you choose to yell, your account balance won’t leave you crying after this football season.