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(Beach) Ballin’ on a Budget: Tailgating

In most of the United States, a Saturday in the fall means one thing: College Football!

At the end of a long, fun summer, students, parents and alumni look forward to returning to school for the games. While everyone enjoys seeing the quarterback make that winning touchdown, many of us enjoy football season because it brings people together!

Tailgating is a long-time tradition among many friends and families, but it can get expensive fast if you’re not careful. Here are a few ways you can save money at your next tailgate while still having a blast and keeping traditions going.

Suggest a Potluck
If you are hosting the tailgate, ask everyone you invite (the more the merrier), to bring one small dish. The food at your tailgate does not have to be over-the-top, the simpler the food the better. You will likely be walking around and socializing and may not always have a table or seat, so finger foods are usually the best option. Don’t limit the potluck to food items though: you can also ask your friends to bring plates, cups, and utensils as needed. And, if you typically tailgate with the same crew, think about rotating courses each game to keep things interesting.

Speaking of utensils, money and waste can both be saved by making your tailgate BYOC (bring your own cup). Think about how many paper plates, red Solo cups, and trash comes from just one tailgate! If you have a place to store items during the game, suggest everyone who comes not only bring a dish, but also their own reusable cup. This will save you money and will reduce your amount of waste. Win, win!

Borrow Things
So maybe you don’t have a big fancy camper or a 60” flat screen TV for your tailgate, but I’ll bet your friends and family have a few cool things you could borrow. Ask around and see if anyone could spare a few chairs, a tent, a table or maybe even a grill for the day. You will be surprised what people have lying around. This goes for clothes as well. It’s hard finding the perfectly color coordinated outfit to support your favorite team, but instead of buying enough outfits for the whole season, mix and match with friends for more options at a much lower cost!

Now that you have your friends, your spot, and your food, what will you do while you wait for kickoff? Lawn games are a huge deal right now. With just a few pieces of wood you can create your own giant Jenga set! Other fun and easy DIY games include horseshoes, frisbee, and cornhole. Music is also essential for a great tailgate! Make sure to bring a speaker along so you can jam out to your favorite tailgating songs throughout the day!

If you’re an alum, or you just don’t live on campus, you will most likely get stuck paying for stadium parking! This can add up quickly. To avoid this, suggest to your friends that you ride together so you only have to park one car! If you decide to use Uber or Lyft to the big game, split the cost with friends and don’t worry about finding a parking spot.

Join a Club
Sororities, frats, clubs, alumni associations and athletic teams usually have tents set up for tailgating at the games. Some organizations even provide food, lawn games, seating, and a TV that is all included with your membership fee. If you are a part of one of these clubs, ask the president or faculty advisor if there are any plans for tailgating this season!

At the end of the day, tailgating is not about the food, the fancy set-ups, or how much money you spend, it is about making fun memories with friends and family!