For a lot of people, Fall = Football! And for a lot of those people, Football = Tailgating.
Tailgating smarter and cheaper revolves around one simple concept: Keep it nice and simple.
At the beginning of the season, make a plan with your Tailgating Pals to coordinate potlucks. Split up food, drinks, and other items into categories. Make a list at the beginning of the season of who’s bringing what, and rotate the most expensive items (which are usually meat and alcohol).
Shop that morning.
If you’ve got an 11 a.m. kickoff, head to the grocery store that morning and check out the day-old baked goods. Most stores drop the prices of breakfast favorites like donuts and muffins.
Skip the coffee-house on your way to the stadium, and instead brew your own coffee at home and bring it in a large thermos to share.
Be a cheapskate!
There’s a time and a place for fancy alcohol. Tailgating is neither that time, nor that place. Buy generic or store-brand liquor, and cheap beer. Your friends will still enjoy themselves, and you won't be stuck with an enormous receipt.
Park one car at the stadium and have everyone else in your group park farther away, where it’s free. Then carpool, walk, or take the bus or a game-day shuttle. Or, if you want to eliminate parking costs entirely, consider tailgating in someone’s driveway or backyard before heading over (responsibly!) to the game.
- Stay hydrated and make sure you have a designated driver or a plan to get home. An Uber is a whole lot cheaper than a DUI.
- Bring a heavy-duty trash bag or double-bag your garbage. Hand sanitizer is also a good idea.
- If you’re grilling, make sure you dispose of charcoal safely. Be sure you don't leave hot coals on the asphalt, because someone might park there later. And it’s always a good idea to bring a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher.
At the end of the day, this is about fun and friendship. There’s no reason to stress the time it will take, or the money it will cost. Keep it simple and enjoy!