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College football season is among us, y’all! It’s time to get excited, support your team, and start planning your tailgate parties. After all, you can’t have football in the South without some good food and fellowship around the tailgate of a truck. And as fun as those tailgate parties are, they can be expensive.
Have fun this season, but keep it frugal by following these 5 tips for tailgating on a budget.
1. Keep it simple. You can pretty much go as elaborate as you want with tailgates (extra TVs, decadent spreads, even chandeliers), but keeping it simple allows you to have fun while still getting the point across. Pack a humble and easy meal and maybe don’t worry so much with a bunch of electronics, satellites, or trying to have the spot that’s the crème de la crème.
2. Go in with lots of people. A large group of people equals less $$$ out of pocket per each person. Turn the meal into a potluck (for example, have a taco bar and have each person bring a different topping) and carpool with as many people that can (legally) fit into your car. Everyone can pitch in when it’s time to pay for the spot and you’ll have lots of help when it’s time to clean-up.
3. Do your research. Scout out the parking areas before you haul everything to the stadium to get an idea of where the parking areas are and how much they’ll be. The parking places will usually be more expensive the closer you are to the stadium, so find an area a little farther away (lots of the ones that are farther will offer shuttle services to and from the stadium). Get there early to get the best pick.
4. Look for alternatives. Tents and tables and chairs with your university’s logo on them can be really expensive at local bookstores or sports stores (like this tent I found on Amazon; it retails for $250!). Consider borrowing from a friend, checkout out Craigslist for good prices, or try to find items that don your school colors without the trademark logo on them (solid colors are usually cheaper).
5. Tailgate at home. You can enjoy all the festivities of a tailgate without the crazy packed car and prices of a spot by staying parked at home. You can still get all of your friends together to have a viewing party and eat, but you won’t have to worry about paying (and fighting) for a parking space. Bring the TV outside, if possible: it’ll feel more like the real thing.