Pic courtesy of St. Paul Pioneer Press (AP Photos/Mark Humphrey, Matt Slocum)
With the big game only a week away, many people are planning gatherings for game day. So, how can those of us trying to watch our pennies entertain for less? To get the most of out this post, first read my Frugal Family Gatherings post. Here are some ideas that, along with that post, will help you keep your pocketbook happy while entertaining your family and friends next Sunday.
1. Do homemade. Nearly everything is cheaper when you make it yourself. We’ve got several recipes here in our Frugal Food section, or you can use your own favorite recipes. Some of our favorite and cheap items to make for parties? Homemade buttered popcorn, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Homemade Brownies, and our own Homemade Veggie/Chip and other dips. For instance, equal parts of salsa (get the cheap/generic stuff) and sour cream make a delicious and cheap tortilla chip dip. See our Frugal Food section for homemade guacamole and pico de gallo dip recipes.
2. Buy on sale. Most of the grocery stores have sales this week on party-type food like chips, pop, etc. For your food purchases that aren’t on sale, check the stores to get the lowest prices and use price-matching leverage to lower your bill. We’ve found our local Walmart to consistently have their prices a good 15-20% lower than other food retailers in our area.
3. Make a cheap main dish. Spaghetti, Chili, or our family’s Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches are some of the main dishes that you can do pretty cheap. If you choose to buy a prepared meat and cheese tray, be prepared to pay out of your _______. Make your own instead, by purchasing deli meat on sale and slicing your buying club store’s bulk cheese, saving you tens of dollars. Another good option? Hit your local $5 pizza joint, like Little Caesar’s or the many mom-and-pop shops out there.
4. Serve frugal beverages. Make the powdered or homemade lemonade, buy pop in 2-litter bottles (on sale, of course :-)), and do a BYOB alcohol or buy some beer and that’s it.
5. Save money on serving-ware. To save money we often spent on paper products for gatherings, we hit the local Sam’s Club and purchased restaurant-style spoons, forks and knives for dirt cheap in 32-ct. packages. You can do the same with plates and cups if you’ve got a keen eye for spotting sales. Now, the only paper products we buy consistently are napkins, although we could buy cloth ones at Sam’s and save money there too. If you’d rather not have the dishes to do, buy generic paper products, or stock up on sale or clearance items.
What are your tips for a frugal football party? How much will you spend this year on Superbowl Sunday?