Tailgate In Style and on a Budget for College Football Season

College football season is underway! Who else is excited to support their alma mater? (Boomer Sooner!). This week I’d like to share useful tips for tailgating on a budget. If you can funnel your enthusiasm for the game into a little preparation, you’ll be the MVP of your tailgate. 

Quarterback Snack Attack

We’ve all seen “that guy” at games. He and his family are parked and unpacked well before 9am. He goes all out when it comes to his tailgate and has everything from a fully stocked bar and a flat-screen TV to a grill that attaches to the hitch of his pickup truck. This guy lives for football season. Unless you’re lucky enough to be one of his friends or family members, you probably have a milder approach to tailgating. However, there’s something we all have in common, and that’s an appreciation for tasty tailgate treats.

If you’re meeting up with a group of friends or other families, assign different dishes and drinks to your tailgating buddies. This way you are splitting the costs and no one is out a bunch of money. Or, if you’re more of a take-charge type of person, you can ask for a few bucks upfront to cover the food, drinks and disposable serving and flatware.

If you aren’t hosting but just visiting a tailgate, it’s considered good manners to offer the host a few dollars for the food and drink (if you partake). It’s a great way to get invited back, too! Of course there is more to tailgating than just food, so I want to talk about paying for other tailgate gear.

The Games Before the Game

You have to do something in between plates of food, right? Traditional tailgating games like bags or cornhole are a great way to pass the time before kickoff. Don’t shell out money buying the prebuilt ones at the store. Instead, make your own.

A few years ago a group of us built some cornhole games. We even had our kids help with measuring, sanding and painting, and we sewed the beanbags ourselves. We were able to make a few sets of sturdy cornhole games while creating memories. 

Another fun and easy-to-build tailgate game is ladder ball. All you need to make this game is rope, a drill, golf balls and PVC pipe. This is far better quality than what you would buy at the store! Another game I’m seeing more of is Giant Jenga. This game is really easy to make – all you need are some cut 2-by-4 pieces of wood and paint.

Hopefully, these suggestions have you excited for weekend games and making lots of memories with other fans. Where is your favorite place to tailgate, and what are some of your best recipes? Share them with us in the comments section below!

Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.

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