January 31, 2023
A festive February highlight is celebrating the big game. Cheering on your favorite teams is teamed with a chance to get together with friends and throw a party. Depending on the size of the gathering, costs can quickly skyrocket as you plan food, drinks, and décor to make your watch party a hit.
The good news is that, with some creative thinking and planning ahead, you can keep costs low while still having an unforgettable time with family and friends. Consider these six money-saving tips to get you started.
Begin With a Budget in Mind
Although a budget may sound like the fastest way to kill the fun of hosting your party, it will actually help you know what you can afford to spend and where you may need to cut back. You will need to budget for food, decor, disposable dishes, drinks, and additional entertainment.
There is no one-size-fits-all amount that you should consider spending. Instead, make sure that your budget fits your means and that you’re not racking up debt to buy the biggest and best party hosting supplies.
Host a Potluck Meal
One of the easiest ways to save money on food (which is often the largest spending category for this type of party) is to opt for a potluck meal. Perhaps you can provide the main dish, such as pizza or wings, and ask everyone else to bring a side item, drink or dessert.
If you’re providing more than the main dish, try to put the most affordable dishes at the beginning of the buffet line where people are most likely to fill up their plates. By putting more expensive dishes at the end of the line, you will not have to provide quite as big of portion sizes, thus saving money.
Opt for Homemade Foods
It can be easy to put off food preparation until the very last minute, running to your local grocery store to pick up pre-made vegetable trays, precut fruits and pre-sliced cheeses and meats for cheese and cracker trays. However, by opting to do some of the slicing, dicing, and plating yourself, you can save a sizable percentage on your food budget.
Plan to start a day ahead to ensure you have enough time to prepare all the foods that you want to serve. Keep in mind that the foods do not have to look fancy because most people are there primarily to enjoy the big game rather than to comment on your impressive hors d’oeuvres arrangements.
Lengthen Your Party With Indoor Games
With the main event starting in the evening, you may want to lengthen the festive mood by beginning your party during the afternoon hours. If the weather is nice outside, you could utilize your backyard for a game of croquet, corn hole or even flag football. If the weather is too cool or inclement, you can offer indoor entertainment with big game bingo cards, trivia games or party games that you already own.
If you have money left over in your budget, you could provide cheap dollar store prizes or small gift cards. However, the vast majority of people will still be excited to play party games even if there are no prizes.
Buy Decor and Disposable Dishes at the Dollar Store
Many stores will be trying to get your money as you prepare for the big game, and the decor category is one of the easiest places to spend unnecessarily. A quick trip through your local big box or grocery store will reveal plenty of expensive branded items. However, you can save money at discount dollar stores where you will find numerous solid-colored table and wall decor items as well as disposable plates, napkins, and spoons in your team’s colors.
If you only have enough money for a small amount of game day decor, you could also use your own kitchen dishes, popping them in the dishwasher at the end of the night for a virtually cost-free option.
Cohost the Party with a Friend
To split up both the cost of the party and the burden of the hosting responsibilities, consider recruiting a friend to help you host your party for the big game. Not only can you split costs for decor and food, but also you may find that you have a lot more fun together in the process. One of you can provide the house or yard for the party, and you can also decide how to split party preparation and cleanup tasks to save the most time.
Kickoff Your Savings with La Capitol
Major sporting events are always great opportunities to host a fun mid-winter party. Don’t let the excitement of the day throw you off your financial goals, however. Budget wisely, be willing to do the majority of the heavy lifting, and save a bundle!
For more tips and tricks that will help you grow in financial confidence, save for the future, and manage your money well in any season of life you’re in, turn to our expert advice in La Capitol’s financial education center.