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That time of year is here again – the time when everyone gathers around the big screen to cheer on their favorite football team! No matter who you are rooting for, it’s likely that you are planning or attending a party for Sunday’s big game.
Even if it’s a last minute decision, hosting your friends and family for the game doesn’t have to break the bank. You can still throw a memorable and festive party for very little cost. Here are a few tips on how to throw a party for the big game on a budget.
Make it potluck style
As the host, you do not have to be responsible for everything. You can ease the burden on yourself by throwing a potluck-style party.
Ask your guest to bring their favorite dish to share. Most people don’t mind whatsoever. Since you won’t have to cook all of the food for all of your guests, you will save time, money, and a significant amount of stress.
Or, you can cook the main meal and invite guests to bring their favorite side. For the main dish, you can cook up something simple, like a big batch of chili. It doesn’t cost much and is a favorite among most guests.
Want to make it even more fun for your guests? Throw a friendly competition between yourselves to see who can bring the most festive dish. You’d be surprised at how well this will go over with your guests, and it gives everyone an opportunity to be creative and join in on the competitive spirit.
Ask guests to BYOB
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest expenses of throwing a party is the cost of alcohol and other beverages.
Ask guests to bring their own beverage, and you can lower your costs easily. As an additional bonus, it gives guests the freedom to bring whatever they like, so you don’t have to feel the need to provide every type of drink.
If you want to provide options without committing to a full open bar, offer to buy the beer or make up a batch of your signature cocktail to share. Either way, it lowers your costs and ensures everyone has their preferred beverage.
Stick to your budget
Did you decide what your budget is for your party? It’s very easy to go over the top (and, ultimately, over budget) with party planning, so it’s vital to stick to what you had planned.
Before you go spending like crazy, take some time to map out what you need and what you want to spend. Not only will this help ease the burden of party planning, but it can help you stay on track financially.
Remember, when planning a party for the big game, the easiest way to keep the costs low is to reduce or eliminate the food and beverage cost. Try to keep everything as simple as possible so you can stay within your budget.
Keep decor to a minimum
To be honest, most guests won’t even expect decor. So you can save your money.
Instead, focus on arranging your living area to provide ample seating. You’ll want to make sure there is enough space around the television and plenty of surfaces for guests to put their food and beverages.
Also, be sure to include extra seating around the kitchen. Guests always seem to gravitate toward the food. And, if you’re tight on space in the main living room, consider moving a small television into your kitchen so all of your guests can watch every play.
Plan for leftovers
No matter how conscious you are in your planning efforts, it seems like leftovers are almost always a guarantee
Fortunately, leftovers provide the perfect opportunity for you to save money by planning for leftovers. You can e incorporate them into your meal plans for the next week. When planning what foods to make for the party, be sure to consider if it’s something you and your family enjoy eating and how well it keeps.
Skip the invites
Don’t feel the need to apply traditional party rules while throwing an event for the football game. This type of get-together is supposed to be fun, easy, and casual.
Save money by skipping traditional invites. In lieu of physical invites, send out a fun e-vite or set up a Facebook event. Also, don’t forget to ask your friends to RSVP. That will help you estimate how much food you need if you decide to provide everything yourself.
Check out the dollar store
Typical football game foods, like buffalo chicken dip and pigs in a blanket, don’t need fancy table settings. Ditch the elaborate china for simple and colorful utensils. Plus, you won’t want to risk losing any of your nice china in the event that someone gets a little too excited about the game.
You can make cleanup a breeze by going with paper plates, napkins, and disposable cups. Dollar stores always have a surprisingly wide selection of party supplies for dirt cheap.
Shop in advance
Want to get the best sales? Avoid shopping on the weekend of the big game.
Not only is the grocery store guaranteed to be packed, but stores tend to mark up items that are typically purchased for these types of parties. Plus, you never know if a store will be out of an item you need. Avoid the crowds and take care of your grocery shopping well in advance.
Entertain the kids, too
No need to hire an expensive babysitter for the night. If you have a house, you can allow the kids to join in on the fun by making it a kid-friendly party.
Depending on their age, kids can usually entertain themselves, but it wouldn’t hurt to provide a few kid-approved games and activities anyway. You can set out coloring materials and a few simple games to keep the children occupied while the parents enjoy the game.
Keep it simple and casual
You truly don’t have to feel the need to go over the top with planning your party. Make it easy (and affordable) for yourself by asking guests to help in the planning process. Most guests just want to watch the game, enjoy some yummy food, and celebrate the victories with friends.