Is your team in the running to make it to the big game? Or are you just there for the snacks?
Regardless of why you’re hosting or showing up to the big game party, everyone’s ready for a good time and great food. You can save money shopping and throw a winning party at the same time.
Here are 15 fun and clever ways to host a football party on a budget.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1
With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
Make it a potluck
You’ll save money if you’re not making all the dishes yourself, but that’s not the only benefit of a potluck.
It’s fun to see people’s favorite football recipes, especially if they come with a fun backstory or tradition.
Ask people to sign up beforehand so you don’t end up with multiple desserts or more than one guacamole (not that anyone will complain).
Keep it simple
While it might be tempting to go all out with the most complicated snack recipes you can find, your guests will enjoy eating football food regardless of whether it’s simple or fancy.
So keep it simple and cheap. Chips and dip. Chicken tenders. Brownies. When you’re sticking to a budget, stick to the classics.
Choose a crock pot meal to feed a crowd
The cheapest meals can be the best, especially when served warm in a crock pot.
Try an easy chili recipe with lots of beans for cheap protein. This goes a long way, costs only a few dollars, and is a fun football party meal.
Create a topping station with cheese, sour cream, and green onions for a budget-friendly and interactive spin.
Get a protection plan on all your appliances
Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.
Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.
For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.
Skip the football-themed decor
Unless you already have football decor ready, skip it. Don’t get tempted by the seasonal aisle at Target or even the cute football plates at the dollar store.
You don’t need them. Use your own dishware or scour your shelves and home for decor in the team’s colors. It doesn’t need to be traditional tableware to add to the theme.
But if you spend..make it reusable
Sometimes, it’s too hard to resist the fun decor, even when you know you shouldn’t.
If you want to splurge on a few fun football-themed items, choose items you can reuse year after year.
Target and dollar stores have fun decor for any football game all year or a football-themed baby shower.
Decorate a plain tablecloth
Grab a few markers and a white paper tablecloth, then go to town with football drawings and team logos.
It’s a quick and easy way to get customized football decor for the big game without breaking the bank on licensed items. If you have kids, let them loose. They’ll have a blast decorating for the party.
Incorporate cheap or free activities
Some people are going to be glued to the TV, while others will want entertainment beyond the screen and the snack table.
Have a few free, fun activities at the ready. Create a football trivia quiz, bingo cards for ads, or a friendly “betting” pool.
Don’t have the time to make your own games? Pick up a downloadable one online; Etsy has plenty.
Make your veggie tray instead of buying one
Those pre-made veggie trays at the grocery store are usually assembled with basic veggies, yet there’s a significant upcharge because they’re made by someone else.
Instead, buy a bag of baby carrots, a bag of celery, and a couple of cucumbers to assemble your own veggie tray. Make a homemade ranch dressing using a dip mix and mayonnaise.
Look to Temu for supplies
Temu is where you’ll find deals on nearly everything. You can pick up a set of fun and vibrant football plates, cups, and napkins for just $1.98.
That’s worth the cost just for the soap and water you’ll save.
Stop overpaying when you shop online
Shopping online has its perks. It's super convenient, but it can be time consuming to find the best deals. Instead of hunting for coupon codes (that don't always work!) and opening tons of browser tabs comparing prices, you can try Capital One Shopping.
Capital One Shopping makes saving money effortless. Just add the browser extension and when you check out, it'll scour the internet for coupon codes to help you save cash. And before you check out at 25+ major retailers, Capital One Shopping will notify you with a friendly pop-up if the item you're buying is available cheaper somewhere else.
Capital One Shopping is free to use and won't show you ads. Add it today and stop overpaying!2
Use a free Evite software or just text
Some digital invitations cost money, and you may not realize it until you’re too far in the process.
Choose a free software, like Evite, send an email, or just text your friends and family to invite them over. Keep it super easy and casual.
Plan your menu around the sales
No one has to know you waited until the week before the big party to plan your menu for the big game.
Look at the sales that week and decide what you’ll serve based on what’s on sale at your local grocery store.
Is there a sale on rotisserie chickens? Chicken salad sandwiches are always a favorite.
Skip the babysitter
Kids may not want to sit through a whole football game but don’t splurge on a babysitter. Instead, have supplies ready to entertain them.
Coloring books, paper, and crayons in a designated area should keep them busy — or at least busy enough that you won’t feel bad about not shelling out $15/hour for a sitter.
Put BYOB on the invite
Guests are usually happy just to have someone else's house to run amok in, and they won't mind bringing their own alcohol — in fact, they'll probably expect to.
Ask your guests politely to "Bring a dish and whatever you'd like to drink." This lets them choose their beverage, whether beer, wine, or a fun mocktail.
Meal plan with the leftovers
Don’t throw away the mountain of leftovers after the big game. Choose dishes that you’ll be able to use throughout the week.
Buffalo chicken tenders can turn into a buffalo chicken salad on Monday, while guacamole and pulled pork are perfect for a taco night.
Set a budget
If you do want to spend on the party, set a budget from the beginning. List out how much you want to spend on food, decor, and drinks, and stick to it.
Don’t get tempted to overspend, and if you find yourself hitting your budget but still needing help, look to your guests. Most people are happy to pitch in bringing food, decor, and more.
You can stick to your budget and still host a great football party. Also, use one of the best cashback credit cards to get rewards for your next grocery run.
It doesn’t take much to have a good time during football season. People are happy to gather and have a fun time, and they often expect to pitch in with a dish or two.
The most important lesson to learn when entertaining on a budget is not to be afraid to ask or delegate. Your guests want to help. Let them.