This article, entitled "10 big game party hacks to save you time and money," comes from partner site Money Talks News.
The big game is Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Anyone hosting a shindig probably fears having to fork over hefty sums of cash to properly entertain family and friends.
Fortunately, you don’t have to blow your budget. Nor do you have to spend the whole day in the kitchen.
Here are some low-cost party ideas that will make your life easier and leave you with the energy to cheer on your team come game time.
1. Host a potluck
Deciding to go potluck is one of the easiest ways to make party planning a little less intimidating. You can even create a theme that gets everyone excited to participate. Just make sure to keep track of who’s bringing what: There’s nothing worse than too many pretzels and not enough beer.
2. Plan a backyard tailgate
Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you can’t tailgate. If you live in a relatively warm climate, simply take the party outside for the hours leading up to kickoff.
Throw some brats on the grill and paint your face with your team’s colors. As a bonus, you’ll keep some of the rowdier behavior outside your home.
3. Create a sports bar experience
Some people rent out part of their local sports bar to throw a party, but that can get pricey. So why not replicate the experience for a fraction of the cost at home?
Move all your televisions into the designated party space, set up a makeshift bar and, voilà, you have your very own sports bar. Extra points if you have a large drink selection or a keg.
4. Set up snack city
Football parties are not dinner parties. There’s no need to go “all out” with the food you serve. Try getting a variety of snack foods and skip the prepared platters of meats and cheeses, veggies and dips from the grocery store. Instead, make your own.
5. Cut down on food prep time
Everyone loves a make-your-own-nachos bar, and it saves you a lot of time in the kitchen. You can also apply the same idea to other foods.
Sundae bars are always popular, as is allowing guests to decorate their own cupcakes. Or simply put out skewers for meats, cheeses, fruit or any other foods that might otherwise be eaten with a fork.
6. Stagger the food
Don’t put out all your food at once. At the end of the game, you’ll probably want to throw away any meats or cheeses that have been sitting out for hours.
So instead, put out food only as needed. That will cut down on waste, leaving leftovers for lunch in the coming week. Just keep an eye on what guests are eating, and keep the most popular snacks coming.
7. Shop strategically
Think about what you want to make before you go to the store, and create a list so you don’t end up with some expensive impulse buys and without any of your essentials.
Then, look through your local supermarket’s circular, or go online to find deals and coupons. Look for generic brands — if you’re not serving them straight out the box, your guests probably won’t notice the difference.
8. Buy your alcohol wholesale
You can purchase alcohol at any Sam’s Club in the country, even if you don’t have a membership. Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club have similar policies in some states.
Just keep in mind that not every employee will be aware of the store’s policy, so do your research. Shopping at one of these clubs often can save you big money on your alcohol purchases.
9. Cut the cost of decorations
Yes, you want to be in the football spirit on the big day, but do you really need to go overboard with expensive decorations? Skip the decorations altogether or make your own.
Cut artificial turf into rectangles and use some liquid paper to draw in yard lines. These mini football fields make great coasters. You can also cut brown fabric into football shapes for the same purpose. Create mini-banners with the help of digital images retrieved online, glue sticks and a little construction paper.
10. Hit the local dollar store
Your local dollar store is a great source of low-cost party supplies and game-day decorations, especially if you exercise a little creativity. You can buy spools of ribbon in your team’s colors to tie together napkins and silverware, or to simply use for decoration. You might be able to find paper plates, tablecloths and napkins in your team’s colors.
Do you have any favorite cost-cutting or time-saving strategies for hosting parties?