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Top 10 Ways to Tailgate on a Budget

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: Fans of the Florida State Seminoles tailgate prior to watching the Seminoles play against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 1, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

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Hey there, sports fans! Do you like drinking on the cheap? Haha, Uncle Carl, is that you? Ah, just kidding. We’re good. We have fun here. But anyway, there’s no two ways around it: tailgating can be expensive business. And with the economy in the tank and your antique Furby collection quickly draining the coffers, you’ve gotta brainstorm some clever ways to get your tailgating budget lower. Thankfully, we’re a bunch of cheapskates over here at Tailgate Fan, so we’ve concocted 10 amazing ways that you can tailgate like some kind of two-bit hobo. Without further ado, here are the top 10 ways to tailgate on a budget.

10. Don’t

Sounds counter-intuitive, I know. But hear me out. As much as we like fun and games here, everybody in this stupid country is broke as hell. If you have the means to tailgate, by all means, go for it. But if you’re tightening your belt for the sake of one tailgate party, maybe sit this one out. Trust me, it’s for your own good. This message paid for by the community of HOLY CRAP I’M 30 AND DON’T HAVE AN IRA.

9. Consider the Home Tailgate

One step up from the “Don’t” tailgate, the Home Tailgate features everything special about tailgating — music, booze, food, grilling and what have you. But the added benefit is you don’t have to deal with all those other jerks in the parking lot. Some might scoff at whether or not this is actually a tailgate, but when you’re able to use your own bathroom and then pass out after the game in your own bed, you’re telling me you’d have a problem with that?

8. Forget the Ticket

Ok, so let’s get you a little closer to the stadium. By foregoing the cost of the ticket, you could potentially be saving hundreds of dollars. And that’s just for admission into the stadium. If you decide to continue your conquest to eat and drink all the things, don’t forget that you’ll be paying a premium for everything. Why bother? You’ve already got all your food and drinks outside. And lest you tell me that you’d be missing the game, I guarantee that someone will have a big screen TV set up in the parking lot. Think of it like The Oregon Trail — you can trade some beer and food for a comfy seat in front of the TV. And then poor Sarah will die of dysentery. If only she had some Pedialyte…

Nachos

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

7. Forget the Meat

Hear me out, hunter-gatherers. Meat is expensive as hell. If you think about it, it makes sense: one chicken can get you TONS OF EGGS, or it can get you… one chicken. Likewise, a cow can get you a helluva lot of cheese, or, it can get you one cow. Besides, you’re telling me that if your tailgate is stuffed to the brim with nachos, seven layer dip and even breakfast fixins, anyone would complain?

Check out some fabulous tailgating recipes.

6. If You Can’t Forget the Meat, Trust Your Local Butcher

I’m not talking about a grocery store butcher either. If you can find a good, reputable meat market, it’s likely that you’ll get nice, healthy portions to your meat. Sure, it’ll look like you’re paying a lot, but chances are, it’s higher quality meat that’ll fill you up faster. Also, I have no facts to back this up. I just read about it once on the internet.

5. Hey There, Costco

If you’ve got handy access to Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s (tee hee!) or any other wholesale club, don’t be shy about paying a visit before your tailgate. As with all things in a basic economy, buying more directly correlates to a more significant discount. Just don’t blame us when you’ve got a surplus of Laffy Taffy that nobody wanted (especially since everyone knows the answer to the riddle is either “Monkey” or “Donkey”).

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:  A Costco sign is displayed on March 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s profit beat expectations with a net income for the second quarter that climbed to almost 40 percent.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

4. Hey, uh, is Your Dad in Town?

One of my favorite tried-and-true ways for tailgating on the cheap: wait for your friend’s drunk football fanatic father to finance your feast. Although to be fair, I haven’t tried this maneuver since 2005, so I may just look like a freeloader if I try this today.

3. Check the Label

Chances are, if you’re stocking up on beer for your tailgate, you’re looking at one of the big three brands (Bud, Miller and Coors. Light or heavy. Your call). That said, don’t be shy about looking around at some other beers. Back when I was a freshman, Hamm’s Special Light cost $6 A CASE. Of course, I didn’t drink it because I wasn’t of legal drinking age (ahem), but the fact remains. Also, I live in New York, where one Sam Adams is roughly the cost of most fine steaks. But at my local grocery store, a twelve of Rolling Rock will run you $6. Check the label, people!

Check out the Top 10 Affordable Craft Beers.

2. Jell-O Shots

In a previous post, we warned about the dangers of Jell-O shots. They lurk in your system, waiting for the precise moment to strike. And when you least expect it? Boom. You’re in drunk-town, population OH GOD SHE’S NEVER COMING BACK.

Now, you can use this to your advantage. If you’re tailgate bound, just pop a few of these puppies before you travel (don’t drive after eating these things, jerks) and wait for the gelatinous booze to help carry you through the day.

Sometimes I feel dirty, writing these things that I do.

1. Crash the Tailgate!

This might be a sleazy move, but when in Rome, you’ve gotta drink for free and maybe make a sacrifice to Tiberius or something. Anyway, how exactly can you crash a tailgate? Easy! You could do a scavenger hunt or make a sign or – hey wait. I wrote about this already. Go read this for more ideas!

So there you have it: 10 ways to cut corners on your next ‘gate. And remember, being cheap ain’t bad. It just means you’ll live to pay another day.

Check out more Tailgating Top 10s.

Stop in at the Man Cave Daily, where the women are hot and the beer is cold.

Brian Cullen approves this message. Follow him on Twitter @bucketcullen.

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