Big events don’t have to equal big spending. A little food, some libations, a few decorations and a TV, and you’ve got the makings for a great Super Bowl party. If you’re having friends over to watch the game, here are some ideas that can help you keep the price tag under control.
1. Consider a potluck. Prepare a few items yourself, then ask everyone to bring their favorite football food. It you send your invitations electronically, you can ask people to reply to the list with what they’ll bring to avoid duplication (although you really can’t have too many hot wings, can you?).
2. Enlist a co-host. Having a friend help with the party will not only save you money, but will also save you time. Choose the house with the most seating and divvy up the costs for food and other party essentials. You can also divide the chores so you’re only doing half the work.
3. Use cheap recipes. Some of my favorite football foods are chili, nachos and potato skins, none of which are expensive to make. See recipes below.
4. Ask guests to BYOB. Beer and other alcoholic drinks are the most expensive part of most Super Bowl parties, so ask guests to bring their own. You supply the ice and a cooler.
5. Order pizza. If your friends don’t cook, or you’re just looking to keep things simple, you might want to order pizza. A lot of pizza places run Super Bowl deals, so you can sometimes get multiple pies without spending a fortune. Check Living on the Cheap’s “Dining” page for the latest deals before making any final decisions on where to order.
6. Skip fancy decorations. Although it may be fun to have paper plates/bowls/cups with your team logo, they can be a bit pricey. You’ll save money if you instead buy those items in solid colors at a discount party store. Alternate colors when you set them out, so when you look around the room, you’ll see them all.
7. Don’t waste money on entertainment. Between the game, the halftime show, and the commercials, you should have all the entertainment you need. If you want a little extra, play some Super Bowl trivia. You can get cheap miniature trophies or ribbons for the winners at most party stores. Frugal hosts could use food gifts as trophies – make some tasty gifts or throw in some fun themed gifts – a bowl filled with popcorn, chips, spray cheese, or football shaped treats.
8. Use real dishes. The price of paper products seems to have skyrocketed over the past several years, so if you have enough glasses and plates to use real ones, you can save yourself some money that way. Make sure the dishwasher is empty beforehand, and keep loading it throughout the evening.
9. Visit the dollar store. The dollar store is a great place to pick up inexpensive party decorations. You don’t need to spend a great deal of money decorating, but you might want to pick up a few items (think pompoms and streamers) in both team’s colors. You might also be able to get some supplies that you can use to make your own decorations, and some cheap snacks like pretzels and nuts.
Cheap super bowl recipes
- 1½ lbs ground beef
- One can of chili beans
- 1 packet chili seasoning
- One tomato (diced)
- Diced onion to taste
- Additional chili powder to taste
Brown ground beef/drain. Put all ingredients in a crock pot or on the stove. Add 1-2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer to desired consistency. Serve with crackers and shredded cheese.
- One brick of Velveeta
- Picante sauce to taste (I use about ¾ of a medium jar per medium brick of Velveeta)
Melt above together in a crock pot or on the stove. Serve with tortilla chips.
- 4 potatoes
- Bacon bits
- Mexican or cheddar cheese
Bake potatoes in microwave. Cut lengthwise into quarters. Scoop out centers, leaving ¼ to ½ inch of potato in skin. Deep fry skins until golden brown. Top with cheese and bacon bits. Microwave until cheese melts (1-2 minutes). Serve with sour cream.
Fat pigs in a blanket
All you need are croissant/crescent dinner rolls (any brand), hot dogs and ketchup — mustard optional. See directions on croissant/crescent roll package and preheat oven to the temperature required for regular cooking. Unroll dough and place triangles on a pan. Place a hot dog at the base of the triangle. Roll up the dog in the dough. Make sure there is some space between each roll. See package for cooking time (usually 10 to 15 minutes). Serve with ketchup and mustard.
Tip: If your guests love onions, dice onion pieces and place in the dough while rolling up the dog. You can also incorporate cheese. Simply place a small slice in the dough while rolling.
Fancy up your salsa
For every eight ounces salsa, add a tablespoon or two of either sour cream or Greek yogurt to create a creamy salsa blend. Create salsa variety on your platter with this little trick.
Blue cheese and jam crackers
You can use any kind of club crackers, though I prefer Keebler — plus they’re always on sale. Pick up a container of blue cheese crumbles meant for salads (much cheaper than a chunk of blue cheese from the dairy) and raspberry or strawberry jam. It must be jam; jelly is a little too watery. Place crackers on a tray or plate, then use a knife to spread a thin layer of jam on each cracker. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles.
Need more ideas? See cheap, healthy party snacks