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Super Bowl Tips

How to Enjoy Super Bowl 2012 for Less

Posted on 1/30/2012 22:12 EST

Football draws large crowds on a regular basis, but no game attracts as many spectators as the Super Bowl. The National Retail Federation expects 173 million to tune in on Sunday and spend an average of $63.87 on related merchandise -- an all-time high. Whether you're a Giants fan, a Patriots supporter, or someone who watches only for the commercials, you can use our Super Bowl tips to save on everything from food and drinks to a new TV.

Super Bowl 2012 Official Logo

Super Bowl Food.

The National Restaurant Association predicts that 48 million Americans will order food via carryout or delivery for this year's big game, according to Super Bowl Ads for Geeks, and nearly 12 million will go to a bar or restaurant to watch the game. This practice can get pricey. Cut Super Bowl food costs by enjoying the game at home with a group of friends instead.

The folks at ZipList, the recipe discovery and grocery shopping app, have put together an Ultimate Super Bowl Checklist for frugal football fans. In addition, they offer these Super Bowl shopping tips:

  • Shop for non-perishables such as soda and chips. They're cheap to begin with and they're likely to be on sale this week.
  • Don't buy pre-made Super Bowl food such as dips or pre-cut vegetables. You'll save a few extra bucks by cutting up your own veggies and fruits and mixing your own dips using low-fat sour cream or yogurt as a base.
Another service, eMealz, can help you plan for Super Bowl 2012 too. The site was created as a meal-planning resource to help busy parents simplify their dinners, organize their days, and save money on groceries. Users report an average of 30 percent savings on weekly groceries using eMealz. Users who sign up for the service this week get a free Super Bowl menu with cooking directions and a shopping list of ingredients. Some Super Bowl food items include "EZ Meatballs" and buffalo chicken dip with French bread and celery sticks.

"Actually constructing the grocery list based on a planned menu helps avoid overspending and adds confidence while spending. You know you have everything you need to prepare the dishes you've chosen to serve. 'You plan, you save' is the motto," says Forrest Collier, CEO of eMealz. "Most people throw parties without a budget and just start pulling it together without really knowing what the 'damage' will be. This gives you a great place to start and actually knowing how much you'll spend. Then you can decide if you want to embellish with drinks or even more food."

If you'd like to go it alone, Personal Finance Journey's Super Bowl tips include some budget staples for any Super Bowl party:

  • Deviled eggs (less than $3)
  • Chips & salsa ($4 to $5)
  • Vegetarian chili (around $5 for eight servings)

Photo by theyoungthousands

Popcorn is another crowd-pleasing snack that's easy, tasty, and cheap. You can also choose to host your Super Bowl party as a potluck. That way you don't have to provide all the food -- your friends can bring their favorite dishes, too.

Super Bowl Beverages.

Watching the Super Bowl often means tossing back a few cold ones, and this is where the cost tends to get out of hand. To get game-day drinks on a budget, ZipList recommends hitting up your local state-run liquor store (if you have one), where prices are usually cheaper than at the grocery store. Super Bowl tips at Party Bluprints Blog include narrowing your beverage options to three items -- a wine, a beer, and a non-alcoholic drink -- and buying them in bulk. That way you don't spend a small fortune trying to please everyone's taste. Of course, the cheapest option is to make your Super Bowl party BYOB -- surely your guests won't mind chipping in with their drinks of choice.

Super Bowl Viewing.

A home viewing system is a great expense and one you should consider carefully, rather than invest in on a whim ahead of the big game. If you could use an upgrade ahead of a Super Bowl viewing party, Cheapism has recommendations for cheap LCD TVs and cheap home theater systems. While retailers may not offer discounts as large as we saw during the holiday shopping season, there are bound to be some better-than-average deals this week.

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