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Archive | October, 2015

Big Ideas for Tailgating on a College Budget

Big Ideas for Tailgating on a College Budget

There are a lot of toys you can buy for tailgating—TVs, canopies, solar-powered generators—but it will always be at heart a blue-collar activity. The average sports fan, especially one in college, isn’t going to drop hundreds of dollars on the tailgating experience. Sometimes all we need is a place to set up shop, grill some meat, and toss around the rock. Is that so much to ask?

It is possible to have it all without busting your wallet. Before setting out on your next Saturday or Sunday morning, keep these tips in mind to craft the ultimate tailgate on a college budget.

The Grill

If there is one item where you should not skim, it’s a man’s grill. However, that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to buy long-lasting quality either. The 18″ Weber Kettle Series is the BBQ equivalent to the American classic car. Affordable, reliable, and runs forever. Buy this grill once for $79 and it will last you a decade or more. Plus, the charcoal flavoring will surpass any propane-flamed meat from the tailgate next door.

The Food & Drinks

If tailgating is a regular affair the trips to a traditional grocery store are a waste of money. Invest in a Costco or Sam’s Club membership to buy in bulk and save money in the long run. Costco sells giant bags of frozen chicken wings (typically costing less per pound than grocery stories), buns, hamburger patties, and large cases of beer that will help you save by the end of the season.

The Games

A nice set of wooden cornhole boards can cost more than $100 (or more if you want a custom design) and every other tailgate already as them, but a ladder ball set can cost less than $20 in golf balls, rope, and PVC pipe if you’re willing to build it yourself. And, because it has the added benefit of being a less common game, you can hop around tailgates and possibly get a free beer or burger in exchange for lending out Ladder Ball for a few hours.

The Venue

Many tailgaters pay premium price for the stadium lot without question, but why? Just because you can see the stadium from your grill doesn’t make the tailgating experience any better. Merely blocks away are lots for half the price, and you can honestly find a better crowd who know how to save a buck where it counts. Next time you’re driving in for your next feast, explore around for some new lots.

“That” Friend

There’s a saying about boats: You don’t want to own one and deal with the costs and maintenance. You want the friend who owns a boat so he can invite you out on the weekend. Sometimes, tailgating is no different. There are people who buy tents, tarps, TVs, generators, and smokers that can fit a whole pig. This is the guy you want to know.

Now, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to be cheap. Use that new Costco card to chip in on chicken wings and beer. Build that ladder ball set and bring it along. Even pack the Weber Kettle Series in case your buddy needs some extra real estate on the grill. The point is, make an effort to contribute to the party and everyone will have a good time.

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