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Tailgating on a Budget

Football picnic table

Hey there sports fans! It’s that time of year again, football season. Whether you are a football fan or just there for the food, football means – it’s tailgating season. Between food, beverages and tickets, the costs can add up quickly. Here are some easy ways to try to trim down those expenses so you can enjoy the game.

Prepare your own food.

Yes, it’s less time consuming to go to the grocery store and purchase the pre-made snack platters to take with you. However, there are some major cost savings for you if you take the time to make your own snack platters.

Buy in bulk.

If you know you will be hosting or attending multiple tailgates, then buying in bulk can help you save. Items such as plastic silverware, paper plates, napkins and bottled water are great examples of items that you should purchase in large quantities.


Save on parking and on gas. Carpooling with friends is always a good idea. Also, consider parking farther away and walking. The closer you park to the stadium the more you will pay for parking.

Keep the tailgate at home.

Host your next tailgate from the comfort of your home. Save money on the tickets and keep the party local. Hosting your tailgate at home also saves you time and makes preparing and storing food easy. Not to mention, the leftovers you get to enjoy are reason enough to stay home.

Make it a potluck.

Farm out some of the hosting responsibility, and expense, and make your next tailgate a potluck. Guests can bring their own meat for grilling, a side dish to share or a delicious dessert to indulge in. Potlucks are a favorite of mine because you get to have a little bit of everything! Check out the recipe for my favorite tailgating dish below.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Ready In: 40 minutes


  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 15 ounces artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon paprika


Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.
Tip: Throw everything together in a stand mixer for quick and easy stirring!

Step 2: Spread into an 8×8” baking pan or similar ovenproof dish (should be able to contain about 3 cups.).

Step 3: Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot with bagel chips, rye bread slices, tortilla chips, cheese crackers, pita, etc!
Tip: Grate your own Parmesan or use the fancy shredded kind for a smoother dip.

By: Amanda Thrupp

Amanda Thrupp is a marketing coordinator at Ameris Bank. She is a Columbia, South Carolina transplant from Cleveland, Ohio. Amanda is a lover of coffee who enjoys travel and new experiences and considers herself a food connoisseur.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.