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8 Easy Ways to Save Money at the Big Game

Cheer on your favorite team without busting your budget.

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Shutterstock / Eo naya

Attending a live ballgame is a thrill for any sports fan, but if you’re not careful, the excursion can quickly cost you. Between tickets, parking passes, stadium eats and a new jersey from the team store, you could easily spend a couple hundred dollars. That’s why we came up with a few simple ways to save money at the stadium. These tips will help you stick to your budget while still guaranteeing a good time. Score!

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Shutterstock / Sean Locke Photography

Tailgate

It’s no secret that stadium food is overpriced. To save money (while still having fun!) pack a cooler and tailgate in the stadium’s parking lot. You’ll be able to control the cost by purchasing chips, beer, soda, hot dogs and other tailgating essentials well before the big game. Plus, if you’re going with a group of friends, split the cost by suggesting one person brings the meat, another brings beverages, etc.

Need tailgating recipes? We’ve got you covered. Here are 55 make-ahead tailgate recipes to feed a crowd.

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Shutterstock / Tom Lohr

Look for Ticket + Meal Deals

Before you buy tickets, check to see if there are any discounts, special offers or meal deals available. Some stadiums have reduced prices for certain age groups and specific food items ($1 hot dogs, anyone?), others offer ticket packages that include food and drink. Check your team’s website for any available offers.

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Shutterstock / De Repente

Check out the DD Booth

If you’re not planning to imbibe during the game, check to see if your stadium has a Designated Driver program. Many stadiums give you a complimentary soft drink for signing up, plus you’ll avoid paying $12 for a beer.

Here are our favorite mocktails for the aforementioned tailgate.

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Shutterstock / Paul Velgos

Split Food with a Friend

Those massive nachos you’ve been eyeing? Chances are you won’t be able to finish an order alone. If you must eat in the stadium, consider splitting food (and the bill!) with a friend to save both calories and money.

Make all of your ballpark favorites at home with these copycat recipes.

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Shutterstock / Natali Ximich

Review Your Stadium’s Carry-in Policy

Some stadiums (especially baseball parks) let you bring in your own food. Pretzels, peanuts, sub sandwiches and other easy-to-pack items make it possible to snack without spending. Just be sure to thoroughly read your stadium’s policy before heading out. Food items will likely need to be packaged in clear containers and some items (such as bulky coolers) may be prohibited.

Psst! Here’s the game-day recipe you need to make, based on your favorite MLB team.

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Shutterstock / Christian Mueller

Look for Alternatives to Parking

Depending on the stadium, a parking pass may be just as (if not more!) expensive than the game ticket. If you’re not willing to shell out $80 for a permit, look into other options. Public transportation is an obvious choice. And in some cities, bars and restaurants offer shuttles to and from the game. If you must drive, consider parking a little farther from the stadium in a public city lot or street spot rather than the official stadium area.

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Shutterstock / Tarr Pichet

Skip the Team Store

It’s natural to want a souvenir from the game, but avoid the team store at all costs. The merchandise is oftentimes marked up, so you’ll end up paying more than you would at an outside retailer.

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Shutterstock / Gary Glaser

Buy Tickets at the Last Minute

If your schedule allows it, consider buying tickets the day of the game. You’ll have a better chance of finding reduced tickets from fans that can’t make it. When buying tickets, make sure you use a reputable site, such as NFL Ticket Exchange to avoid buying fake seats.

Now that you have tickets to the game, can we guess whom you’re supporting based off of your tailgate menu? Take our quiz to find out!