Super Bowl Sunday isn’t all about the football.
The amount of food consumed that day comes second only to Thanksgiving, says NPR. The National Chicken Council estimates fans will eat more than 1.25 billion chicken wings, 14,500 tons of chips and 4,000 tons of popcorn. All that food in bulk leads to typical party bills in the range of $50 to $100. Never mind the costs for a new flat-screen).
We asked chefs, bloggers and other party experts for their take on how to throw a great party on the cheap:
They can be expensive, especially if your tastes trend more to cashews and macadamia nuts than peanuts. “Instead, try homemade roasted chickpeas,” says event planner Lana Wescott of “Events By Lana Wescott” in Kennebunkport, Maine. “They are less expensive, contain less fat and taste so yummy,” says Wescott, who makes two different batches, some spicy and some mild.
Cut cooking time.
Quick-to-prepare recipes are a good way to “keep you out of the kitchen and in front of the TV watching the game,” says Amy Hanten of “The Cooking Mom.” Two that fit: A sausage and cheese chowder prepared in a slow-cooker, and a fast stovetop white chicken chili.
Grocery site ZipList points out that it’s often a few bucks cheaper to skip pre-cut crudités in favor of veggies to peel and chop yourself. The same holds true for dips: Skip the pre-prepared in favor of a big tub of sour cream or yogurt and mix-in packets.
Fancy up store-bought fare.
Event planner Kerri Wootton of “Leave the Details 2 Me” in Austin, turns a basic roll of gingerbread cookie dough into party-worthy threats by reshaping the log and then slicing off mini-football-shaped cookies. Hanten also seasons store-bought mini pretzels for a homemade touch.
Check out restaurant deals.
“Plenty have specials for Super Bowl Sunday,” says Jon Lal, founder of BeFrugal.com. You might be able to host an off-site party cheaply or score 20% or better off food for delivery or pick-up.
Hit up the dollar store.
“Dollar stores are great resources for cheap paper goods and decorative items,” says savings expert Andrea Woroch. Prices can be as much as 70% less than at the supermarket for paper plates, napkins, streamers and balloons.
“It’s a smart idea to cut costs,” says event planner Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions in Long Beach, Calif. If you’d rather be the only one in the kitchen, then ask each guest to bring beer, wine or a snack like chips or nuts.
Scour the sales.
“There are a lot right now on snacks, sodas and other Super Bowl fare,” Lal says. To save even more, check for manufacturer’s coupons online and in the Sunday paper. (Frugal Foodie found a few this week on frozen chicken wings and pizza bites.)
Buy drinks in bulk.
“Warehouse club prices on beer, wine and liquor can be 30% cheaper,” says Woroch. Or if there’s a big crowd, consider ordering a keg, which is substantially cheaper than buying a few cases of cans or bottles.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie http://www.twitter.com/mintfoodie.