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Score big with a frugal Super Bowl party

Super Bowl party

By Jessica Horton, Copywriter

If you’re planning to throw a game-watching party Feb. 5, as the New York Giants face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, you’re not alone. According to Bloomberg News, an estimated 34.9 million Americans threw Super Bowl parties in 2011, and 61.2 million people attended a Super Bowl party that year.

So whether you’re hosting a large group of people or you’re having an intimate gathering of your closest friends and family, the following are a few tips to ensure you score big without spending big bucks.

  • Set a budget and stick to it. The best thing about a Super Bowl party is that it doesn’t require a lot of planning in the way of entertainment and decorations – as long as you own a TV. So when you are determining your budget the only things you really need to account for are food, drinks and plenty of napkins. So once you determine how much you can – and are willing – to spend, stick to it!
  • Make your own pizza and wings. Let’s face it, pizza and hot wings are a staple on Super Bowl Sunday. In fact, according to the Huffington Post, Americans are expected to consume 1.25 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday alone. While there are sure to be plenty of deals on take-out pizza and wings on the big day, you may be able to save money by making the items yourself. Download our free Cheap Eats eBook for a great, inexpensive pizza recipe. And if you’re planning on serving wings, it’s a great time to break out the slow-cooker. You can prepare them ahead of time and keep them warm throughout the entire game.
  • Avoid pre-made snack trays. You know those convenient trays full of high-priced fruits and veggies at the grocery store? You can create the same spread for a fraction of the price if you’re willing to take a few extra minutes to cut up the veggies yourself. You could avoid the cost of appetizers altogether by making your Super Bowl party a potluck. Simply have each guest bring an appetizer or dessert to share with the group.
  • Make it BYOB. The biggest cost you will incur for the big game is bound to be alcohol, if you’re planning on serving it. One of the easiest ways to cut back on this cost is to make your party a BYOB. Make it fun and have everyone bring their favorite beer or wine to share with everyone, or simply say you’ll supply the first round, but if your guests plan to drink they should bring their own. Have a few two-liter bottles of soda handy for those who don’t plan on partaking in alcoholic beverages. The two-liter bottles cost a lot less than cans, and if you stick with store-brand soda you can save even more.
  • Use real dishes and flatware. While disposable dishes are more convenient, you are literally throwing way money at the end of the night. Why not save the money and use your own dishes and flatware? If you don’t have enough, you can always borrow some place settings from family and friends.

Remember not to stress too much over the details. Sit back and enjoy yourself — it is a party afterall. And even if your team doesn't win, at least you'll know you've won big by pulling off a bash without breaking the bank. So start practicing your endzone dance now!

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Cheap Eats: Your go-to guide to dining on a dime

Check out delicious, budget-friendly recipes in our free eBook

Whether you're planning a party or not, saving money on food doesn't have to be hard work. Making some small changes can net big rewards in your wallet.

Cheap Eats 


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Is it time for a credit health check-up?

Your credit history may not be as solid as you think

You can’t have a strong credit history or good credit score without having any credit history at all. And while this is a common problem for young adults and those just entering the work force, it can also be problematic for women.

In some cases, women can be both the primary spender and the sole bill-payer for their families, yet have almost no credit record of their financial responsibilities independent of their spouse.

Credit history is reported separately for each debt holder, and if you are listed as an additional cardholder rather than an account owner, all of the hard work you’re putting into paying your household’s bills on time may not show up on your history. And whether you’re just out of college, newly married, long-married, divorced or widowed – you need your own solid credit history.

Whether you're male or female, if you are unsure of your credit history, it’s time to do some research. Use the following steps to help determine if you have built a strong credit history:

  1. Review all of your family’s accounts, including mortgages, loans, and credit cards. Check to see if you are listed on these accounts as an authorized user, or if it’s a joint account.
  2. Request a copy of your free annual credit reports from the three credit reporting bureaus to see if all of your accounts are listed. Any account where you are a joint account holder should be included on your credit reports.
  3. If you are an authorized user, not a joint account holder on some accounts, ask the primary account holder to contact the creditors to see if you can be added as a joint account holder or a responsible party.
  4. If you’ve ever had credit under a different name, such as a maiden or married name, send a letter to each credit agency explaining your name change. Then, request the free copies of your credit reports to make sure that your reports reflect all of your credit history, including everything under your prior name.
  5. After taking these steps, if you are still light on credit history, find a way to establish credit under your own name, but make sure you start small. Open new cards or credit lines gradually, if you decide to do so. Make sure you do your research and read the fine print before applying for a credit card. And if you do sign up for a credit card, remember to consistently pay down the balance each statement period.

Learn more about the importance of credit scores and credit reports through one of our free online webinars

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