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You may be the biggest pigskin pontificator, end zone aficionado and gridiron guru this side of the goalpost, but what do you know about playing defense with your dollars? Here are a few tips to make sure you don't fumble your finances this football season:
Save on Tickets: Skip the box office and try using a secondary ticket seller if you're planning on catching a game at the stadium. Don't overlook standing-room-only seating options. Let's face it—if the game is a good one, you won't be sitting anyway! If tickets are totally out of your price range, you can still enjoy the game day atmosphere by taking part in the tailgate and then heading to a restaurant near the stadium to watch the game.
Tailgate on the Cheap: Many of us dream of being Master of the Grill, but the cost of the steaks, wings and brats required to earn that title is a little steep. Opt instead for the more economic route of a heaping pot of homemade chili. Prepare it the night before, so you have more time to spend hooting and hollering on game day.
Travel Wisely: Stadium parking can easily tack on $30 or more to your game day bill. Consider carpooling or using mass transit to get you there. You'll save money, it's good for the environment, and it just may end up being safer.
Show Your Spirit for Less: Save yourself from the sticker shock of buying official team gear from the stadium store or pro shop. Hit up your local thrift stores to find bargains on team t-shirts, sweatshirts and more. You may even score some authentic throwback threads.
Seek Out Game Day Specials: Many of you are already saving money by skipping the stadium in favor of watching the game at a neighborhood restaurant. However, better bargains may exist at other places with game-exclusive deals. Your savings could go into overtime if there are restaurants with incentives tied to your team's performance. Keep track of any offers—you could eat for cheap all week if your team pulls off a win!
Share the Burden of Broadcast: Many cable providers offer sports packages that promise you'll never miss a game, but the cost of those can be sky high. Splitting the cost among friends or buddying up with someone who's already forked over the cash for a season ticket package will help save your bottom line.
Save the Blowouts for Big Games: Unfortunately, not every game your team plays makes for the most exciting matchup. Think about keeping things low-key during some of the snoozers and amp things up for the two or three games of the season that are must-see match-ups. When you do host the gang for the game, go the potluck route. You'll save yourself a fortune on food costs and hours of time by divvying up responsibility among your guests.
Put these tips in your playbook to secure your spot as this season's Savings MVP.