In my hometown, one of the things that my wife and I enjoy doing is going to see our former alma mater battling it out on the basketball court. I’m sure most can relate to attending a similar event, whether it be your former university, maybe it’s your local sports team, or maybe you live in one of the prime time markets where you’re going to go see a professional team play. Those that are familiar with this and attend games have realized the cost implications by attending one. Not only do you have the price of the ticket, you may also have a parking cost.
Photo by SD Dirk
We haven’t even talked about food yet. Heading to the food counter to get a soda, hot dog and nachos and you’re probably out a good $10-$15 bucks. For bigger cities, I’m sure you can pretty much double this. For a couple, the cost might not be so bad; but a family of three, four, five, or six? Imagine John and Kate Plus 8 Going to a game? Yikes! The cost adds up pretty quick. Here are a few tips for you and your family to save money while attending one of these fantastic events:
1. Eat before you go.
Just as simple as eating a small to mid-size meal before going should give you a full enough feeling to where you won’t be tempted for those hot dog or nachos at the game. Just by simply fixing a cold cut sandwich or warming up some leftovers from the night before is an easy savings for you and your family.
2. Pack a bottle of water/soda.
By the second quarter, after the referee has made the third-worst call of the game, your voice is hoarse from the screaming and excitement. Your throat is parched and it’s time to head to the concession stand. But do you really need to get that 32 ounce, $5.00 Coca Cola Classic? Why not pack a bottle of water and/or soda with you from the house to save you the money and also the hassle of having to head to the concession stand to possibly miss that great moment of the game.
The key for this to work is having a wife that’s willing enough to:
1. Carry a big enough purse to hold the bottled beverage.
2. Be cooperative in having to carry the extra weight.
If you meet these two requirements, you are on your way of saving anywhere from $5 to $15 at the game.
3. Pack a snack.
Well, that turkey sandwich that you fixed prior to the game is now wearing off. Approaching the third quarter the food vendor is staking you having walked by your seat three times now and all you think about is that relish and mustard smothered over that nice and fresh hot dog. By packing a quick snack, whether it is a bag of pretzels, nuts, or maybe a granola bar; that should hold you over until the end of the game. Not to mention the fact that it’ll give you plenty of energy to root on your team to victory till the end of the fourth quarter.
4. Don’t go out to eat afterwards.
Hopefully with the pre-game meal and the mid-game snack, you’re not starving and won’t need to head to the local family restaurant. By not going out to eat afterwards, that is huge savings on the budget. For a family of three, that’s an easy $30-$40 that stays in the checking account.
5. Watch it on TV
If the game is televised, why not buy some soda, hot dogs, and popcorn at the store and have “game night” at the house. You’ll still get the benefit of family time if you make a night of it and get all the same food attractions as a concession stand, without concession stand prices. Also, if you have a DVR, you’ll never miss the “play of the game”.
With over 16 home games over the course of the year, we estimate that to be a pretty significant savings. Money that could be added to our emergency fund, Roth IRA, or 529 College Savings Plan. Nothing like boosting your nest egg and still rooting on your team!
This was a guest post by Jeff Rose. Jeff Rose is an Illinois Certified Financial Planner(TM) and co-founder of Alliance Investment Planning Group. He is also the author of Good Financial Cents, a financial planning and investment blog. You can also learn more about Jeff at his website Jeff Rose Financial.