When you’re throwing a Super Bowl party, the snacks are just as important as the game. However, snack food is expensive, especially when you’re providing enough to last all four quarters. Whether you’re planning to feed just your family or all of your friends, here are some tips to help you save money as you watch the Seahawks and the Broncos kick, pass, and tackle their way to victory.
1. Look for coupons in advance
Many supermarkets and snack food retailers are likely to hand out coupons in advance of the big day. Pick up a coupon flyer from your local supermarket, watch for Sunday paper coupons, or search for deals online. If you don’t take the time to look for deals on your favorite snacks, you’ll miss opportunities to save money.
2. Cut costs by doing the prep work yourself
Yes, you could buy a pre-made veggie and cheese tray from the deli aisle, or you could buy a bag of carrots, a head of broccoli, a carton of cherry tomatoes, and a few blocks of cheese. It is always less expensive to cut up veggies, cheese, salami, and other snacks yourself than to pay to get them pre-sliced and arranged for you. You have to plan ahead to get everything done on time, but the cost savings are well worth it.
3. Ask friends to chip in
If you’re throwing a party for a large group of people, it’s perfectly fine to ask them to BYOB or bring a snack to share. You will still need to provide the bulk of the food and drinks, but inviting friends to contribute helps cut back on the costs — and one of your friends is sure to go all-out and bring in hand-decorated Seahawks and Broncos cupcakes.
4. Pace your food
If you put all of your food out at once, it’ll be gone before halftime and you’ll miss the Puppy Bowl because you’re making a grocery store run for more chips. Think of the Super Bowl as a multi-course meal; have some nibbles out before the game starts, then bring out a bunch of snacks during the first half. When it’s time for the second half, reload your trays with fresh vegetables, chips, or wings that you’ve kept in reserve.
5. Serve big snacks
The same person who would happily take four or five mini chocolate chip cookies will only take one big cookie. Likewise, people are likely to spear a plateful of cocktail weenies but take only one drumstick. For your most expensive food investments — the fancy cupcakes, the fried chicken — make ‘em big to encourage people to only take one.
6. Go low-cost on munchies
Once you’ve put out your big specialty items, go low-cost on everything else. Buy name-brand chicken wings and store-brand potato chips. For bulk items that will be munched on throughout the game, try to go as low-cost as possible. Pour these munchies into bowls and remove the bags so that no one notices you’ve provided generic cheese curls instead of Cheetos.
7. Use small plates
When you give people small plates, they both serve themselves less and eat less. Don’t put out the dinner-sized paper plates; instead, put a stack of small plates next to your snack table. Once the game gets started, people will be less likely to get up and reload, meaning your snacks last longer.
When it comes time to plan your Super Bowl snacks, you need to think as strategically as a football coach. Set your budget, use these tips, and set out a buffet of snacks that will keep your team happy without putting your finances into overtime.