OKLAHOMA CITY — In Oklahoma, football tailgating is almost a sport in and of itself. With everyone’s favorite season just around the corner, your wallet may be cringing at the thought of dropping major dollars on food, drinks and tailgating necessities.
Before you fumble your bank account, the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA) offers some easy tips to keep your money from spiraling.

  1. Write it down. If hosting a tailgate is on your agenda, make a budget first. Begin by determining how much you want to spend, making sure you can realistically afford that amount. After you have your target amount, write down everything you’d like to purchase and assign an amount to that item. You may find that you’ll spend less on some things and more on others, so keep your list with you and update it as you go, remembering not to go over your bottom line.

 

  1. Co-host a party. Ask friends to co-host so you can split expenses or make it a potluck and ask guests to bring a favorite outdoor event dish. If you tailgate with the same people every week, cycle through the major categories (main dish, sides, drinks, supplies) with your fellow tailgaters, so everyone has a chance to show off their specialty dishes — and equally share costs over the season.
  2. Keep it simple. Speaking of specialty dishes, it might be tempting to show off your culinary skills, but you can trim your budget more by sticking to the basics. If Gordon Ramsey isn’t coming to your tailgate, offering the classic burgers, hot dogs or wings will leave your guests full and happy.

 

  1. Get thrifty with supplies. Hit dollar stores for party supplies like plates, napkins and cups. Search thrift stores for your teams jerseys or colored clothes. Take an old twin bed sheet as a reusable and washable tablecloth that won’t blow away. Freeze your bottled water (or other containers filled with water) to use as ice in your cooler. The bonus there is when the bottles thaw, you also have an icy beverage to quench your thirst on hot game days.
  2. Borrow essentials. If you don’t have your own table, chairs or coolers, borrow them. If you are unable to borrow them, keep an eye out at the end of October. When the camping season ends, some supplies will go on clearance at retailers that could come in handy next year.
  3. Party on at home. If you are on a stricter budget, the option of attending every home game might be out of the question for you. Host a potluck-style gathering at your house and you can still enjoy food and catch the game from the comfort of your own home. Plus, the you'll avoid the lines at concession stands and restrooms.

No matter your preferred team colors, remember to take the necessary safety precautions to make it a great time for all involved.For more financial advice, like Know What Counts on Facebook, follow Know What Counts on Twitter or visit KnowWhatCounts.org, where you can sign up for a free e-newsletter, read financial columns and more.

With more than 6,000 members in public practice, industry, government and education, the OSCPA is Oklahoma's only statewide professional association of CPAs. For 100 years, the organization has continued to provide professional education, conduct quality reviews and promote and maintain high standards of integrity and competence within the accounting profession. The Dollars & Sense columns are a joint effort of the AICPA and the Oklahoma Society of CPAs, as part of the profession’s nationwide 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program.
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