It’s one of those expenses we don’t really budget for: Super Bowl parties. And as our credit card bills from our holiday shopping are starting to roll in, forking over a few hundred dollars to host a party might not seem doable. In fact, Americans spend about $14.1 billion (yes, billion!) on Super Bowl food, team clothing and decorations. Which comes down to about $75 per person.
Here’s how you can score your own touchdown by hosting a party for 10 people for 30 bucks. Follow these simple strategies to save up to 50 percent on your grocery bill.
Grocery store saving strategies
- Plan your menu around what is on sale at your grocery store. Every week, usually on Wednesdays, grocery stores start their new weekly sales cycle. You can easily find out what the deals are by looking online, or many stores still send flyers in the mail. This is your savings bible. Start with the most expensive items like meats and build your menu from there.
- To take advantage of the best deals, join the store’s loyalty or rewards program. They are free and will save you hundreds of dollars throughout the year. Usually at checkout, you will simply give your loyalty number and watch the register deduct dollar after dollar from your total.
- Look for coupons to save on both sale and regular priced items. The Coupons.com app allows you to save coupons to most store loyalty cards.
- Ask if your grocery store offers a discount for customers over 55. Many of the larger chains will apply a 5- to 10-percent discount for shopping on certain weekdays.
- If something is out of stock, ask for a rain check. This will guarantee the sale price when the product comes back in stock (even if it’s not on sale any longer). Plus, if you have a coupon, you should be able to apply the coupon to the lower price. I have saved hundreds of dollars over my lifetime using rain checks.
- If you are buying liquor, ask for a case discount. Oftentimes when you buy wine and liquor by the case, stores will offer a 10- to 15-percent discount.
- When people ask what they can bring, tell them to bring drinks they enjoy. Liquor is by far the most expensive item on the menu, and this is a great way to make sure you stay within your budget.
- If you want to serve wine, opt for inexpensive bottles and pour the wine into a decanter.
- Check the overly ripe section of the produce section. Many stores will offer a deep discount on produce that's near the end of its shelf life. So you may find avocados that are super mushy but perfect for making guacamole.
- START MAKING ICE NOW! Do not buy ice. It is a waste of money. And if you plan in advance, you can make and store plenty of ice.
Here’s a sample menu and a few tips. I used the strategies above and saved nearly 50 percent. My total cost was $30.15. Without the saving strategies, I would have paid $59.02.
Barilla penne pasta: 88 cents
Rana pasta sauce: $2.99 ... Less $1 coupon: $1.99
(Add some Parmesan cheese.)
You can usually find pasta at a great price. It’s a delicious and filling item on your menu. You can serve a warm pasta with a sauce or a cold pasta salad with a salad dressing and veggies.
Taco shells: 99 cents ... Less $1 coupon: 0
2 large avocados: $2.50
Ground meat: $2.93
Refried beans: 88 cents
Shredded cheese: $1.99
Pace salsa: $2.50 ... Less $1 coupon: $1.50
If you can find ground meat on sale, opt for some tacos. They are a crowd-pleaser and inexpensive to make. Look for promotions between manufacturers. For example, I had a coupon for a dollar off when I bought taco shells and two avocados.
Barbecued Ribs and Barbecued Chicken
Chicken legs: 88 cents a pound ... 4 pounds: $3.52
Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce: $1.99
Look for prepackaged deals in the meat section of your market. Although chicken wings are the typical dish for the Super Bowl, you may find a better deal on drumsticks and thighs.
Chili With Cheese
Bush's chili beans: 5 for $5 ... Less $1 coupon: $4
Cheese (Use other half of bag from tacos recipe): 0
Texas toast: $2
Chili is another one of those dishes that is inexpensive to make and fills people up.
The good thing about these money-saving tips is that you can use them every time you go to the grocery store.
Jeanette Pavini is a savings expert with Coupons.com.
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