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How much a Super Bowl Watch Party might cost you

Super Bowl 2023
Eagles vs. Chiefs, Super Bowl LVII

Bachelor on the Cheap

According to the so-called experts, the average spend a host shells out for a Super Bowl Watch Party is just over $200.  That's over and above what you've asked party guests to contribute to Game Day.  This isn't an inexpensive party to throw, we're talking A LOT of food and not just the snacking kind, you'll need non-alcoholic beverages, decorations, alcohol of course, the all important fan gear and then there's all the misc. stuff (paper plates, cups, napkins, plasticware, etc.).    But does it all have to cost over $200?

I say no.

The typical Super Bowl menu consists of starters:  Nachos;  salsas; guacamole; queso dip; tortilla chips galore as well as a variety of other chips and dips.    Main dishes could be chili, pigs in a blanket, sliders, pizza, pulled pork sandwiches and/or the #1 favorite - wings.  For dessert on game day, it's typically brownies or football themed cakes/cupcakes.

The easiest way to cut down on party expenses is to tag your guests for menu help, that's stating the obvious I know, but food and non-alcoholic beverages will probably be more than 1/3 of your out-of-pocket party expense at around 35% of a $200 budget (That's $70 for those of you who live in Valley Center).  Don't be too casual with what people bring to the party.  You don't want 12 bags of chips and just two jars of salsa, which would result in either a very limited and unsatisfying menu or leaving you to shell out even more $ to provide food items your guests didn't.  Pin people down to specific items and don't forget the non-alcoholic beverages and ice.  Yes, ask somebody to bring ice.  If you haven't done so already, provide guests menu suggestions and have them commit to an item or two to bring.  Keep everybody in the loop as to what's already being brought and what still needs to happen.  One of your guests undoubtedly will boast to having THE BEST recipe for guacamole, thank you, bring it!  For guests that don't cook, instead of the default to bringing a bag or two of chips (and provided it's already taken care either by you or other guests), break things down to the fundamentals...  have them provide a can of black olives, a tub of sour cream, some tomatoes, taco shells, a bag of shredded cheese....  This is perhaps the quickest way to reduce the food/non-alcoholic beverage budget and the number of items you need to shop for.  For my parties, I usually commit to providing two main dishes and a side, the rest of the menu can by divvied up, depending on the number of guests.  Buying a pork shoulder for pulled pork, some buns, cabbage and bbq sauce will run you about $23.   A batch of chili can be put together for about $20.  Bake up some corn bread for a side for under $5.  Provide a couple 2 liter bottles of soda and you've spent about $53 for some really good eats, rather than $70.

With a party budget of $200, alcohol is the second largest expenditure on Super Bowl Sunday, typically 28% of a $200 budget, or around $56 and it can easily go higher, A LOT higher.  So while a good host will always have some variety of adult beverages on hand, going BYOB here is highly recommended, especially if you have any freeloaders on your guest list and they'll do exactly that if you don't commit them to bringing something they prefer.  A drink menu can help with this and making suggestions such as, "Joe, are you up for bringing some Jello Shots?" or, "Cindy, can you bring a bottle of peanut butter flavored whiskey?  Lori is bringing a chocolate liqueur, we can do Reeces Peanut Butter Cup shots."   Depending on your home bar supply and how festive your friends are, you can probably get away with buying a 12 pack of beer and a few bottles of wine, spending $35 rather than the average $56.

Plastic cutleryMisc. items, the napkins, plastic cutlery, plates, serving spoons, ice and such...  This could be up to 14% of your out-of-pocket party budget, which breaks down to about $28.  These aren't items you typically ask guests to provide and that $28 is a figure you could easily spend at the mainstream grocery store, Walmart or Target.   Don't shop at those places.  Shop at Dollar Tree instead.    While they may not have any football themed items, they've got just about every party item you can imagine and in all colors, napkins, plates, plastic cutlery.  They have shot glasses, serving spoons, basically everything you need and you won't have to spend $28.

Decorations typically accounts for 13% of Super Bowl Watch Party expense, or $26 of your $200 budget.  You could easily spend more, but why, when the TV, buffet table and the jerseys the ladies are wearing provide all the decoration that really matters.  Again, I recommend Dollar Tree rather than the mainstream grocery store or a party shop.  And to repeat, Dollar Tree probably won't have football themed items let alone team logo stuff, but they have all the colors. You'll find all the basics necessary to provide a decent backdrop to the festivities, table cloths, runners, streamers, balloons and more, spending about half of that suggested $26 to do so.

KC Chiefs FlagFan gear.  This one is just an excuse to buy something new for the team...  Accounting for 10% of your party budget (do I really have to break that down Valley Center?  It's $20.), the amount in the budget  isn't enough to buy a jersey, but could buy the team logo drinking cups and/or paper plates if you really want those, perhaps some Kansas City Chief pennant banner flags or wall posters, a stuffed KC Wolf Mascot or a Kansas City Chiefs fleece throw blanket or pillow.  In the name of fandom, spend the $20. Notice I did NOT provide any suggestions for Philadelphia Eagles gear. 

You really don't have to spend the average $200 to put on a good Super Bowl Watch Party.  The above recommendations can reduce your party expense by up to $60.  With smart menu planning, a community bar and not going overboard on the decorations or fan gear, you'll have a great party!  Game + family/friends + good food = A GOOD TIME!


$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related:  Super Bowl Watch Party Menu Ideas

Related: Planning that Super Bowl Menu

Related: Super Bowl Watch Party Prepping on the Cheap

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