Those that plan ahead and shop smartly can celebrate the Superbowl without letting the recession get the best of them. There are a few simple ways to cut corners on game day grub, without sacrificing any snack food staples.
One idea is to buy bulk sized frozen snack foods, throw them in the oven, and serve them with no one the wiser. Mini pizza bagels tend to be a crowd pleaser, as do taquitos. Also, a big package of tortillas is dirt cheap and can serve more than a few guests. Melt some cheese in between two to make a quesadilla, bake them in the oven, and then cut them into slices for serving.
If the high prices of chicken wings has gotten you second guessing serving them up, try chicken breast instead. While not exactly the same, the chicken can be cut up and served with the same sauces and garnishes as traditional wings. Also, pigs in a blanket, or spicy sausages served with toothpicks and dippers are other easy finger foods perfect for waving around wildly while cheering on your team.
Be willing to abandon your ties to your favorite chip brand in favor of the "buy one get one free deals" at many supermarkets. The deal is usually for a lesser known brand, but no one will really know the difference once the chips are transferred to a bowl. Those unable to dish out cash on pre-made dips can raid the fridge for inspiration. Leftover cream cheese, shredded jack or cheddar, and salsa can be combined to make a tasty and cheap dip.
As far as dessert goes, Super Bowl sweets don't have to be fancy. Break and bake some sugar cookies in the oven, and add frosting in your team's colors. Preparing them yourself cuts down on the credit card charge you'd face ordering specially made desserts for game day. Brownies are another cheap and easy option that quickly dissappear.
Drinks are another place where hosts can save money. Like chip brands, the lesser known sodas tend to be advertised at lower prices. Stock up on 2-liter bottles of cheap alternative brands to save some change, or choose cans to avoid buying cups.
As far as alcohol goes, buy beer in bulk at supermarkets, based on whatever is on sale. People tend to be more focused on the game than on what they're drinking, as long as there's a beverage in their hand. Also, stick to cans. For the winos in your audience, a case of Charles Shaw "Two-Buck Chuck" wine from Trader Joe's usually rings up for around $30. For those serious about saving, steer clear of hard alcohol, which can add up quickly, especially when mixers are introduced into the equation.
Perhaps the best way the celebrate and save is to host a potluck Super Bowl party. By spreading the food responsibility around, people are sure to not only save some money, but also have something there that they enjoy. Or even better, include BYOB on your invites. Alcohol is more expensive than a plate of nachos, and you can save serious bucks by having everyone else provide the beverages.
Prefer to leave the planning to someone else? Click here to see our guide to local Super Bowl bar specials.