Thursday, January 29, 2015

How to Save on Super Bowl Snacks

Super Bowl XLVI just days away, fans are starting to make plans for one of the best parties of the year. Anticipation for the big game doesn't only surround the battle for supremacy between the NFC and AFC, but also the chance to consume large quantities of French onion dip and other salty snacks. This privilege is afforded just a few times a year, so it's worth making the most of it.

With Football fans -- both fanatic and fair-weather -- aren't the only ones gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday. Grocery stores in particular view the event as an opportunity to mark up party must-haves, and with at-home food prices on the rise, it's especially important to shop smart. To keep your pigskin party from breaking the budget, try these six strategies for saving on a winning Super Bowl spread.

1. Chips
White or yellow corn? Original or wavy? Kettle or baked? There are more tortilla and potato-chip options than there are teams in the whole NFL. Even die-hard Tostitos fans should give store-brand options a try. These generic chips are often taste just as good and are quite a bit cheaper. At the very least, compare prices of competing brands before reaching for your go-to.

2. Chicken Wings
It shouldn't be surprising that the price of chicken wings tends to skyrocket around the Super Bowl. No party is complete without this sports-viewing staple. Avoid paying through the teeth by stocking up on frozen wings weeks in advance. Costs can be further reduced if you buy gift cards for your local supermarket at a discount from sites like GiftCardGranny. Shopping for party supplies this way will save as much as 35 percent over cash or credit.

3. Taters
What are wings without french fries to sop up excess hot sauce and Ranch dip? While frozen frites are the easy way to go, both your budget and taste buds will benefit from homemade potato skins. It doesn't get much cheaper than a big bag of potatoes, and toppings can be as simple as cheese and salsa.

4. Veggies
Avoid the temptation to buy a prepackaged tray of veggies; you're only paying for convenience and presentation. Those two features are easily attainable with a sharp knife and a big plate. Pick up a few fresh items that are easy to prepare such as carrots, peppers, celery and snap peas, and arrange them around a sumptuous bowl of dip. Since you choose what stays and what goes you'll never get stuck with a pile of leftover cauliflower.

5. Dips
Just like veggies, you can get more bang for your dipping buck by going the homemade route. Ranch and French dips require no more than a package of seasoning and some sour cream. Guacamole is as simple as coarsely chopped avocado with garlic salt and lemon juice. If you consider yourself a true dip aficionado and are looking for something more advanced, check out these tasty recipes from The Huffington Post.

6. Drinks
Liquor stores are a madhouse during the days leading up to the game, so consider stocking up on your favorite liquid provisions a week out. Hit up Costco and Sam's Club for up to 30-percent off grocery store prices. Keg beer is another money-saving staple for big parties. Better yet, make it a BYOB event.
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Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., and has been featured among such top media outlets as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.

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