SOURCE: BANK OF AMERICA

November 14, 2013 05:00 ET

How to Throw the Ultimate Tailgate

MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Nov 14, 2013) - (Family Features) Football season is here with high school, college and NFL games underway. That means fans nationwide are preparing to throw the most epic tailgates of the season. According to a recent Bank of America survey, which asked consumers about their tailgating plans for this football season, more than three-fourths of respondents (77 percent) plan to host at least one tailgate party. Throwing a big, tasty and impressive tailgate can be one way for fans to support their favorite teams. However, the costs of hosting a tailgate can add up. To make sure your fandom doesn't break the bank, TV host and author Adam Richman says to remember that an expensive tailgate doesn't necessarily mean a better one.

"The bottom line is that tailgating costs money, whether it's the gas to get to the stadium, the food, the souvenirs and even the tickets you buy," said Richman. "As somebody who loves tailgating and loves fans, one of the biggest assets that I feel that fans have at their disposal is cash rewards cards. There's no reason that an expensive tailgate should diminish your team spirit."

In addition to shopping smart when hosting a tailgate or football party, there are other ways to support your favorite teams this season while not breaking the bank. Some of these tips include:

Buy in bulk
More than four out of 10 survey respondents (44 percent) said they typically spend $90 or more when hosting a tailgate. Next to asking guests to bring items, buying in bulk was the second most cited method used to offset the cost of a tailgate -- and for good reason. Shopping at discount stores can help you pay less for essential tailgate items like hamburgers and hotdogs. And don't worry about buying a large quantity to get a good deal. Freeze what you don't need and use it for the next pre-game party.

Don't be afraid to repurpose
When looking to purchase tailgate supplies, consider investing in supplies that can do double duty so you can get more out of what you buy or bring with you to the game. For instance, most everyone knows that tin foil keeps food warm. But you should also consider lining your grill with it. This can help expedite the disposal of used charcoal. Similarly, trash bags are basic necessities to keep the tailgating site clean. If you use a plastic bag to line a case of drinks, fill the case with ice for an impromptu cooler to make sure your beverages are the most refreshing temperature.

Get cash back
For all the purchases that go into the ultimate tailgate, you want to make sure to consider how you will pay for what you need. Ninety-three percent of survey respondents said food or beverages are the biggest expenses when hosting a tailgate or in-home football party. With such important items, don't forget to take advantage of credit cards that offer rewards for those purchases. For example, some cards, such as the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card, let you earn more cash back where you spend the most money, for example getting 2 percent cash back at grocery stores on up to $1,500 in combined grocery store and gas purchases quarterly.

Know the rules
When you're planning on tailgating at the stadium before seeing your team play, do the research to learn the tailgating rules of the venue. Rules can vary depending on the where the game is hosted, and you don't want to put a damper on game-day fun because you didn't take the time to read through the stadium's website. According to the survey, over two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) plan to tailgate at their team's stadium for at least one game this football season. Respecting the rules of the game venue will help keep the day's activities moving smoothly and ensure everyone has a great time.

Stretch the dollar at the pump
Nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) anticipate driving more than 50 miles to support their teams this season. With all that driving, the amount you spend on gas during football season can sneak up on you. There are a couple ways to help lower your spending on gas. First, consider carpooling to and from games, tailgates or football parties. If you're the driver, your passengers can pitch in to help cover gas and other costs. And if you're the passenger, you will save through lower fuel, parking and other vehicle expenses, just don't forget to offer to help out the driver. Secondly, if you have a credit card that provides cash back rewards, consider using it to make gas purchases even if you are part of a carpool. With the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card you will automatically earn 3 percent cash back on gas on up to $1,500 in combined grocery store and gas purchases quarterly. Just ask your carpool mates to pay you their share in cash.
For more information, visit www.bankofamerica.com/creditcard.

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