If you’re planning a Super Bowl party, putting together a menu can be both fun and frightening. Frightening because your trip to the grocery store might have you wondering why you’re throwing a bash at all when you see your total at the register. For many, the food served on game day is what makes the party such an event, so if you’re planning your own bash, there are a few tips for how you can save money when it comes time to send out the invites.

I’ve taken a few suggestions from Parade, who also understand the pitfalls of food costs during the Super Bowl.

  • Potluck, Potluck, Potluck!

    Sure, you may have the budget to purchase all of the food yourself, but you can get some fantastic variety and save a lot of money by having your guests bring food. Whether it’s a bag of chips, a crock pot full of meatballs, or even a frozen pizza, if others are bringing over their favorite snacks it will save you a ton of cash.

    The same goes for any alcoholic drinks your guests wish to consume. People in a crowd like an array of beverage choices, and the host (unless you’re up for it) shouldn’t have to supply $500 worth of liquor.

  • Think Leftovers

    I’m going to grab a food suggestion from above, that being meatballs. A friend’s wife taught me that frozen meatballs and barbeque sauce thrown into a crock pot make a VERY easy and tasty snack for guests. If they don’t all get eaten, they make great meatball sandwiches later. The same can be said for many of your Super Bowl snacks, so think leftovers when you’re planning out your menu. The money you spend for the party could be stretched out for a few days.

  • Plan Ahead and Avoid Convenience Items

    Sure, it’s easier to buy a veggie tray that’s already made up, but if you plan ahead and cut up your veggies yourself, you’ll save money. You may spend as much on the vegetables themselves as what you would on the tray, but you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck. Pay attention to prices on other foods such as cheeses and meats. Purchasing these items pre-cut are certainly convenient, but you can trim away some of your food cost by bringing out your rarely-used cheese grater or baking up that chicken on your own.

  • Use the Interwebz to Find Cheap Recipes

    You have a recipe in mind but it takes fifteen ingredients, none of which you have on-hand. Chances are you can find a recipe that is just as tasty but without needing to buy so many ingredients. Sure, Emeril makes a mean chili, but will your guests notice? Once the game has started and your guests have a couple of drinks, they’re more concerned about having something on their plate and won’t be dissecting whether or not you used fresh oregano as an ingredient.

  • Ditch the Decorations

    As much as you might be tempted to spend cash on fun footballs to hang from your ceiling, I guarantee people will have just as much fun without them. If you’re still feeling terrible about not buying the fun window clings that you’ve been eyeballing, you might settle for plates and napkins with a football theme. When the big day is over, your decorations will simply end up in a closet where they’ll get messed up anyway, so save that money and spend it on something else that you can really use.