Football Season Savings: National Tailgate Day

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The article below is up to date based on the latest tax laws. It is accurate for your 2019 taxes (filed in 2020) and 2018 taxes, which should be filed by the April 15th, 2019 (or October 2019 with filed extension) deadline.

Football season is finally back! I think we can all agree that nothing goes better with football than food and friends. As fun as tailgating can be, without careful planning and shopping it can get very pricey.

Luckily, there are ways to save money while having everything you need to have a good time. Before you buy tickets and pack up the truck, here are some football savings tips to keep in mind.

Plan ahead. Just like with any event, one of the most important things you can do to save money on your tailgating party is to plan ahead. Make organized lists of essentials so you won’t have last-minute expenses.

Be a smart shopper. Buy food, drinks, plastic cups, napkins and other needed items in bulk to save money. Skip the prepared foods at your grocery store — consider preparing recipes at home such as pasta salad, potato salad, chili or sandwiches as it will also cut back on expenses.

DIY decorations only. Instead of worrying about expensive school or team gear, visit your local discount store to purchase plates and napkins in your team’s colors or logo. Take a quick look online for all kinds of crafty, do-it-yourself ideas that will keep your tailgate team entertained until game time.

Team up with friends and family. Ask each person or couple attending the tailgate to bring a dish or beverage that fits into your menu. Everyone loves a potluck, especially while tailgating, and the more the merrier! If you carpool to the game with other people, it can also reduce fuel and/or parking costs.

Keep it simple. Football may be a competition, but the tailgate doesn’t have to be. Instead of trying to overdo celebrations, enjoy the fun of being outdoors with friends with minimal amenities. Less is more! To keep your party sweet and simple, try sticking to having one main dish and three side dishes.

Host a staff or client dinner. Show off your team pride with your staff or clients for a tax benefit. The tax deduction for entertainment was eliminated with The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, but you can still claim 50% of the costs of the business meals provided to your staff or clients as a tax deduction as long as the meals are not considered extravagant. If the meals are served during entertainment, the meals have to be purchased separately in order to potentially qualify.

While going to the game and tailgating can be a great time, attending every home game might not be an option when you’re on a budget. However, remember that all of these tips and tricks will work just as well in your own backyard.

Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. TurboTax asks you simple questions about you and gives you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your answers. If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent to get your tax questions answered. TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in English and Spanish and can also review, sign and file your tax return.

Have any other tailgating tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below!

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