(CBS Newspath) — Football season is underway and this year fans are paying top dollar to party in the parking lot. A recent report from Wells Fargo found tailgating costs are up – from beer to brats. Even propane to fire up the grill.
“Prices at the checkout counter at the grocery store are up the most on a year-over-year basis since 1979,” says Wells Fargo economist Michael Pugliese. “Certain proteins like chicken and beef up pretty substantially, snack-like items, buns, pickles all kinds of stuff like that that you need for game day.”
Los Angeles Rams fan Freddy Llanas and his booster club have felt the impact of that soaring inflation on their potluck budget. “Say if it I was spending 60 bucks, now it’s like $120, pretty much,” says Llanas.
Even getting to the game costs more. Gas, while on the decline from the highs of early summer, is still around fifty cents more per gallon than it was a year ago, according to AAA. And domestic flights to your alma mater or favorite team are up a whopping 34%, according to the travel site Hopper.
But rising prices don’t have to sack all the fun. There are ways to save on game day.
“Take the subway, take the bus, if you can, rather than driving or flying,” says Pugliese. He also suggests taking stock of your food spread and see which items can be swapped out for less expensive alternatives, like pork ribs – up only 2.3% over last year. Fresh vegetables are also in the single digits – up 7.6% compared to last September.
Of course, you can always armchair quarterback from the comfort of your own home. “TV prices are actually down relative to a year ago,” says Pugliese.
Llanas and his booster club all pitch in for their tailgating party, and they have enough passion to go around. “We waited years for the Rams to come home and every cent is well worth it,” says Llanas.
Experts say the most expensive thing at the game this season is still probably the tickets themselves.