How to Save Money at the Ballpark

One thing many families love heading out to the ballpark. Whether it’s minor or major league, these games can be a lot of fun, keeping you entertained while supporting your favorite team.

But it can quickly become expensive between tickets, parking, food and more. (You can read about one couple who attended a Cubs game for less than $100 here.) We’ve got some great tips you can follow, so that you can get out and enjoy the game but not spend too much.

Eat Before You Go (or Bring Your Own Snacks)

The smells are there to entice you: They have a way of wafting toward you and when you really listen, you might even hear that popcorn or hot dog calling your name. However, if you eat before you head out, you won’t be as easily tempted to grab a snack from the vendor as he walks by.

Each ballpark has different rules, but you may be able to bring in snacks and water. Just make sure you check your park’s website to see what’s allowed. Most parks let visitors bring empty water bottles, which you can fill at any fountain.

Take the Bus

The cost of parking is astronomical — many venues charge $20 or more just to park. And that is on top of the large amount you dropped on the tickets themselves. Check the bus schedules, as there are often some which will drop you off at the game and pick you up when it’s over (saving you money and the headache of fighting traffic). By parking outside of the stadium and taking the bus, you can save on hefty parking fees.

Don’t Spend a Fortune on Tickets

If you buy tickets at the window on the day of the game, you will get them at face value. However, if you purchase them online, you often pay fees, which makes your tickets cost more. The only downside to this is that you have to take what’s available. But you never know which seats you may find, and they may be better than you expect. No matter where you sit, you can have a good time. Just don’t forget your binoculars.

Watch for Deals

Check out discount sites, such as Groupon, where you can sometimes find tickets to local events at a reduced price. You can sign up for alerts so you never miss out. Also watch for special events. I know that there are often $1 night deals — which means $1 hot dogs and soft drinks (the rare time you can afford the food). Keeping an eye out for deals doesn’t just apply to sporting events — you can do this to help you save on traveling as well.

Don’t Buy Souvenirs 

These are priced much higher than you would pay at your local sporting good store or even online. It is tempting, but shop before you go and you’ll be less likely to get drawn in by having a new shirt to wear as you root for your team.

These are ways to save while still enjoying America’s favorite pastime. But it isn’t worth blowing your budget or going into debt just to see a game you could easily watch at home. (You can keep track of your financial goals and see how your spending habits are affecting them by looking at your free credit summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)

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Image: Renee Keith

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