A trip to the ballpark can strike out your savings if you don’t go with a game plan in mind. A family of four can easily spend over $100 before the opening pitch is even thrown on tickets and snacks alone. That said, you can still make plays using your credit card that will put cash back in your pocket with just a little foresight. Check out these keys to saving at the baseball stadium this season!
Saving at Baseball: Transportation
Gas, tolls, and parking fees are taxing expenses to contend with before you even enter the stadium. The hassle of gameday parking alone is enough to deter people from going to the game at all, but you can mitigate some of that cost by paying for your space using a travel rewards credit card that earns cash back. Depending on the card you use to buy your tickets, you may even be able to save money thanks to discounted parking passes available at checkout. Alternatively, you can rack up rewards points by paying for a ride to the baseball game on your credit card. Even if you see a surge in pricing when you summon your vehicle, the headache you’ll save by not having to park six blocks away from the park and hoofing it will be worth it.
Saving at Baseball: Tickets
The bane of baseball fans on a budget, tickets to a game can vary wildly in price thanks to a whole host of factors. Going to a game at the start of the season, particularly on opening day, is far more expensive than a mid-week home game during the dog days of summer. One way to curb some of the cost when you buy tickets is to invest in a bundle package with the others going along with you, which will spread the cost around among your friends who are eager to go. To maximize your cash back point-earning potential when you go this route, volunteer to buy all the tickets using your credit card- then immediately pay it off to keep your credit utilization ratio down.
When buying tickets online, there are resale sites that can score you great seats at huge discounts. For even steeper savings, consider the wildcard approach of buying tickets at the stadium window minutes after the game has started. Teams are looking to fill those seats any way they can, even if it means considerably slashing prices. Unless you’re at a minor league game, don’t let the idea of sitting in the cheap seats bother you. Their value is evident in their name alone, but on top of that, you’ll also have a better chance to catch a home run when a power-hitter slugs one into your section. A few innings into the game, you’ll likely find a few empty seats closer to the action as well, so don’t fret.
Saving at Baseball: Food & Drink
Aside from tickets, the snacks you buy at the ballpark are notoriously subject to price inflation. Food and drinks there can quickly rival the cost seen of most popular restaurants, except that you don’t risk being hit by a foul ball and dropping your $12 order of mini-nachos or ice cream in a novelty team helmet. The most frugal move that you can make as a hungry baseball fan on your way to the game is to eat before you get there. Taking your family out to lunch before the game and charging it all on your cash back rewards card for the points is far more palatable, as is buying supplies to throw down with fans in the stadium lot for a pregame tailgate party. Either way, it’s likely cheaper than anything you’ll be able to get in the stands.
Whether supporting San Francisco, St. Louis, Miami, or any team in between, stadium souvenirs can get ridiculously expensive in a hurry. A $10 novelty bat may seem like a steal when sold next to autographed memorabilia, but seeing as your kids or your pets will ruin that toy by the next morning, its value is already gone. For the price of buying a single t-shirt at the stadium, you can buy two or even three officially licensed shirts online days before the game and have them delivered in time for the event.
The local mega-discount big-box superstore when you bought your tailgate snacks is also a good place to find team merch on the cheap. As with tickets, food, and transport, don’t forget to put it on your card. The points earned on every ballcap adds up and may give you enough points for some free swag by then end of the season. Seeing the show in person is a memorable experience that should not be passed upon this summer. By taking the time to shop smart before the game and saving at baseball, you’ll be able to swing it.