It’s that time of the year again — baseball season has made its return. Whether you love to catch a major league team or support your local minor league club, getting out to enjoy a game can be a fun family event. However, a trip to the ballpark can get expensive very quickly. You have to buy the tickets and then pay for parking, and once inside, there are the food, drinks and giant foam fingers tempting you at every turn.
Win or lose, you can still have a great time and leave without blowing your budget. A little planning ahead is all you need to do to watch the boys of summer without spending more than you’d like.
Food and Drink
The moment you walk through the gate, the scents of the ballpark are wafting through the air. There’s popcorn, cotton candy, pizza and more. Those scents are enough to tempt your taste buds into buying them.
In 2016, GOBankingRates conducted a study that found that the average cost of a hot dog from a baseball stadium was about $4.37. If you have a family of five, that means you’d be paying just shy of $22 for hot dogs, and you wouldn’t even have anything to wash them down with! However, if you eat before you head to the park, you’ll find that you’re not as tempted to buy these pricey snacks from vendors. What’s more, if you bring along an empty bottle, you can fill it for free at the water fountain and won’t be tempted into buying pricey water bottles at the concession stand.
As an added bonus, you’ll often find you eat a bit healthier when you dine at home instead of munching on peanuts and popcorn.
Just be sure to visit the website for your ballpark before going, as some might allow you to bring in your own snacks and water, and some might not. Make sure it is okay before you fill your bag with food, so you don’t end up having to dump it all in the trash.
Take the Bus
The price you pay for parking is terribly expensive. There are locations that charge $25 or more just to park your car.
Take a look at the bus schedules and grab a ride instead. Sit back and relax without fighting traffic to get there, and then, when the game is over, you can climb back on the bus and won’t be stuck in long lines trying to leave the stadium.
If you must drive, check around for parking prices. Parking outside of the stadium on private lots can be less expensive than parking closer to the entrance.
Try the Cheap Seats
Sitting near the third base line is awesome, but it also often means a hefty price tag. Most seats are great, no matter where you sit. Get seats on an upper level and you’ll still have a great view of the game, without paying so much. You just might need to bring along some binoculars.
Watch for Online Deals
Daily deal sites often release package offers for discounts to local events, even ballgames. Sign up for email alerts so you know when these offers happen, that way you can grab one before it’s sold out.
Also look at the calendar of your closest ballpark for family events. For example, the Kansas City Royals offer “BUCK NIGHT” where you can get $1 hot dogs and peanuts. That is a great time to take advantage of a discount.
Don’t Buy Your Tickets Ahead of Time
If you buy your tickets online, you often have to pay processing fees for each seat. Depending on the size of your family, it’s a safe bet you’d be tacking on at least a few bucks to your final cost.
Instead, stop by the ticket window on the day of the game, and you’ll get seats at face value. You might think you won’t find the best seats still for sale, but you can.
Buy Clothes and Souvenirs Before You Go
As tempting as they might be, skip the gift shop at the ballpark. You will usually pay more for that jersey than you would at a local store.
And though stores might not always have an exact match for something sold at the park, you can certainly find similar (and cheaper) styles of items that show off your team spirit just as well.
Remember, baseball games can be a lot of fun — especially when they don’t blow your vacation budget.
Click here to read more about family fun that won’t cost you a dime.