The country is engulfed in World Cup fever! In the MoneyAware team we have a healthy mix of football-mad enthusiasts and those who are vaguely aware there’s some reason EastEnders isn’t on at the usual time.
Whichever side of the footballing divide you fall, you’re likely to get swept up in it all at some point.
According to a recent retail report, if England make it to the final, fans will spend more than £2.5bn on entertaining at home or in a pub. But you can give cost the red card – follow our simple tips and slash the cost of celebrating!
Option 1: Keep it local
During this year’s World Cup nearly £1.3bn will be spent in UK pubs and restaurants. Considering only 13% of viewers say they’ll turn off if England go out before the final that’s potentially a lot of money spent in the boozer. So here’s how to keep the cost of the pub to a minimum… (trust me, I have years of experience!)
Leaving your bank card at home will save you money. Decide on a budget for the day and take out a set amount of money. Cash points in pubs usually charge to withdraw cash and contactless cards can make you more likely to ‘impulse buy’. An England win combined with alcohol can quickly put a big dent in your bank balance.
Eating is NOT cheating
The England games are on telly from 5pm onwards so the chances are you’ll get hungry. Plan to eat a meal at home before you go to the pub. This is a good idea for two reasons. Eating out is expensive, especially if you’re going with the family. And you can have a nice cheap home cooked meal rather than struggling to find a table and order in an over-crowded bar.
Buying drinks in rounds is rarely a good idea. There’s always one who asks for the most expensive drink on offer. It’s easy to lose track of your spending and you can end up blowing your budget. Also, if you’re forced to drink at other people’s pace it can lead to you drinking more than you’re used to.
Option 2: Host a World Cup party
An online survey of 2,000 shoppers found that 35% planned to spend more than £50 on entertaining during the World Cup. Without some planning, staying at home to host a footie get-together can be a false economy. But not if you follow these top money-saving party tips:
One major advantage of watching the World Cup at home is you’re the landlord; there’s no shock over extortionate drink prices; supermarkets offer good deals on lager or cider compared to pubs. That said, it’s not a challenge; you don’t have to drink it all in one go but it’s cheaper than frequent trips to the corner shop. Browse online then pop into the shop, and you’ll be less likely to buy on impulse. A great place to find the best deals is hotUKdeals.com
Ask people to chip in
It’s an unwritten rule that invitees ‘bring a bottle’ to a party, but if you’re a bit more organised you can spread the cost of your shopping list. Start a Facebook group so everyone can chip-in. I went to a party recently where someone made a chilli, and someone else sorted the rice; a couple brought a crate of lager and I made a cheesecake. The host made a fun party punch for everyone. Obviously asking people to chip-in works best with close friends or family, but give everyone the flexibility to bring what they can and it shouldn’t be a problem.
Make your own decorations
This may seem a bit ‘Blue Peter’ but taking the time to add a few simple decorations can really get people in the World Cup mood. We’ve decorated the MoneyAware office with green and yellow paper chains and bunting. All you need is some cheap crepe paper and a stapler.
Ashe, from our Web Helpline team, went that bit further and made a replica Christ the Redeemer (pictured) from insulating foam! But if you’re not feeling that adventurous, a football flag above the telly and some coloured balloons will do the trick. If you’ve got little ones coming, get some cheap face-paints: they’ll love having a go painting flags on guests’ cheeks.
Either way, have fun
Make sure you avoid a budget-busting World Cup hangover. Follow our simple tips and make Brazil 2014 a summer of football to remember. We’ve got plenty of practical budgeting tips you can use to save money every day. Sign up to get our free monthly MoneyAware newsletter and we’ll email you the latest.