Concession Stand Alternatives

Because my husband is a coach in a Tiny Town, and because we live 1/2 a block from the school gym and 3 blocks from the football field, and because we love ballgames, and because we feel that it is essential to support our small town activities, and because there’s nothing else to do in Tiny Town on a Friday (or any other) night… we end up attending a lot of ballgames.  Friday night will mark our third game night this week.

The games themselves are a frugal family activity.  We get in free (yay!  there is one benefit to being the coach’s wife!  😉    ) but without a little effort and packing ahead of time, visits to the concession stand would eat us alive.  Bag of popcorn = $.75  Hot dog = $2.00  Drink = $1.50  Take that times five (because my youngest can out eat my oldest) and it adds up quickly.

I never leave our house for a ballgame without the snack bag. This bag saves us untold amounts of money… and whining.  Water bottles (that I fill at home) are always included along with a variety of healthy meal-type foods and not so healthy treats.  I include the treats because, while I am a tightwad mom who makes her family eat healthy 90% of the time, I am not spiteful.  I don’t want my children to ever think that they are horribly deprived and be sad that they are eating veggies and dip while their friends are eating Fun Dip.  We save the ultra healthy habits for home.

Here’s what you might find in our snack bag, depending on if it’s a home or away game (if it’s at our school we just run home between games to eat a quick supper) and how long we plan to be there.

  • sandwiches
  • cheese sticks or string cheese
  • chex mix (I got these for $.50 on sale/with a coupon last week!)
  • pickles
  • raisins
  • granola bars
  • fruit snacks (yes, the ones that aren’t fruit at all)
  • apple slices
  • trail mix
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
  • popcorn
  • lollipops
  • other candy (from Halloween — yes, I still have most of that stuff — or Christmas — or Easter, if we’re talking track meets)

Preparing a snack bag is very much worth the time and effort.  We don’t go hungry while cheering on our favorite team for a few hours, the kids love the surprise factor of digging through the bag, and they are content to eat their treats without trips to the concession stand.

Am I the only one who avoids the concession stand?  What fun treats do you pack to keep your kids happy and your money in your pocket?

Visit A Cowboy’s Wife and Biblical Womanhood for more frugal ideas.

Photo by robjtak

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.


  1. Great advice! That’s when we tend to eat out too – when we haven’t planned. Thanks for sharing!

  2. We don’t have much concession stand experience yet (kids are tiny, Daddy’s not a coach :)), but we always have snacks and drinks packed. It was a lifesaver when we vacationed in Niagara Falls last summer… they were selling a bottle of lemonade for $6.50… ouch! So glad we had our water and crackers tucked away…

    Great advice!

  3. You are lucky you get in free. If we were to go to events that they charge money for, we would have to pay for 5 of us, making it unfrugal for sure. Now when my husband is coaching softball, they never charge and we go for free. We never visit the concession stand anywhere we go. You are not alone.

  4. Excellent list!

  5. Excellent idea! Same rule applies when you have an athlete. I buy Gatorade, water and sunflower seeds in bulk at Costco. If we had to buy those at a convience store or the ball park we’d be paying 2 or 3 times the cost. I’m all about supporting my local little league, but not to that extent!

  6. lol! i use to love fundip!! 😛

  7. I just found your site…ha! I can totally relate! My husband is a football and basketball coach as well and tonight is our second this week! (one was resch. due to snow) We too have a snack bag and don’t leave home without it as well! Now if only I can figure out a way to keep my three year-old from running across the court to his father!!

  8. Thank you for the great ideas! WE went to a ball game in the summer and I was amazed at the prices. Ugh!

  9. I think every coach’s wife who has children feels this pain. I pack a lot of what you do. Sunflower seeds and peanuts are a big hit. The kids also like yogurt covered raisins. I’ve even packed our own hot dogs before because my oldest just “had” to have one. 🙂

  10. I can relate. I have 3 boys playing sports and during baseball season we can easily be at the field 4 to 5 days. Once in a while I will be 1 fry for the kids who aren’t playing the sport to share. But I would have to say, that is a rare occasion.

    I also pack lots of snacks. We live less than a quarter mile to the baseball field so I usually have dinner at home before or after a game. If there are back to back games I have been know to bring dinner with us.

  11. I usually have a box of the pouch fruit juices in the freezer at all times. When it is ballgame time I take a few out. By halftime they are thawed enough to be cold and yummy!

    It also helps to invite grandma to the game. She always comes with goodies!

  12. we do this and I have a friend who actually bought me a purse that I can carry all the kids snacks around with me. This a great frugal idea


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