Bob Cavanaugh's tailgate, photographed during the 2016 season, has a full bar, extensive menu and a DJ. Don't expect yours to look like Bob's. Credit: Anna Orso/Billy Penn

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A ticket to watch the Eagles take on Washington at the Linc for Monday Night Football ain’t cheap. It’ll likely set you back a couple hundo — easily.

But a pregame tailgate isn’t optional. It’s utterly essential. Lucky for you, I have some ideas for how you can throw a bangin’ Birds tailgate for less than $7 a person. That means even if your lame friends “forgot to Venmo you,” putting on a tailgate won’t break the bank, anyway.

I’ll assume you have the basic necessities, including a table, chairs and a grill of some sort (though I can recommend this cheapo portable grill if you’re in need of one). Here are the food items and drinks your tailgate — which will feed 15 people for less than $100 total — will include:


An Eagles tailgate photographed during the 2016 season. Credit: Anna Orso/Billy Penn

Grab two 30-racks of Coors Light (obviously the best of the cheap beers, don’t @ me), which will run you about $22 each. This is your largest expense of the day. That’ll work out to about four beers a person, and if anyone wants more beer than that, they’re welcome to bring it themselves.

I also suggest a fifth of vodka that you can mix with assorted soda. This is not going to be a fancy tailgate, people! Go for a bottle of Pinnacle, which will run you about $10 or less, as long as you don’t get the disgusting whipped cream flavor. Don’t embarrass yourself. Or me.

Grab three different two liters from the grocery store, perhaps a Coke, a Sprite and an orange juice. If you shop at Aldi like a good person, they’ll be 79 cents each. I’ll round to $1 to keep these estimates conservative.

That brings you to an overall drink total of $57. You’ve got $43 left to spend on food and other supplies.


An Eagles tailgate photographed during the 2016 season. Credit: Anna Orso/Billy Penn

Surely you’re wondering what’s on the menu. You’re having burgers, dogs, chips, buffalo chicken dip, a veggie tray and brownies. These are ideal tailgating staples. Maybe your friends will be nice and bring some macaroni salad or something. Cross your fingers.

I did all my price-checking at Aldi, the greatest grocery store in these United States and my favorite place to shop when I’m entertaining. Why? Aldi is perfect when you don’t need anything fancy, and Lord knows your Monday night tailgate in a parking lot in South Philly doesn’t need any fancy organic produce or the finest Wagyu beef. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bag of 16 frozen burgers – $7.49
  • Pack of eight Parkview hot dogs – .79 cents
  • Two bags of hamburger buns – $1.66
  • Bag of sliced cheese – $1.79
  • One bag of hot dog buns – .83 cents
  • Bag of Clancy’s BBQ chips – $1.09
  • Bag of tortilla chips – $1.19
  • Boxed brownie mix – $1.99
  • Veggie tray – $6.99 (Or you could cut up your own vegetables like a crazy person, but time is money, people.)

And if you also decide to make the buffalo chicken dip, which you should:

  • Pack of cream cheese – $1.09
  • Bag of cheddar cheese – $2.79
  • Bottle of ranch dressing – .89 cents
  • Bottle of hot sauce – $1.19
  • Can of chicken – .69 cents

That brings the grand total of food to $30.47, meaning you have about $12 left to spend on miscellaneous items. Score. (Ed note: No one should ever buy an entire pack of hot dogs for $.79. That’s not meat. Not that most hot dogs are meat, but…)

Miscellaneous supplies

The scene at the Linc during an Eagles-Bill game in 2016. Credit: Anna Orso/Billy Penn

There are a couple other items you need to make this tailgate for 15 people under $100 perfect (yes, I also got these at Aldi):

  • A 50-ct. of Aldi brand Solo cups – $2.49
  • 80 paper plates – $2.79
  • Pack of napkins – $3.49

These miscellaneous items (not including plasticware, since everything is finger food!) will run you a total of $8.77.

Meaning your overall total for alcohol, food and supplies is $96.24, and you should have enough food and booze to serve about 15 people. You even have a few dollars to spare. Don’t spend it all in one place! And don’t bet it on Carson Wentz winning MVP. At least not yet.

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.