The Super Bowl is less than 2 weeks away. If you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan like we are, or a Green Bay Packers fan you are probably busy planning your Super Bowl party. It's easy to get carried away with all of the excitement and spend too much money on your gathering. Here are some tips to keep it inexpensive and fun.

*Pick up snacks at Aldi or buy store brand snacks at your local grocery chains. For example, Aldi's Clancy white round tortilla chips cost $.99 for a 13 oz. bag. Compare it to a 13 oz. bag of Tostitos that cost $3.28. That is a savings of 69%.

*If you must have the national brand snacks shop the whole sale clubs for great deals. Watch for coupons to use on your favorite snacks at the grocery chains. Meijer, Kroger and Giant Eagle double coupons.

*Shop the dollar stores and party outlet stores for napkins and plates in your team colors. Decorate the house team color streamers and a few balloons. The Dollar Tree has a nice selection of helium balloons for $1.00.

*Limit the beverages to soda, bottle water and beer. Watch for sales and stock up.

*Invite guests to bring an appetizer or side dish or dessert to share. Keep it simple. People like to munch when watching the game. Shop whole sale clubs like Sam's Club, Costco or GFS for a large selection of heat and serve appetizers.

*Use your everyday flatware and glasses instead of spending on plastic utensils and cups.

*Use crock pots for hot entrees. A pot of chili, or meatballs are inexpensive and popular items to add to your menu. Guests can serve themselves throughout the game.

*Pick up salsa, crackers and cheese at the whole sale clubs and save. For example, a 64 oz. bottle of Chi Chi's salsa is just $3.98 at Sam's Club. That is an unbeatable deal.

*Many times it is less expensive to buy premade dips for chips and veggies. Find premade dips on sale at the grocery chains in the refrigerated section. Purchase the store brand and save even more.

*Stock up on veggies and save at places like Aldi, Sam's Club and Costco. Watch the ads for the deals at the grocery chains too.

*Avoid one stop shopping for your party. Shop at a few stores to take advantage of the loss leaders they each have to offer. You do not have to get it all in one trip. Work another trip or two in later in the week to stock up.

*Looking for a new HDTV for the game? Watch the ads for Best Buy, Sears, hhgregg, Walmart. Sam's Club and Costco. Find great deals on HDTV's the 2 weeks leading up to the big game. Most of the stores listed will do price matching if you have the competitors ad in hand.

*Spread the party out if you have a large crowd. Have the game on in a few rooms to avoid overcrowding.

*The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the game.

For now happy shopping!

Laurie Dixon, TheBAG Lady