Learn how to make a cheap game day charcuterie board for just $25 using items all found at Trader Joe’s. This charcuterie board is the perfect game day appetizer for your family and friends and the best part is it won’t break the bank!
I’m obsessed with charcuterie boards these days. I pin them like crazy on Pinterest and “like” every board I see scrolling through my Instagram feed. I truly can’t help myself!
Even for Christmas, “The Boys” got me a subscription for a monthly cheese club. The perfect gift for the girl who is obsessed with making these meat and cheese platters at home on the regular. They did good, those boys of mine!
As much as I love charcuterie boards, I must admit they can be really expensive to put together. For someone who has never attempted to make one before, it might be a little frightening to see the grocery bill the first time you try and duplicate one of those beautiful Pinterest charcuterie boards.
As delicious as they are, and they are darn delicious, those specialty meats and cheeses can cost you a pretty penny. Knowing what to buy, where to buy it from, and what will give you the biggest bang for your buck, can definitely help you keep the cost down when it comes to making a charcuterie board.
One of my favorite places to shop for all things charcuterie board related is Trader Joe’s. Ok, you caught me…I love to shop at Trader Joe’s period. I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t agree. Isn’t it just dreamy?!
Before the football season was over, I knew I wanted to create a Game Day charcuterie board to bring to one of our tailgating parties. It only took me until the second to last game to accomplish this goal but gosh darn it, I did it!
Not only was my game day charcuterie board cost-effective, but it took me almost no time at all to put together. Plus, the ingredients were easy to stow away in our tailgating cooler and make the 3-hour drive down to Miami.
In case you didn’t know, our family has season tickets for the Miami Dolphins but we live in the Orlando area. That means we commute down to Miami for every home game to root on our team. With such a horrible team this year, one of the only things that kept me from telling Patrick to give my ticket away to a friend was the fact that I actually looked forward to the good company and food when tailgating.
With all that cleared up, let’s get back to the board. Again, I knew I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on the board but I absolutely wanted it to be substantial enough to feed a bunch of hungry tailgaters AKA me and “The Boys”.
With that goal in mind, I started thinking about my board. With a little bit of planning and an understanding of how charcuterie boards work, you’d be surprised at how simple it is to stay within a $25 budget.
How to Make a Cheap Game Day Charcuterie Board
Where is a good place to shop for your charcuterie board items?
Although I personally feel you can accomplish an amazingly cheap board from pretty much any grocery store you frequent, I will admit that my favorite place to shop for all my charcuterie board needs is Trader Joe’s.
I personally feel that Trader Joe’s has a substantial sized cheese and meat selection at a reasonable price. As much as I love Publix, my local grocery store, the prices on some of their cheeses are outrageous. Trader Joe’s has a big enough selection at all price points to help you stay within budget!
*I should probably add that I’m not being compensated at all by Trader Joe’s for this. I just really love their store and want to scream it from the rooftops!
I have heard that the selection at Aldi is similar and possibly even cheaper but I haven’t tried it for myself. I plan on testing this out soon and will make sure to report back on my findings!
What should I have on my charcuterie board? What items will give me the biggest bang for my buck?
When I attempted my first charcuterie board, I was a little overwhelmed with what I should have on it. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it hard to walk into a grocery store and just pick out what looks good to me on a whim.
I’m the girl who writes a grocery list and then rewrites it based off of what I need down each aisle in the grocery store. Sadly, I’m not lying here, friends. If you want to be a crazy shopping list person with me, here’s the post that can help you!
After looking at a ton of different charcuterie boards, I came up with a blueprint to follow for all my future charcuterie boards. Download a free copy of my blueprint to help you plan your very own board.
All my boards need to have:
At least two types of cheese from two different cheese groups. There are four main groups of cheeses that all the varieties of cheeses fall into: aged, soft, firm, and blue. If you’re looking to save some money, keep an eye out for specials on seasonal cheeses, For example, I was able to get a good deal on a log of goat cheese rolled in figs because it was an item only sold for a short amount of time. The goat cheese I purchased is a soft variety and I bought some Manchego cheese which is considered a firm variety.
At least one type of meat. The possibilities are endless here. Chorizo, genoa salami, prosciutto, and even pepperoni would be great on a charcuterie board. Regular hard salami and pepperoni tend to be a little easier on the wallet plus you can get more of it in a package. Once you start exploring the Spanish and Italian specialty meats like soppressata or chorizo, the dollar signs really add up quickly. I did decide to go with soppressata for my board knowing that I would have less to spend in other areas of my board. You do what works best for you and the crowd you’re feeding.
At least two types of fruit and/or vegetables. You’d be amazed at how far a little bit of fruit and veggies can go on your game day charcuterie board. For my board, I chose two pieces of fruit, an apple and a pear, and cut them into slices to add to my board. Like with the cheeses, you can find some really great specials on fruit that is currently in season. I opted for fruit on this board but you could absolutely do vegetables or even a combination of one fruit and one vegetable.
At least one fruit spread or dip. What you go with here kind of depends on the rest of the items on your board. Because I stuck with fruits for my charcuterie board, I opted to go with a sweet fig butter as an accompaniment. For the record, the fig butter from Trader Joe’s is fabulous! Other item ideas that would fall in this category for your charcuterie board would be things like fruit jams, hummus, tzatziki, or even honey.
At least one type of nut or olive item. Think almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or in my case, a fun trail mix with all of the above. Sweet Savory & Tart Trek Mix from Trader Joe’s is legit if you’re looking for a recommendation. If you aren’t feeling that route, olives are always a great addition to any charcuterie board.
At least one cracker or bread item. I personally think it’s a crime to have cheese without some sort of cracker or bread. This is coming from the girl who could never ever do Keto or something along those lines because I am a carb fanatic. Any variety of crackers or a nice sliced baguette would be perfect for a charcuterie board.
When everything was said and done, here is the breakdown of the cost for my Game Day Charcuterie board. Technically, I was off by 58 cents and tax but I was still happy with that number!
- Manchego $6.35
- Goat Cheese Fig Log $4.49
- Sopressata $4.99
- Fig Butter $2.49
- Apple $0.79
- Pear $0.79
- Sweet Savory and Tart Trek Mix $3.99
- Savory Thin Crackers $1.69
- Total: $25.58
For the record, my Game Day Charcuterie Board was a huge success. I was able to make it from start to finish in 5 minutes flat. I packed all the charcuterie items in my cooler and put the entire board together right at our tailgating table. It was the perfect appetizer to nosh on while the steaks with blue cheese butter cooked away on the grill.
Since our Miami Dolphins don’t even have the word “Super Bowl” in their vocabulary, we will be watching the game from home or possibly a friend’s house. We haven’t officially secured our plans yet! Regardless of where we end up, you can beat your bottom dollar I will be using my strategies on how to make a cheap game day charcuterie board to create an epic crowd-pleasing board!
Don’t forget to download your free charcuterie board blueprint to help you create your own game day masterpiece!
Want to remember this? Post How to Make a Cheap Game Day Charcuterie Board to your favorite Pinterest board!
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