Professional sports in the U.S. are big ticket items. Any fan who has tried to score a last minute pair of seats to an MLB playoff game or any NFL game knows how hard – and expensive – it can be. That doesn’t stop us from trying.

Next time your favorite team has a big game approaching, don’t be one of those chumps shelling out a small fortune for nosebleed seats. You don’t need to be a hedge fund manager to attend the big game – you just have to be savvy. Try these time-tested strategies for saving money on tickets to major sporting events.

In a perfect world, you would have time to plan ahead. To some extent, proper prior planning can be your best defense against inflated ticket prices. In the case of the NFL, for example, full season schedules are posted months ahead of the season opener. There are NFL tickets on sale now for dates all the way through January. You can find that big game that fits into your schedule well ahead of time and snatch a hot deal right off the rack.

Once the date begins to creep up on you, don’t get antsy and jump at a raw deal. I know you don’t want to miss that big game, but have a little faith. Right before game day, the ticket prices online will begin to drop precipitously. This happens because scalpers get nervous about moving all of their stubs. A ticket to a sporting event is unlike other investments. That ticket is only valuable before the event actually happens. Once game day passes, unsold tickets are dead weight loss.

If you can hold out until the day before or the day of event, most scalpers will reduce their ticket prices to face or below-face value. For scalpers, any money is better than no money. Rather than eat the loss, most scalpers will behave like any intelligent businessman and hold a fire sale.

Baseball stadiums famously offer “bleacher seat” deals at attractive rates to serve their fans on a budget. The bleachers are generally located at the back of the outfield and offer a great view of the game. It’s where all the real fans sit.

What about out-of-town games? Just because your team is playing in another time zone, doesn’t mean you’re going to miss the big game. You can find amazing ticket and travel packages if you’re willing to book with groups of fans. There are several organizations that exist solely to bring a fan presence to away games throughout the year. If you buy a travel package you generally get plane tickets, hotel rooms, shuttle rides to the stadium, great seats and some kind of VIP tailgate party. It’s a premium value at a reasonable price.

The Big Blue Road Crew is one of those businesses. They organize trips to New York Giants’ road games at very reasonable prices. You can likely find a similar business serving fans of your favorite team.