“Time-out” doesn’t have to be such a bad thing after all.
This season, it’s time to celebrate sunny days and sunny faces by putting on a spring picnic. Soak up what spring has sprung, and take the family and friends’ dining experience outdoors.
Doing so is easy and even better, cheap, memorable and delicious. All you have to do is follow these five tips and soon enough, you’ll be a frugal picnicking pro.
1. Freeze juice boxes and pouches.
Staying hydrated is just as important as staying satisfied with easy-to-pack foods. Keep beverages cool by letting them serve double-duty. Hours before heading out, stick juice boxes and pouches in the freezer then store them in a cooler to take outside. That way, these juices double as ice packs and, once thawed, cool drinks. But on those especially sweltering days, it wouldn’t hurt to enjoy them fresh out of the freezer.
2. Downsize containers.
Avoid taking entire bottles, jars and bags to the park and instead, pack up reasonable servings in small reusable containers. This goes for condiments, burger toppers, chips and just about anything in the picnic menu. Downsizing servings means less weight to tote around. But most importantly, taking more than stomachs can handle is more likely to end up in food waste, which translates to money waste.
3. Stick to silverware.
No need to invest in throwaway spoons, forks and knives when you’ve already got the goods at home. Don’t be afraid to bring silverware to the picnic, wash at home and reuse next time whether inside or out. Reusability is key to a frugal picnic and when you have what you need at home, buying the plastic version at the store is only an unnecessary expense. Plus, you can score fancy points when you’re picnicking with silverware.
4. Say ‘yes’ to the yard.
Save on gas too by holding the picnic right in your backyard. Eating at home can get boring after a while, so change it up by having meals under the sun or stars on days with good weather. Plus, with the privacy and security of your own yard, keeping tabs on the kids won’t be as hard as it would in a sprawling park. And if you forget an ingredient or supply, it won’t take much time or energy to retrieve what you need at home.
5. Plan at least a week ahead.
Meal planning, in any context, is the smartest, simplest way to save money on food. When it comes to picnics, plan the food, drinks and supplies at least a week in advance. That way, you can hit up the grocery store with a tangible list of needs rather than a vague idea of wants. Planning ahead also means no last-minute trips to the grocery store, which saves precious time and perhaps more precious gas.
Making room for Mother Nature at the dinner table is easy when you’ve got a plan for money-savvy choices. All you need now is a warm day and a crowd of grumbling tummies. And as all parents know, the latter is easy to come by.
This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.
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