Preparing for Family Outings
Outings are a fun and frugal way to create great memories with your family. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure an enjoyable trip for everyone. This is a page about preparing for family outings
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This idea alone has saved me more money than almost anything else. I will try and give a few examples.
- Running Errands: You know those days when you're hitting four different grocery stores for the best deals, dropping off dry-cleaning and making another donation to the local thrift shop. You're out for hours! You will inevitably get hungry, and why waste a bunch of money on carryout, drive-thru or gas station snacks, etc., when you are trying so hard to save money and get the best deals everywhere you go? Bring a PBJ and a bottle of water. Problem solved! :) This holds true especially when you have a large family and children are accompanying you, yet the same holds true for just one.
- Zoos, Fairs, or Other Attractions: The food and drinks at these hot spots will generally run you more than the actual price of admission. You've already paid about $10 per person to get in the place, why give away your rent money for the month too? I always pack a small cooler with waters, sandwiches, nuts, dried fruit, etc. This way, I still have a tiny bit for each of the kids to get a small souvenir, and that brings a much bigger smile to their face than a $3 bottle of water!
- Vacations: The third and final place that I practice this no matter what, is on a trip. Talk about spend a lot of money! We all need to get away sometimes though, especially for the kids on summer break. What is the biggest money sucker by far on vacation? Food, of course! Every morsel and sip that passes your lips is purchased at a premium. So what do we do?
I pack a large cooler before we head out. I also pack a large bag of non-perishable items for convenience sake. I first and foremost bring lots of bottled water. You can get a 24 pack for nearly the price of a single bottle at other tourist locations. I bring bread, peanut butter and jelly, cereal, milk, granola bars, beef sticks, value pack of course, cheese, fruit cups, dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, crackers, cookies, etc. We plan ahead of time to eat out only once on our vacation. It makes it so much more exciting and special! No one complains and our food costs are shockingly low, bringing the cost of the trips down immensely.
This may all sound like more work and a pain. Yes, it does take extra preparation. But it is well worth it in the end. You may even be able to take vacations more often now that you see how inexpensive they can be! Well, that pretty much covers it. :)
Take a thermos with you on family outings to avoid eating in expensive restaurants. You can fill them with hot dogs, sloppy Joe, BBQ beef, tuna salad, etc. You can serve it on fancy rolls or pita bread when you're ready to eat.
When everyone is ready to eat, pull over at the nearest park and have a nice picnic. You'll save a lot of money and have a nice family meal that you will remember more than eating at a restaurant. Eating outside makes it fun, and taste better.
By Kim from KS