How to have an amazing picnic on a budget

I am so excited to have the lovely Em from Love Em guest posting on the blog today. Em is sharing some great ideas on how to have a fun picnic if you are on a bit of a tight budget.

Picnic basket with picnic food and drink

July is picnic month! The weather has been amazing, and with outdoor activities opening up, picnics are a great way to spend time with family! It is easy to go overboard and spend a lot on food and accessories, especially when there are lots of people and preferences. Here is how to have an amazing picnic on a budget – one that will leave your guests coming back next year!

Sending Invitations Online

It may seem like a cute idea to purchase invitations and send them out, similar to how kids do for birthday parties. Physical invitations to your picnic can be really expensive, so to cut costs you can send e-invitations! There are lots of ways you can send invitations such as a simple text message or creating an e-invitation that you send via email. E-invites can save money on stationary and posting the letters. There are lots of templates you can use, even Microsoft Word has templates you can use! Most of these are free, which saves you a lot of pennies!

Set A Realistic Budget

The easiest way to have an affordable picnic is to set a budget and stick to it! Account for food, cutlery and anything extra you may need to pay for. Be reasonable with your budget; the average weekly food shop costs around £25 per person! Although this is for a full shop, you will need to factor in a few things for your budget. Make sure you stick to your budget tightly. If you need to spend over, think about where you can make some cuts. Here are some things to think about:

  • Cost of transport & admission (Depending on where your picnic will be)
  • The cost of food & drink
  • Cost of accessories such as picnic blankets, cutlery, reusable cups, etc.
  • Unexpected costs such as kids wanting an ice cream

Reuse Old Accessories

It can be tempting to buy a brand new picnic blanket and matching cutlery, but if you already have these, do you need more? Look around your house for picnic blankets, chairs, reusable cups, cutlery etc. This will save you a lot of money because all of these things can be expensive. If you know someone who owns something you don’t, you can ask to borrow it. See if any of your guests have things that they can bring as well! If you don’t have the things you’re looking for, make sure you have included it in your budget!

Keep It Simple

It is easy to go overboard and have 10 sandwich fillings, a selection of different crisps and enough cake for afternoon tea! Keep your picnic simple and small, as this will save you a lot of money. If your guests want quiche, choose one flavour. You don’t need to spoil them with the choice. The fewer options you have, the less you have to spend. Stick with flavours and choices that everyone likes. You can ask beforehand what people would prefer, or even vote on what should be there.

Ask The Guests To Bring Something

If your family has picky kids, make the parents bring suitable food. If they think your blanket is scratchy, they can bring ones they like! Don’t spread yourself thin to please everyone, as this will cut into your costs. Tell your guest what you’re bringing. If they don’t like the items, they can bring ones for themselves. It might also be a nice idea for each party to bring a dish to share! Having multiple dishes spreads the cost for you, and gives a wider range of fo choice! It’s not cheeky to ask your guests to bring something, especially if they’re family. Why should it just be down to you?

Have A Potluck Picnic

Similar to the idea above, you could ask all of your guests to bring one dish, drink or snack each. It means you have a whole mix of food, and you keep your costs down because everyone brings something! If you have 10 people coming, that is 10 items. Having a potluck picnic is also a fun way to try new foods and dishes. Try to co-ordinate what sort of dish your guests are bringing otherwise you may end up with 10 palates of sandwiches!

Stick To Well-Loved 

It can be easy to pick 50 items from the shelves because one person likes breaded ham, and the other likes Billy Bear. When creating your picnic, choose items that everyone will like, as this will save you a lot of money and reduce waste! Some of the most popular picnic foods are:

  • Cocktail sausages & sausage rolls
  • Pasta salad
  • Sandwiches with jam, ham, cheese etc.
  • Sliced veggies
  • Strawberries & grapes
  • Chicken nuggets

Bring Your Own Entertainment

It can be tempting to buy water guns, new toys and sporting gear to have a picnic. It costs a lot, especially when they will only be used a few times a year. One great way to save money is to bring your own entertainment! You could bring tennis rackets, a frisbee or visit a park where the activities are free. Try and avoid places like the beach where there are arcades and fairground rides. You can also play games like tag, cards or read a book. These are all affordable entertainment ideas. There are lots of free parks, forests and playgrounds that you can pick from.

Picnics are an affordable way to go out. They are cheap, suitable for fussy eaters and can make an expensive day out just that bit more affordable. What are your favourite picnic foods? Let me know your picnic money-saving tips in the comments!

About the author

Em is a UK blogger focusing on blogging, business & sustainability on her blog “Love, Em“. With 4 years of experience in the blogging world, she is keen to share her knowledge. Emily is passionate about helping others, and since leaving college, has decided to put her passions in writing. You can find her over on social media!

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