You can't beat a day out at the seaside. It's a great place to spend a low budget day out, but paddling in the surf and building sandcastles can be hungry work. If you're budgeting, the last thing you want to do is shell out for an expensive lunch in a cafe. Not only does it mean spending money, it also means leaving your prime position on the beach behind.
Bringing a picnic is the perfect solution. You and the kids don't have to leave the beach, nobody has to go hungry, and best of all you're saving money, too. You don't have to be a domestic god or goddess to plan a great picnic, either. Our top tips will help you to organise a great beach picnic.
Pack lots of finger food
It's easier to eat, it's fun for little hands, and best of all you don't have to lug lots of dishes and cutlery to and from the beach. Kebabs on wooden skewers are a good idea, as everyone can hold on to their own skewer and avoid sticky fingers. For a savoury treat, thread pickled onions, cubes of cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes onto the kebab. For sweet, use bite-sized pieces of fruit: good choices are grapes, strawberries, kiwi, and pineapple chunks. Crisps and dips are also a good: salsa and tortilla chips are always a good option, but for a healthier treat try mini carrots and hummus.
You'll probably have most of the ingredients you need for a great picnic at home, but if you do need to do a weekly shop, remember to plan a budget and stick to it. Our free Money Dashboard money management software is perfect for planning out your weekly budget, and you can use it to put aside an extra £20 or so for picking up picnic supplies.
Don't bring anything messy
You know you've failed at picnic planning when most of your food ends up on the picnic blanket instead of in your bellies. Try to avoid salad based sandwiches, as these fall apart easily. Use spreads that keep the bread together instead, such as peanut butter, meat paste, or cream cheese. To make the sarnies more fun for the kids, cut them into shapes with a fun cookie cutter. Other foods to avoid are chocolate and ice cream, as these are likely to melt in the sun. Bring fruit or jellied sweeties instead: if the little ones really want an ice cream, cut your losses and buy one at the beach. Fizzy drinks are also a no-no, as they're likely to get shaken up on the way to the beach and could explode everywhere.
Make sure you've got a great little set up by bringing an umbrella, some babywipes, and more blankets than you think you'll need. The shade from the umbrella will provide a cool place to keep your picnic basket, and also provide some shelter from the sun while you eat your lunch. Having lots of blankets means you can really spread out, and avoid the chances of sand getting in your sandwiches. Finally, the baby wipes are perfect for cleaning up sticky hands after dinner. It's much easier than running down to the waves every time you want to wash your hands.
Posted by Money Dashboard