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9 Budget Picnic Essentials

9 Budget Picnic Essentials

Looking for the perfect date idea but don’t have a lot to spend? Searching for a way to spend more time with your family without dining at costly restaurants? A picnic is one of the best ways to enjoy a meal with loved ones without spending a fortune. Even better, you can enjoy that meal in a scenic park, beach, or other area that inspires outdoor play and adventure.

Planning a picnic doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. Pack these nine budget picnic essentials to create the perfect (romantic or fun) picnic environment without breaking your budget.

1. A Large Picnic Blanket

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    Your picnic blanket doesn’t have to be something that impresses fellow park-goers. It can easily be something you already have at home, such as an old blanket, a tapestry, or a sheet you no longer use. If you can’t find a blanket or sheet at home that will work, purchase one at a local thrift store and wash it before use.

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    2. A Cooler (or a Do-It-Yourself Cooler)

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      A picnic basket isn’t the most practical way of getting your picnic food and drinks to your destination. Instead of spending big bucks on a cute picnic basket, use a cooler that you already have at home. If you don’t have a cooler, you can make a temporary one by lining a large tote or plastic bin with a trash bag and placing ice packs inside.

      3. Affordable (Not Wasteful) Tableware

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        Disposable plastic tableware is an expense you don’t need to incur when planning a picnic. Disposable cutlery (and cups, plates, etc.) also create unnecessary waste. Instead, bring along reusable plastic plates, cups, and traditional cutlery from your home. Investing in a durable, reusable set of plastic tableware, which will cost about $20, can also save you from multiple purchases of disposable items if you plan to picnic often. Don’t forget to bring one sharp knife for cutting.

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        4. A Natural Bug Repellant

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          Pesky mosquitoes, ants, and other bugs can easily destroy a pleasant picnic. Most commercial bug sprays are expensive, unpleasant to smell (and touch), and can be harmful when used around foods. Items you already have around the house, like fresh-squeezed lemon and garlic cloves, can keep bugs at bay naturally. Try sprinkling cornstarch or baby powder around the perimeter of your picnic blanket to keep ants away too.

          The one-time purchase of a reusable citronella candle will also provide a pleasant picnic atmosphere while shielding you from tiny, flying pests.

          5. Affordable, Easy-to-Transport Foods

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            Aside from the company, the food is the most important part of your picnic, and it can be the most stressful part of planning. Keep in mind that meats are difficult to transport, and they are often the most costly part of the meal. Opt for cheaper alternatives, like eggs, tuna, and fresh bread, to create a delicious and affordable main course. Don’t forget to shop for in-season items, and you’ll probably be able to find fresh, budget-friendly fruits and vegetables to serve with homemade dips.

            6. Cheap (But Good) Wine

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              For many, especially romantics, wine is an essential picnic item. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a bottle that tastes good. Grocery stores are loaded with tasty wines that hover between $8 and $10. Trader Joe’s offers its famous “Two Buck Chuck,” Charles Shaw variety of wines, which can be purchased for $1.99 to $3.39. The grocery store has sold more than 600 million bottles of the stuff, so it must taste good.

              7. Reusable Water Bottles

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                By now, we all know that purchasing bottled water can be expensive and harmful to the environment. Pack one reusable water bottle, filled with a favorite drink, for each member of your picnic party. Using different colored bottles for each person can help distinguish drinks and avoid arguments among little ones.

                8. Homemade First-Aid Kit

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                  A first-aid kit is an essential part of every picnic, especially if you’ll be taking kids. That doesn’t mean you have to go purchase a costly first-aid kit from a camping supply store. The American Red Cross website offers a list of items that should be included in every first-aid kit, so you can use the items you have at home to create your own.

                  9. A Lantern or Candles

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                    The shorter days of the winter season mean you may want some light if you want to extend an evening picnic past dark. Bring candles from home to illuminate your picnic area or purchase a single camping lantern that you can use for all nighttime outdoor adventures. If you have the proper picnic supplies on hand, you’re more likely to picnic more often.

                    Featured photo credit: Michell Zappa via flickr.com

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                    Last Updated on December 2, 2019

                    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

                    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

                    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

                    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

                    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

                    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

                    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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                    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

                    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

                    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

                    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

                    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

                    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

                    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

                    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

                    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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                    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

                    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

                    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

                    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

                    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

                    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

                    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

                    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

                    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

                    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

                    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

                    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

                    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

                    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

                    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

                    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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                    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

                    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

                    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

                    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

                    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

                    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

                    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

                    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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                    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

                    More About Living a Fulfilling Life

                    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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