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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 May 28, 2020

                    How to Overcome Boredom

                    How to Overcome Boredom

                    Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

                    I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

                    If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

                    What is Boredom?

                    We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

                    You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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                    It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

                    If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

                    When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

                    Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

                    If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

                    Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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                    Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

                    In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

                    It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

                    Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

                    Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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                    In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

                    3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

                    1. Get Focused

                    Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

                    You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

                    Here are a few ideas:

                    • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
                    • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
                    • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

                    2. Kill Procrastination

                    Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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                    So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

                    Here are some ideas:

                    • Do some exercise.
                    • Read a book.
                    • Learn something new.
                    • Call a friend.
                    • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
                    • Do a spring cleaning.
                    • Wash the car.
                    • Renovate the house.
                    • Re-arrange the furniture.
                    • Write your shopping list.
                    • Water the plants.
                    • Walk the dog.
                    • Sort out your mail & email.
                    • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

                    3. Enjoy Boredom

                    If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

                    Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

                    So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

                    More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

                    Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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