Summer in Canada is all about cramming as much outdoor fun as possible, in a very short amount of time! Summer comes in with a bang and leaves us just as quickly! So, if you are like most Canadians, you be spending the next two months doing literally everything outside! Of course, this means the classics: BBQs, pool parties and picnics!
Each of these classics can be done in a myriad of different ways. Picnics can range from the elegant tablecloth tabletop with wine stemmed glasses to literally sitting on the grass. Pool parties can range from renting large inflatable games to slapping on some sunscreen and jumping in. BBQs can be a few hotdogs on the grill to filet mignons and champagne!
So how can we do something in the mid-range of these extremes but without breaking the bank? After all, aren’t these classic summertime activities about friends getting together and enjoying some Canadian sunshine? Isn’t everything else secondary? Here are the top Canadian tips on how to enjoy the great outdoors, among friends, without overspending!
TOP BBQing TIPS FOR LESS:
BBQs are one of the classic summertime suppers. Whether cooking solo, for a family, or for a large friendly get-together, Canadians love cooking on the grill. The taste, the smell, the jealous neighbors trying to grab a glimpse of what smells so delicious throughout the neighborhood all add to the appeal of the BBQ. And with just about anything being “grill-able”, how can we turn a regular BBQ event into a WOW BBQ event without overspending?
Here are 5 of the top tips for taking your BBQ to the next level, for less:
UP THE VEGGIE TO MEAT RATIO:
Meat is usually the #1 expense food-wise at a BBQ. So why not give your wallet a break by increasing your vegetable side dishes and lower the quantity of meat. You can opt for several different side salads and some fresh farmers market vegetables. You will see significant savings on that grocery bill by simply upping the non-meat components of your order.
While we are on the subject of side dishes and salads…. Before figuring out your BBQ menu, take a look through your pantry and use what is there. Got several boxes of pasta? Make a nice pasta salad. Too many cans of beans? The perfect ingredients for 3-bean salad! A quick ingredient search on a recipe website like allrecipes.com will help you find a popular side dish no matter what the ingredients you have on hand might be. Using what you already own is a great way to avoid too much spending.
DON’T BUY ICE:
If you are anything like me, you probably loathe paying for something that is free (such as a bottle of water). So why pay for ice? With some simply planning ahead, you can have just as much ice but for FREE! Why would anyone pay for ice when it is sooooo easy to make yourself. For a few weeks leading up to the party, simply make regular ice cubes and, once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer safe container. Store them until ready to use. Voila! Zero dollars spent on a very important BBQ item!
NO CUPS NEEDED:
Ok, I get it. Washing dishes for hours after guests leave is boring and no ideal. But you know what else isn’t ideal? Wasting money on disposable cups and plates to avoid a little bit of cleanup. Besides, plastic plates, cups and utensils are just plain bad for the environment. Help the environment plus save money, all in one!
Hosting a pool party is a little like hosting a BBQ, except you don’t necessarily need to serve a meal. Most pool parties are afternoon affairs and are either snack food only, or meals that are a little less extensive than a BBQ. Here are some top tips for hosting a top-notch pool party, on a budget.
What is BYOD? Simply Bring Your Own Drinks. This includes any soft drinks or juices for children. So often, we remember to bring booze to parties but we forget the expense of pop and juice for our children. Making your pool party a BYODrinks removes a huge chunk of the expenses and now you can concentrate more fully on some cool snacks instead!
Speaking of cool snacks…. There are some great ideas that can be accomplished for very low cost. Sure, there is the classic chips and there is absolutely nothing wrong with going that route. But there are some more inventive ideas that are just as yummy. Grab a day-old baguette (at a reduced price), slice it into thin slices, toast them, then add some diced tomatoes with a splash of balsamic for some cute bruschetta style bites. Or slice up a farm fresh cucumber, add a dollop of hummus and some crumbled feta for a cute and healthy snack. Why not swing by the dollar store and grab some bags of candies to make an adorable candy station using clear glasses and vases? The possibilities are endless when it comes to fun snack foods for less!
Sia said it best! When it comes to thrills, you don’t need money! While you are at the dollar store picking up those candies for your candy bar, take a look through the games section and grab some pool games and lawn games for less. No matter the ages of the guests (from kids to adults!), there are some games that will entertain everyone. Don’t underestimate how much fun childish games can be for adults when in the pool. Things such as tossing a “splash Frisbee” or blowing bubbles is more fun than we sometimes realize! Try not to overlook those cheap classic games!
Picnic are the one activity that truly run the gamut of extremes. As mentioned above, there are uber elegant picnics with white gloves and candlelight and there are picnics of chips and pop while sitting on the ground. Picnics are really about the company and the venue (the great outdoors) and less about the decorations. And the food plays a fun factor as well but needs to be handled with some care. Trying to eat a spaghetti or a soup is less than ideal when seated on the ground! So here are the top tips for taking your picnic up a notch, without making your wallet scream in agony!
PLAN YOUR MEAL:
Meal planning is key. This meal needs to be easily eaten without utensils (or minimal use of utensils) and, without too much fanfare and preparation. Sandwiches are a best bet but no need to opt for boring bologna! Sandwiches can easily be turned into an interesting picnic element but adding some extras. Instead of regular bread, why not opt for a baguette? Instead of chicken salad sandwiches, why not grill some sausages and have cool “hot dogs” with chorizo and ciabatta buns? Another easy way to up your picnic game is to have fun with side dishes. Bring some nuts and olives and make an antipasti platter. Bring some cheese and grapes and make an adorable cheese platter. Bring some plastic wine glasses and toast to a successful picnic meal prep!
Picnics, much like pool parties, don’t require much in the way of entertainment. Lawn darts, Frisbees, tossing around a football. All of these seemingly simple activities are all that a picnic needs. You would be surprised how soothing for the soul the simple act of being in the great outdoors can do for you. The rest of the day just takes care of itself!
No matter what events you have planned all summer long, iCASH.ca has got you covered! If you need some extra funds until next payday or you need some summer money to spread out into up to 3 even installment repayments, contact iCASH.ca today to find out how we can help!