Having a picnic can be fun anytime of season, except winter of course. A lot of picnic venturing happens in the summer but who says that you cannot have a picnic in the fall with your family.  It is still cool enough to enjoy a day outside, yet not too cold to freeze an ant’s butt off. The best part is that you can easily have one on a limited budget. The most you are going to spend on is time with your family which is priceless. You really do not need much to have a memorable time. Some simple snacks, a light lunch, and some fun activities should get you through it.

Items needed for a budget-friendly picnic include: a cooler, ice, Tupperware, and Ziploc bags. You also can save money by just walking to your local park and enjoy nature with family.

Snacks: Reuse leftover snacks that you might have in the pantry. Mini-Ziploc bags are great for some cheerios, fruit loops, and Chex mix. Do not forget about the pretzel flavored Goldfish crackers. Remember you do not need to bring the whole bag.

Lunch Option #1: Tuna fish – Two cans are all you need to feed a family of four a light lunch ($2 dollars). Mix the drained tuna, a tablespoon of mayonnaise, and ¼ cup of diced onions (optional). Put it in a Tupperware container in the fridge. Serve with crackers, since the bread might get soggy.  Keep in the cooler until you are ready to eat.

Lunch Option #2: Peanut Banana & Jelly Bite- A simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich is great. Now add a banana into the mix and you have perfection! Slather jelly on one side and peanut butter on the other. Cut up slices of banana and line them evenly on the jelly side. Put the pieces of bread together. Squish them together gently. Now cut into four squares. You make 4 of them, and get 16 bite size pieces. Also keep in the cooler until you are ready to eat.  Total cost: $4 dollars.

Drinks: Water from home is great, and free. You can also make nice Lemonade: 12 lemons freshly squeezed a cup of honey, 3 cups and 4 cups of ice. Adjust the honey for tartness level. Total cost will be around $3.00 dollars.

Décor: Do not spend money on utensils, plates, cups, and a tablecloth. Use what you already have. Find a cute old blanket that you have not used in a while. Take everyone’s special mug. Buy a set of three paper towel rolls for $2 dollars and make them work double time as plates and something to wipe your face clean.

Games: Save money on buying expensive games, and toys for the kids to enjoy at the picnic. Bring old pillow cases for a nice “potato sack” race. Use the jump rope you have lying around for the three-legged race. You can even purchase a little notebook for a dollar. Why? That way your child can put the individual leaves he/she finds at the park.  They can use them for other crafts later on in the season.

Picnic Option #2: If you really want to have a great picnic that will cost you almost nothing, then you can always plan a potluck picnic where all the dishes balance each other out.

There you have it. A simple family picnic on a $12 dollar budget. You can enjoy a family picnic in the fall without spending a lot and falling into debt.