Summer is here and you’re looking for things to do with your family that won’t break the bank. Taking the time to get away from work, school and everyday obligations, is hard enough, but then thinking of the money it is going to cost to get away makes it even harder.
Camping is a great way to get away from everything as well as allowing you to really enjoy your time together and not be distracted by everyday life, including your wallet. Planning and preparation are key to making it a money-saving success.
Camping on a Budget
Create a Checklist
Lists are your best friend! Create a camping checklist before you start packing to make sure that you don’t forget anything and have to pay exorbitant prices from the campground to get it.
Purchase Pre-Owned or Slightly Used Gear
Check out local garage/yard sales, websites such as Craigslist, or even find local “online garage sale” groups on Facebook.
Use Household Items
There is no need to purchase eating utensils, plates, pots, pans, when you already have those things in your kitchen cabinets.
Create a Camping Tote
Have a tote that is used year to year especially for camping trips. Instead of purchasing temporary items to cover everything you will need, purchase items that will last and can be used year to year.
Prep your Food
Prepare your menu plan just as you normally would, and prepare anything you need to in advance. Instant Oatmeal packets, muffins and granola are great protein packed breakfast ideas that cost very little.
Pick a camping location that has things to do. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to camp in a resort, but camp close to water or a state park so you have built in entertainment that won’t cost additional money.
A couple other tips to remember. Keep your wood pile covered with a tarp to keep it from getting wet or damp from a pop-up storm. Also, try to set up camp in the shade as much as possible to avoid the heat and and having to replenish the ice in your cooler as frequently.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I suppose that’s true considering that before all our modern conveniences we had still to do all the things that we do now. Don’t misunderstand me. I love modern conveniences as much as the next person, but I have often wondered how much money I could save by applying some of the camping practices I use to my life every now and then.
It Inspires Creativity
Outdoor living makes us think out of the box. We have come up with numerous ways to cook without an electric or gas stove. We have found ways to keep water out of our tents. We have found ways to make water that is dirty clean enough to drink. There is no limit to our creativity when we take ourselves away from our modern conveniences.
How does this help us save money? These creative methods used during camping can also be used in our backyards to cook. We can make tin foil dinners to cook in the back yard fire pit or in the family fireplace. We can use clothes lines or drying racks instead of an electric dryer. Imagine how much money that could save us in electricity.
Campers usually have other skills as well, particularly when it comes to finding food. Campers learn how to forage for edible plants. Some campers hunt. Other campers like to meditate in the form of fishing. Hunters often even learn how to dry meat and prepare food for storing for a rainy day. These skills have the ability to cut down our food budgets.
Lowers Our Luxury Threshold
The comforts of home, such as a mattress made of springs and stuffing, suddenly become a bed fit for a king when you have been sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag all weekend. Things we take for granted on a day to day basis (like indoor plumbing) suddenly are an appreciated luxury. When we find the every day things in our lives have become a luxury we are less inclined to want to replace them with the latest, greatest product. We are instead, content to sit in our air conditioning for a while and enjoy what we have.
My husband totally requested this info. He’s taking our 4-year-old camping this weekend for the very first time. Camping is one of those fun things that can be very cost effective and obviously a lot of fun! Here are our Thrifty camping tips!
1. Buy your equipment second hand. There are a lot of second hand stores that have camping equipement. Most of them won’t take damaged equipment so you should be good there. If you can find a used sporting goods store, that’s even better.
2. Skip the fancy stuff. Camping is kind of popular right now. More so than ever I think. That means retailers are coming out with tons of fancy equipement even for grilling hotdogs. You don’t need that stuff. Stick with a stick, it’s free!
3. Find a free campsite. It’s possible to not have to pay for your spot. Check out freecampsites.net!
4. Eat cheap. Don’t make your meals fancy. Hot dogs and hamburgers are cheap and they don’t need many utensils. And who doesn’t love a campfire hot dog!?
5. Beg, borrow or steal wood. Ok actually don’t steal wood, but don’t buy it. Bring it from home if you can or search for it while your camping. That’s part of the fun of camping!
What Thrifty camping tips do you have?
Enter to win a Fire Pit! Also, check out free recipes while you’re there. 😉