Turning a Fun Outing into Savings

One of the things in our budget is a little category called, “Entertainment.” If we let it, it could become quite a big chunk of our money, right? But how about if you paired a fun family outing with a savings in your grocery budget later on?

Yesterday, I took our kids out on our annual blueberry picking outing. I’m so happy to see that the pick-your-own type farm that we go to still charges the same price as when we began doing this 3 years ago. It’s hard to find that with anything these days, isn’t it? But they are holding steady at $1.98 lb.

The kids look forward to the tractor ride out to the blueberry bushes, we pick for as long as we can stand the heat that day and then we take a little time to enjoy some fun doing the free activities they have there, which is kept simple with sandboxes, slides, swings, etc. I like that they don’t sell food there but offer a couple picnic tables for a fun picnic lunch together.

The kids always have such fond memories of doing this together and even ask when we are going at the beginning of summer. Since it’s free to get in, we just pay for the blueberries. I’ll keep some for us to enjoy for a few days and then I freeze the rest. A few months from now, blueberry prices are going to soar back up in the grocery stores and that’s when I start dipping into our stash. It’s nice to still have blueberries for waffles/pancakes, smoothies or for yogurt toppings without breaking my grocery budget.

How did our day end? We picked 4.84 lbs in the maybe hour we were there, which turned into: the bags below, several stolen handfuls by the kids while I was freezing them and a big bowl that I saved for us to enjoy this week. I’ll probably pick up a few more blueberries at the farmer’s markets to add to our supply, as well. I’ve found that I’ve had better luck with my blueberries if I “flash-freeze” them on cookie sheets before I put them into the Ziploc bags. This seems to help them from becoming one big clump later on.

As you can see, I took some strawberries that I froze earlier this year (again, just by flash-freezing on a cookie sheet after de-coring them) and threw them in the bag with the blueberries so I have a ready-made “smoothie mix” for later. They end up being a lot cheaper than the store-bought ones–and you can’t beat farm-fresh flavor!

Check out the pick-your-own places near you and see if you can’t find one that still has reasonable prices and turn it into a fun outing along with some savings! You might find that your kids have just as fond memories over this as they would an expensive trip to the theater.