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9 ways To Save Money On Summer Picnics

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By Korky Vann  / Hartford Courant

Memorial Day, the kickoff of the picnic season is just ahead. If you love outdoor entertaining, but find that al fresco dining for a crowd is eating a hole in your budget, we’ve got ways to picnic on a dime.

  1. Save some trees and save money by skipping paper plates and throwaway flatware. Check the dollar store for a set of plastic dishes you can wash and reuse for the whole season. Walmart has some great plastic plates, bowls and cups for $1 a package.
  2. Pick up condiments, plastic wrap and aluminum foil at the dollar store.
  3. This is the season for sales on picnic foods at area supermarkets, so when you see a great deal on hot dogs, veggie burgers, beans, etc. fill your freezer
  4. Make your own salads. Five lbs. of potatoes and a jar of mayo will cost you a couple dollars, pre-made potato salad from the deli runs $4.99 a pound or more.
  5. Get discounted rolls, breads and cookies at the Pepperidge Farm Outlet store in Bloomfield and other bakery outlets around the state.
  6. Skip individual cans and bottled drinks and mix up a jug of lemonade, iced tea or fruit punch.
  7. Keep things cold with DIY ice packs. Rinse out plastic milk or juice jugs then fill with water and freeze.
  8. Have a potluck picnic. You provide the sides and guests bring their own meats to thow on the grill or you provide the burgers and dogs and guests bring salads and sides.
  9. One of the most inexpensive and popular picnic desserts is watermelon.

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