5 ways to reduce food expenses

10 Mar 2016 Cottage Meals

Cottage on an Island
Cottage food expenses can get out of control very quickly if we don’t set a budget and stick to it.

Simple tips to cut down on food costs at the lake

Have you ever crashed out on the couch after a big weekend at the cottage and asked yourself, “How did I spend so much money?”

Sometimes the budget is going to take a beating, that’s just part of cottage ownership, but there are ways to keep costs under control when we are spending time at the lake.

1. Pack a lunch for the road trips
Pack sandwiches for the drive up to the lake and avoid the lure of the local patios and chip trucks when you stop for ice on the way to the cabin. Bob’s burger stand might have great grub, but the cost of treating the entire gang to a meal every weekend can add up pretty quickly.

2. Don’t feed the animals
Entertain according to your financial capabilities. Neighbours always know where the best spread is laid out. If you can’t afford to feed the whole lake every weekend don’t encourage everyone to drop by for a visit. Closing the open-invitation door might be a delicate process and could take some time to implement, but the savings for the cottage budget can be significant.

3. Balance the meals
Great cottage food doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, even when you are hosting friends and family. If steak is too pricey, go with chicken or pork for the big BBQ meal. Consider pasta, salad, and fresh fish for the remaining dinners and keep the lunches quick and light.

4. Minimize trips to the local store
It is important to support the local economy near your cottage but owners should resist the temptation to make the quick trips into town that often occur on the weekend. Most of the time you can get by without some items or maybe you can borrow them from a neighbour. The fuel costs alone can kill the weekend budget if you have to make unplanned runs for food or supplies. This is especially true if you are at a water-access cabin.

5. Watch the booze and treats
An extra bottle of wine, three bags of potato chips, and the irresistible homemade fudge, pies, and butter tarts at the farmer’s market are all budget killers. Don’t give in to your temptations if you absolutely have to go into town to pick up something you forgot at home.

Need more Cottage Food Tips?
Go to the Cottage BBQ tips page for great info on how to get the most out of the BBQ at the lake.

Check out our simple and tasty cabin recipes on the Simple Cottage Meals page.

Go to the Food Poisoning Prevention page.

Go to our Planning Cottage Meals page for useful tips on how to organize the meals for a weekend at the lake.

Go to the Reducing Cottage Trash page for advice on how to keep the garbage to a minimum.


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