Sports season is back! We are excited in my household, but there are some challenges that I’ve faced and maybe you can understand exactly where I’m coming from. Do you eat dinner at 4 pm or 8 pm? Well, that depends on the activity schedule, doesn’t it? In the past, I have found that my biggest obstacle was taking the time to plan for meals or snacks on those days with late-night practices, games, or those all-day tournaments. My lack of planning meant that dinner was stopping at a fast-food restaurant or picking up a pizza on the way home. Those all-day tournaments meant numerous trips to the snack shack or the closest convenience store. Once I realized how much my lack of planning was busting my budget, I knew I needed to make some changes. Here are four ways that I overcame these unhealthy budget-busting patterns.
Packing a meal- Food prepping can make lunches and dinners a cinch. Pack sandwiches, sliced fruit and veggies, small bags of chips, and have plenty of bottled water on hand. Not only did this save my budget, but it was also a healthier alternative to fast food. The kids loved this because they could decide ahead of time what they’d want to eat, and they could sit with their friends while enjoying their meal outside.
Snacks- Keep a healthy supply of snacks in the car for hunger emergencies (and for the ride home). This is a fantastic idea because it eliminates those costly trips to the snack shack during games or convenience store runs during practice. This was helpful and money-saving because my children chose snacks that I knew wouldn’t ruin their appetite for dinner when we got home.
Using the crockpot- On those rare occasions that we are all home at dinner time, I found using the crockpot was a lifesaver. Dinner is ready when I get home, which means that I simply toss some veggies in the microwave, and dinner is ready! By planning, you can make dinner a healthy success that everyone will enjoy.
Enlist the help of other sports parents- During the spring, summer, and fall sports seasons, a few parents and I would work together to have dinner ready by the end of the game or practice. Everyone brings something including a grill, burgers, hotdogs, and other barbeque favorites that would feed everyone on the field and then some. By working together, we could get the players, their siblings, and of course us, the parents fed before ever leaving the field.
These simple changes saved my budget and offered healthier choices to my kids. With some planning, working together with other parents, we solved the mealtime challenge. Not only did the kids enjoy the BBQs and picnics, but they also did not complain they were starving as I drove past three different fast-food restaurants. Are you looking for ideas to save your budget during the sports season? Do you have ideas to share about how to survive the sports season while keeping your budget intact? I would love to hear them! Email me at Creynolds@newdimensionsfcu.com.