I know it feels like summer just started, but back to school is getting close too. Soon we will be packing lunches and sending our kiddos off to school every morning. Have you ever noticed that your grocery bill climbs when Back To School hits? That is because you're not using all of the ways to save money on lunches for your kiddo. If you get ahead of the game and start learning before school starts, then you should be all set to start saving some nickels and dimes (because pennies are no more) to put away towards anything you would like. Also, in most cases it seems like you get healthier lunch box results when you try to save money.
So here are the 6 simple ways to save money on fun school lunches:
Bento boxes are so popular, right? Please don't go buying the expensive PlanetBox. There are some excellent alternatives to this popular lunch lifestyle. The key to Bento Style lunches is making them fun. This will reduce the amount of food your kids waste and also leave them with a happier belly. You can even use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of cucumber, bread, cheese etc so the food is more appealing for your kiddo to snack on. Be sure to keep variety, and don't use any snacks that come in those little portioned packages!
Stay Away from Individually Prepackaged Snacks
You may not even realize it, but these prepackaged snacks are costing you a fortune. They can cost $8 for a box of 6 packs, depending on the snack your kids like. Why not buy the larger portion of that snack and make use of your Bento box? You wont even have to use sandwich bags for the crackers or chips so you will save money in that department too. So go ahead. make your own with little baggies from full size bags of snacks and enjoy the savings. You can save even further if you buy the food on sale or make your own! I have even come across lots of different reusable snack & sandwich bags when shopping online.
Shop Sale Items
You definitely want to plan your shopping trips by browsing through the grocer flyers. To shave money off your grocery bill, take the time to browse through the flyers and make a list of sale items that would make for interesting lunch foods. Don't limit yourself to just PB & J either! The sale items are changing weekly so you can change up what your kiddo snacks on at lunch weekly too. Combine these sales with Cash Back Apps and you may even score a few freebies. Who doesn't love freebies?!
Cash Back Apps
Ah, good ol' cash back apps. There are quite a few of these applications to choose from, but why not have them all? Use your smartphone to download apps like Checkout51, Snap By Groupon, Zweet, Save.ca, and maybe more. They are pretty easy to follow and all you have to do is upload a photo of your receipt to get cash back on select items. They usually change their offers on Wednesday so if you grocery shop on the weekend you have a few days to figure out which sales work best with the cash back apps.
Forget The Ice Packs
In heat like this, food needs to be kept cold. There are also quite a few healthy items (like cheese) that can go bad if not kept in cooler climates. But please, just ditch the ice packs. Not only are ice packs expensive, but they are also unnecessary. You can just as easily freeze a bottle of water or a juice box to keep your kiddo's meal cool. This will save room in their lunch box as well as money in your wallet. Not only that, but then they also have a nice cool beverage when it hits lunch time.
Some kids cringe at the sound of leftovers, but it will save you a lot of money. Not only that, but sandwiches every day can be quite boring. There are lots of foods that make great leftovers, but try to stay away from leftover breads because they tend to get soggy sitting in the fridge over night. I would definitely send leftover pizza or pasta though, if your child's classroom has a microwave. You can even make home-made soup on the weekend and send portions off in a thermos a couple days of the week. Macaroni & Cheese is another one that is great for leftovers. I even spruce mine up a little bit the next day with some tuna and peas or peppers. Sometimes I enjoy the leftover macaroni and cheese more than the day I actually made it.
How do you save money on your kids' school lunches?