School days are here again. If you’re the parent of school-age children, not only does this mean more work for you, it can also mean more expense. Amongst all of the school supplies and new clothes, making lunches to send to school with the kids can really take a bite out of your budget. With a little smart thinking and planning ahead, you can provide tasty and nutritious school lunches without spending a fortune.
3 Ways to Serve School Lunches on a Budget
- Skip single-serving foods, and buy in bulk instead. It’s so convenient to buy pre-packaged, individual serving food items, but there’s an extra cost for that convenience. Instead of buying these single-serving foods, buy the same items in bulk, and split them up yourself. It’s a little more work, but your budget will reap the positive rewards. Instead of buying small bags of chips, buy a large bag, and divide it up. Buy a large bottle of juice, and fill up a reusable cup. Apply the same concept with snacks, cookies, pretzels, water, canned fruit, pudding, gelatin, etc.
- Invest in reusable containers. Instead of buying plastic sandwich bags or brown paper bags to use for lunches, invest in some reusable items. I purchased reusable, insulated lunch bags for my kids with their names printed on them. They keep foods cold, can be easily wiped off, and can be used over and over again. They save us money and are more eco-friendly than comparable options. You can also buy reusable cups or a Thermos, sandwich containers, eating utensils, divided containers, and other food storage products. Using these reusable items instead of disposable ones will make school lunches a little easier on your budget and the environment.
- Plan your lunch menu around sales and coupons. Shopping the sales is a great way to save when making school lunches. Look for items that are on sale each week, and plan your menu around those. Not only does this save you serious coin, it can also provide some variety for your kids when it comes to eating. When you combine sale prices, reward card discounts, and coupons, you’ll be pleased at how inexpensively you can provide quality lunches for your school children.
If done correctly, packing a lunch can actually be much cheaper than buying a lunch out. Think outside the (lunch) box to find creative ways to save.
FreeShipping.com Can Help You Save on Money-Saving Containers
As one of our money-saving tips, we mentioned why it makes sense to buy reusable lunch containers. We are happy to inform you that FreeShipping.com can help you save money on those containers when you shop online using your membership. As a member, you have access to free shipping, exclusive coupons and discounts, and 10% cash back. It’s such a hassle-free way to save on ALL of your online shopping!
The Container Store is one of my favorite places to shop for all things organizational. They have devoted their entire inventory to making storage simple. For back-to-school shoppers, they have a special section on their website called Lockers & Lunches designed to make sure all of your classroom needs are met. Need a little assistance putting together lunches? Check out The Container Store’s article Pack a Lunch Your Kids Will Eat. Then check out their Lunchtime Essentials for a full selection of lunch carriers; food and beverage containers; and utensils and ice substitutes. You’ll find countless attractive and practical options that will make putting together lunches a snap.
Here’s to delicious school lunches on a dime all school-year long!