Buying groceries is getting more expensive, and often, buying lunch that your child’s school provides isn’t any better. Read on if you’re looking for reasonable ways to save money when preparing and packing lunch for your child’s school week.
#1- Reusable Containers
One of the best ways to save money on school lunches is to avoid using disposable utensils and bags that usually go into the trash after a single use (unless you recycle). Investing in reusable lunchboxes and insulated bags may sound like an unnecessary cost, but many of these items will last for years, so long as your child remembers to bring them home after school.
#2- Buy in Bulk
To cut down some of the costs associated with buying food, try to purchase certain items in bulk. Products your family uses often and food items with long shelf lives can save you a lot of money if you buy them in wholesale quantities.
#3- Plan Ahead
Planning out what you’re going to make for your kids’ school lunches can help you avoid rushing to buy expensive pre-packaged lunch items. If you keep an inventory of the items you have on hand, you can estimate how many days of lunch you can make. That way, you can plan future shopping trips before you run out of items.
#4- Prepare from Scratch
Maybe not “scratch” but doing as much of the prep work on your own as possible will save you money in the long run. Food that you need to cook and prepare is cheaper (and contains fewer additives) than most items that are premade.
It’s also a good idea to get the kids involved with making and packing their own lunches. Learning how to plan and cook food is a valuable skill to have. Plus, it takes some of the work off of your plate.
#5- Keep It Simple
When it comes to purchasing food items that you can’t make on your own, try to keep it simple. Themed packaging is often more expensive than the original packaging, and many brand-name items cost more than the grocery store’s brand. Unless the taste of the generic brand differs significantly from your family’s chosen brand, keep food shopping simple with cheaper store-brand alternatives.
Coming up with the most efficient plan for your children’s lunch schedule takes practice and adjustments as needed. Once you have the hang of it, though, it should be a little easier to stretch the food budget without sacrificing nutrition or quality.