Guest post from Adeline of Frugal Fanatic
Now that school has started, you may have noticed how quickly all of the different costs add up. Not only did you need to purchase new school clothes and supplies at the beginning of the year, but now you have to figure out how you are going to afford school lunches.
Many parents plan ahead and budget for school supplies throughout the school year, but they forget about school lunches. Having your child buy their lunch from the school each day will quickly add up.
You want to send your child to school with a healthy lunch, but you do not want to spend a ton of money. Here are 5 ways to save money on school lunches.
1. Think Outside the Sandwich
Lunch does not have to be a sandwich every day. Invest in an insulated container that will keep food hot or cold. Leftovers from the night before are perfect. When you make some of your child’s favorite meals you can inexpensively double the recipe to allow for extra servings for lunch.
Not only do you save money, but your child will be happy to be eating one of their favorite foods at school.
2. Slice Your Own Meat and Cheese
If your child likes to eat sandwiches for lunch buy the sandwich meat and cheese in unsliced blocks, and do the slicing yourself. This will save you money instead of spending more to have it sliced at the deli counter.
Even though you will be taking the time to slice it you will quickly see the savings add up.
3. Make Your Own Lunchables
A lot of kids love Lunchables, but they can be pretty expensive. Instead, buy containers with different size sections and make your own version of the Lunchable.
You can use crackers, meats, cheese, veggies with hummus, and fruit. Plus, you will get to use all food you just sliced from our previous tip. This is a frugal alternative and much healthier also.
4. Buy in Bulk and Divide Into Servings At Home
Do not buy single serving packs of snacks like chips, cookies, yogurt and pudding. You are paying for the convenience factor. Instead buy larger packages and separate them into single servings yourself using bags and small containers.
This is a real money saver especially if you used reusable containers.
5. Get Your Kids Involved in the Process
Do not try to force your kids to eat things they really do not like. If you send them to school with a lunch they dislike, chances are they will throw it away. That is like throwing your money in the trash!
Instead, get your kids involved int he lunch-packing process and try to compromise — finding healthy foods that they love and will eat.
It may be difficult at first, but once you get into a routine and find out some of your child’s favorite foods, you can save money while still packing foods they enjoy.
If you are already calculating how much money you are going to spend this school year, try some of these ways to save money on school lunches. You can be frugal and still give your kids a healthy and tasty lunch each day.
What tips do you have for saving money on school lunches?
Addi Ganley is a work-at-home mom of 3 young boys. Her blog, Frugal Fanatic, focuses on how to live a frugal lifestyle. She is passionate about saving money and believes that if you save where you can then you can spend where you want to. Frugal Fanatic is her way of helping other people learn how to manage their finances in every day life.