Have you ever considered how much making a lunch for your children would cost? The lunch offered at the school lunch costs around $3 so I was curious to see how much it would cost to put together a sack lunch. I was excited to find that by using my pricematcherz list and getting the best price on groceries I am able to send great lunches with my kids for around $1.00! Over a school year by packing a lunch that costs $1 it will save my family $360 on each child! Woohoo!
I try to get produce for around 1.00/lb or lower and then divide it out in at least 4 containers. This way I know that my produce is always .25 per serving or less! I pack 2 produce items and then a protein and dairy item again trying to keep all of the options at around .25/serving or less.
It is very important to be flexible about the items being packed. For example in January strawberries are not an option at $4.00/lb instead we will do an apple at .99/lb. Paying attention to how much foods are per pound will help you make good choices when deciding what to buy. For example if you buy a box of fruit snacks that has 6 oz. at 1.00 per pound the cost is $2.67 and they will not fill a hungry belly like a container of fresh pineapple.
My kids also take a water bottle and if they are lucky an individual drink mix stick and use half. On a side note my daughter came home from school today saying most of my lunch is still in the bag we didn’t have time to eat lunch today...new school year problems...glad she can use that lunch for tomorrow! I have listed some tips and cost break downs below.
-use reusable containers, I like the Glad 8 pk of 4 oz. containers
-buy products in large containers and then separate them to reduce the cost per serving
-put together options ahead of time to simplify the packing process
-make a list of options so that you are not trying to think up ideas
-go through the lunch options with your kids so they have input on which items they would lik e to eat. No one likes wasting food!
-buy foods that are in season or on sale
-price match your groceries to also save on gas money and time!
-when lunch items are on sale buy extra so you can enjoy the savings longer
-buy a food thermos so you can heat up left overs, soup etc. as options
-bake items ahead and freeze for later use such as banana muffins, zucchini muffins, brownies, cookies
Cost break down on some of the items we are packing for lunches:
-peanut butter sandwich-loaf bread paid 1.00 approx cost .15
-ham sandwich-bought 2.5 lb.boneless ham had it cut up at the deli (way cheaper) approx cost .25
-cheese chunks bought 8 oz. chunk: paid 1.50 made 4 bags cost .37
-ham cubes-buy 2.5 lb. Farmland boneless ham made 20 servings .25
-chicken breast (grill a bunch at one time) paid 1.50/lb divided into 4 servings .37
-goldfish crackers: paid .99 divided into 4 bags .25
-peanut butter cups (to dip pretzels) bought 18 oz. jar: paid .99 divided into 6 cups .17
-pretzels 16 oz. bag: paid 1.50 divided into 8 bags cost .19
-grapes: paid .99/lb put in 4 oz. container .25
-strawberries: paid 1.00 for 1 lb. divided into 4 containers .25
-bananas bought at .39/lb cost .15 each
-whole carrots 2 lb. bag: paid 1.00 cut them up divided into 6 bags cost .17
-pineapple: paid 1.00 cut up and divided into 6 bags cost .17
-celery stalk: paid 1.00 cut up into 6 bags cost .17
-mandarin oranges 16 oz.: paid .98 divided into 4 containers .25
-apples .99/lb approx .33 each
-cantaloupe: paid .99 each cut up in to 6 servings .17
-bell peppers: paid .33 each cut up into 2 servings .16
-cottage cheese 24 oz: paid 1.88 divided into 6 servings cost .31
-hard boiled eggs dozen: paid 1.20 cost per egg .10