I am going to assume for this article that your child does not received free and reduced lunch. If you qualify for this program, I strongly encourage you to contact your child’s school. I hate to say it, but many schools receive federal funding based on their % of students with free and reduced lunch. I say, if you qualify and it doesn’t bother your conscience, please take advantage.
Saving on Lunches Bought at School:
- Many school lunches are based on a fixed base price, so unless they are really hungry, request that your child does not buy an extra entree or side. I had a young man at school buy 3 entrees and barely finish 1 1/2 of them.
- Many cafeterias still sell snack type items and even ice cream at lunch. At my school, a parent can actually block the child’s account for them to not purchase these items. I know it may seem mean, but many times the kids eat an ice cream bar and a cookie instead of their lunch. And they pay for it all.
- Pack an extra treat, even if they are buying school lunch. If you feel bad about your son or daughter not being able to buy extras, many schools will allow students to bring food into the cafeteria. (At least if you send the treat, you know what is in it, what you paid for it, and that your child likes it.)
Saving on Packed Lunches:
- Don’t buy individually wrapped items, unless they are free. It is usually cheaper to buy a whole bag of chips, pretzels, cookies, etc. than to buy individually wrapped ones. The same goes for fruit and veggies. Check out Snack Taxi’s or Lunch Skins to save on the price of plastice baggies and the waste.
- Use leftovers, if your child likes them. I can still picture one of my students this year loving every bite of some of her mom’s leftovers. Just be aware that many schools won’t allow students to reheat things.
- Don’t over pack. Send only what your child might normally eat at home. I can’t tell you how much food I see wasted every day, and most of it is the healthy stuff.
- Pack unconventionally. If you child hates sandwiches, don’t force them on him or her. Think about other sources of energy like healthy crackers, yogurt, fruit, nuts, etc.
- Invest in a good thermos that doesn’t leak. It will save a ton of money on drinks/juice boxes.
Are you a lunch packer? Or does your child eat school lunch? What are your tips for saving?
Do you have a Thrifty idea? Did you save a ton of money this week? Do you have a Thrifty deal you want to share? Leave a comment or link below!