Friday, December 16, 2011

Saving Money in the Lunchbox!

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I see a lot of lunchboxes.  A lot.  Maybe 25 a day, 5 days a week.  I'm always noticing that there are a ton of "convenience" foods that are quite expensive.  While they are great and make things easier for an on-the-go parent, they definitely don't help the wallet at all.  This post will not be about saving time, but it will be about saving money.  If you don't have any extra time, this one will not likely be a help to you.  But, if you do have some time on your hands, this post will help you save some money when packing your kids lunches!

The meal: Lunchable  Cost: $1-$3, depending on type, size, and store
 *This is an easy one to re-create.  Brands like Ziploc and Tupperware both make "lunchable" style containers.  Place crackers, sliced cheese, and sliced turkey in each of the slots to make an easy lunchable at home.  Better yet, add some fruit or veggies to one of the slots to make it an even healthier lunch!  Slicing up your own meat and cheese will save you so much money!  And, did you know, I rarely (if ever) see a 2-5 year old finish their lunchable?  Not that it doesn't happen, it's just rare.  Serve your kids just the right amount of food and save money by not wasting the "extra"! 

The meal: Uncrustables  Cost:$2-3 per 4 pack
*These are quite expensive for what they are.  If you serve your child these, you know that kids love them!  No crust on a sandwich is the best thing ever for young children!  If these are a highly requested item in your home, consider this: Pampered Chef makes an awesome "uncrustable" maker (sold HERE on Amazon).  I own one and love it!  Or, to be super frugal, just use a circle cookie cutter, and then use a fork and press down to create a "seal" around your sandwich.  Wondering what to do with the extra crust?  Save it to make your own homemade bread crumbs!  Let them dry out first, then crush, mix with Italian seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice), and save in a bag or container! 

The meal item: Capri Suns   Cost: $2 per 10 pack
*Who doesn't have a ton of sippy cups around their house?  Or plastic water bottles?  If you don't have anything of those sorts, consider spending the $2 on a reusable water bottle that your child likes, and filling it each day with juice from a large container.  Buying a large thing of juice and pouring your own container full will save you money in the long run.  Plus, if you're like me, you can cut your child's sugar intake by watering down the juice (also a money saver!).

These are just a few ideas to help make your child lunchbox healthier and cheaper!  Do you have any ideas to share?  Leave them in the comment box below!

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