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Lunch Box Savings

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Moms seem to be evenly divided on whether or not they love or loathe packing the lunch box. But, I don’t think there is any division in wanting to save money while packing the lunch box! School mornings are hectic and the name of the game when packing lunch boxes is CONVENIENCE! The food companies all know this and they have capitalized on it big time! As you probably know, I am a big advocate of meal planning and prepping (I have linked some of my resources in the show notes). I know from years of experience that it not only saves money but it also reduces stress around meals and also cuts down on food waste and packaging waste. Planning and prepping with the lunch box can do the same!

Grocery prices are at their highest levels ever! I have read some recent statistics that grocery prices are up over 20% in the last 4 years; much higher than the average rate of inflation. Keeping the grocery costs down is a great way to keep your overall budget in line.

And if you have a teenage boy like me, they eat a lot so the savings potential can be huge! If you’ve never compared your options, I highly recommend you do! While all of our kiddos prefer different things in their lunch boxes, I did a comparison of some of the usual things I pack for my son and here is what I found:

  1. My son loves a turkey sandwich. One pound of deli turkey is now $14.99 per pound and I need at least a pound a week just for him, not including any sandwiches or salads my husband and I make for lunch. On the flip side, I bought a whole frozen turkey breast for just $3.99 a pound and it made enough for the whole family for the week! An $11 difference per pound is HUGE! Even if you don’t need the whole turkey breast for sandwiches, you can cook it for Sunday supper and then use the leftovers for the sandwiches. Several options for big savings!

  2. Next up, Goldfish! I don’t think I’ve ever met a kid that didn’t like goldfish. Just talking about them makes me want some. This is another one that can add up really fast. While the individual bags are super convenient to grab and toss in the lunch box, they are 87 cents per one ounce bag. However, the bulk box of goldfish is only 42 cents for one ounce. My son could easily eat several of the bags a day. With 180 school days a year, I am easily saving $200 a year using the bulk box.

  3. Now for the healthy snack. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? My son loves a sliced apple in his lunch box. I cut them fresh each morning and put in an airtight container. A good thing about whole apples is that they last in the refrigerator for a long time so you can stock up on them when they are on special. While the pre-sliced bags of apples are convenient, they don’t keep nearly as long so you are more likely to throw them out. Plus, the pre-sliced bags are about $1 per pack and slicing an apple yourself is about 42 cents for the same amount. That’s over 50 cents savings. My son and I both eat an apple everyday so again I am saving about $200 a year just slicing the apples myself.

  4. Last but not least, let’s look at chips. We love the Kettle brand of chips at our house, especially Salt and Vinegar or the Jalapeno flavor. They now package snack bags of these chips. They are 65 cents per one ounce bag. If you purchase their family size bag then they are 51 cents per ounce. Not as drastic of savings as the apple or goldfish but given the late night chip raids my son does, this one is going to add up as well!

The bottom line is that CONVENIENCE is EXPENSIVE! Whether you only have one child or you have four, there are some big savings to be found. These changes could save anywhere from $500 to a few thousand dollars a year. That money could be your Christmas budget or go straight to college savings. Next time you do your grocery shopping, look at the price per ounce. If you go in person, the price labels on the shelves generally have this broken out for you in a smaller font. If you shop online, you may have to do a little math for your comparison but it will be worth it in the end.

I hope this has encouraged you to do a little comparison the next time you grocery shop! Let those dollars be utilized elsewhere in your budget while your kid’s lunch boxes won’t miss a beat! I would love to hear from you with some of the savings you find!

Happy lunch box packing and best wishes for an amazing school year!

Information contained in this post is for educational purposes only and is not considered financial advice.


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