>> May 8, 2012
Paying for lunch for your children can be expensive and packing them each day can be time consuming and costly as well. So what are some ways you can save money on lunches? It can be as simple as what you put in your kid’s drink bottles to planning ahead for the school week.
● Avoid buying pre-packaged snacks such as bars and biscuits. They can be expensive – especially when you buy them regularly – and are usually not as healthy as other lunchbox options.
● Look for sales at the supermarket to save money and take advantage of any coupons or vouchers you come across.
● Buy food in bulk. It will work out cheaper if you buy bigger amounts of food or other items when they are on special. You can even pool your money with other families to make it cheaper.
● Plan ahead. Know what you are going to give the kids in their lunchbox before the school week starts. It will save you from rushing at the last minute, which means you won’t be making the most economical lunch.
● Take advantage of fruit and vegetables that are in season. Not only will they be fresher but they will be at their cheapest.
● Cook in bulk. That means you can cook up a large batch of lunchbox fillers or lunches on the weekend or on a school night and then divide it up into small containers. Hot food, such as soup, can be taken to school in a thermos.
● Avoid the school tuck shop. Buying your lunch every day from the school canteen is not cost effective.
● Don’t send packaged fruit juices or soft drinks to school. They are expensive and often contain a lot of sugar. Water is best – fill their drink bottles up the night before and either put them in the fridge or freezer so they have a better chance of staying cool throughout the school day.
● Use the leftovers from dinner in lunches. Leftover roast chicken will be great in sandwiches the next day.
● Pack lunches in a lunchbox or reusable container. It will save you from having to use paper or plastic bags, which can add up in cost. It is also better for the environment.
● The same goes for utensils. Rather than buying disposable knives, forks and spoons, buy cheap metal utensils that can be brought home and washed each day.
● Most kids love their cute single service sizes of yoghurt and custard, the ones that usually have a favourite movie or cartoon character on them. To save money, buy a big tub of yoghurt or custard and use small plastic containers to make your own delicious single serves.
● Bake your own cakes and cookies. Even if you make it from a pre-packed mix, it will work out far cheaper than buying them already made from the shop.
● Buy a large block of cheese and cut it into cubes for your child’s lunch rather than buying pre-packaged cheese sticks.