School lunches are very reasonably priced. So does it actually save money to pack lunch for school?
I’ve found that it does! Here’s how.
Our kids’ school lunch costs $3.20. Not bad, except that our picky first grader would only eat a fourth of what was on her tray, mostly the sweet parts and the bread. ;) Meanwhile, our not-so-picky third grader would eat most of his meal and still be hungry. So we decided this year that for the sake of saving money and feeding our kids the nourishment they need, we’d pack and send their lunches to school.
Even when I buy a few pre-packaged convenience food items to save time, I am still saving money every day on their lunches.
How much am I saving?
I calculated that I’m saving an average of $1.40 per lunch, per kid, for much more nourishing meals that I know they like and will eat. I’ll share examples from our not-picky-big-eater kiddo so you can see how packing a very filling lunch still saves money.
Note: I make a big batch of these spinach cupcakes, individually bag them, and freeze them to throw into almost every lunchbox for a treat with added nutrition! I did the math. They cost $0.14 each and they are beautifully full of spinach. :) :) :)
Does it Save Money to Pack Lunch for School?
Here are nine sample lunches I might pack for my kids and their cost breakdown. The most expensive was $2.58. The least expensive is just $1.34. Lots of savings!
1. Meat and cheese sandwich, fruit cup, cheese stick, spinach cupcake (no frosting) = $2.00
2. Cheese and crackers, summer sausage, grapes, spinach cupcake (no frosting), cottage cheese and pineapple = $2.49
3. Pumpkin muffin, cottage cheese and pineapple, clementine, almonds = $1.43
6. Leftover pizza slices (with spinach “hidden” on top), clementine, banana = $1.34
7. Bagel with cream cheese “sandwich”, ham, apple = $1.72
8. Bean and cheese quesadillas, carrots, strawberries $1.78
9. On Friday, we do a “Fun Friday” lunchbox which includes a baggie of chips and a yogurt squeezie, plus whatever else I have on hand that I think the kids will enjoy. Cost for the special lunch you see below: $2.58.
What do you pack in your kids’ lunches?