Packing frugal lunches is one way to save money every month. Full-price cafeteria lunches (at my kids school) cost anywhere from $3.00 per day and up—an adult or teen eating out costs even more. The foods you get are not as nutritional as the foods you could pack in a lunchbox. Here are some ways I pack frugal lunches for my family.
Frugal Lunches and Individual Containers
I love our dollar store for inexpensive containers for the lunch box. I can buy almost any size container 3 for a dollar. At that price I can purchase more than enough containers to fill all our lunchboxes.
You can use these containers for almost anything. I use them for sliced fruit and applesauce. I also find them handy for holding ranch dip or peanut butter we use for dipping fruits, vegetables or pretzels.
Purchase cold packs from the discount store to keep the foods cold. Place one or two of the cold packs in each lunchbox. Most items will need to stay cold so it is important for the safety and the health of your family to keep foods at the proper temperature until ready to eat.
If you do your own baking (in order to save money, you should be) then zip lock baggies work well for many types of breads and baked goodies. Muffins and banana bread are two or my families favorites.
Invest in a good thermos so you can send homemade soups and chili. You can also save money buy sending drinks from home in the thermos as well, avoiding juice and drink boxes saves you tons of money. To keep this purchase frugal, you might want to try yard sales and thrift stores before deciding to buy your thermos new.
Frugal Lunches Packed In A Snap
You can save yourself lots of time in the mornings if you pack lunches in the evening. If you plan on sending leftovers, pack the foods up for the lunchboxes right after dinner, or take a few minutes to fill all your containers so they are ready to be packed on a moments notice. Even putting silverware and napkins in ahead of time will save you a few steps on busy mornings.
Sending your family to work and school with frugal lunches is easy and it saves you money—not to mention the health benefits that go with good homemade foods. Here are a few items that might interest you if you are just getting started packing frugal lunches.