How To Save Money On School Lunches


Our homeschool year is back in full swing and it’s been hectic! There is so much more on our schedule this year and on top of it I have 5 to officially homeschool this year all with a 2 year old who does not still for a moment!  Our family belongs to an amazing homeschool co-op where we meet every Monday. In the morning we do academic classes, eat lunch as a group and then do what we call clubs. Some of our clubs are sports, academic games, drama class, dance, etc.  Since we are pretty much with our group for the day it is necessary to pack lunches for my 6 kids and I.  This in itself is a daunting task.  It is time consuming and can be costly.  There are about 25 or so families in our group, many with large families like myself. We do have someone that picks up lunches for our group if we need to order out.  There have been a handful of times I have taken advantage of that but it can get costly.


I like to keep it simple all while keeping it on a budget with these tips on how to save money on school lunches:


1)  This time of the year there are oodles of different types of lunchboxes on sale.  Each of my children have their own insulated lunchbox which keeps their food cold with an ice pack.   When I was a child my mom used to use a brown paper bag for my lunch but honestly it is not good for the environment and it would be an expense that it not necessary.  


2)  Instead of using plastic sandwich bags we use plastic bento type boxes or cloth baggies that are reusable. They are both easy to wash and a lot more fun to use than plastic lunch bags! 


3) Keep the costs down buying buying products in either full size or in bulk and packaging them up in individual sized bags yourself instead of purchasing them already made.  Smaller individually sized packages wind up costing more.


4) Opt for items that are on sale.  My family is doing low carb so when I pack lunches I look for what is on sale and compliant to our dietary needs.  Be sure to check out the sale ads, cut coupons and shop around for those great bargains!


5) Toss some water bottles in your freezer and allow them to freeze solid and use those as an ice pack and as they melt kids will have a nice cold drink! It serves as a dual purpose! 


6)  Prepare in advance to avoid trying to make lunches at the last minute which can create stress.  I pack our lunches the night before because in the morning we leave for our co-op it is hectic, it’s one less thing that I have to worry about in morning.


7)  Cook larger quantities and use the leftovers for school lunches.  For instance take that leftover chicken and turn it into chicken salad! Even soups work pretty well if you store them in a insulated container.  


8)  Mix up school lunches with veggies, crackers, hard-boiled eggs, fruit instead of sugary, carb filled foods.  My kids love apple slices with natural peanut butter or almond butter in their lunches.  We keep the processed foods our of our diets, which definitely keeps them from a sugar crash!  


9) Last get kids involved! Some of my kids help me pack lunches, they are excited to see what they will get for the lunch the next day! 


How do you save money on school lunches? What tips can you share?  Comment below, I would love to hear your tips! 



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  1. That water bottle idea is genius! What an awesome way to keep the food cold AND give the kids some icy refreshment.

  2. I used bento boxes for my kids lunches instead of plastic sandwich baggies. It worked well for us.

  3. We’ve been using bento-type boxes for years! Yes, you have to wash them, but it keeps the bags out of the landfill!

  4. I love the frozen water bottle idea! That’s pretty smart. Plus, planning ahead really does help you save a ton of money!

  5. I’m definitely looking to save money with my son’s lunch. Cooking extra and using the leftovers for lunch is an excellent idea. I can’t believe school starts for my son on Tuesday.

  6. I have generally tried to buy in bulk and bag stuff up in easy to grab packaging. It saves us money and my kids a lot of time.

  7. Eileen Mendoza Loya says:

    I don’t have school age kids anymore but these tips are great too, if you take lunch to work. I think that water bottle tip will come in handy in my house.

  8. I do the night before prep too. It’s much too hectic in the mornings. I’ve also been stocking up from the sales. My Publix has been having some great BOGO offers on things that are perfect for school lunch.

  9. Oh, and I meant to add thanks for the tips! I need to remember to put some water bottles in the freezer.

  10. The frozen bottle idea is genius! They get to drink cold water, especially after those hectic activities.

  11. Your tips are great. I love using Bento boxes.

  12. We purchase a lot of things and repackage them into smaller ones to save money. Mostly the snack items like crackers and chips!

  13. Excellent school lunch suggestions! My kids have reusable sandwich containers, snack boxes and water bottles. Not only does it help keep costs down, it also benefits the environment.

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