You know that packing lunches for your family is a great way to save money and ensure that your kids and spouse are eating healthy, nutritious meals even when you are not around. Despite the obvious benefits of brown-bagging it to work and school, it is important to make sure your efforts are paying off for your wallet. After all, it should never cost your family budget more to bring food from home than purchase it on-the-go. According to Mint.com, packing lunches for your family the right way can save your family an astounding $1,500 per year. If you are interested in packing family lunches to save money, but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at these helpful packed lunch ideas.
Believe it or not, the container you use to pack a school lunch in can have a profound impact on your budget. Invest in a reusable lunch box, thermos and storage containers that can hold sandwiches, soups, salads, dips, sides and beverages without resorting to disposable paper and plastic bags. Not only can a family of four save as much as $30 per month on disposable drink and storage containers, but you will also teach your children the importance of caring for the environment by example.
Make Use of Left-Overs
Who says your kids and you have to have a cold sandwich and piece of fruit for lunch every day? Keep things exciting by making use of dinner left-overs from the night before. Feel free to change up the presentation though to make the food more enticing (and less likely to be traded at the cafeteria table for a bag of potato chips). For example, if your family ate homemade roast for dinner the night before, consider re-purposing the left over for a hot panini sandwich with low-fat cheese served on whole grain bread.
Have a Plan
One of the easiest ways to save money packing lunches is by having a plan in place before you shop for food. Decide at the beginning of each week what types of foods you will serve in your kids’ daily lunches according to what is on sale at your local market. In other words, if the price of string cheese is particularly high one week, try switching it out for a more affordable tub of low-fat Greek yogurt. To realize even greater savings, scan your newspaper each weekend for some money-saving coupons.