Saving for travels series; children’s lunchboxes.  13

Travelling costs, it doesn’t matter how you do it, whether it’s camping or staying in luxury hotels, you will need some money!

Lots of people think they can’t save for travel, it’s out of their reach. But if I, as a single mum, can do it so can you!

In this monthly series, I will give you tips on how to save in everyday life for your travelling goal!

I have packed my fair share of lunch boxes over the years, I hate to think of how many times I have organised something for my five kids to take to school!! During this time I have discovered how much money you can spend on feeding your kids but I have also discovered how to save money while still providing a lunch box of food that they will eat!

During this post you will find three examples of what my kids took to school this week. Being a single mum with shared cared, that’s the amount of school days I had them this past week.

Check out what’s in them… notice anything!?!

Yep no prepackaged, processed, so called “school snacks”. You know what I’m talking about.. no muesli bars, individual packets of chips, container fruit,  “Le snacks”, plastic wrapped cheese sticks or Squeezy yogurts! These types of food is what costs you a fortune in your grocery shop. Over days, weeks and months it adds up so much, because what you are essentially paying for is the packaging and somewhat convenience. Instead my kids lunches consist of sandwiches, some basic items (like I used to get as a kid!)  home made goodies and fresh whole fruit and veg.

Here is a list of criteria that makes the cut for my kids lunchboxes: 

Sandwich; Every lunchbox of my kids contains a sandwich or bread roll of either salad, cheese or a spread. It doesn’t often contain ham or other processed meats or hundreds and thousands ( fairy bread)  but sometimes they get lucky!

Homemade item: Each day the kids get a homemade item. These are always a basic, easy recipes like muffins, piklets, biscuits and cakes. My kids favourites are bannana bread, plain biscuits, carrot cake, Anzac biscuits, orange muffins and chocolate cake / muffins. These are all made from scratch.

Fruit: My kids every day they get at least two pieces of fruit / veg, one for fruit break and the other for lunch/ recess. Most of the time they get three fruit/veg items. My kids favourites are bananas, apples, watermelon, strawberries, grapes, kiwi fruit, carrots, beans, cucumber, snow peas (grown in the garden) oranges and lately mandarin!! All fruit and veg is what’s in season so is generally at is cheapest.

Treat: “Treats” for mine include popcorn (cooked from kernels), plain corn chips and pretzels (bought in a big bag then divided), plain rice biscuits, Saos, Milk Arrowroots, cheese sticks/ slices (cut from a block).

Drinks: Always water straight from the tap in a reusable drink bottle…never poppers.

Another thing to note is that it’s is very very rare that my kids order lunch from the canteen (sorry PandC!). They generally only get money for it when there is a special fundraising meal day or sometimes money for an ice block on a hot summers day to cool off.

I’d like to think that the food I send the kids to school with are relatively healthy, cutting down on packaged food helps this. But I’m also realistic. My kids don’t like wholemeal bread (and frankly neither do I really) and I have tried making those healthy bliss balls and healthy bars but they just don’t like them! So I stick to what I know they like and if it’s left over Chocolate Birthday cake… well so be it!

Also I’m guessing some of you maybe thinking that this is not enough food!! But I can assure you that my two youngest always come home with leftovers (which they generally then snack on during the afternoon) They tell me that they are “just too busy playing “. The more food / the larger portions that you give kids sometimes they feel that they have to eat it all and this can not only be a cause of childhood obesity but also food waste, and therefore money wasted!

Here’s is some tips to get you started on cutting down your lunchbox expenses.

If your kids won’t budged from stuff like chips and shape biscuits purchase them in the large bags and divide it up yourself at home. It is always a cheaper way then buying the small individual bags.

Same with dehydrated fruit like sultanas. Buy in large bags and divide rather then those small boxes.

Also yogurt can be also divided up from a big tub, rather then buying those small tubs or squeezy yogurts. My kids only have yogurt at home from a large tub.

If you don’t feel confident in making cakes/ muffins from scratch use cheap cake mixes! I used to always make up the cheap no name cake mixes and pop them into muffins tins. Also make up large batches at once and freeze them!

Do not buy cheese sticks or Le snack type items!!! Cut up block of cheese and some rice biscuit or even a large container cream cheese divided up is so much more cheaper!

Think about adding their favourite leftovers to the lunchbox. If you have some leftover pizza or pasta or rice or cooked vegetables you could add them to a container as long as they don’t mind eating it cold! my older girls used to have access to a microwave when they were in the senior years and use to loved to take leftovers to school especially soup in the colder months!

Prepare lunches the night before. It makes life easier in the morning and you want be inclined to throw in something packaged and expensive just because it’s “convenient and easy ”

And lastly get the kids involved. See if they can come up with some ideas for their lunchboxes that are cheap. Sometimes it’s amazing what they can think of!

So there is my tips on how to save money when packing the kids lunchboxes!

What tips do you want to share? 

Please comment below! 

Safe travels


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13 thoughts on “Saving for travels series; children’s lunchboxes. 

  • Amanda

    I love the compartments in the lunch Boxes! Good tips on saving! Prepackaged foods and snacks can run so pricey, especially the more healthy options!

    • Post author

      yeah the compartments and containers make it so much easier to pack their lunch! and you are right packaged food can cost a fortune!

  • inthegoodbooksblog ( Michelle)

    I agree with your post; I have 3 daughters and their lunchboxes all look similar to what you give your children. I must say though that now my eldest in in secondary school, she has been taking less food as she says she doesn’t have much time (she likes spending her lunch times in the library), but she still takes a roll. fruit, homemade treat and occasionally another food item.
    My younger two take a roll/sandwich/wrap, fruit, a homemade treat (muffin, biscuit, etc) and another snack item (sometimes it is chips, which I buy in big bags then portion into zip lock bags, popcorn from kernels, muesli bar, or something else similar). They too often bring one item home claiming they don’t have much time and prefer to play!
    I pack lunches the night before, and spend Sunday making their lunchbox treat, then sometimes I make another batch later on in the week, depending on what is left.

    • Post author

      So good to hear that I’m not the only one!!! and it true isnt it… they always seem to bring something back! Mine boy eats it in the car on the way home!!

  • Min@WriteoftheMiddle

    Great tips! I did much the same when my kids were at school. I used to make them a drink in a drink bottle and freeze it overnight and then wrap it in a t-towel and pop in their bag with their lunchbox. No more packing lunchboxes for me these days though! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  • The Sane Mum

    Love these tips! And they don’t only apply to packed lunchboxes, but everyday living as well! Eat fresh, drink water, cook from scratch, and you will save a small fortune in the long run! 🙂