Learn 20 Ways to Save Money on Back to School Lunches! With extra expenses adding up during the Back to School season, we all can appreciate ways to save money wherever we can! The thought of having to purchase everything needed to plan, purchase and pack a sack lunch each weekday can be daunting but don’t stress!
I have TWENTY ways to help you save money on back to school lunches! Each money-saving technique adds up to BIG savings over the course of an entire school year, especially when one has multiple children as I do! make back to school lunches easy and something your child looks forward to.
Even More Back to School Items To Check Out
Ways To Save Money On Back to School Lunches
Only Buy What You Need (School Lunch Grocery Shopping List FREE Download!)
We certainly save money when we don’t buy things we don’t need, right? In order to help streamline your lunchbox ingredient purchasing process, we designed this FREE instant download School Lunch Grocery Shopping List to help you!
This free download is an exclusive preview of our Ultimate Back to School Planner for Busy Moms, designed by busy moms just like yourself! Grab it here to save money and sanity during the busy Back to School season!
Buy in Bulk
Purchasing shelf-stable or freezable items in bulk can help you save money! If your budget for it upfront, the savings certainly adds up over time. Be sure to consider whether you have enough freezer space and/or shelf space to store it before you shop!
Use Reusable Containers
Rather than a brown bag which is thrown away each day, invest in a bento box, a zippered fabric lunchbox, or a Velcro lunch bag. In addition to that, exchange disposable plastic bags for reusable bags, like these.
Also, did you know that you can purchase reusable wax paper to wrap your lunch items? It’s created from beeswax and comes in different sizes for sandwiches and snacks! It’s eco-friendly and another way to save money over time by not having to purchase rolls of foil, plastic wrap and wax paper for lunches. Grab the wraps here.
Plan your Menu Ahead of Time
Planning ahead saves money! If you plan ahead and eliminate extra trips to the grocery store during your week, you save BOTH time and money. Simply download and print our School Lunchbox Menu Planner for a practical visual solution to your weekly question of what you’re going to pack for your children for lunch.
This School Lunchbox Menu Planner is an exclusive preview of our Ultimate Back to School Planner for Busy Moms which is ONLY available right here. Like what you see and want the entire planner? Download it here!
HUGE SALE! This page and over 30 different Printable Back to School Pages for getting organized are on sale now for 50% off when you use the Coupon code BACKTOSCHOOL at checkout!
Use a Water Bottle
Filling a water bottle with juice, water, or milk is much more inexpensive throughout the course of the school year than buying disposable juice boxes or pouches.
Sure, there’s the initial investment, but you can reuse it year after year, too. It will pay for itself with money saved in no time! Bonus idea: Include a Crystal Light packet with the water bottle so your child can drink flavored water as a treat!
By planning well and purchasing only what your family will consume, you’ll avoid food spoiling and overbuying! Being organized can help you save money in multiple ways!
One of the easiest ways to save money is to use coupons! Have you downloaded our Passion for Savings app? Search for it in the app store! There are ALWAYS coupons available and sales going on for things you use every day.
Our app even has a category at the top exclusively for grocery coupons, so you can look for exactly what you need and even print directly from your smartphone! Why pay more than you must?!
Use Dinner Leftovers
Lunchbox-friendly leftovers like cold pizza or warm soup in a thermos like this one can double as lunch for later in the week. Many times, our family has leftovers, but not enough for the entire family to have again for dinner. U
sing leftovers at lunchtime prevents the rest of the meal from going to waste AND it is less money than you have to spend on lunch ingredients if you plan well and take dinner leftovers into consideration!
Freeze a Lunch Item as an Ice Pack
Instead of purchasing ice packs, simply freeze your child’s water bottle overnight before packing it in the lunchbox. It will keep the lunch cold, and still be cool to drink at lunchtime! Freezing yogurt smoothies or Go-gurt works super well, too!
Plan with Your Child
Involve your child in their lunchbox menu planning process! If they like what’s in their lunch, they won’t throw food away and waste it at school. As a bonus, you’re teaching them how to plan healthy, balanced meals!
Buy Whole Fresh Produce
I KNOW it is so tempting to purchase carrot sticks already cut up with ranch dip or apples already packaged with peanut butter!! You save SO much money when you buy whole, fresh produce and cut it up yourself, though!
What I like to do is to cut up the carrot sticks for the week and keep them entirely submerged in water in a plastic container in the fridge. Change out the water-mid week and your veggies will stay fresh until the weekend!
Try Menu Blocking
Rather than feeling the pressure to be creative and have completely different lunches every day, it’s okay to switch out between a couple of different menus one week and then switch it up the next week!
This eliminates purchasing so many different ingredients in one week that you might not be able to use completely before they spoil.
I PROMISE that a heart-shaped ham and cheese sandwich on Thursday will be just as special as the same type of sandwich cut with a butterfly cookie cutter on Monday. There are little ways to make the same ingredients special in different ways throughout the week!
Your Freezer is Your Friend
Did you know that you can freeze homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, and even potato chips?! Use your freezer before you let your food spoil and go to waste. You would be surprised at what all you can freeze!!
Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend
Check out our list of Tax-Free Weekends in every state here! Wait to purchase lunchboxes until you don’t have to pay tax on them. It’s an easy way to save money on a bigger school purchase you’re going to make anyway!
Buy What is on Sale
Plan your menu according to what’s on sale! We always share the best deals, sales, and coupons, here! All it takes is a quick click to check out what you can save the most on before you plan your weekly menu!
Buy What is in Season
Purchasing strawberries in summer and pears in autumn is a great way to save money. Bananas are always the most inexpensive fruit, second to apples. Did you know that?! Keep those produce prices in mind when planning lunches!
Exchange Fresh for Frozen
Blueberries and raspberries from the freezer section of your grocer thaw by lunchtime and still taste great! They are MUCH more inexpensive to buy by the bag than fresh berries and are wonderful when added to yogurt, too!
Prep Over the Weekend
There are SO many ingredients you can prep over the weekend for your upcoming busy week ahead. When I prep ahead of time, I’m WAY less likely to cave in and purchase prepacked meal items during the week due to lack of time in my schedule!
Shop sales and buy more shelf-stable items than you need for one week. It’s okay to buy a lot when prices are the lowest, so you save more money over time! It’s important to keep in mind the amount of storage space available in your home, though, so you don’t buy more than you can store!
If you follow my 20 Secrets for Saving Money on Back to School Lunches, you will be sure to save more money than ever before! Each technique saves a little, but when combined with all the others, the savings add up and you save a LOT!!
Then, you’ll have more money you can shift to savings OR to spend on other things that add value to your life!