Various reasons will appear why you are going to pack lunches some of which are: school trips, the kids donít like school lunches, day care requires you pack a lunch, you or your spouse is going to work, you are going to an all day baseball/ football/ soccer game or you are packing a lunch for a day trip that you and the family is going out on. Some adults and children will pack lunches because they are allergic to certain foods or ingredients in food.
Buying your lunch on a daily basis can be expensive and when you and your family is on a budget you find ways to cut back making the budget work. You can pack a lunch for pennies a day, well o.k., maybe not pennies a day but at least on dimes a day!
First letís start with a few vegetables:
Bananas are an inexpensive fruit that you can take in your lunch. At prices that are anywhere from .29 cents a pound to .59 cents per pound, you need to find a fruit market that offers the .29 cents per pound. It will take two or three bananas to make a pound so you are buying each banana for just around .10 cents.
Grapes are another inexpensive fruit that you can purchase in large quantities. Grapes will run you about .30 per portion. Just washing a few grapes and putting them in a baggy you have a great addition for your lunch.
Oranges and grapefruits are a little more expensive, but you can find these at three or four for a $1.00, so your fruit for your lunch will run about .25 cents to .35 cents depending on what time of the year you are buying these items and where you are buying these fruits. Always look for a smaller fruit market; the larger grocery stores are going to be more expensive for fruits.
So, now that you have a little fruit for your lunch, how about a main dish or sandwich? Purchasing large chunks of your favorite lunchmeat and shaving it down your self at home will save lots of money. Take for example, you purchase a block of ham, shave it down and freeze it. You can get almost a month worth of sandwiches out of a ten-pound block that cost you roughly $1.80 to $2.00 per pound. But if you were to purchase this same ham by the pound at the grocery, you are going to pay $2.99 to $4.50 per pound Ė there is quite a difference in how much money you are going to be able to save.
You donít have to eat ham all month, frozen hams, roast beef, bologna, and other lunch meats will last up to eight months when covered and sealed well in your freezer.
Crackers and small munchies that you like can be purchased in bulk as well saving you money. Look for discount stores where you can purchase eight packs of cheese (or a variety of other flavors) crackers for a $1.00. This gives you a pack of snack crackers for about .25 cents each. Purchased in the grocery store, you will pay about $1.99 to $2.50 for the same pack of eight crackers. Thrift stores and discount grocery stores are going to save you tons of money.
Another alternative to prepackaged crackers is using a few crackers and putting peanut butter / jelly / cheese / ham or other little snip bit on them to taste great. Inexpensive and great tasting addition for your lunch means you are going to save more money.
One great method on cutting down the ongoing costs of your lunches will be to use a lunch box. A fabric or plastic lunch bag that will keep your food cold while saving money on those little brown bags will save you about .05 cents per day alone.
Using reusable containers that you purchase for a $1.00 in the grocery store will save you about .05 cents per day as well. All you have to do is wash them out every night and watch your budget fall in line when you donít buy baggies.
Need a drink at lunch, take a thermos of hot chocolate, soup, water, or tea and you have enough drinks for your entire day. Hot and cold thermoses are a great way to keep your budget in line while enjoying a great lunch at the same time.
Donít forget that any leftovers from the previous days dinner can be taken in your lunch lowering your lunch bill even further.
Do you want a dessert in your lunch but not sure how to do it on pennies a day? Purchasing large bags of chips (cost you about $2.99 or $3.99 per bag) you can put a few chips in a reusable container and it wonít cost you much at all to have chips in your lunch.
Making cookies from scratch you are going to bake six to eight dozen cookies. Putting a few cookies in a reusable container and your desert is going to cost just pennies. This same principle is used with cake in your lunch as well. If you are going to use the prepackaged just add water mixes you are going to triple your price for either cookies or cake daily in your lunch.
Well now that you know how to survive on a budget packing lunches, it is time to go to the store pick up a few reusable containers and start sticking to your daily packing routine and watch your pennies and dimes add up to savings in dollars for every week!