Until I dropped to part-time in May, my kids were in day care full time. Until this summer, when we started doing oral challenges at the allergist’s office, all three had multiple food allergies. Because of that, I had always packed my kids’ lunches and snacks. We are now down to 3 of what used to be 6 food allergies, but I still pack lunches. Why bother?
My son is now in public school, and they serve hot meals. Lunch is $2.45 and includes only milk, which he does not drink. If he bought lunch 5 days a week, it would be $12.25 per week and about $49 per month.
I wondered if it was worth it to shave 10 minutes off my morning and opt for a school lunch instead of a packed lunch. We own Planetbox lunch boxes and reusable Rubbermaid juice boxes, as well as bamboo utensils and cloth napkins.
My detailed breakdown:
I send 8 oz of full-strength apple juice in our own juice box. 64 oz of apple juice from Aldi costs $1.49. 8 oz of apple juice in our container costs $0.19.
My kids don’t really eat sandwiches. I send 4 slices of ham by itself, plus half a dozen fresh spinach leaves. I get a pound of sliced ham for $4.25 with coupon (Land O Frost). There are 9 servings in that pound, so each serving is $0.47 with about $0.05 worth of spinach.
This week, I sent a quarter of a pint of raspberries each day. Pints were $1.25, so that was $0.31. I also sent some grapes, which were $4 for the bag. I sent about $0.25 worth of grapes.
He got a bag of Aldi fruit snacks. We get 32 pouches for $3.49, or $0.11 per snack. Sometimes I send homemade oatmeal raisin cookies which cost about $0.06 each.
This makes his lunch about $1.44 per day, or a savings of $1.01 per day.
Now, I know that does not sound like much, but if you multiply this by the 182 school days per year, that is $183.82 per year per child. When all three of my kids are in school, that would keep an extra $551.46 in our pockets every year.
What is an extra $551 to you? An extra mortgage payment? Two extra car payments? Halfway to a $1000 emergency fund?
Take care of the details, and the details may take care of you.
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