list of ways you can save when you pack a lunch

With another one of my children starting Kindergarten this year, the money I shell out packing lunches has once again increased. Packing lunches for three (yes, I still pack a lunch for my husband!) can really add up if I am not careful. Allowing myself to be lured by the ease of the prepackaged treats in the grocery store can make packing three lunches (and their afternoon and morning snacks) tempting, but way too pricey! Here are some ideas I have used to keep my lunch-packing prices down.

list of ways you can save when you pack a lunch |

  • Think reusable.
    • 3 lunches times 5 baggies per day for lunch equals a box of baggies that is used up WAY too fast!
    • Consider 1 purchase of ziploc containers, reusable sandwich or snack wraps, or
    • I don’t even have to wash all of the containers when they come home…often I just shake out the crumbs and pack it up for the next day
    • Instead of juice boxes, we use thermoses. I fill them with milk, ice water with lemon, even lemonade for a special Friday treat.
  • Buy large.
    • Instead of the more convenient but wasteful individual sizes, I buy the large bag, box, or tub.
    • Then I dole out some each day into reusable containers.
  • Use leftovers.
    • Little bit of soup left in the pot? Don’t throw it out. Leftovers make a great lunch.
    • Consider lunch when you are making dinner. Intentionally make a little extra to pack for lunch the next day.
  • Buy seasonal.
    • On regular days, I pick fruit that is in season (and on sale!).
    • When my mom comes to town, she always lets my kids pick ANY fruit they want from the grocery store as a treat and they LOVE it.
  • Look for generic.
    • Whether it is pretzels, animal crackers, yogurt or peanut butter, store brands are almost always just as good and cost much less.
  • Make homemade.
    • When you make cookies or granola bars from home, you know exactly what goes into them:  generally inexpensive ingredients (flour, sugar, oats, eggs) and a lot of love!
    • Makes for a good afternoon project for the whole family.
    • Double the recipe and then freeze so they go a long way to save time next week.
  • Think ahead.
    • Make lunches the night before.
    • This may not save you money, but it will save you plenty in time and sanity.

What are some things you do to save money when packing school lunches?

list mama

2 responses to “list of ways you can save when you pack a lunch”

  1. List Mama says:

    Brilliant! I love this idea. Thanks, Tabatha!!

  2. Tabatha says:

    I bought a very small reusable container and when I send something like carrots for lunch I put some ranch dressing into the container. It’s about the same size as the ones you buy in the store with no waste. Also, instead of a thermos I found “juice box” size reusable drink containers which is plenty for my son. Another thing I do is instead of buying those Uncrustables from the freezer section I make my own PB&J sandwiches and freeze them the night before. I put them into the lunch box in the morning and they thaw by lunch and are never soggy (I’ve done this with yogurt too).


So you can get your list on.

Reset Password

Register Today

Sign up for a free account to give ListPlanit a try.

Or click here to sign up for unlimited access to all of our lists for just $5 / month.


No problemo.

Enter your email and we'll send along password reset instructions.