Little Ways to Save Money (and Time): Kids Lunches

One of the little ways I save money on my kids school lunches is I send them water to drink instead of Capri Suns or juice boxes. I bought these water bottles in the dollar bin at Target a few years ago.

I calculated that I pack 100 plus lunches a year X 2 kids. That's approximately 200 lunches.

Hypothetically, say I buy 7 packs of juice boxes or Capri suns with 32 per package.

7 packs X 32 = 224 drinks

Let's say I pay a minimum $10 (average guess) per package. That's $70/year (7 packs X $10)  on juice! And in reality it would probably be more because once these juices are in the house, it's hard to have self control and not drink them at home. 

Of course my children prefer juice to water. But about a year and a half ago I made it my life's mission to get my kids off of juice. It took about three days of hard core training, but it worked and now they will drink water.

If I start to feel like I'm depriving them, I remind myself what a luxury it is to have clean, running water. And if my kids complain (which they never have), I will be happy to remind them as well.


Another thing I just started doing with lunches to save time is I make several days worth of sandwiches at once.

For example, on Sunday evening when I'm preparing for the week, I go ahead and make 11 sandwiches (5 for my husband, and 3 a piece for my kids). The sandwiches keep well in the refrigerator for several days.

It's so nice to avoid the cumbersome process of getting out all the sandwich stuff 3-5 times a week.
got to love a photo bomber 

I love it when I can figure out a way to be more efficient!

Now as for creativity and lunches, I've got nothing for you. Sandwich, pretzels, fruit, and water is what you get at my house. Occasionally, if you're lucky, I will throw in a sweet treat. But it's rare.


  1. I, indeed, love this particular photo bomber!

  2. Hi Sarah, Just curious...why 3 each for the kids? Do you pack half a sandwich for them? Do they only do school 3 days a week? Just wondering if I'm packing too much for my 2 year old. Also, have they always eaten turkey sandwiches? My tot will eat turkey, he'll eat pbj sandwich, but not a turkey sandwich.

    1. Yes, my children only go to school 3 days a week. I send a half sandwich for my daughter. All the teachers assure us parents that the kids need a small lunch because they serve a snack at school.

      And yes, mine do eat turkey sandwiches and have for a while. They have all gone through phases where they prefer turkey or peanut butter. My daughter loves turkey. Son loves peanut butter.

    2. Thanks! I'm gonna start making half a sandwich for my tot. He never eats the whole thing anyway!

  3. Oh, and what about you? What do you usually do for lunch? Thanks for these time saving tips!

    1. I eat something GOOD like a big salad, soup, or leftovers from dinner. I like a good lunch to sustain me through the day and give me something to look forward to. I'm an early riser, so I really enjoy a good meal after I've been up for so long.

      Today I had leftover Pioneer Woman Italian Meatball Soup. Yum.

      Sometimes I scramble an egg and slice up an avocado.

    2. Thanks! I'm so impressed that your husband eats a turkey sandwich every day. I offer to pack for mine, but he'd rather eat out...I wish I could help him stop that expensive habit. :)

  4. what's in your sandwiches that keep for several days? I like this idea.

    We treat juice like candy around here :) So, yes, occasionally, but rarely as part of a meal.

    I pack popcorn instead of pretzels - cheaper and more fiber. I make a big batch and it keeps fine for several days in a tight container on the counter (if we don't snack on it too much!).

    1. Margo - only mayo and meat. Boring, but it gets the job done. Lunch is not where my culinary skills shine.

      I love your popcorn idea and I need to start doing that again for my husband's lunch. Our school frowns upon popcorn because of choking.

  5. love the idea of making sandwiches for the whole week. Also quesadillas are a good options. I also use the reusable bags...it's an initial investment, but better in the long run for your checkbook and the earth.


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