Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick tip Tuesday: Saving money and my morning sanity on Sack Lunches for school

I have 3 children to get up, get dressed, get fed, get backpacks, and get out the door- all while trying to remain calm and show them love, so they can have a good day at school.  I don't know why this sometimes proves difficult, but it does.
Ideally our morning starts at 6 am, with a 30 minute run.  This is to help the boys consentrate at school and get their blood flowing.  Then we get every body together for our morning devotional and family prayers.  At about 7 the kids get ready for school and I make a quick breakfast.  By 7:15 we are eating.  By 7:45 we are getting shoes, backpacks, teeth brushed, hair combed, kisses.  At 8:00 we should be out in the car and headed to school.
Notice I said "IDEALLY".  Yeah, it rarely looks like that.  But, it is good to have a goal, right?
All of that said, Last week, I got caught empty handed.  I was getting my superheros ready for school, when I realized we had no bread, peanut butter, apples, or carrots- for lunches.  Which means, I had to cough up $12 for their school lunches.  That is right! $4 a piece.  Well, I tell you, that hurt a little- since our weekly budget is $100.  That could not happen again!  Between tight budgets and a busy morning routine, I decided to plan ahead.
First, I bought 5 loaves of bread=$4.70.  Ingredients for rice krispy treats=$3.98.  Ingredients for cookies = $3.80. Corn chips= $2.  Pop corn kernals= $1.75.  3 16 oz jars of peanut butter=$9.50.  I pulled 5 8 oz. jars of apricot jam out of the freezer =$4.00.
I also made sure I had tons of sandwich bags on hand about 200-$4.00.
So add it up, the total cost going in to the lunches is $33.68.  Now, that seems like a lot, unless of course you compare it to school lunches.  Then you recognize that it is actually only less than three days of hot lunch for three kids.
OK, here is what you do next.  You have each superhero make an entire loaf of sandwiches by themselves.  That is 11 sandwiches per loaf.  There are a couple tips here.  Like peanut butter both sides, and then spread the jelly- 1 tsp over the peanut butter.  That keeps the jelly from sogging the bread.  Make sandwiches along side of them, to keep them focussed and it helps to manage the mess.  Next tip- pre-bag each sandwich, then put each sandwich bag in the the original loaf bag from the store.  Seal it and put it in the deep freeze.  Now that you have all 5 loaves made into sandwiches, and frozen, you can feel your first sense of accomplishment.  55 sandwiches that is 18 days of school lunch sandwiches, prepped and ready.  Great job!  Take a break, wash the table, sweep the floor, and get ready for more crazy.

Now make rice krispy treats.  flatten them out in a giant roll pan.  cut them.  You can get about 30 treats.  bag them and freeze them.
Now make popcorn.  35 servings is about $1.75.  Bag them.   Throw them in a grocery bag and put them in the deep freeze.
1 bag of Corn chips.  Put a hand ful in each sandwich bag.  You can get 20.  Throw the bags in the freezer.
Make the cookies.  The smaller you make them, the more cookies you get.  I can fit these into the snack bags.  1 made 4 dozen.  48 cookies.   bag 'em, bag 'em, freeze 'em.

The reason all of this is going in the deep freeze is A) out of sight out of mind B) it stays fresh C) there is room D) all of the above!
I also pre-peel about 5 lbs. of carrots.  My kids like the big carrots.  So I peel them, cut them in thirds, add some water to a sandwich bag, put them in the bag, and throw them in the crisper.
I also keep apples on hand.  Usually about 15 lbs. of apples lasts us a week.
Now the kids pull a sandwich, chips or popcorn, cookie or rise krispy treat, out of the freezer.  Then they go in the house and get an apple or carrots.  And they are done.  They love the choices.  I love that there is no mess and no stress.
So, if we tally the food, minus the fresh stuff, we can make 55 lunches, with some left over treats for about $.60 a lunch.  Again the total is $33.68 or you can purchase 55 hot lunches for $220.  That is a savings of $186.52 just over 18 days worth of lunches.  That is money you can take to the bank!
Any way, hope you enjoyed this motivator!
with love,
-Jo





2 comments:

  1. Those are great tips!! I rarely let my kids buy lunch, why pay a fortune to feed them junk!!

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  2. Great ideas! I make "uncrustables" to freeze (and use the crusts in my filling) but I never really thought about freezing the whole sandwich. I think I will give it a try. I already prep one week's worth of lunches (minus sandwiches) at a time on Sunday evening or Monday morning. I get XS Gladware bowls and make jello and applesauce cups. The kids love those! I also make homemade granola bars. We do apples and carrots, too. I have some thermoses- some are the expensive ones and some are cheap ones (I think the Dollar Tree has them). If the kids want something hot they can have leftovers or soup instead of a sandwich. I like knowing what my kids are eating, too, since the quality of school lunch is sometimes a bit questionable.

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