Save Money on Back to School Lunches
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Save Money on Back to School Lunches

Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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The new school year is starting and parents have to find a way to ensure that their kids will have a healthy lunch while they are at school. There are ways to do that and save money on school lunches. Try some of these ideas!

National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was started in 1946 under President Harry Truman. It is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.

Parents can check the NSLP for this year’s eligibility requirements. Those requirements can change from one school year to the next. In general, the parent’s income is considered (including whatever public assistance benefits they receive). The total income limit tends to be higher the more children that are in a family. Your kids could qualify for free or reduced cost school lunch.

Buy in Bulk

Your dollars can go farther if you purchase food in bulk. Buy a bag of oranges instead of individual ones. Pre-cut them for your kid’s lunch. Get a bag of grapes instead of individual packages of raisins.

Buy whole carrots and cut them into small pieces instead of buying pre-cut carrots. This strategy cuts down the cost of a school lunch. It also stops food waste. Kids are more likely to eat fruit or vegetables when it is already cut up for them than if they are presented with a whole piece of produce.

Bake your Own

Does your child want a muffin or cookies in their lunch? Bake your own! The cost of the ingredients will likely be less than the cost of a box of cookies or muffins at the store. Baking your own pastries allows you to control what ingredients are in these snacks and ensures that each of your kids will get the same amount.

Buy a Reusable Water Bottle

Clean water is the healthiest choice of drink for all humans. Our bodies need a constant supply of water in order to stay hydrated. Buy a small, reusable, water bottle for your child’s lunch bag. Or, use the bottle that comes in your child’s lunchbox. Fill it with clean, filtered, water from your home.

If that’s not an option, buy large bottles of water and pour some into your child’s reusable water bottle every day for them to take to school. Many schools allow kids to keep a bottle of water at their desks during the school day.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.