8 Lunch Box Prep Tips That Will Save You Money at the Grocery Store

Money-saving tips that make packing lunch easier? Yes, please!

By: Amanda Mushro

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Mother making school lunch to her children.


Mother making school lunch to her children.

Photo by: filmstudio


If you are looking to put a little more budge in the food budget, the lunch box is a great place to start. When we are packing our kids’ lunch, we want to include healthy and tasty options, but sometimes convenience and habit ends up costing us more at the grocery store. So, if you are looking for ways to save money on your grocery bill, here are eight lunch box prepping tips that will do just that and leave your kids happy at lunchtime.

  1. Get your kids in on the lunch planning because they have opinions that may help you save money at the grocery store. After a lunchtime chat, you may find out that you're sending them to school with too much food, which they toss away instead of eating — or you might be including items they really don’t like. Sending smaller portions if needed or skipping the items they don’t like will save you money as you prep. However, if they have lunch box favorites, you can stock up on those items at the grocery store instead of constantly buying new ingredients each and every week.
  2. Make sure you’re buying produce that is in season. Not only are in-season fruits and veggies tastier, but they will also be easier on the wallet.
  3. For any lunchbox staples that will live in your pantry, buy in bulk. You can save more that way, whether you’re picking up chips, crackers, etc. Check out bulk prices on these items at grocery stores, online, and in stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.
  4. Make your own snack-size or individual lunch items. Sure, grabbing the individual bags or containers and tossing them in the lunch box is easy, but you’ll save money if you buy larger sizes and create your own with reusable bags and containers. This goes beyond just snacks — think yogurt, fruits and veggies, meat and cheeses, and drinks.
  5. Repurpose dinner. If you find a meal that your kids really love, put some aside and pack it for lunch the next day. If you’ve doubled the recipe, freeze soups, stews, and other dinners in lunch-sized portions to pack for your kids. The same goes for snacks and treats. If you make muffins or cookies, you can save some for lunch options as well.
  6. Choose waste-free options for your child’s lunchbox like bento boxes, reusable containers, and bags. That way, you aren’t spending money stocking up on one-time-use bags.
  7. Frozen fruits are tasty, healthy, and budget-friendly. Mix in frozen fruits that will thaw by lunchtime for yogurt, smoothies, and snacking.
  8. Compare prices and use coupons to save money on the items you know you’ll need for lunch packing. This does take more time at first, but once you get into a routine of finding the right coupons for the stores you shop at, the savings will be worth the extra effort. Also, you’ll be able to plan the lunch menu and the options you provide based on sales.


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