Monday, July 30, 2012

Cheaper To Send Lunch?

It's a well known fact in the grown up world that taking your lunch is the cheaper way to go.  Does this also apply to school lunches?  Maybe, maybe not.  Granted if you go to public schools the price of a hot lunch is a jam up deal, but not necessarily the cheapest way to go - especially if you're a couponer.  I was discussing this with a friend last week.  We were debating whether it would be "better" to send lunches or let them eat school lunch.  I mainly choose for my children to eat lunches at school because the value is great.  I'd rather them have a hot lunch.  But half way through the year last year my son complained that the lunches weren't enough and didn't fill him up.  I believe it because a 10 year old boy can eat a LOT of food!  He also complained that by the time he stood in line and got his food that he was often rushed to finish before lunch time was over.

Being the OCD person that I am I decided to get to the bottom of it.  I took the basic PB&J lunch and compared price to public school lunches.  Our school system charges $2.25 a day for lunch.  I used the prices of foods I got recently to estimate how much I could make a lunch meal for.  Here's the run down:

Peanut Butter - $.67 a jar (25 - 2 tablespoon servings) $.03 a serving

Concord Grape Jam - $.35 a jar (26 - 1 tablespoon servings) $.01 a serving

Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread $.95 a loaf (I can get at least 12 sandwiches out of a loaf) $.08

Juicy Juice juice boxes $1.13 for 8 boxes $.14

Quaker 25% Less Sugar Chewy Granola Bars $.83 for 8 bars $.10

Go-Gurt yogurt $1.02 for 8 tubes $.13

Mott's Fruit Snacks $.40 for 10 packs $.04

So, as you can see the above home made lunch only cost me $.53.  There's a lot to consider as well.  I usually put in cut up apples or grapes.  Plus, if they'll eat it I like to add carrot chips or sliced peppers.  We all know that fresh produce tends to cost more.  And, of course, I'm not going to send PB&J sandwiches everyday.  That would be very boring.  I was just giving you a look at what is possible.

(Oh, and I got the pictured lunch box for free using my Huggies points.)

What are your plans for lunch this year?

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