Monday, April 6, 2009

Money Monday... brown bagging it.

Brown Bagging it... It's okay... no one will laugh at you!
My kids have NEVER purchased lunch at school... Okay.. maybe three times... but that's it.
We already pay exhorbitant tuition, buying lunch tickets for three kids at $60 each, per month, was an added expense I just didn't see was needed.
I have two hands, I know how to make a sandwich.
Have you ever wondered how much money you can save by having your kids brown bag it to school everyday? Let's do that math. Let's also lowball it.
Let's say you have 2 kids, and school lunch is only $2 a day each.
If they go to school 280 days, you have spent $1120 on inferior, calorie laden, deep fried,
high fructose corn syrup drenched, "food".
Instead if you made their lunch, or like my kids now... they make their own lunches, you would only be spending about $500 a year, and YOU WILL KNOW EXACTLY what their food has in it.
You know and I know that it's more that $2 for lunch as most schools. So imagine the money saved if you make the lunches.
I know... You don't have time.
I'm gonna be hard core now, and say this...
Everyone likes to say how busy they are... but we all make time for things that are important to us. Otherwise...bowling leagues wouldn't exist so prevalently. Catch my drift?
Make it EASY on yourself.
1. Teach your kids how to make their lunches.
2. Have a variety of things for them to choose from to take as snacks. There are lots of nutritious alternative to chips and sugar drinks.
3. Make all the lunches on Sunday nights and freeze or refrigerate them for the week.
4. Mix it up... offer soups, left over pizza, yogurt and granola, bananas dipped in yogurt and rolled in granola and frozen, PB & J, Nutella, Tuna, Egg salad, Roast Beef etc...
5. Shop in bulk. Stock up on Granola bars, nuts, carrots, celery, hummus, ranch, 2 oz plastic cups, pretzels, cereal in large quanity bags, and BAG THEM YOURSELF. You'll save sooo much money if you don't pay for the company to bag them for you.
What about you Mom and Dad?
Are there lunches and meals you eat on the fly that you could have brought from home and saved that $10? More than once a week?
The amount of money YOU WILL SAVE by brown bagging it is exponential compared to the kids lunches.
Before we had kids, I would make Bill's lunch every. single. day. for him. After we had kids, I felt like my time had gotten away from me.
One month, I was curious as to why we never seemed to get ahead each month.
I grabbed two high lighters and began highlighting the debit card statement
and each meal out Bill had purchased.
This was abut 10 years ago... and do you know that he ate $700 worth of food
going through a drive thru window?
The very next day.., Bill's lunch was ready for him in the refrigerator again.
I was busy... but not so busy that I couldn't make time to make my hubby a sandwich right along with my kids.
That is a lot of money.
It's called the "Latte Factor" in terms of money.
How many Starbucks runs do we make?
How many times is it 'Just a coke" in the drive thru?
How many candy bar cravings do we have at the vending machine?
They all add up... and add up big.
Do you smoke?
That's another money bleeder.
$5 a pack.
Add it up.
It's really high... especially if you smoke a lot.
How about going through the drive thru after work to feed the kids?
Do that even once a week, and it's an extra $884 a year out of your wallet, and into the
Now... make a list of all the things you want to do in the next month. For example... do you want to take a college class? join a gym? buy a new outfit? get your hair done? whatever!
If you end up with more month than money, change just one thing that has to do with purchasing food, and see how quickly you can reach your goal.
I sure hope this helps!
Let me know!
Hit that comment button!


  1. Sing it Sista!
    We always "brown bag it"...
    my DH has bought lunch at work
    maybe 5 times in 19 years on the job.
    They were right after I had our daughter,
    lol. My daughter and I bring our lunches or snacks when we go on field trips as well.

  2. I bagged my kids lunches all the way through school too. I treated them to hot lunch once in a while on special days when they were having special lunch meals but they always preferred homemade lunches anyhow. :)

  3. I loved reading this! I realized there were alot of things I didn't want to purchase because they were too "expensive", but I never blinked an idea when we would dine out and the bill came to over $40 for just the three of us!

    We spend alot of money dining out and now I'm using that money to buy things for the house that I've always wanted.

  4. I bring my lunch daily. My son rarely eats at school...autism= picky eater and food issues.

    My Hubby...I am working on him!

    I refuse to pay $6 or $7 for a burger when I can bring something from home.

  5. What a great post! My kids don't go to school yet, but I plan on brown bagging it for them. Cafeteria food is SOOOOO bad for you, and not to mention gross.

    I do buy lunch for myself though ... ALL THE TIME. I'm going to do a challenge, and post about it today. To not buy any fast food/restaurant food from now until May 6th. Except for Ryans birthday though ... I already promised we would try East Side Marios. lol. :)

  6. I am so guilty of having my boys buy hot lunch at school-It is so cold here, in the winter, I have liked knowing they are eating a warm meal. Their school provides pretty healthy food-minus french toast for lunch day. I would be saving quite a bit-I need to rethink our choice on this one.
    My husband works from home, so we eat here everyday-except if he has a client lunch.
    No smokers here, so we are saving a small fortune on that one! LOL

  7. Oh... we're brown baggers from way back when!

    Hubs and I get all excited when a salesperson comes in to work to take us out to lunch!

  8. You go girl! My kids don't eat lunch at school either! Whats the point? Most of the time its something they don't like anyway. Even if they would eat the "entree" then they hate the sides. I'll just make it myself that way I know they're going to "eat" their lunch.

  9. Adding another twist to the plan...wouldn't it be nice if the schools had a couple of microwaves available to the kids to heat up last nights meatloaf or veggies? My kids always want "real" food and being able to heat up moms cooking would always be preferred over the cafeteria grease.

  10. Oh I like the last commenters microwave idea! That would be great!! Hubs and the two youngest boys brown bag it every day. My stepson eats at school ONLY if his Mother gives him money to do so otherwise he will take his too. I pack the "unrefrigerated" items at night then just add the cool stuff in the morning. It is the first thing I do when I get up!

  11. I remember in high school, I would have friends say "can I pay you to make me a lunch like yours?" My mom taught me young to start packing my own lunch and I did it every day. Now, 7 years later, I still bring my lunch to's a GREAT tool to teach your kids especially at a young age.

  12. We will be brown bagging it. I go home for lunch almost every day and my hubby brings his lunch. We do eat out occasionally, but we enjoy that and we budget enough to compensate! Great tips!


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