School Lunches

by Tawra Kellam

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These days in America, it seems that everyone is so busy that preparing school lunches is liable to push a typical mom right over the edge. When you have to choose between making school lunches or spending that extra 15 minutes in bed, it seems like buying ready-made lunches at the store is a no-brainer, but your budget doesn't agree. The average mom packs $2 worth of pre-packaged goodies into each lunch she sends to school with her kids. What mother hasn't wondered if those lunches are even getting eaten? Here are some tips from for things that you can do in 30 minutes or less on the weekend to make those school lunches a snap!

  • Those snack bags of munchies cost a lot! Make your own by pre-packaging chips, pretzels, animal crackers and other snack items into sandwich bags on the weekends. (Have the kids help!) Store them in a big container or basket and just throw them in the lunchbox in the morning.

  • Let the kids create their own pizza lunch kits. Toast bread and cutout little circles with a biscuit cutter. Add small containers of pizza sauce, cheese, and other toppings.

  • Make fruit gelatin and pudding and put in small plastic containers for the week. Make a large batch of granola bars, cookies, pumpkin bread, banana bread or muffins. Divide them into resealable sandwich bags and freeze so that you can grab one or two when needed.

  • Brownie bites are simple to make. Bake brownie mix in mini-muffin pans and put three "brownie bites" in a sandwich bag for each child's lunch. They freeze well too!

  • Fill a thermos (not glass) half full with juice the night before and freeze. In the morning, remove from the freezer and fill the rest of the way. The juice will be cold when the kids are ready to drink it and it keeps their food cold too.

  • Clean vegetables, slice into pieces and bag. Preparing a week's worth of veggies at a time for lunches and snacks saves money and time.

  • Purchase cheese in blocks, cut into pieces and put in sandwich bags.

  • Save napkins and catsup and mustard packets that you get from take-out. Use in lunches.

  • Before you make another peanut butter and jelly sandwich, check out for more recipe ideas.

Frugal living expert Tawra Kellam is the publisher of Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income.

Take the Next Step:

  • Decide today that ready-made lunches are no longer the norm for your gang. This weekend, try your hand at making brownie bits or banana bread. Next weekend, let the kids package their own chips or pretzels. You get the picture. Make school lunches a snap one 30 minute or less tip at a time!
  • Print FREE Coupons at Home at . You'll also find some more printable coupons here.
  • Discuss "How Much Do You Save by Making Lunches for Your Kids?" with other Dollar Stretchers in The Dollar Stretcher Community.

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