Sunday Afternoon, the children are happily entertaining themselves, I have spent a lazy day snooping around the Internet and enjoying doing nothing very much, but the hours are ticking past and I really need to start thinking about what to make for tea, and then onto making sure everything is ready for school tomorrow.
Up until the start of the new school year I always sent mine for school dinners, nice and easy,needed little forward planning and they didn't complain about them, however costing £1.90 a day each , when you have 3 children it is not cheap.
So when Chloes best friend told her she would be having pack lunches this year Chloe decided she wanted them too, and what one does the other have to follow, so this year they have all opted for packed lunches, and for the past 2 weeks I have been making up sandwiches and trying to find extras to add into their lunch bag.
The general thought amongst parents is that sending a pack up is cheaper than a school dinner, but I am not so sure, so I thought I would price things up and see which comes out more affordable.
So a school Lunch costs on average £1.90 a day or £9.50 a week per child, multiple that by three and I was handing over £28.50 each week for school dinners.
So how much have I spent on Pack up? Has it been a money saving venture? Well I'm not so sure.
This week along with our food shop I brought extra pack up supplies, I think I am pretty frugal and went bargain hunting, returning home with several loafs of bread 60p each so £2.40 for 4 loafs, tins of tuna for the fillings £4. 3 tins of sweetcorn £1, Mayonnaise £1.39, mini Cheddar snack packs £1.89 for 15, Chocolate swiss rolls £1.60p for 24 mini rolls, cucumber 80p, carrots £1, apples £1 grapes and strawberries £3, and 2 x cereal bars packs £2 for 12
Giving me enough food for 3 pack ups consisting of Tuna and sweetcorn sandwiches, (for 3 days and the other 2 days will have whatever filling I can find - jam, the night befores chicken left over, cheese etc) pack of mini Cheddars, cereal bar or mini chocolate roll and some fruit, carrot or cucumber each day.
giving me a total of just over £20
Great so that's a saving of nearly £10
But the problem here is that all this snack food which is sat in the cupboards is already getting picked at, the fruit is not likely to last until the end of the week, and the mini Cheddars are dwindling quicker than I can keep track as for the chocolate swiss rolls, well they will be lucky if they last till Monday! The unfortunate problem is that the local shops do not have the same products for the bargains I found in the bigger stores, and had I of shopped locally and brought the same things I could easily of doubled my spend with a loaf of bread locally costing £1.35 and Tuna is nearly double too, so come Thursday morning and the supplies are limited I am most likely going to have to make a mad dash to grab some extra pack up supplies and will easily spend the £10 I had saved to see us through the week.
Am I doing something wrong? What do you do for pack up lunches? is there some way to send a sandwich box which is cheap but filling? Am I simply sending too much? (Even tho everything gets ate and they still come home hungry!)
How can I stop the goodies being ate between making the lunches, normally I simply don't buy the easy to grab snacks so they are not their to be ate,but when there in the house everyone wants them!
Should I try to convince them to go back to school dinners? If you are spending the same on pack up then maybe having a cooked meal which is more varied is better?
Update thanks to Midlife SingleMum reminding me in the comments: Please note the daily allowances for Tuna due to Mercury is advised no more than 4 medium cans per person per week, I mix up one can tuna and 1 small can of sweetcorn with mayonnaise then spread between three sandwiches and split between three children, 3 times a week because it is my daughters favourite filling. See the Food Standards Agency for more information about safe levels of tuna. Fish is a great protein source but as with everything, variety and moderation is always the key.