As school days have become more hectic and crowded, our children now eat lunch just two hours after breakfast. As a result, their teachers ask that they bring in a snack to help them get through the school day without being hungry. Sometimes it can be tempting to purchase pre-packaged snacks, but is the time saved really worth the extra cost? We pack our own snacks, check out these examples below:
First up? Cheezits. You can buy the family size box or purchase the individual mini bags.
As you can see, both packages are $3.98. However the family size box is 21 ounces, and the individual pack box is 15 ounces. If you buy the large box and bag them up yourself, it’s only about $0.23 a serving, whereas the individual packs are $0.33 each.
Next up are Goldfish crackers.
Individual bags of Goldfish crackers cost $0.37 each. If you buy the large box and bag them up yourself, it’s $0.23 a serving. And if you take it a step further and purchase the off-brand Whales crackers, it’s only $0.15 a bag!
Another favorite in our home? Yogurt covered raisins.
An 8 ounce bag of yogurt covered raisins is enough for 8 snack bags, at only $0.25 each. If you get the prepackaged boxes, the cost increases to over $0.37 per serving.
As you see from the pictures above, buying in bulk is always cheaper than buying individually packaged snacks. Separating treats into snack bags only takes a few minutes, and can save several dollars each week. My kids like to pack their own snacks, and it’s easy for them to do with a measuring cup. It’s also a great way for them to build on their math skills!
For a quick review of the money we save by packing snacks ourselves, check out the numbers below:
For a week of prepackaged snacks:
Cheezits (x2): $0.33 x2 = $0.66
Yogurt covered raisins (x2): $0.37 x 2 = $0.74
Total snacks for the week for our family: $1.77 per child x 6 = $10.62 ($382.32 for the year)
For a week of DIY snack bags:
Cheezits (x2): $0.23 x 2 = $0.46
Yogurt covered raisins (x2): $0.25 x 2 = $0.50
Total snacks for the week for our family: $1.11 per child x 6 = $6.66 ($239.76 for the year)
While it may only seem like pennies each week, the savings really do add up. Over the course of a school year, we save can save over $140 just by purchasing large packs of snacks and bagging them ourselves. Of course, there is also the added cost of the snack bags themselves, but they cost about $0.02 each, which only adds up to another $20 over the span of the school year. Reusable snack bags would drop that cost even lower.
Could you use an extra $100 a year? That’s enough to pay our gas bill, or 2 months of water, or 2 months of cell phone service. Every little bit adds up, and counting pennies is a big part of staying within our budget.
Do you pack your child’s snacks at home? Or do you feel like the convenience of prepacked snacks is worth the extra cost?