Lately there has been some debate over school lunches. We were notified at the beginning of the year that our daughters elementary school was raising the cost of lunch to $2.75. We were told the increase was due to having a healthier menu with fresher ingredients.
Im all for having healthier lunches and think it’s fantastic that our kids are being offered new choices. At first, I didn’t think anything of the price increase, but, when I went online to put money in her lunch account, I stopped and did the math.
At $2.75/day, with an average of 5 days a week, that equals $13.75 a week. Multiply that times 4 weeks in a month and your looking at $55 a month. There are 10 months of school (Sept – June) which results in $550 a year for school lunch. (I know that this is really an estimated number since it doesn’t take into account 1/2 days or conference or vacation days. It still is a staggering number. )
This prompted me to do some more math and calculate how much it would cost if she packed a lunch from home instead.
Here’s what I came up with: a loaf of bread for the week=$1, 1 lb deli meat =$4.99, Juice boxes for week $1, snack (usually yogurt or fruit) $1 for the week. That’s a total of $8 a week, $32 a month, and $320 a year. (Again, this is an estimated number, using the same factors as the other calculation.)
The savings of packing versus buying is $230 a year!!
I know the savings are much more than that because some weeks, we don’t need deli meat because Jasmine likes to bring leftovers for lunch. I also use coupons to get things like juice boxes and snacks for even less than calculated. She also brings a thermos with water in it which costs nothing!
I appreciate the efforts to bring nutritious lunches to kids at school. I also know that for some kids, that’s the healthiest meal that they may get all day. For our family, that is not the case. Financially, it makes more sense for us to provide her with lunch that I also know it nutritious and filling).
I didn’t want to ignore my daughters feelings towards buying lunch because last year, it was the cool thing to do and she preferred to do so. We had a family talk about it and Jasmine is perfectly happy with this. She buys lunch on Thursdays, because that’s pizza day, and the rest of the week she brings lunch from home. It’s a win win for everyone!