Wednesday, October 10, 2012
31 Days:: Package Your Own Snacks
Those individual bags of chips and miniature cookies are so convenient, aren't they? They almost make me look forward to making lunches! Oh, wait, I guess I won't go that far!
Here I am, creating more work for you. But do the math and find out how much you'll save if you invest a few minutes into packaging up your own snacks. Need some examples?
1 13.7oz box of Cheez-its = $1.76 if bought on sale with a coupon ($2.06/lb)
1 box of 12 - 1.25oz bags of Cheez-its (15oz total) = $4.00 if bought on sale ($4.26/lb)
4 lb bag of Kirkland brand trail mix = $12.99 ($3.25/lb)
2.81 lb box of Kirkland brand trail mix pouches = $11.59 ($4.12/lb)
1 - 11.5oz pkg of 30 Fudge Stripe cookies = $1.99 on sale ($2.77/lb)
1 box of 12 - 1.4 oz bags of mini Fudge Stripe cookies (16.8oz total) =$4.00 if bought on sale ($3.81/lb)
**In addition to the cost savings per pound on the cookies, I'll save even more because I'll pack 2 cookies in each bag, which will get me 15 snacks out of that 11.5 oz package.
You'll save money if you package your own snacks. But you'll save time as well if you package a bunch of snacks at once. Loading chips into ziploc bags every night can get old really fast. First you get out the sandwich bags, then the chips. Load up the bags, wash your hands because they got greasy from the chips, zip the bags shut, put away the chips, and repeat again the next night. But if you fill a lot of bags at the same time, you only have to take everything out once. And you can probably throw away the chip bag when you're finished rather than putting it back in the cupboard.
Packaging up snacks is something even the littlest kids can help with. If I'm organized enough to get everyone together to help, my 2 1/2 year old daughter can open the ziploc bags for my older three kids to load chips, Keebler cookies, trail mix, miniature rice cakes, etc into the bags. I zip them shut and sort them into piles.
And yes, I realize there are exceptions to everything. If you shop the deep-discount stores, sometimes you can find lunch snacks past their "sell by" date for 10 cents/snack. Yup, that's probably cheaper than packaging them up yourself!
Sometimes it's worth the convenience to buy the individually-packaged snacks. I buy them as a treat for vacation, or when it's our turn to provide the soccer snack...only if they're on sale, right?!? But as a rule, we spend a little time to save a lot of money by packaging our own snacks.
Do you package your own snacks? What are your ideas for packing better lunches for less money?
Looking for more ways to Save Money in the Kitchen? Check out the previous articles in this series here.