M.M. asks from Rockwall, TX on August 07, 2009
Bring Lunch or Eat at School$$$$
So I just asked the college question and just thought of another issue! My kids have always bought lunch at school. My thinking has been- by the time I buy bread,lunch meat, yogarts, juice boxes chips and snacks.... or anything else, if they don't want sandwiches everyday.......would I really be saving any money!? So I was looking at my paypams account and found out that I paid $1,045.00 this past school year for lunches! (some breakfast here and there from the little sneak 8 year old : ) But still... maybe it is cheaper to have them bring their lunch ??? even 3 days a week. Do you think you really save $$$ bringing lunches?? TIA!
C.R. answers from Dallas on August 10, 2009
Last year my kids did both like you suggest. They picked two days a week to buy their lunch and we packed it on the other days. The problem is as they get older their appetite increases and there were days they bought lunch and an extra entree of the main course. I have found that we can pack our lunches with more healthy food. Also they each have a thermos so we can take more than sandwiches. We can soup, spaghetti, mac n cheese and more. Give it a try. It takes time but once you get use to it works out pretty good.
J.D. answers from Dallas on August 07, 2009
How much is it per lunch at school?
roughly the number of days attended per year is about 160 =
9 months - 1 month for vacation days ~ 8 months
8 * 4 weeks = 32 weeks * 5 days = 160 days
so if you were spending $5 ($2.50 per child) on lunch for the both of them, that would come out to $800 for the year.
I don't know if you can make lunch for 2 children for less than $5 per day. Is your time worth it? Is what you are sending better than what the school provides?
K.N. answers from Dallas on August 07, 2009
I love Pay Pams becuase you can check on all transactions, it just getting the kids to understand that it is not a free for all buffet all day every day. My son starting sneaking breakfasts here and ice creams there and then snacks, etc and ended up spening a ton each day. We told him to watch what he spends and pretyy much held him to a daily allowance on lunches. Sending lunch will eliminate that, they eat what you send and nothing else, but they still have access to use their acct anyway. Figuring out what to send that they will eat and not get bored with may be difficult, but even 2 days a week might help? Generally the LUNCHES are reasonable, the snacks are the killers.
A.I. answers from Dallas on August 08, 2009
im not sure what school district you are in but my kids were buying everything under the sun at lunch time..so i went and talked to the cafeteria manager and they set up a block on their account so they could only by a lunch..no extras..and on fridays if they didnt get their folders signed during the week i sent them with ice cream money..also you can sit down with the kids and look at the monthly calendar and choose what day based on the menu that they want to eat at school and on the other days let them take a lunh..my kids take lunch at least 2 days a week.but they get tired of lunchables and sandwiches.
P.W. answers from Dallas on August 08, 2009
I'm not sure on the expense, but I do think you can send a healthier lunch than they will buy on their own.
T.F. answers from Dallas on August 07, 2009
I really don't know if you save money or not. I keep PayPams loaded so daughter has a choice. Sometimes she just takes a meal replacement bar and gets a drink, others she will get lunch.
I do know, at middle school, I have looked at what she has ordered and some days the total was $6 a day. When she does buy at school, the only time it is less than $5 is when she buys only a drink. It is tricky at how the "meal" is set up and you end up buying ala carte when you don't realize it.
I just let her do what she wants. I've never worried about her being a healthy eater, she'll pick fruit or veggie over junk anyday.
E.S. answers from Dallas on August 08, 2009
I did a combination of both last school year, but I spent way too much money letting my son eat school lunch. After watching the account I realized that my son was going through the line and getting only the main entree and a milk and being charged for a full lunch. Then they would let him get another main entree, snack and milk. And for this they would charge him ala carte. We were spending nearly $6 somedays for him to eat a poor excuse for lunch. I spoke with the cafeteria supervisor about my concern that he was getting no veggies/fruits and also the expense. She said they have no control over what the kids put on their trays. They can't even suggest that they get a fruit or veggie. This seems CRAZY to me! When I was in school we had to have a balanced meal. Anyway, I've decided this year we will be sending lunch everyday. I can be sure that he's getting a healthy balanced meal and it will be much cheaper.