Need fast, easy and inexpensive ideas for your kid’s lunches? Here are five meals for less than $2 each, created by Erin Chase, mom of four boys and the “$5 Dinner Mom,” and Coupons.com savings expert Jeanette Pavini (also a mom).
Both say planning ahead is key. Take advantage of sales, and combine them with coupons whenever possible. By shopping smart and making lunches in batches, you can save money. As an added bonus, you’ll save time while making meals your kids will actually eat. Chase offers a free lunchbox ideas list on her website, and Pavini’s menu uses free downloadable coupons from Coupons.com to cut costs. You can even use a rewards credit card to purchase your groceries, pay it off in full, and treat yourself later for being such a great parent!
Setting a budget and finding creative ways to stick to it can go a long way toward helping you meet your financial goals — like saving for your kids’ college and other big (and small) purchases. It can also help you if you have a plan to pay off your debt. Paying your debts on time and keeping your credit card balances low (or paid in full) can help you work toward good credit, which in turn can give you access to better interest rates when you do borrow in the future. You can see where you stand credit-wise — and track your progress — by getting your free credit scores every month on Credit.com.
1. Peaches and Cream Baked Oatmeal
A big batch of peaches and cream baked oatmeal can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated, then served hot (for breakfast) or cold (for lunch). Here it is served cold with fresh fruit and yogurt.
2. Sandwich Kabobs
Finger food is fun. That same old sandwich can be made into kabobs by simply chopping it into small squares and threading onto a skewer. Here it’s served with yogurt, an apple, fruit snacks and fruit punch.
3. DIY “No Crust” PB&J
Sure, you can buy store-bought PB&Js with no crust — but you can also make them quickly and easily. Just cut off the crust (as pictured) or if you want to get fancy, just the lid from a large jar of peanut butter to cut it into a circular shape. They can even be frozen. Just take one out of the freezer in the morning and by lunch it should be ready to eat.
4. Tuna Sandwich With String Cheese
The standby lunch staple, a tuna sandwich, is served with string cheese, a fruit roll up, juice and a pudding cup. Want less sugar in your kid’s lunch? Sub out fresh fruit in season and you can still stay under budget.
5. Ham & Cheese Kabobs
Make a simple meal of ham and cheese more fun by turning it into a kabob. Crinkle cut carrots can be bought pre-made, but if you plan to make them often, you may want to invest $10 – $15 in a crinkle cutter kitchen tool.
There’s more! You can see the rest of $2 Lunches You Can Make for Your Kid here.
Images courtesy of 5DollarDinners.com & Coupons.com
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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.
This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.