Trim The Fat Tuesday: The School Lunches, Part 2

Today is the last installment of the summer sequel miniseries. These posts have all been a "Part 2" in budget areas that, upon further consideration, could be cut back even more than I did the first the around. I saved the very easiest do-over cut for last:

Limit school cafeteria purchases to just three per week.

Last winter we cut off all the kids' cookie and fancy drink purchases, as well as one cafeteria lunch per week. That was a bit of an adjustment, and there were many weeks when they "forgot" and bought something off-limits. (Remember, I can easily check their purchases at myschoolbucks.com.) True to my word, I docked their allowances to cover these extra purchases, and within a few months they were mostly on board with using their lunch boxes more often (although they still think that sometimes 50 cents is reasonable for a sweet treat, and I can't say that I blame them).


Last year school lunches cost $2.75 a piece, but starting in September the prices will go up to $3.00. That cuts into our savings, a bit, but some is still better than none. After all, if this project has taught me anything, it's that every little bit adds up.

On to the math. Buying four lunches per week last year cost us $11 per child per week. Multiply that by two children and four weeks, and you get $88 per month. This year, buying three lunches per week will cost $9 per child per week, or $72 per month. That means we save $16 per week during the school year. Remember, though, that we need to spread those savings across the summer months as well, so we will prorate it. There are 10 months of the school year, so we save a total of 10 x $16, or $160. Divide that number by 12 to spread it across the whole year, and we save just over $13 per month.

Oh, and why is this the easiest cut in the sequel series? Because it has no effect at all on my quality of life. If anything, it should keep the kids making good, healthy choices as well, so it's good for everyone.

Savings per month: $13

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