Once you know your family’s lunch budget, you can cut your spending by meal planning.

Put pen to paper at the weekend and decide what you’ll be packing for your lunch at work and for the kids (if they take a packed lunch to school) for the coming week.

Meal planning can help you save money because it streamlines your shopping. You effectively buy what you’re planning to use, cutting down on impulse buying.

It will also save you time because you have a written plan and are not rummaging through the fridge looking for what to pack.

Shop efficiently
Fruits and vegetables can be expensive – buy we all need our five a day, so how can you work around this? One solution is to pack only seasonal fruits and vegetables. So, when strawberries are out 9th season and cost far too much,  switch to grapes or another fruit to keep your costs down.

Use leftovers
Leftovers make cost-efficient lunches and are great for those cold months when you want to eat something hot for lunch. Try  cooking an extra portion or two each night to use for lunch the next day.

If the thought of having last night’s dinner for lunch doesn’t sound appealing, why not turn it into something new for your lunch?  A Sunday roast, for example, can become a chicken or pulled pork sandwich.

Save lunch containers
Instead of wasting money on throw-away lunch containers that are bad for the environment, it’s a good idea to get your family used to bringing home reusable plastic containers (which can easily be cleaned in the dishwasher).

Don’t buy the most expensive containers, because all the transporting to school or work and then back home again means that accidents may well happen and things can get broken along the way.

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