I don’t know about your kids, but my daughters are snack obsessed! Our day basically operates around what snacks they’re going to have and what time they can have them.
Keeping kids well-fed is necessary for their health and their mood, but sticking to our family budget is also important. We’ve instituted some simple parameters to make sure we’re getting the most for our money when it comes to snacking. Here are seven ways you too can save money on snacks.
1. Make Your Own
The easiest way to save money on snacks is to make them yourself. It’s also a great opportunity to teach kids about nutrition and how food is made. Making munchies at home doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. My daughters love mini bran muffins, granola, and ants on a log. For some cost-effective recipes for your kid’s favorite snacks check out this post. You can also check Pinterest for some great snack ideas.
2. Buy in Bulk
Although prepackaged snacks are convenient, they are usually the more expensive option. Instead of purchasing individually wrapped items, we buy in bulk. Once we get home, we either serve the kids straight from the container or divvy the snacks up into reusable baggies to take on-the-go. We do this mostly with nonperishable food, like crackers or trail mix, and it’s environmentally friendly because there’s less trash for the landfill.
3. Have a Snack Window
Let’s face it, kids would graze all day if we let them. Instead of allowing your little ones to eat snacks whenever they want, have a period of time when snacks are allowed. Our snack window is usually halfway between meals, meaning my kids eat roughly every two and a half hours. This way they’re not eating as many snacks throughout the day and they have a better appetite at mealtimes.
4. Offer Produce First
It’s completely normal for people to sometimes eat emotionally (boredom, sadness, anger) and not necessarily out of hunger. If my kids say they’re hungry, I’ll offer them sliced fruit or veggies first. Once they eat that, they can have another snack. If they turn down the produce, they may not actually be hungry and I encourage them to listen to what their body is saying.
5. Water Only
The only thing my kids drink is water. If we’re at home, they drink out of cups and if we’re out and about, they drink from reusable bottles. This means we never spend money on disposable containers, like juice boxes or sports drinks. Those drinks may taste yummy, but the cost can really add up.
6. Always be Prepared
Never leave home without snacks! The worst thing you can do for your budget is to make last-minute stops at a convenient store or drive-thru. Keep a snack stash on you at all times to eliminate those impulse purchases when your kids are “starving.”
7. Be Consistent
The moment you start bending the rules is when snack spending can get out of control. Just like with all of the limits you set, be consistent and your kids always know what to expect.
These tips have helped our family save a lot of money and I hope they help your family as well. It may take a little effort to implement these changes at first, but your bank account will thank you!