The cost of convenience

DIY lunchbox items could save parents $400 per year.

Convenient, pre-packaged snacks for school lunchboxes could come with a hefty price tag.

A study from Mozo found parents could save $432 per year per child by ditching pre-packaged snacks in favour of buying in bulk and portioning out lunchbox snacks.

Mozo Money spokesperson Kirsty Lamont said pre-packaged food came at a considerable mark-up.

“Parents might be surprised by the accumulated cost of convenience, with packaged cheese and crackers costing $2 per serving, compared to just 51 cents when making at home from a packet of crackers and block of cheese,” Ms Lamont said.

“Dried fruit was also expensive when pre-packaged, with sultanas costing $0.50 for an individual serve, rather than just $0.17 for a rationed amount from a larger packet.”

 Snack Pre-packaged mark-up   DIY saving per year 
 Cheese and crackers   194%   $183.15
 Sultanas  194%  $61.05
 Apple juice   150%  $55.50
 Popcorn   120%  $55.50
 Yoghurt  44%  $44.40

Packing your own snacks also leads to a reduction in disposable packaging and can be used as a learning opportunity for children.

“While time-poor parents may grimace at the thought of portioning out raisins and cheese slices, packing lunchboxes can take as little as 10 minutes the night before,” Ms Lamont said.

“Pre-packaging snacks can also serve as a wonderful opportunity to involve your kids and make it a math exercise.

“Using kitchen scales, ask them to measure out their snacks for the week and pack their lunchbox themselves.”

Tips for lunchbox savings

  • Buy snacks in bulk for greater savings
  • Avoid the aisles of overpriced snack packs and portion out dried fruit, crackers and other snacks into reusable containers, pouches or snaplock bags.
  • Slice your own cheese and meat to avoid the mark-ups on the pre-sliced versions.
  • Check the school guidelines around snacks, for example “no nuts” policies.

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person's particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs.