Goldfish crackers, cookies, veggie straws, chips in tiny cute little individual packages. Or otherwise known as convenience foods, convenience snacks; all different types of packaged snacks for kids available for making Mom life easier.
ALL things pretty much every mom out there has bought before; no matter the price, for the sake of SIMPLICITY and EASE.
You grab them off the shelf, cringe a little at the price as you toss it in the cart and keep walking before you can change your mind.
You keep buying these handy little snacks because your kids NEED easy quick lunches for school.
After all, you are BUSY enough as it is with shuttling your kids around to various commitments without spending extra time on lunches each night.
But even still, you are always wondering if there is a better way to still get that convenience without paying a premium price for it?
Well, you are in luck! Here are my 3 best tips for how to save money on packaged snacks for kids with simple budget friendly snacking hacks for Moms.
Tips for Convenient Packaged Snacks for Kids #1
Stock up on non-perishable kid-friendly snacks when they go on sale. IN BULK, when they are at their lowest price per unit.
HERE IS WHY
Price per unit has you saying ‘what?’ and you have never shopped that way before – you need a Grocery Assistant in your life
It is well worth your time to pay attention to how much you are paying per unit for your commonly bought groceries. This is most important with snack foods.
Once I started paying attention to price per unit – it suddenly dawned on me how crazy it is that I was giving my children a snack (almost every day) that cost $0.68 PER SNACK! x2 kids…. do you realize how fast that adds up?
BTW this snack I’m talking about is apple sauce pouches – we all know how easy those are. BUT can you still stomach it the same when you phrase the price differently!?
Why can we justify $9.98 for 16 pouches – when a simple one second math equation reveals just how much that actually costs per pouch…
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
Simple snack ideas that can be purchased in an affordable bulk snack version instead and re-packaged
- Goldfish crackers
- Cookies (ideally baking yourself is best, BUT if you have to buy cookies, buy in large boxes, not individual bags)
- Other crackers (Wheat thins, Triscut etc) I know these don’t normally come in ‘convenience’ packages, but this makes it easier to pack ‘Crackers n cheese’ in your kids lunches with pre-packaged small amounts of crackers
- Don’t buy string cheese anymore – cut up a bunch of cheese at the start of the week and wrap in beeswax, plastic wrap or cut into squares the size of your containers and put in a bin in fridge
- DIY Applesauce pouches (yes, this works here too, instead of pouches or cups buy larger bottles of applesauce, put into containers in the fridge for eating with a spoon. Or package into washable squeeze pouches and put in a bin in the fridge.)
- Hard-boiled eggs sliced in half or quarters and packaged up for the week
Some squeeze pouches such as these ones from Amazon would work great. I like these Baby Brezza ones because they have a zipper closure on the side, Allowing for easy filling, and easy washing.
- Candy; if you like sending candy once in a while, consider buying for example a huge bag of M’M’s and tossing like 5 into the small containers at at time.
- Make a batch of rice krispies once a week and wrap them all up individually in saran wrap (or that new beeswax wrap, haven’t tried it yet) Same could go for Banana loafs, mini bars etc
- Chips: buy a large bag and package into containers or ziploc baggies
- Dry fruits/veggies (or freeze dried fruit which is what I do)
- Beef or other meat jerky
- Homemade Trail mix
- Munchie Mix
- Teddy Grahams
Buying these items in larger quantities WILL make a difference. I promise. It may not seem like that big of a deal to pay around $0.33 for a 1.5 OZ package (45 oz total for around $10) of the individual packages of Goldfish crackers.
BUT imagine how much that adds up over the course of an entire school year multiplied by a couple kids? When you can get 60 OZ for around $14 in the bulk version! It DOES ADD UP. You can buy a coffee or two for that!
TIP FOR CHEAP EASY SNACKS FOR KIDS #2
QUIT BUYING pre-packaged SNACKS that you can buy in BULK instead.
HERE IS WHY
Anything that comes in little pre-made packages can be upped in price, compared to their bulk counterparts. Retailers KNOW that people will pay for convenience.
For anyone that has to pack lunches every day of the week for themselves or a kid knows how much easier it is to throw stuff into a lunch kit and go, right?
Thankfully: I DO NOT have to make lunches every day at this current time in my life. NOT YET anyways. Even so, I will be the first to admit how convenient those little packages of food are!
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: TO HAVE PACKAGED SNACKS FOR KIDS AVAILABLE BUT FOR MUCH CHEAPER
1.) Buy little INDIVIDUAL SERVING sized airtight containers. Like these little 1/2 C serving ZIPLOC containers like in my image below.
2.) Purchase your favorite snack items in BULK
3.) Re-package them into the INDIVIDUAL portable container or individual plastic baggies for odd-shaped items. (I like containers to be more environmentally friendly)
4.) Place the CONTAINERS in a “snack basket” or several baskets in your pantry. Then when packing lunches or giving your toddler (or yourself) a snack, just grab out a container and snack away!
ATTENTION: MOM HACK AHEAD: This tip has also been really helpful for MYSELF. I LOVE certain snack foods, and have been packaging them into 1/2C containers as well. This has been great on helping me portion control when I get a snack craving. Below is an example of my snack storage idea for my pantry. We put our Ziploc extra-small square containers (1/2 Cup size; which is perfect for my snacks, and my daughters) in a basket in the pantry where everyone can easily reach them at snack time. Grouping similar snacks together.
Yea, I know what you’re thinking. 1) More dishes to wash, 2) It takes time to fill the containers. I am a mom too lol, I UNDERSTAND where these thoughts come from! Here is how I overcome them.
1. The snacks I am re-packaging are dry snacks (95%) of the time, so I DO NOT WASH the containers every single time.
– My kid empties one, I brush out the crumbs and refill it immediately from my bulk container of that snack and put the container back into the snack bin. OR
– IF IT IS DIRTY I will wash it quick by hand and set to dry or pop in dishwasher – Put them in a specific drawer in my kitchen once clean.
– Then once my snack bin in the cupboard is looking empty I will fill all those empty containers from my drawer up at once with various snacks from my bulk snack containers.
TADA – hardly any extra time at all for a lot of $$ money, and environmental benefits.
TIP FOR BUDGET FRIENDLY PACKAGED SNACKS FOR KIDS #3
Implement snacking ‘rules’ for packing school snacks and snacking at home on days off
HERE IS WHY
Rules are important – we all know that. It keeps everyone on the same page as a family. I would encourage you to set up these rules for everyone in the household – yes that even means you and your husband.
Hold yourself accountable to only packing the amount of snacks you have decided on as a family in lunches each day, and to making sure the snack bin is stocked to eliminate the temptation of falling back into old habits of buying the pricer snacks for the sake of time!
WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD
Some examples of rules I would implement on a daily basis if I had school aged kids packing lunches would be…
- The bin must be empty before it will be re-stocked (this rule works best in instances when you have MANY different snacks in the same bin, and some are possibly not the favorite snack, but you still want them to be used up)
- You are allowed “x” amount of snacks in your lunch from the snack bin
- If you do not eat the snack in your lunch, it is packed again the next day
- If you unload groceries, put new boxes/bulk items away out of reach until the CURRENT FILLED snack packs in the snack basket, and bulk overflow container are gone. (This is to minimize the chances of the re-packaged snacks going stale) For example, I keep ‘extra’ boxes and bags of things in the very top of our pantry.
- Containers have to go into the dishwasher once empty so they can re-filled, or wiped out quickly and re-filled immediately from your overflow container. OR washed quickly with soap and water by hand.
Possibly designate one day a week when you check on the snack basket to make sure nothing needs re-filled or is getting conveniently not packed (perhaps a non-favorite snack item)
You could implement any one of these ‘rules’ to make this work for your individual family lunch situation.
SOME POSSIBLE OBJECTIONS
You may be wondering, “WHY EVEN BOTHER putting them into containers ahead of time? I’ll just buy in bulk and divvy out some snacks into the lunch or diaper bag when we need it.”
Why is it important to actually fill up the snack containers ahead of time?
Because, if you have a bin full of conveniently packaged snacks sitting in the pantry, you are more likely to take them.
If you have several bags of open bulk snacks; Goldfish, veggie straws, maybe some trail mix or peanuts, and are in a hurry to get out the door.
You WILL NOT be inclined to open up those packages! Then rummage through your Tupperware drawer, ask your kid “why are all the lids to these containers missing?’ Then get those snacks packaged up on time.
You would be wishing you had CONVENIENT LITTLE SINGLE SERVING BAGS/CONTAINERS that you could be grabbing and throwing into the lunch.
Then when you run into the grocery store while your kid is at Hockey Practice, your are going to be SO TEMPTED to buy some single serve goldfish bags because they’re on sale anyways. Meanwhile, this mishap is not being Budget Friendly at all, because chances are the bulk goldfish that ARE NOT ON SALE will still be cheaper BY UNIT.
Point made, I hope.
You could also apply this story to a Mom trying to quickly give her toddler a snack because the baby is crying (me LOL)
Do I want to try to fumble one-handed with a chip-clip holding the big bag of goldfish closed and dump some out with a crabby baby on my hip? Shaking some onto the table quickly. No, not really.
I want to open the pantry door, grab a little perfectly toddler sized single-serve pack container of the snack and hand it to my daughter. WAY LESS WORK.
(Yes, don’t worry, my toddler does eat TONS of fresh fruit and veggies, although I’m making it seem like her diet is all Goldfish, LOL)
In summary – this is how to have cheap easy packaged snacks on hand for your kids at all times
1.) Buy little single serve sized containers appropriately sized to the age of children/family members you have
2.) Package BULK favourite snack items into containers and place in an easy to access basket in Pantry. Shoppingaccording to price per unit!
3.) Establish snacking rules for kids who pack their own lunches
4.) Keep a watchful eye on prices, and buy extra bulk snack items when they go on sale. Store, and don’t open till your current containers of that item are gone 🙂
5.) Be able to keep control of your own snacking habits, by packaging your ‘weakness’ snacks into 1/2 C containers or so, and being mindful of how often you reach for them!
There we have it. I hope this little tip inspired by my recent change over to containers for snack items has been helpful for you.
It has helped me cut back on my snack budget, by buying in bulk when on sale. While no longer buying certain individually packaged snack foods.
Check out my other budget friendly hacks for moms
Save $ by ‘stretching your soup’
3 Simple tips for saving money on groceries