Family of Four Taking Flight to Financial Independence

FI With Kids: Fun Friday Food

Food is always a big topic in the FI (financial independence) community as we mentioned in our blog last week (How To Feed A Family Of Four On $75 Per Week).

One topic that does come up in FI social media groups is ... lunchHow do you save on lunch (adults and kids)?  What do you pack for lunch?  How much do you spend on buying lunch?  And so on ...

So today I bring you ...

Fun Friday Food

Our daughter's Back to School lunch from last year.  Also featured in the photo - reusable bag (found on Amazon - Bumkins).

When our son entered Kindergarten (he's now in 3rd Grade) I started doing Fun Friday Lunch Art for him.  And now that both of our kids are in elementary school, I do Fun Friday Lunch Art for both of them each week.  It is an easy goal to stick with - entertaining for the kids, and nearly free (with the exception of art supplies, but of course most of us have those around the house).  (Side Note: I am an art teacher.  You can read more about how we live on a teacher's salary (and save the higher salary) here).

Not feeling artsy?  Of course you can write simple notes or jokes (my kids love when I incorporate jokes!).

But what about the food?  Most of the food comes from our regular grocery budget - How To Feed A Family Of Four On $75 Per Week.  If I buy anything special, it would come from our extra spending budget.

Today I am not going to talk to you about their normal lunches, but I am going to talk to you about their special "holiday" lunches.

On special holidays (or near special holidays), I sometimes try to surprise them with an extra fun lunch (maybe Back to School, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Christmas, Valentine's, and Easter (Easter is fun because I put ALL of their food in eggs!)).  It really doesn't take that much more effort than their normal school lunch, and the cost is minimal and would come from our extra spending budget (I could definitely do it for $10 or less for two kids if I wanted to).

For example ... it might look like:

Back to School Lunch

Christmas Lunch - Our Son

Christmas Lunch - Our Daughter

Valentine's Day Lunch - Our Daughter

Valentine's Day Cookie - My Sweet Obsession Cookies (Support local vendors and artists!)

Valentine's Day Lunch - Our Son

-Instead of using their normal Bento Box in their lunch kit for special holiday lunches, I would remove that to allow for more room.  (I bought their Bento Boxes from Pottery Barn Kids their Kindergarten year.  They have lasted since then (now 3rd Grade and 1st Grade).  Their lunch boxes are also from Pottery Barn Kids which last 2 years or more.)

-I sometimes replace the Bento Box with crinkle paper (paper not plastic) that goes along with the holiday.  I've found this at the Dollar Store.  I like to avoid the Dollar Store as much as possible, but some things are okay like paper products.  At Christmas, I've put in "snow."  You can find fake fluffy snow at craft stores.  It's cheap, and the kids love it.

-I've found holiday baggies at Target to use to hold some food items.

-Sometimes I find little trinkets to go along with the holiday (like spiders at Halloween).  I often find these at Target.

-Food?  I usually use the food they normally eat for lunch, but then I might buy one or two extra treats they don't get (this would come from extra spending).  And I sometimes do extra special treats like the one featured in the Valentine's Day lunches above.  I've used a local cookie artist / vendor a few times for holidays and gifts.  Her cookies (My Sweet Obsession Cookies) are adorable, tasty, and affordable, and I prefer to support local artists / artists in general versus big box stores (when possible).

-Other ideas?  Cookie cutter shapes go a long way!

I've thought about doing my own Etsy shop or something similar selling personalized lunch art ... and maybe even pre-packed holiday lunch items (not food items), but that is not something I have time for right now.  Maybe in early retirement as a side gig?

So there you have it ... what do you pack for lunch?  Do you ...or would you consider packing notes / art .. or going above and beyond at the holidays?  What other ideas do you have for lunches?


No comments