Savvy mum shares how to save £10 a week on packed lunches (and we're converted!)

If you're getting into the swing of making packed lunches again, and want to keep costs low, then follow these easy tips

Mum making packed lunches at home with help from her two children
(Image credit: Alamy)

As parents and children settle in to the new school year, many are also settling back into the ritual of making packed lunches too. 

As well as researching the best school shoes to start the new academic year off correctly, some parents might have also investigated whether their child can get free school meals, or even weighed up the cost difference between school dinners and packed lunches. But with living costs still high, it never hurts to keep costs low where possible. 

One mum has shared a video on Instagram of two almost identical packed lunches, with two very different costs, and it's jam-packed full of tips for how other parents can reduce the cost of making a packed lunch. 

Packed lunch comparison

Gemma Bird, aka @moneymumofficial on Instagram, boasts more than 350,000 Instagram followers who love her savvy tips that are perfect for family life. 

To help families cope with back to school costs, Gemma shared a video comparing the price of two almost identical lunchboxes. 

One included a selection of pre-made items, including a Fruit Shoot, a box of raisins and a bag of crisps, while the other included the same items, but home-made versions. 

The pre-made lunch cost £3.08, while the homemade version cost almost £2 less at £1.11. Over the course of a week, that would tot up to a saving of £10. If you had more than one child, the savings soon add up. 

How Gemma cut the cost of the packed lunch

  • Instead of using an individual, pre-prepared pack of raisins, Gemma decanted a portion of raisins from a larger bag into a pot
  • Instead of a individual mini roll, Gemma bought a cake and cut it up into single portions
  • For crisps, Gemma bought a big sharing bag, and portioned some out into a sandwich bag to put into the cheaper packed lunch
  • When it came to cheese, Gemma cut some off a larger block and wrapped it in clingfilm as an alternative to snack cheeses like Babybel
  • Costs can be cut further by using spreads and jams in sandwiches as opposed to meats and cheeses
  • For the drink, Gemma takes a clean Fruit Shoot bottle and refills it with squash. Not only can this save money, but it's also a great way to reuse the plastic bottle. 

If you want to know how to save money on food, it's worthwhile checking that you are shopping at the cheapest supermarket, and that you know how to reduce food waste. You can also find some excellent packed lunch ideas in our food section.

Sarah Handley
Money Editor,

Sarah is's Money Editor. After segueing into the world of personal finance from the Homes sector, and acting as launch editor of Goodto's sister brand, Sarah now focuses on family finance. She is passionate about cutting through confusing jargon to help people make sound financial decisions, avoid overspending and set themselves and their families up for a financially-stable future.