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Lunchboxes for LessToday marks the 40 day countdown for my kids until summer vacation.  I think the thing I’m the most happy about (other than spending our holiday at home together, of course!) is that I have only 80 more lunchboxes to pack!  I start to run out of new ideas at this time of year … any fun ideas to pass on? Drop a line in the comments below or on the Canadian Coupons facebook wall – we luv hearing from y’all and I could REALLY use some lunchbox help!

When I had my usual spread laid out on the counter this morning,  it dawned on me that absolutely everything I was using (including the lunch box!) was bought on sale and that most of the purchases included a coupon and a store perk as well.  I savored my little “yes, I’m glad I’m doing this” validation moment that us SAHMs need from time to time before dashing for a sham-wow cloth to soak up a full cup of milk off the hardwood floor.  *note to self: stop daydreaming while breakfast club is here.  and buy more sham-wows.  they rock!

Being a Save-at-Home-Mom (as opposed to the usual SAHM Stay-at-Home-Mom, that is!) permits me to make our lunches thus saving on school lunch fees.  Our catering options at school include $5 home-made meals twice a week, $5 Boston Pizza hot lunch, $2 Pizza, and $5 Subway.  That’s $22 plus $.75 for milk per day which would add up to $51.50 PLUS snacks for our 2 children.  That would require budgeting almost $2,000 if we bought everything that was available for the full school year (hot lunches start about 2 weeks into the year at our school).

Bottom line, I’m happy to be able to save on our groceries and packing our own lunchboxes for less.

Of course I’m not implying that all work away from home parents would/should/do purchase school lunches 5 days a week, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if I went back to teaching, I’d be making fewer and fewer lunchboxes on my own.  With a 100+km return trip commute each day, I just don’t know where I’d find the time to get all of the shopping/chopping/prep done.  And if I DID, I certainly wouldn’t be couponing and planning my shopping trips around sales + store perks as much.  Bottom line, I’m happy to be able to save on our groceries and packing our own lunchboxes for less.   Confession:  I do use processed deli meat and cheese slices from time to time – this post is about coupon savings, not lifetsyle choices and/or cooking abilities!

Do you recognize some of these products from their coupons?

  • Miracle Whip – these were on sale at Food Basics a few weeks ago for almost half price and I used a $1 OFF Canadian Coupon that I got in the mail from Save.ca (no longer available)
  • French’s – print your SmartSource coupon for $.50 OFF any French’s Mustard (print here)
  • Allen’s Juice – I just found this tin under a storage shelf in the basement yesterday.  It must have  rolled off the mountain (yes, mountain!) of specially marked tins that I’d peeled the labels from to clip the $5 in Oasis coupons from last fall.  The coupons expired at the end of March, 2013 and I missed out on $1 OFF juice boxes, $1.50 OFF a jug and $1.25 OFF a carton of juice.  Drats.

fournee

Premiere Fournee Bread – this stuff is soooo good!  It’s a bit pricey for my taste and I wasn’t sure that I’d make use of the $2 OFF 2 Loaves Canadian Coupon that I ordered to arrive in the mail from Save.ca.  It didn’t take long for the price to come down though, and I picked it up yesterday at 2/$5 at Your Independent Grocer (it’s also on sale at other Loblaws family stores) so with the coupon, it was the lowest priced bread of the shelf!

Artisan Collection Deli Meats – are also on sale for $4.49 this week at Food Basics.  I picked up a couple of packages yesterday at 40% OFF due to a short expiry date.  They’re dated May 2, 2013 which is still 10 days away!  I asked the Meat Dept. Manager why so many deli products had been marked down and he explained that they were expecting a new shipment in and just didn’t have cold storage for it all.  Nice!  I came home with several packages and put all but 1 in the freezer.  These thaw out over night in the fridge (not in the meat/crisper drawer) and are easy to add to grilled cheese and quesadillas too, for quick lunches.

  • Black Diamond Basket 2Black Diamond Cheese Slices – there’s a $1.50 OFF 2 packs coupon inside specially marked packages.  And with a sale price of $1.88 this week at Food Basics, it’s a really great deal.
  • Rubbermaid Re-usable Drink Boxes – these came from Zellers.  I miss that store!*  They had such dependable coupons that we didn’t even need to print – just hold up your phone and Flash at the Cash.  These boxes were on sale 40% OFF plus I used a $10 OFF a $35 purchase coupon.  I’m looking forward to checking out the Target that is currently being built in my old Zellers building.  (*tear).
  • Lock’n Lock Re-Usable Containers – these are one of my favourite items to pick up at Canadian Tire for FREE during their Scratch ‘N Save events.  A few times each year, they offer a card in the flyers that has a GUARANTEED $5 OFF any purchase.   Be sure to read the card carefully before heading into the store – sometimes the minimum guarantee is a coupon for a frozen cake!
  • Lunchbox – every Thrift Store or Value Village that I’ve visited always has a number of brand new lunchboxes for sale – usually $1 or $2.  I suspect they’re donated by families who got them as a combo deal with backpacks but just didn’t need them.  I try to do my thrift shopping on 50% OFF days making them an even better deal!

People often joke with me that “you have coupons for everything”!  At 8:05 this morning I could have honestly replied “why yes, yes I do!”

Happy Couponing!

Christa Clips ~ April 23, 2013

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