To think these lunches are too expensive?

(186 Posts)
EssieTregowan Thu 16-Feb-17 12:54:00

My two teenagers are currently spending around £5 a day on lunch from the school canteen.

It's a cashless system and unfortunately £5 is the minimum you can set the limit to.

We've said they're not allowed to buy drinks from now on and take water in, so that should help a bit, but I wondered if I'm being tight. We can sort of afford £200 a month on lunches but it means making cutbacks elsewhere.

Do we need to just suck this up, or is this crazy money? It's only recent as DD was taking a packed lunch until a couple of weeks ago and DS has for some reason started eating more at school.

How much do your secondary lunches cost you? Is this about right or am I raising a pair of gannets?

KinkyAfro Thu 16-Feb-17 12:55:42

Seems a lot to me

peppatax Thu 16-Feb-17 12:56:26

I have no frame of reference but shock

Might need a second job when the DCs hit secondary not helpful

KayTee87 Thu 16-Feb-17 12:58:41

That's crazy! I would think £3 would be more than enough and that would include a drink!

Heirhelp Thu 16-Feb-17 12:59:56

Seems way to much. Can you ask them to take a photo of the prices so you can set them a weekly budge and tell them after that they will have to make and take a pack lunch. Encourage them to take food with them for break time rather than buying stuff.

Crispbutty Thu 16-Feb-17 13:00:06

That's the top up minimum but they don't have to spend it all each day do they?

WingMirrorSpider Thu 16-Feb-17 13:02:11

My kids used to easily spend that but I monitor it now. They can have breakfast before school, and a snack at morning break. I've put a stop to both those. They have breakfast at home ( well, they always did but the greedy sods were having a second breakfast) and they take a snack in for morning break so just buy lunch. Their school does a hot meal deal for around £2.50 which they usually have. They just refill their water bottles for drinks.

Heirhelp Thu 16-Feb-17 13:02:58

No they won't have to spend it each day. I think it is time for the boys to start budgeting over a week.

WingMirrorSpider Thu 16-Feb-17 13:03:10

By the way, it's all monitored on parent pay so I can see what they're having

Butterflies27 Thu 16-Feb-17 13:05:11

At my sons secondary school his limit is £3 a day. The online cashless system allows me to see what he does buy each day. So he normally buys a drink, a biscuit and pizza or chicken burger etc. He isn't a great eater and this was the better option.

IHaveBrilloHair Thu 16-Feb-17 13:08:18

Dd gets given £3 a day by the Children's unit she stays in, she saves most of it.
If she's with me she can take whatever from home, or I'll make her a packed lunch if she asks but I won't give her money, I will buy decent stuff for her to take though (brand name crisps/mini cheeses/naice fillings for rolls/individual drinks etc)
What sort of stuff are they buying, and what does it cost?

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 16-Feb-17 13:08:53

YANBU. DS2's school food is really expensive too IMO.

£5 isn't even excessive eating is it? I've had a look on ParentPay to see what DS2 was buying a few times. It's only ever something like a toastie, a flapjack and a drink! He's hardly living the high life on it.

Luckily for me, DD is still in Year 1 and having free school meals, which offsets the expense for me considerably! DS2 is Year 11 so only two more years to go!

AndNowItsSeven Thu 16-Feb-17 13:09:30

You spend £2k a year on two children's lunches. That's a ridiculous amount. I would give them a pack lunch Mon- Thur and £3 limit for lunch on a Friday.

Gatehouse77 Thu 16-Feb-17 13:10:29

Blimey, my kids' school has an upper limit of £3!

The younger 2 take packed lunches and the older one goes to the Co-op as it's cheaper than than school and he's not there all day everyday.

Chasingsquirrels Thu 16-Feb-17 13:11:12

Sounds a lot to me.
More than I spend - £1 for a tin of soup I take with me, or less for a sandwich.
More than I spend on ds1 (secondary) or ds2 (primary) - packed lunches probably about £1 a day.
Primary lunches are £2.30.
Secondary meal deal is about the same to include hot meal & a drink. Also have panini, bacon baps etc about £1. Flapjack etc about 50p.

Ds1 (14) rarely eats at school - consuming his packed lunch when he gets home at 3.30pm. Mostly now he has 20p Aldi chicken noodles rather than carry food around with him all day to eat at home.

dementedpixie Thu 16-Feb-17 13:12:10

Dd spends about £2 a day but she just gets a main and small bottle of water.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 16-Feb-17 13:13:37

I think £5 a day for lunch for most people is too much. As you say, you can only afford it by making cutbacks elsewhere and I'm sure you'll agree that there's much better ways of spending around £1500 per year than whatever crap they're buying in the school canteen. A packed lunch would be well under half that so a huge potential saving.

Are they wanting school lunches to fit in with their friends? Would explaining to them that continuing to spend that amount on lunch would mean fewer other treats/no holiday/no branded clothing/whatever help?

It's good for them to realise that they can't have everything they want all the time. They're unlikely to be able to afford to spend that amount as adults unless they get very good jobs.

BaconMaker Thu 16-Feb-17 13:14:35

YANBU My DH spends about that buying lunch in central London - surely the school canteen should have more affordable options - how on earth are low income families spending that much?

Violetcharlotte Thu 16-Feb-17 13:15:15

It does seem a lot. My two get £3 a day.

HaveCourageAndBeKind Thu 16-Feb-17 13:18:41

That is an utterly ridiculous amount of money. £200 a month?! That's close to my entire food budget to feed 6.
Make them have packed lunches!

Coralfish Thu 16-Feb-17 13:19:18

Do they get pocket money? My kids are younger, but back in the day my mum used to give me a monthly allowance, which combined pocket money and £2 a day for lunch... surprisingly I managed to half my lunch spending by drinking water, taking fruit from home, etc. so that I had more shopping money!!

RB68 Thu 16-Feb-17 13:19:45

ours seems to be 3 to 4 a day but that is snack and lunch. Tried getting her to take snack and drink but its not working at the moment

nat73 Thu 16-Feb-17 13:22:48

Get them to make sandwiches ;-)

Lovelybangers Thu 16-Feb-17 13:23:20

DS had a £4 maximum per day - imposed by school.

OP - are you sure that you aren't mistaking the minimum 'top up' amount? I used to put £20 on for DS and it would last him almost two weeks (less if he bought a cake in break!)

Lovelybangers Thu 16-Feb-17 13:23:58

But yes! It's way too much to spend on school lunch every day.

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