Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Camp Lunch Dilemma

Here is my real life puzzle:
My daughter goes to a summer camp where I can either send her a lunch from home or order lunch from the cafeteria for $5. Cafeteria offers a number of lunch selections, but what my daughter likes is:
8oz mac-and-cheese with 5 grape tomatoes
bagel with cream cheese and 5 baby carrots

Ordering lunch from the cafeteria has a number of advantages: less work for me in the morning, lighter camp backpack for my daughter, food is presumably fresher than when made in the morning at home. However, it is an additional $25 per week.
How much could I save in a week by preparing identical lunches for my daughter at home?


Kalonni said...

$5/day for those meals is highway robbery. You can either send an Easy Mac (if they have a microwave she can use) or pack pre-made mac and cheese into a Thermos. I found Easy Mac at Sam's Club last week at $.31 a cup and grape tomatoes were $4.99 for about 50 or so. So you could make that meal for about $.50/day. I haven't purchased bagels recently, but last I checked, 6 bagels were around $1.99. Sam's Club has individual cream cheese for about $.25 each, and baby carrots can be purchased for a few cents each. If I were you, I would either pack the lunch the night before, or have my daughter do it herself. If you pack her lunch properly, it will be no less fresh brought from home than purchased from the cafeteria. In addition to that, you will have more control over what your daughter is actually consuming.

Maria said...

You would expect it to come to $3 per day, but $.50 !??!! Thank you for showing this math to us.
Even if you do not have a wholesale store like Sam's club or Costco around, it seems that you can squeeze in $1 with this menu. This would mean $4 saving per day, $20 per week!
I would like to add to Kalonni's idea of involving kids in lunch preparation -
demonstrate this math to them. It is simple, very applicable, stimulates them to be financially savvy, and as a memorable reward you can go out and spend the $20 you saved together.

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