Save on Lunches with Freezer Sandwiches

The following Best Savings Tip comes from reader, Jackie:

I save $47.50 per week by packing lunches for our three sons for school. The secret to making packing easy and economical is freezer sandwiches. I wait for a great sale on lunch meat and then we buy a bunch and have a family sandwich making day.

We form an assembly line. One child gets the bread out. One does meat and another does cheese. Mom cuts sandwiches in half. Dad puts them into Ziploc bags. (We only use Ziploc brand because cheap bags made sandwiches taste like plastic.) We then put the individual bags into a 2 gallon freezer bag and lay flat in freezer.

Each morning, I take sandwiches out of the freezer and place directly into the kids lunchboxes. They thaw by lunch. No need for a cold pack. I have a container in our fridge where we keep leftover condiment packets from restaurants. I just toss one of those in with the sandwiches.

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Genius – GENIUS! And so timely with school starting in soon too! My boys will be packing more this year and I will definitely use this time!

What lunch ideas do you have for saving time AND money?

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  1. Julie in IN on August 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Stock up on turkeys for $4 at Thanksgiving and you can cook one up every month for delicious turkey meat for sandwiches.

  2. Eileen on August 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Sound great, but they don’t get soggy when they thaw?

  3. James on August 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Wouldn’t the bread be soggy? I don’t know I have 2 kids and it literally takes 5 minutes to prepare their lunches. Just seems like the bread would be soggy, and they wouldn’t want to eat it.

  4. Jackie on August 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I promise they are not soggy! They are exactly the same as if you made it fresh. I was hesitant to try it at first too, but it really does work! I’ve been doing it for 3 years now. If you have a hard time believing it, try one or two and see what you think.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on August 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks again for sharing, Jackie! I am definitely trying this one. Not only for lunches but for the quick nights we have to run to practice. I can grab a sandwich out of the freezer and let our little one eat it when practice starts.

  5. Mary on August 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    My mom did this when I was growing up in the 60 & 70s. She even did it with PB&J sandwiches. Sandwiches were great.

  6. deanna on August 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I freeze bread all the time and it is never soggy when it thaws. I think I will try this!!

  7. Christina F on August 14, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Jackie taught me to do this 2 years ago…and she is a GENIUS! It works – my kids have never known the difference! Also have used this technique when going to the playground or “family field trips” — why pay Subway when you can bring yours along for next to nothing?! ; ) Sheer Genius!

  8. Stacy on August 15, 2011 at 9:05 am

    So the sandwiches are just meat and cheese with no mayo or mustard spread on the bread before freezing?

  9. Kendra on August 15, 2011 at 9:33 am

    What type of cheese do you use. Processed American, cheddar etc? I know some cheeses get crumbly after frozen.
    BTW if you are worried PBJ will get soggy on the jelly side, spread a thin layer of PB on both sides and add jelly on top. Even bigger money saver, make your own bread. We got a breadmaker used and make bread all the time, plus pizza dough. We make ahead mini calzones filled with ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, roast beef onions peppers and cheese or traditional pizza fillings. Send with a side of salad dressing or marinara for dipping.
    If you dont want to use bread you can use tortillas and make rollups or pinwheels and freeze. My son and hubby have taken their lunches for over 3 years and if you leave off the condiments it freezes great!

    • Amanda on August 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      I was ready to write the same thing about PB&J. We buy the whole wheat sandwich rounds at the Dollar Tree and make freezer sandwiches. No crust for the fussy eater!

  10. Wendy Hill on August 15, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I do this as well. I go to GFS and purchase meat in bulk for next to nothing. (you can use a coupon for GFS too usually 5.00 off 50) make all the sandwiches and layer them between wax paper in a huge container that I keep in the deep freezer. I also portion out all the extras that the boys will be taking for the week into containers and put them in the spare fridge. takes about a half hour to prepare the weekly supply, but Its so much easier to just grab their lunch and throw it in the bag each morning! I also all lettuce and tomato and condiment packets like someone else posted, but dont freeze that stuff.

  11. rb on August 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I have done this and spread the mayo between the meat and cheese so the bread doesn’t get soggy. At $5.50/lunch and 3 kids, this saves me a lot of money by packing lunches.

    • Lindsey on December 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      $5.50 for lunch? Is that for all 3 or each? We only pay $1.60 for school lunch per kid in ND. I guess if lunch was over $5 I would want to pack it for them too!

  12. Marygail on August 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I like this idea – I think I’m going to give it a shot!

  13. Emily on August 15, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I used to do this with banana bread & PB on the inside, we called them “church sandwiches” because we would pull one out of the freezer before church and let them thaw while we worshiped. It was a lifesaver when our son was smaller. Moral of the story: don;t get stuck on white bread. Quickbread, tortillas, pancakes, you’re limited only by your imagination!

  14. Angela Smith on August 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    These are GREAT ideas! I especially like the banana bread & PB one–my kids will flip in excitement on that one! Keep the good ideas coming!

  15. Kim O on August 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I did this all the time when I was in High School (years ago). I packed 5 sandwiches on Sunday night. The morning of school I threw a frozen juice box, a frozen sandwich and chips in a bag along with paper towels to make sure the juice didn’t get the bag wet. Everything was thawed by the time lunch came around. No freezer pack needed.

  16. Amy Letinsky on August 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Great idea. I did this, but it took up too much freezer space. So i came up with a space saving version.

    Instead of making the whole sandwich, I only freeze the meat. I fold it in individual sandwich sized portions, put in sandwich ziplock, and freeze in larger freezer bag like you do.

    Then, when I’m making lunches, I slide the frozen piece out, put in in the sandwich, and put everything back in the bag.

  17. Miriam on August 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I like the idea of this; however, the thought of going through all of those plastic Ziploc bags doesn’t seem very environmentally friendly……

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on August 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

      Miriam, you could always transfer the sandwich to a reusable sandwich box before they leave for school so you can reuse the bags. My boys have one so that’s what I plan on doing.

  18. Mandy on September 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Or freeze them in the original bread bag, then pack them in the reusable container. That’s what we do!

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