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Save on school lunch supplies during the Texas sales tax holiday this weekend

If you would rather make your kids' lunches for school this year instead of subjecting them to this, read on.
If you would rather make your kids' lunches for school this year instead of subjecting them to this, read on.
By Beau Wade from New York, NY, United States (School Lunch) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Now is the time to start thinking about whether you will be sending your kids to school with a lunch box or lunch money, after all, part of cooking includes preparing lunches for yourself and your kids.

During the Texas state sales tax holiday this weekend, lunch boxes are included in the list of items that you do not have to pay sales tax on. Any store you visit in Texas, including all Houston-area department stores and grocery stores, must honor the sales tax weekend. You don't have to ask for the deal, you will automatically not be charged tax on qualifying school supplies and school clothes when you pay at the register. For a full list of school supplies that are included and answers to any of your questions, go to the state of Texas's website and look for sales tax holiday.

Even if you don't have kids, getting yourself a lunch box is a great way to save some money during the week by brown-bagging it a few times without using an actual bag that can get your lunch crushed and doesn't keep it cold. Check out the essentials on the following pages that you must have before the first day of school to send your child (or yourself) with a meal that will still be intact and great-tasting at lunchtime.

Lunch boxes
Lunch boxes Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Lunch boxes

Lunch box (obviously) – Look for an insulated model that will keep the food at the right temperature until lunchtime. Hard-sided models are preferable over collapsible models, especially if there is a chance the lunch could get crushed in the bottom of a locker or school bag.

Tupperware containers
Tupperware containers Tupperware collection at the office by marklarson, on Flickr CC By SA 2.0

Tupperware containers

Resealable plastic containers or zip top bags  – Plastic containers need to be washed daily. Zip top bags are more convenient but less friendly for the environment, and they don't protect soft fruits or sandwiches from being crushed in a bag.

Juice boxes
Juice boxes Juice Boxes January 17, 201011 by stevendepolo, on Flickr CC by SA 2.0

Juice boxes

Reusable ice pack – These are perfect for keeping cold food cold. Alternatively, you can put your child's plastic water bottle, boxed or pouch juice in the freezer the night before and use that as an ice pack. Don't put glass containers or thermoses into the freezer because the expansion of  the cold liquid inside could damage the container.

Thermos Foogo
Thermos Foogo Amazon.com

Thermos Foogo

Thermos or insulated, resealable container – These are perfect for sending your child to school with leftover dinner from the night before or with soup in the winter. Just fill up the container with boiling water for 10 minutes and empty it out before adding the food. Your food will stay warmer, longer. This trick also works with coffee or other hot drinks kept inside the container, but it is best to do this for vacuum containers that have a metal interior.

Ikea kids utensils sets
Ikea kids utensils sets Amazon.com

Ikea kids utensils sets

Kid-friendly utensils – If you send your child to school with soup or dinner leftovers, don't forget the fork and spoon to eat it with. Pre-cut any food so you don't have to send a knife to school, and don't send your best silverware with your child because there is always the chance it could get accidentally tossed in the trash with the rest of the garbage left from your child's lunch.