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Posted on Aug 25, 2008 in Equipment, For Kids, Review, Shopping | 31 comments

Online coupons for lunch gear

Online coupons for lunch gear

I’ve got some coupons for discounts at Michael’s and Reusable Bags, just in time for the back-to-school season. Do you know of any other good, relevant coupons for bento and lunch-packing gear? Let us know in comments.

1. 20% off at Reusable Bags (also sells Laptop Lunchboxes)

Laptop LunchboxUse coupon code f70838 (case sensitive) for 20% off all purchases from Reusable Bags until April 2009, or code FREEACME (case sensitive) for a free Acme reusable bag on purchases over US$50. They ship internationally, so if you can’t get this sort of thing locally, check out their lead-free lunch gear, lunch kits, lunchboxes, reusable bottles, lunch bags (for kids and insulated), and the lead-free Laptop Lunchbox. I found their FAQ on health and safety issues to be helpful in learning about lead and plastic concerns. (Check the Reusable Bags listing on coupon website Retail Me Not for updated coupon codes.)

The name of the store reminds me of an area where I’ve made some changes to my habits recently: reusable bags. Because I’m absent-minded, even though I have all kinds of large reusable bags stashed in the trunk of our car, I often forget to bring them into the store with me when I’m shopping. To solve that problem, I recently bought a couple of ultra-compact reusable bags: one for US$1 from Ichiban Kan, and a $5 ChicoBag from Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco. They fold compactly into themselves, and I stash in the mesh side pocket of my messenger bag so that they’re always on me when I’m out. This has made a huge difference in reducing my use of store bags. It reminds me of when I was a kid and my mom threaded my mittens onto a string and put them through the arms of my winter jacket so I didn’t lose them — very convenient! (Click for the Michael’s 40%-off coupon, and info on Bug’s new pimped-out Sigg metal water bottle.)

Recently it also seemed like the cheapo water bottles I had for Bug had all started to lose some important element: part of the straw, a rubber gasket, etc. So for the new preschool year I finally gave in at Peek-a-Bootique in San Francisco and got a 0.4-liter Sigg bottle without fiddly parts to get lost. I pimped it out with a cool blue nalgene insulated pouch that clips onto a bag or belt loop: model #7106.50, although it seems to be less commonly available: try the store listings at the Sigg website itself. I’ve been clipping the bottle onto the side of my messenger bag so that it’s always on me when we go out, and Bug always knows where his water is. I wish they made the same style pouch for their larger water bottles; I’d like one for myself! Also picked up a Sigg kids’ carrying strap so Bug can carry the bottle around his neck or over his shoulder, although we don’t use both the sleeve and the strap at once.

Readers know that I’m a big fan of bargains and cheap things, but this is one case where I’m really happy having spent the extra money for quality. I like that the case protects the bottle from dings when Bug drops it, clips right to my bag, absorbs moisture from condensation, and provides light insulation (not heavy-duty). I also like the easy-access flip-top on the kids’ bottle, and the easy-pull mouthpiece that your child sucks on to get water without creating suction in the container. And I’ll admit to having more peace of mind now about health concerns surrounding plastics and lead leaching into drinking water from the water bottles. Both Reusable Bags and Amazon have a variety of Sigg products and other reputable metal bottles like the Kleen Kanteen, although Reusable Bags is a little low on inventory at the moment. It feels like a continuation of the Gradual Green-ing of Biggie…

2. 40% off at Michael’s craft store

This weekend Reader “Moo” e-mailed me links to printable coupons for Michael’s, a large arts & crafts chain in the U.S. and Canada (click for the Michael’s store locator). Print out a 40% off coupon (good until Aug. 30, 2008) or 20% off coupon (good until Sept. 30, 2008), and bring it to the store for a discount on any one item. Some items are excluded, like sale items and gift cards.

Moo writes, “In their baking section, you can get silicon baking cups, picks, and whatnot, that I’ve seen you use. If you find a nice cashier like I did, you can use more than one of the 40% coupons, even though it states ‘one coupon per customer per day.’  If not, they do allow you to print multiple coupons and go in once each day (or maybe, multiple times each day if you know when people shift-change) until the promotion ends.” Thanks for the savvy bargain-hunting, Moo!

(Disclosure: The Reusable Bags and Amazon links are affiliate links; using them to get to the sites when making a purchase helps support Lunch in a Box at no additional cost to you. I have no affiliation with Michael’s.) 

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  1. Sigg DOES make those neoprene pouches with a clip and a zipper for the larger bottles. We got ours from sellers at Amazon. Today, though, all I see are bigger insulated pouches – they don’t look like they have clips.

  2. What, no photos of Bug’s pimped out water bottle? hehe :) just teasing you. Awesome! My company’s Environmental Initiative group just distributed Camelbak bpa-free bottles to everyone to encourage them to stop buying bottled water. I admit though the thing is huge and kind of heavy to lug around… and unwieldy to drink from, unfortunately (very wide mouth = good for filling from our filtered water thing, but bad for drinking on the go).

  3. Echoing what oh_mom says, I have the bigger case for the Sigg, unfortunately, I bought the wrong size, my bottle doesn’t fit in it.

    (I need to get another bottle)

    Dick’s Sporting Goods has started carrying Siggs.

  4. Biggie, I found a European online store that carry a large assortment of Daiso products although it is not a Daiso shop in itself.
    http://www.japancentre.com/
    Choose cookware for bento things. They have all relevant things, from faux grass to separation cups to cups for deep fried food to bento boxes. Basically all things Japanese.
    Their prices are in british pounds, not super cheap, but what a usual bento box costs. They deliver all over Europe.

  5. @1, oh_mom, what size are you looking for regarding the neoprene pounch for the sigg bottle?
    I have a pouch for a 1 litre bottle (with clip). I do have a larger sigg bottle as well, there’s no pouch available for that size, not is that sized bottle convenient to take with you.

  6. Do you know when those coupons in number 1 expire?

  7. :D Yay! I’m a part of your blog! :P Thanks, Biggie. ^^

    I hope somebody finds the coupon useful. :) Speaking of coupons, there’s another 40% off coupon for Jo-Ann’s. I’ve personally never been in there… but friends have told me it’s like a Michael’s.

    Here’s the link: http://wow-coupons.com/all-printable-retail-coupons.php

    Just scroll down to Jo-Ann’s link, click, and print. :) This particular one expires on the 31st of August 2008, while the Michael’s one expires on the 30th.

    – Moo

    [Biggie: if the link isn't allowed, please edit/delete my comment.]

  8. @2 from Yvo: Yup, no pictures of the water bottle. That’s what happens when you go off on a tangent with a post at like 2am and there’s no natural light… Sorry! Now packing for a trip, so I probably won’t have a chance to take one and post it before I go. :-(

  9. @5 from Jessika: Thanks for the note about Japan Centre, Jessika. I think that’s already in the Online Stores for Bento Gear post, but it never hurts to reiterate.

  10. @8 from carlie: The Reusable Bag 20% code should be good until April 2009. I’m not sure about the free Acme bag code, though…

  11. @9 from Moo: Thanks for the tip about the Jo-Ann’s coupon, Moo! You rock the money-saving world!

  12. Speaking of reusable bags, I just bought some reusable produce bags on Etsy. Check out the shop below if you’re interested! (I’m not affiliated with her, but mine just arrived in the mail today and I’m excited to use them!)

    http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5351817

  13. @11, Biggie, must just have missed it :)

  14. @14 from Libby: Useful Jo-Ann’s coupons, Libby. Thanks!

  15. I have to admit, I am a reusable bag junkie. I love the different styles and sizes.

    I have a big Petco reusable bag in my entry, stuffed with reusable bags.

  16. So I just stumbled onto this website, and let me tell you…I’m hooked! I marked it as a favorite already!

    I do however, have a question for you…what happens when there is no microwave available? I would like to start trying to “bento” my kiddos’ lunches, but there is no microwave available. I’ve been going through all of your posts and I think I’m going to go crazy!!

    I too live in San Francisco and would love to pack my kids healthier lunches other than just pb & j sanwiches or ham and cheese!

  17. @19 from neecie: Have a look at my Hot vs. Cold Packing Considerations post linked at the Bento FAQ and left sidebar for info on the No Microwave quandry. (sorry about not linking here directly for you, but I’m writing this from my phone.)

  18. Love your site, the Kim Chee rice is fab. I always forget my bags in the car too. I have a simpler solution. When I buy groceries, I tell them, “no bags, please” wheel out the cart and pack ‘em up myself. I don’t like the way they bag groceries anyway, they use so many bags and I usually end up rebagging them so I can get ‘em into the house. (I’m single, no husband or kids to help).

  19. Sigg also have a non-neoprene insulated pouch, which is somewhat harder to find. (Google ‘sigg nylon’ and sift through the results.) I’m allergic to neoprene, so I figured I’d share in case anyone else is also. :)

    The other benefit to Sigg (or similar type metal bottles) is that I find them MUCH easier to clean than plastic. Most of the plastic bottles I’ve tried seem to eventually succumb to ‘nasty taste’ syndrome, no matter how often they’re cleaned out. By contrast, even when someone left tea to get moldy (ew) in a stainless-steel interior Thermos mug I own, a good soak with hot water and a scrub, and it’s perfectly fine.

    I also wanted to add that while the insulated bags are quite handy, I have two Sigg bottles that I’m very hard on, and I don’t seem to have managed to significantly damage either of them. :) (You can get carabiner-on-a-ring clips for them, if you don’t want to put your bottle in a pouch for some reason, and also adult-sized carrying straps and special sized bottle brushes, although I’ve found the bottle brush from the grocery store works fine for cleaning mine- but basically, there’s a lot of cool accessories. :) )

    (Not related to the Sigg company in any way, shape, or form. However if they see this and want to send me some freebies, that’s totally fine. ;) )

  20. I really enjoy your website and was so happy to see you featured in a Washington Post article today!! Congrats!

  21. I’ve been reading your site for quite a few months now and have found your posts wonderful ^_^!

    Nik has already mentioned this, but I want to add my congrats to you for being featured in today’s edition of the Washington Post!

  22. I also subscribe to the WashingtonPost and was excited to read the article that mentions you. Congrats!

  23. The reusable bags site is not working. Every item you click on doesnt show up.

  24. New Whole Foods opened near us and I went today and found…Sigg bottles! I got one for Muffin. Why didn’t I get one for myself??!

  25. We have a LLLB, and my kindergartener is complaining that his lunch is “too heavy.” (It does add quite a bit of weight to his back pack!). Any ideas on how to deal with this?

  26. @21 from Crystal: This is a good idea for the grocery store where I’ll be going right to the car afterwards (“no bags, please — put ‘em in the cart”). I do that at Costco sometimes when I know I have my huge reusable Costco bags in the trunk but forgot to bring them into the store. I’ll have to remember that that’s an option for other places as well! Thanks!

  27. @22 from Kris: I’m really liking the Sigg bottle so far, although I did manage to drop it hard from a height and dent one corner even when it was in the neoprene cover. Oh well, you can’t see the dent at all when it’s in the cover! Good point about the funny taste syndrome in plastics, although I haven’t noticed it so far (we tend to just put plain water in the plastic bottles).

  28. @26 from BurnWood: Hopefully the Reusable Bags links are working for you again? I didn’t do anything to them; maybe it was a glitch?

  29. @29 from Dineen: Hmm, the LLB is too heavy for him? I haven’t weighed the LLB vs. my bento boxes, but maybe another type of container (small bento box or Tupperware-type container) would be lighter? Do you put the LLB into something else that’s adding weight, like their “bento sleeve”?

  30. Hi. The coupon code you have posted here is no longer available. Can you please update your blog accordingly? I’m sure as an affiliate you don’t want to frustrate your shoppers with an expired coupon. Thank you.

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