When it comes to your food budget, lunches during work hours are the ultimate budget killers. It doesn’t take much to spend $5 for a fast food meal or $10 for an average sit down meal. Think about that for a minute, if you ate out lunch everyday for a month, you would spend $100 a month for lunches. If your spouse works too, then $200 a month is spent on lunches alone. Ouch! There goes our $200 food budget!
Packing a lunch can be mundane at times, but very frugal. What? Another ham sandwich? Think outside the box a little bit when it comes to packing a lunch. Rotating is the key to make sure you don’t give up on the bring a brown bag for lunch at work plan. Make a sandwich one day, bring soup another day, make a salad with grilled chicken, bring leftovers from the night before or if you must, a prepackaged meal such as a frozen TV dinner.
I wouldn’t say our lunches are the most healthy, but they are no worse than the food you would most likely get when you go out to lunch. The best part, is that you can prepare it yourself (aside from a prepackaged frozen lunch). We also plan ahead when it comes to our dinners and make extra knowing we’ll use it for lunches later in the week. I also like to make big batches of homemade chili and chicken soups that we freeze for later. I calculated that each serving of soup I make costs less than 50 cents. Compare that to the $5 bowl of chili at any restaurant.
Guess what, we’re human. While some people can stick to brown bagging it everyday, there will always be times where you have an urge to cheat and go out to lunch with co-workers. My wife and I devised the best plan to help curb that craving. If we want to go out to lunch, that purchase comes out of personal budget money. So far, the plan it working great for us. I think I only eat out once every other week. I guess I have a soft spot for Chipotle. Guilty!
Even the ‘wheel of death’ in your office lunchroom could be a last minute solution rather than spending the extra cash and going out to lunch. Don’t forget, you’re even saving gas money by not leaving the office! So I’d say we have a winner on saving money and saving your food budget!