Planning for lunch can be one of the easiest ways to save money and keep your food bills down. It’s all too easy to run to the office cafeteria or a local fast food joint to grab lunch, especially if you have an office job. Making lunch every day is an exhausting prospect that most people aren’t willing to do, especially if you have limited reheating options in the office. But there are a number of ways to do lunch on the cheap.
Keep lunch staples stocked. If you have a list of the items you definitely need for lunch every day (bread, deli meat, and bagged vegetables, for example), make sure you always have those on hand. This will help curtail the temptation to buy lunch at work.
Pack leftovers. When you make dinner the night before, make a few extra servings, and package them before you even sit down to eat dinner. Then you know you have your lunch all set, and all you need is a microwave.
Think outside the box. Lunch can be a light affair, as long as it’s well rounded. Don’t have time to make a sandwich? Pack up some luncheon or deli meat with some crackers and some snackable vegetables, like celery or carrots, and you have an easy and rounded lunch.
Cook all five lunches at once. Use your Sundays to pack your lunch for the week. Make a big batch of chili, or soup, and fill five leftover bowls for each day. Then, in the mornings, simply pack one bowl and a few pieces of fruit or vegetables.
Snack attack. Don’t be afraid to pack the same snacks for you that your kids might get. A bag of popcorn, cut-up fruit, raisins, or whole wheat crackers can help round out your lunch and keep you fuller longer. Avoid sugary or fatty junk foods, though.
Bringing your own lunch is a great way to keep costs down and your budget intact. As an added bonus, it’s an easy way to control your caloric intake and make sure that you’re not eating something saturated with sugar, salt, or fat.
For more tips on lowering your grocery bills and saving money, check out some of our recent Eat Your Way to Debt Relief posts: