Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How To Save Money On Lunches

I know some people who work go eat out for lunch everyday but that's not me. (I save that luxury for Saturday.) The cheapest sandwich I can find is a hot dog for $1.25 but I am not big on hot dogs and they certainly do not fill me up. The next cheapest is a $3 sandwich. Salads are just as much, but I'm not big on salads either. Pizza is high too, $1.00 for just one slice (it may even be more than that by now.) Domino's Pizza has a pretty good deal--small personal pizza and pop for $3.00; however, I don't like to drink pop regularly and that pizza really is small--like 8 bites in all but it's good! Restaurants in downtown Cleveland are way too expensive for my budget-$8-$10 is the cheapest, plus I don't want to spend my whole lunch hour sitting and eating when I already practically sit all day at a desk.

Buying lunch out every day adds up to quite a bit so I take my "sack" lunch to work. A sack lunch is one you take it in a bag each day in case you are like Gerard and don't know what that is (he laughed when I called it that one day). To save money, we don't buy lunch bags. I reuse bags that are that size that we get from other places, such as the brown bags from Octane Cafe' where I buy our protein bars, Malley's bag from our Christmas candy, Dunkin' Donut bags from work on Fridays, and any fast food bags we get on Saturdays. These bags, if folded properly, last 1-2 weeks. I have to make sure I am the one to put them away though, because otherwise Gerard just bunches them up and they take up so much more space that way! Gerard packs his lunch in one of those lunch cooler containers so the bags are all for me.

Another savings tip is to order pizza on the weekend, but do not gorge yourself on it. Save some for lunch through the week. On Mondays and Tuesdays every week I bring two slices of our leftover pizza in a tupperware container for my lunch and heat it in the microwave we have at work along with Dannon's Light-n-Fit yogurt. I also bring a fiber bar or protein bar too those days for snacks. It makes a very good lunch. Sometimes, I'll even throw in a banana or an orange for a morning snack. Once the pizza runs out, I settle for a sandwich.

I have given in and started buying the protein bars from Octane Cafe' since I started working out regularly again, but they are not cheap so I don't eat them every day. They are very good though and give me some additional protein in my diet for my muscle toning. I just wish they didn't cost so much (Over $2 each--they raised the price of them last year)!

What do you usually eat for lunch? Do you reuse bags too or am I the only one who does this? Oh, by the way, I also fold and pack my garbage neatly before throwing it away when I eat at those fast food places on Saturdays--it's right up there with making the bed--see if you missed it.


Sandee said...

I'm so with you on this. Most people don't realize how expensive it is to buy lunch everyday. We rarely eat out. It's just more healthy if we eat at home.

Have a terrific day. :)

Anonymous said...

When I worked outside of home it was mostly in restaurants so I was able to eat free, can't get any better than that. Those were some nice tips though.

Unknown said...

Excellent tips. Bringing your own you save money, time, and more often than not eat better. You may also free up a few minutes to talk a nice healthy walk.


Susan Cook said...

My husband uses a lunch box type thing. I save bags but from the grocery store but for other stuff. My husband always brings his lunch to work. One thing we did recently was make a huge batch of spaghetti & meatballs on Sunday, then he used that for his lunches for the rest of the week.

Your right it really adds up if you don't make your own lunches.

Anonymous said...

Sandee--Ah, you are wise!

Jude--That is a big plus for working at a restaurant--can't beat free!

Mike--I do try to walk some at lunch time. When it's nice out, I can get in a 30-45 min. walk.

Sue--I love spaghetti, with or without meatballs. That is a smart idea too! Works for me.

The Author said...

When I was working, I always ordered lunch and ate with the girls but it was very expensive so I started packing my lunch.
I also reuse bags. I can't stand to waste things or throw things away that can be reused.
As for lunch, now that I'm home, it's usually a piece of fruit and a protein drink.

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