3 Options to Save Money on Lunch
While you might be looking to save money on lunch at work, it's important to remember the benefits of interacting with your coworkers outside of projects and the confines of deadlines. Increased productivity, networking and even boosting your happiness are all noted perks of socializing with your coworkers.
So, while you're looking to save money and time when dealing with lunches at work, you don't want to do anything to cut that time with your fellow employees. Unfortunately, that usually means going to a restaurant and spending double or triple what a brown-bagged lunch would cost.
Don't worry, there's a middle ground where you can enjoy your work lunches with colleagues while also saving money.
Lunch Option #1: Use the Prepared Foods Section of Your Grocery Store
Gone are the days when your grocery store only stocks the raw ingredients needed to cook a meal from scratch and overly processed snack foods.
Now, you can walk into almost any grocery store and browse a prepared, hot food section filled with healthy, ready-to-eat meals at a fraction of what you'd pay to eat in a restaurant. What's even better is that you're still getting out of the office and quelling the lunchtime-restlessness!
Bonus Tip: Some grocery stores even have sit-down areas where you can meet up with your colleagues after choosing your lunches. No tips required!
Lunch Option #2: Start an Office Lunch Club
How does eating five home-cooked, hot lunches during the workweek — but only having to cook one of those lunches — sound to you? All you have to do is start an Office Lunch Club.
First, find four to six like-minded coworkers who want to eat hot lunches, socialize and save money. You could even find people who are part of a certain diet plan, such as the Daniel Plan, the Paleo Diet or Weight Watchers. Then figure out the cooking guidelines for your group.
Questions to answer include:
- Who cooks on which day
- Appliances and utensils available for everyone's use in the work kitchen
- Diet restrictions (if any)
- Time the meal should be available at
Bonus tip: Save money on lunch when it's your turn by buying ingredients at wholesale cost from membership clubs like Sam's Club or Costco.
Lunch Option #3: Invest in Suitable Containers
Leftovers get a bad rap. Usually, it's for one of a few reasons:
- Food is soggy the next day.
- You have lunch-container shame.
- You wait until the morning of to pack your lunch.
To avoid a leftovers rut and actually anticipate your lunches, you have to invest in suitable lunch containers. (Which you'll be able to do now that you're saving money on lunch regularly.)
You'll want them to be microwave and dishwasher-safe with multiple compartments to keep various foods from getting soggy from mixing wet and dry ingredients. For example, you can put the sauce/dressing in one compartment, and the salad/tortilla/bread in another.
Bonus tip:? Instead of waiting to grab whatever is "left over" at the end of the meal, grab your lunch portion from dinner before your family sits down to eat it.
Use these lunch options, and both your savings and your health can improve in the months ahead.