Since I became part of the work force about 15 years ago I realized that bringing a lunch to work is not always practical. Why is it that I tend to lose all common sense and forfeit my strict budget when it comes to lunch hour on the job? Is it because lunch box food seems ridiculously unappetizing after it’s been sitting for 5 hours, because I don’t have time to even pack a lunch, or it is because all my coworkers splurge on a daily basis on fast food and I don’t want to sit there with my own brown bag? Here are some tips I’ve tried over the years.
Bring Your Own Beverage
Even if you score it from the vending machine you are likely to spend a fraction of the price. Regardless of the cuisine, restaurants rake in a hefty profit on beverages and aren’t afraid to up charge for them. Instead of paying $2 for a soda, bring your own or snag one for 75 cents at the vending machine. This little tip alone could save you
$25-30 a month on lunch costs. This is especially good if you habitually find yourself getting takeout.
Invest in a Decent Lunch Box
These days you can buy a lunch box for less than $10 that comes equipped with little freezer packs to help keep your food cold. However, what happens when you pack your lunch so early that the freezer packs melt and still leave you with a luke warm turkey on rye? Try shopping around for a self cooling lunch box with an ac/dc adapter. The average price is around $60, but you can tuck it under your desk and they are usually large enough for a healthy stash of food. Heck, if you follow the first tip, the lunch box pays for itself in only 2 months. Plus, if you bring your own lunch, the average cost is around $2-3 instead of the average lunch menu meal of $7-10. That’s a savings of around $100. Not bad for a $60 lunch box.
Drink Water and Bring Snacks
When you drink water it helps you regulate your metabolism by ensuring your body can circulate all the nutrients from prior meals. So, if you ate a good breakfast, you can top it off with a easy to tote snack like crackers and nuts. The mix of proteins and cabohydrates will help regulate your blood sugar which means you will be less hungry come lunch. Instead of buying a large meal, you will likely get a way with something a little smaller, which can save your wallet and your waist line all in one shot.
Split the Cost
Many restaurants offer larger meals at discounted prices. Sub shops that offer larger subs for a great price might be two much for one person but a great deal when you go in with a co worker. The same applies for certain burger joints that offer two sandwich combo deals for around $4. That means that you and your coworker can split the meal, feel full and still get a good deal.
Search for Deals
Many local restaurants offer specials for dining on specified days or hours. Doing your homework can help you save a few bucks for each meal you eat out. Check out little-used bonuses: Many franchise restaurants offer free or discounted entrees when you complete the survey and get your authorization number. As long as you don’t mind redeeming your discount code, you will be in for a decent discount at a variety of places. Scour your weekly adds. Those direct mailers that clog your mailbox every week are usually packed with fast food deals. You might be able to snag buy one get on free or a few bucks off of an average meal. This, doubled with the above tip can add up to substantial savings for you and your coworker.