Wednesday, November 28, 2007

5 Brown Bagging Tips...

How to save money by bringing your lunch? These 5 tips help me save money by making it convient to brown bag our lunches.

Tip 1: Pack your own soda. I stocked up on Coke a few weekends ago @ $1.99/12 pack. That is $16.6 cents/can. Instead of 60 or 75 cents/can, pay less than 20 cents. Even better don't drink soda, but that's not an option for my DH. So he takes a can or two cans a day. When he was a graduate student we'd put 2-3 cases of soda under his desk and he'd sell them for 75 cents/can to people too lazy to walk to the vending machine.

Tip 2: Use a reusable lunch bag and tupperware. Some people take actual brown bags and put sandwiches in ziploc bags. This is easy to portion control your servings and even easier to prepare for the week. But it costs money to buy brown bags and ziplocs. Instead use a tupperware and wash it out and use a foldable cooler.

Tip 3: Buy large bags of snacks and portion it out. If you love eating chips, cookies, or veggies, don't buy the individual snack size. Instead buy the family size bags and portion it out. This way you can control your calories by only eating one portion. Plus it's cheaper than stopping by the vending machine to buy an individual package.

Tip 4: Make leftovers. Personally DH hates sandwiches, and with most receipes serving 4-6 we usually have enough for lunch the next day. The great part about this is as a couple we don't waste leftovers. Also it's cheaper to cook in bulk instead of buying smaller portions of meat and vegetables.

Tip 5: Prepare your lunch the night before. This is simple for us. We usually pack up our dinner leftovers and decide what we want for lunch as we clean up. Occasionally we'll make a sandwich. This way we aren't rushing in the morning to prepare lunch. Instead we reach into the fridge go.

These rules make it easier for us to save money buy bringing out lunches. DH now spend $5/week eating out and I spend none. For us we conserve our eating out to dinners when we're tired. A lot of people easily spend $25-50/week eating lunches out. Try these tips to save a few bucks.


Jim said...

I agree with bringing lunch rather than buying it. What I usually try to do is in relative cost, keep things around $10 a day between the two of us. I stock up on POP when I can get 4-5 12 packs for around $2.50 each. We try to grab the frozen lunches when they're on sale for $2-2.50 each. Regular sandwiches get old sometimes, and I am one for taking dinner leftovers to work for lunch the next day. Tuna is also really cheap and good for you if you can get past the smell.

Sometimes when running behind or I just don't feel like bringing lunch, I always keep $5 on me to buy lunch at work. I will never do this more than once a week, if at all during the week. Even still spending $20 in a month eating out is way less than what some people spend in a single week. I'm not too worried about what other people do or how much they spend, I have seen proven results from the bank and scale that my system works for me.

Living Almost Large said...

I could totally eat out everyday. But honestly I'd be larger than healthy. Even now I don't eat out because I get chubby just eating out once a week. I can't control my weight very well eating out all the time.

So I have to not eat out to lose weight. DH likes to eat out, but minimizes it to mostly working lunches. So we budget $10/week but he never spends that much.

Bouncing Back said...

I make it as easy as possible to bring my lunch. The average cost in my area for a sandwich, chips and a drink comes out to $7.50. I can't do that everyday. Even a cup of soup at the local market is $4. I don't have that many lunch choices where I work.

1) I have an insulated lunch bag to help keep my lunch cool/cold.

2) I "upgraded" my containers to some nice Rubbermaid ones-helps with portion control and they are microwaveable.

3) I also keep stocked at work a selection of condiments (salad dressings, croutons, sandwich toppers etc) to season my leftovers or dress up my sandwich.

4) I try to split my lunch between leftovers and making sandwiches and salads. Somedays I just grab a can of soup from the cupboard or a microwave meal if I don't plan well.

5) I try to plan my dinners so I can have at least one leftover lunch meal.

6) I too stock up on drinks when they are on sale.

7) I also give my self an eating out buget, once every other week a couple of us from the office either order in a pizza or two or some other sort of take out meal. It gives us a chance to socialize over lunch. Our boss joins us every so often as well. This way if I don't feel like packing a lunch, I won't be kicking myself for going off budget.

Living Almost Large said...

Definitely being able to budget eating out is nice. I find though even if I budget it, my pants get too tight so eating out has really to be limited for me personally.

Anonymous said...

another cheapy trick is that many cafeterias offer free packets of mayo, mustard etc. When i bring a sandwich to work i just stop by the cafeteria and grab the condiments before lunch!

Jazmin said...

We long ago went to taking lunch every day, and now I often get comments from the co-workers about how good it smells when I'm reheating in the microwave. Not only does it save money, but leftovers from whatever we ate the night before are far more appealing (nearly all the time) than a cold sandwich from the coffee shop. The final push for us was changing our eating habits radically, and suddenly the unhealthy options just weren't appealing. So portioned out and fresh food laden lunches became the norm. No regrets at all!

Fabulously Broke in the City said...


I cook a huge batch of food on Sunday, package it into tupperware dishes and that's what I eat during the week...