You are using an unsupported browser Please switch to a supported browser so you can get the best experience on this site
Need Help? Contact Us or Live Chat
eating a healthy meal from home take to work

How To Save Money on Lunch at Work

People spend an average of $16 a day to pay for their work lunches, making it a significant expense that adds up throughout the year. Thankfully, you can learn how to save money on lunch at work with a few simple strategies, improving your financial health in the long run.

You can save money on lunch at work by searching for cheaper options near your workplace and a little planning. Potlucks and meal swaps can also help make saving money a group effort. More effectively, you can plan and prepare your work lunches in large batches and bring them from home.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know to save money on your work lunches, whether you buy them from cheaper places, share them with your colleagues, or bring them from home.

Key Takeaways

  • Spending an average of $16 daily on work lunches can add up quickly, becoming a substantial expense over the year.
  • Implementing cost-saving strategies can significantly improve your financial health and allow you to reallocate those funds to other priorities.
  • You can reduce lunch expenses without sacrificing variety or taste by exploring cheaper dining options near your workplace, participating in potlucks and meal swaps with colleagues, and planning ahead.
  • The most effective way to save money on work lunches is through meal planning and prepping.
  • By preparing meals in bulk and bringing them from home, you can control ingredients, reduce food waste, and ensure you have a delicious and cost-effective lunch ready every day.

How To Save Money on Lunch

Suppose you’ve decided to spend less on your daily work lunches. That’s an excellent choice that will surely benefit your finances in the long run. Reducing your lunch expenses can add up to significant savings over time, allowing you to allocate those funds to other important areas of your life.

Some might assume that the only way to do that is to bring unappetizing leftovers from home. In reality, you have plenty of options for saving money on lunch without neglecting your taste buds. With a bit of planning and a dash of creativity, you can enjoy delicious, cost-effective brown bag lunches at work.

A little creativity is all it takes to reduce your daily lunch spend and save you plenty of cash. From meal prepping to taking advantage of workplace resources, there are numerous strategies to make your lunch both affordable and enjoyable. Explore different cuisines, experiment with new recipes, and discover the joy of eating well without breaking the bank.

Here are a few general examples of how you can save money on lunch every day:

Find Cheaper Lunch Options

Firstly, you should survey the area around your workplace for cheaper food options. The places you and your colleagues regularly visit are probably not the only places to get lunch.

Instead, there might be hidden gems nearby that you never knew existed.

You can employ some creativity to find the best and most affordable places. Start by asking around, as your colleagues or other workers in the area might be more knowledgeable on where to get the best cheap bites.

Next, walk around your office building and venture a little further than you’d normally go. You might find a cheaper place to eat just around the corner.

Lastly, check online using a tool like Google Maps. Not only does it show all nearby locations for food, but it could also display reviews to tell you which ones are worth it.

Plan Ahead

A little bit of planning goes a long way, especially when it comes to saving money on work lunches. One way to do this is to plan your daily menu. By organizing your meals in advance, you can ensure variety and nutrition while sticking to a budget. This foresight can prevent impulsive, costly purchases at work cafeterias or nearby restaurants.

Going out for lunch with your colleagues is an important social activity. So, you’ll want to allocate certain days to do that. Social interactions at lunch can be valuable for networking and maintaining professional relationships. By scheduling these outings, you can enjoy the best of both worlds—socializing and saving money.

Meanwhile, you can set aside other days to cook or bring leftovers from home. Cooking in batches or utilizing leftovers can be a smart and efficient way to reduce costs without compromising on taste. Preparing meals in advance allows you to enjoy home-cooked goodness, ensuring you eat healthy while managing your budget.

Remember: saving money on lunch at work isn’t an all-or-nothing activity. You can still save plenty by only eating out some days and packing a lunch on others. This balanced approach helps you control your expenses while maintaining the flexibility to enjoy occasional dining experiences with colleagues.

Potlucks and Meal Swaps

You’re probably not the only worker trying to save money on their daily work lunches. That’s why it can be a group effort with your friends and colleagues. Collaborating with coworkers can make the process enjoyable and foster a sense of community.

For example, you can help organize potlucks where people bring different food items and share them. Potlucks provide a variety of dishes, allowing everyone to enjoy a diverse and satisfying meal without the individual expense. This collective effort can transform a regular lunch break into a delightful social event.

Meanwhile, planning meal swaps also keeps your daily lunch interesting without raising the costs. Meal swaps involve trading homemade dishes with coworkers, giving everyone a chance to enjoy different cuisines and recipes. This practice can introduce new flavors to your diet and make lunchtime more exciting.

These strategies not only save money but also promote teamwork and camaraderie in the workplace. Sharing meals can strengthen relationships and create a positive, supportive work environment.

Meal Planning or Prepping

All of the options above will undoubtedly help you cut your lunch spending. However, the most effective method is still to bring your own food. Preparing your meals at home ensures control over ingredients and portion sizes, leading to healthier and more economical choices.

Now, we’re not talking about bringing leftovers that you had the night before. Instead, consider meal planning, which many people also know as ‘meal prepping’. This involves preparing multiple meals in advance and storing them for future use.

Simply put, this is the practice of preparing and storing your lunches at home in bulk. Not only will that help you save money, but it’ll also save you time. By dedicating a few hours each week to meal prep, you can create delicious and nutritious meals ready to go.

All you have to do is grab your daily lunch from your fridge or freezer each morning and take it with you. This convenience eliminates the daily hassle of deciding what to eat and ensures you have a cost-effective and satisfying meal.

Meal prepping can significantly reduce food waste, as you can plan portions accurately and use ingredients efficiently. It also allows you to take advantage of bulk buying and seasonal produce, further lowering your grocery bills.

The next section below will tell you much more about meal prepping and how it can help you. Detailed meal-prepping guides can provide recipes, storage tips, and organizational strategies to streamline your lunch routine, making it easier and more enjoyable to save money on work lunches.

How to meal plan

How To Meal Plan

The practice of meal planning or meal prepping is the most effective way to save money on lunch at work. So, it’s best to understand what it is and how it works.

The term ‘meal planning’ only tells you half of the story. This practice involves you taking some time to plan your lunch menu well in advance. For example, you might choose to eat a specific lunch item for each day of the week.

Planning makes life easier because you’ll know precisely what you’re having for lunch on any given day. However, that’s not the part that saves you money.

The money-saving happens on the ‘meal prepping’ side of things. That’s when you cook your lunch items in batches, portion them out, and store them in your fridge or freezer for the long term.

Simply put, your financial savings come from buying the ingredients and cooking in bulk.

You don’t need a fancy kitchen for meal prepping, as basic cooking appliances will do. However, the most important thing you will need is a fridge or freezer with enough space.

Remember: you’ll be cooking things in bulk, so you must have a way to store the food safely for the long term.

Depending on the state of your kitchen, that might mean getting a few things fixed or purchasing essential appliances if you don’t already have them. Doing so will benefit you in the long run as you get into the habit of meal planning.

Once you can cook basic meals in your kitchen and store them safely in a fridge or freezer, you’re ready for meal planning and the savings it brings.

5 Reasons To Bring Your Lunch to Work

Meal planning and prepping might seem like a lot of work just for your daily work lunches. Still, there are two important things you must remember.

Firstly, most of the work is done one time. A major component of meal prepping is cooking the food in bulk during your free time instead of doing it every day.

Secondly, there are plenty of benefits that make any prep work worth the effort:

  1. Save time. Cooking things in one large batch instead of preparing a different lunch each day also saves time. All you have to do is grab your cooked meal in the morning and bring it to work.
  2. Eat healthy. Cooking your own meals also means you’ll control all the ingredients that go into the food. You can make your lunches healthier with fewer processed ingredients.
  3. More choices. People who buy their work lunches every day are limited to the options they have around their workplace. When you choose to plan your meals, you can cook anything you want.
  4. Help the environment. Cooking and bringing your lunch to work also helps the environment. Your home-brought food will use less disposable packaging and you’re less likely to waste the food you cook.
  5. Save money. Of course, prepping and bringing your food to work helps you save money in two ways. First, buying ingredients tends to be cheaper when you do it in bulk. Secondly, you’re cutting costs further by not paying someone else to prepare it for you.

Here’s one thing you must understand about the financial savings from bringing your lunch to work: there are plenty of ways to maximize your financial savings further.

That’s especially true if you use these strategies:

Buy the Essentials

The first way to stretch your financial savings is to buy the essentials in bulk. These are the common ingredients that you’ll use across many of your menu items.

Vegetables, eggs, and your preferred meats are good examples of that. You’ll save more by purchasing them in bulk and using them for multiple recipes.

Create a Grocery List

You can also stretch your savings even further by creating a detailed grocery list instead of purchasing ingredients on the fly.

That list will also help you purchase ingredients from different stores, wherever each item is the cheapest.

Shop Cheap

Next, it’s time to reconsider where you buy your ingredients from. If you’re like most people, you might prefer buying from a more conveniently located grocery store even if its prices aren’t the cheapest.

Now would be a good time to explore other options and find cheaper stores. That might require you to travel out of your way a little, but it’ll only add to the savings of bringing your lunch to work.

Clip Coupons

Never underestimate the financial savings you can enjoy by using coupons. You can find plenty that offer discounts for specific grocery stores or individual products.

Coupons nowadays also take many different forms. Sure, you can clip them from magazines, newspapers, and packaging just like the old days.

However, there are also plenty of digital coupons through shopping apps and discount codes if you’re buying online.

No matter the type or form, collecting and using those coupons will add to your savings when cooking and bringing your lunch to work.

7 Lunches To Bring to Work To Save Money

Now that you know the how and why of bringing your lunch to work, it’s time to get started with a few simple ideas.

There is no limit to how creative you can be with your home-brought lunch menu items. However, all those options can be quite overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time doing this.

So, here are 7 money-saving lunches you can start with:

1. Salads

One of the easiest and cheapest lunches you can prepare is a salad. Wash and cut a few of your favorite vegetables and greens, then throw them in a bowl and mix it with your preferred dressing. Salads are also quite flexible, so you can add some fruits, too.

2. Sandwiches

Another cheap work lunch that you can’t go wrong with is the sandwich. First, prepare two slices of your favorite bread and fill the space between with meats, cheeses, and vegetables.

Of course, you can opt to just use vegetables if you’re a vegetarian or you prefer light sandwiches.

3. Wraps

Sandwiches and wraps have many similarities, but they’re still two different kinds of meals. A wrap consists of a single flatbread or tortilla with similar ingredients inside.

Wraps are also great for meal prepping as you can make a large batch and freeze it for later. You can also alternate between sandwiches and wraps occasionally, so you don’t get bored with either one.

4. Soups

Did you know that you can freeze soup? Yes, that’s what makes this an excellent money-saving lunch to bring to work.

Firstly, you can prepare your favorite soup in bulk. Then, portion it out into individual servings and freeze them for later. Heat it at work for a filling lunch that’s not too heavy and won’t leave you feeling sleepy in the afternoon.

5. Pasta

Pasta is another dish that’s cheap to prepare and easy to store for the long term. Keep things simple by purchasing ready-made pasta sauces so you don’t have to prepare each ingredient yourself.

6. Stir-Fry

Consider bringing a stir-fry to work if you prefer something with more protein and flavor. As the name suggests, this meal only takes a few minutes to prepare as you stir-fry meats, vegetables, and other ingredients like tofu.

Another reason stir-fries are a popular work lunch option is that they still taste pretty good even when you reheat them at work.

7. Last Night’s Leftovers

All of the lunch options above will surely keep you well-fed and energized at work. Still, bringing the previous day’s leftovers to work and eating them for lunch is an excellent option.

You’ll save money, reduce food wastage, and have something good to eat at work. Learning how to save money on lunch at work takes a bit of time, but the benefits make all the effort worth it. You can immediately cut your lunch costs by searching for cheaper options near your workplace that you haven’t visited before.

About this blog

Browse through the Blog to read articles and tips on managing debt, improving your credit and saving more money!