If you haven’t already given it a try, bringing your own lunch to work can be a great way to save the money you spend going for coffees and take-away meals in your break time. It’s very tempting to go out for lunch every day, especially when you’re in an area populated with a variety of take-out styles and you want to try them all.
It can sound like a bit of a hassle to bring your own food; getting up slightly earlier each morning and making food is a bit of a chore, especially for those of us who like to hit the snooze button as many times as possible. Meal planning is a trend that’s been gaining popularity, and for good reasons. Not only is it cost-effective, it gives you more control of the food you’re eating.
Pros of Bringing Your Own Lunch
If you breakdown how much cafe food or fast food cost and face the harsh realities of how frequently you’re buying them, your weekly spend can be a little confronting. Bringing your lunch to work is not so daunting when you’re spending thousands per year in take-away. Things like sandwiches and salads can cost anything between $5 and $10, so say you’re buying your sandwich daily at $7 and a $3.50 coffee as well, that’s over $50 per week. The ingredients for a sandwich – bread, some deli meat, basic salad greens, and tomatoes – will cost you around $10 to $15 and work out to a much lower figure; more like $3 per day. Bringing a coffee from home is always an option – all you need is a thermos. It’s handy to have your own espresso machine if you’re a coffee aficionado; you can take the quality with you. Even if you’re not, instant coffee travels fine, and is usually available for free in the office kitchen!
How do you get the best out of from-home lunches?
- Be Prepared
If you’re thinking about bringing your lunch to work to save cash, the first step is to approach it with preparedness. Find some simple recipes that keep in the fridge, or food combinations that you can keep separate and mix together on the day. On your shopping day or before you start the working week, make a list of the things you’ll need. Sandwiches, soup and salads are a good place to start and work your way into meal preparation and taking food to work. Cook your food the night before work and either separate it into containers for each day, or keep your ingredients separate and arrange them when it’s go time.
- Make bigger dinners (Hello, leftovers!)
The extra time is minimal; the cooking time is either the same or just a few minutes more. But by cooking a little bit extra every time you make a meal, you’ll have at least two or three servings leftover and easily start bringing your lunch to work this way.
- Buy your work-snacks ahead of time
If your workspace allows it, keep a box of muesli bars, nuts, fruit or chocolate at work for when you’re peckish during the day. Rice cakes and crackers also keep well. This way, you’re not ducking out for a $4 muffin every time your stomach rumbles.
Eating out at work can be so much more expensive than we realise, and if you’re looking on ways to save, it’s an easy fix. It’s not as daunting as it seems when you organise your food well .