Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Be a bag lady to save money

Unless your employer offers free lunches to employees, chances are that you have to bring or buy lunch for yourself every day.

I work downtown.  Depending upon how close to payday it is, a forgotten lunch could mean foraging in the office closets for expired granola bars.  Fresh food will cost at least $4.40 for a Subway cardboard sandwich.  A couple of times a year, when I'm feeling particularly self indulgent, I might splurge for sushi.  But at $14-15 for a bento box, I'm spending nearly as much on one lunch as I would on take-out at our favorite restaurant.

When Marius was living with us last year, he so often ate every morsel of dinner that I rarely had leftovers to take to work the next day.  I probably spent as much on lunches out as I did on our dinners.

More often than not, however, you'll see me with my lunch bag, a Goodwill find for around $2, and perhaps a coffee mug.  If it's hot I'll have a mason jar with cold coffee.

What did I have today?  For breakfast I had a mocha and fresh strawberries with homemade yogurt.  At noon I heated up leftover salmon frittata.  And when the 3:00 munchies hit, I ate the rest of the strawberries with angel food cake and whipped cream.

I'm glad we don't have any office lunch theft problems where I work.  Every night as we clear the kitchen I pack up my lunch for the next day.  I won't make something that doesn't have leftovers unless I already have a lunch planned for the following day.

Do you have a favorite brown-bag lunch item?  How are you managing your family budget with lunches?

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