View Full Version : I have sooo much money in my pocket!

NY Disney fan
03-18-2008, 09:36 AM
Ok, I knew that would grab your attention. I've been pakcing my lunch and all snacks for the past 5 weeks (for my 9 hour work day) and it has saved me so much money! Does anyone else do this? I only take my lunch 3 days a week, can't imagine how much i'd save if I did it 5 days a week. Anyone have success stories of doing this? Let's hear them!!! :thumbsup2

03-18-2008, 09:38 AM
I don't pack lunch, but my kids pack lunch for school and I have actually been wondering if it would be cheaper to have them buy lunch, especially my elementary age son. School lunch costs $1.90 and hasn't gone up all year like the price of food in the grocery store has. I can totally understand if you are eating outside of a school setting though, it can save you tons to pack lunch.

03-18-2008, 09:52 AM
Yup! I used to spend about $6-$8 everyday for lunch. Things got a little tighter this year and we thought of ways to cut back. We had no idea how much nickle and dime stuff adds up! Lunches save alot plus instead of buying pre-bagged chips and stuff to pack, buy the large bag of snack and fill your own snack plastic baggie. You'll save $ and calories. Also, it got us thinking and I added up how much we spent on pop each mo. It totaled around $200-$300!!! So, much to my husbands chagrin, I put us on iced tea (the self-made with tea bag kind - not bottled) that's much healthier and saves a ton. I also now have our grocery bill down to on avg $75/week for a family of four. Once you get started with the lunches you'll be surprised where else that may lead you to budget crunch. Have fun! :thumbsup2

03-18-2008, 09:59 AM
I JUST sent my husband an email, wherin I added up all of the work cafeteria purchases he's made over the past month. Usually like $1-3 a time, sometimes more. I assume these are little snack-type purchases, or a cheap lunch (like soup, which he's mentioned before)

Anyway. The total came out to over $40!! And that's only just over halfway into the month!!

Haven't gotten a reply from that email yet... :rolleyes:

It's one thing to say "Stop spending money at the NameOfWork Store", another to add up the actual dollar amount and (I hope) make someone realize just how much money you're talking about.

03-18-2008, 10:09 AM
I only go into my office 3 days a week. Lunches are form of socalizing for me but I recently cut back to only going out to lunch on Fridays. It was really making me sick thinking about what I was spending every month on eating out. I figure I am saving at least $20 a week (sometime up to $30!)

Now I can have my one lunch a week and put all that extra money to a few happy hours each month :lmao:

03-18-2008, 10:26 AM
I started to pack my DH's lunch several years ago when we purchased our conversion van. It's hard to believe but he was spending almost as much on breakfast and lunch as our payment.

Although the van has been paid off for years, I still pack it every morning except Friday. I think that it's also healthier for him to eat fast food once a week instead of 5 days.

03-18-2008, 10:35 AM
The cheapest decent lunch I can get near me in DC would be about $4.50 or 5, and that is just a sandwich or soup, no drink or fruit or anything else.
Since it is chilly out, I have been taking cans of soup for lunch. I got them on sale for $1 each, plus a 50 cents off four coupon, which was doubled, so I guess they cost around 75 cents each. With my fruit, my lunch from home this time of year is about $1.50.
For breakfast I bring a yoplait and fruit and I make my own coffee here (total cost roughly $1), versus getting a coffee and scone at Starbucks (over $4) or a Bagle Bundle at Cosi (over $3).
I treat mysewlf to breakfast occasionally (usually when I notice that we are out of yogurt and fruit about 5 minutes before I leave for work) and I usually have lunch out once a week, but I know I am saving a lot of money doing this.
I need to save the money, taxes and prices are rising left and right in MD!

03-18-2008, 10:43 AM
I buy a weeks worth of frozen dinners (like Stouffers or Lean Cuisine, depending on what is on sale that week). I keep them in the freezer at work. So I spend around $2.50 for lunch on these dinners. I usually make myself a cup of tea in my office to go with it. So now I spend in one week what I might have spent in one day previously! Once in awhile I will order out if others in the office are doing it. But that is maybe once every 3 weeks or so. I figure I deserve that.


Kate and Pete
03-18-2008, 12:04 PM
I pack all lunches and snacks. I teach high school - and here, a salad bar is $4 - that really adds up! (BTW, it's also the VERY SAME salad bar that students get charged $2 for....same sized plates and everything. And let me tell you, 16 year old wrestlers sure do eat a lot more than I do!!)

I pack things that are EASY - so I do get into "cycles" of food. Right now I eat:
Morning Snack: 1/2 c. frozen fruit (thawed), one yogurt
Lunch: Carrot and raisin salad with seasame ginger dressing, 3 hard boiled eggs
Afternoon: banana or kashi bar

Every Sun. I use the food processor to do 3 lbs. of carrots (DH eats some as a snack at home, too!) and boil the eggs. Every morning I pack one serving for the day out of the fridge. It saves a TON of money - and it's healthy!

I sometimes get on lunch meat cycles, where I buy lunch meat and leave it in the fridge at work. In the morning, I just pack 2 slices of bread and my snacks...Or I'll buy a big thing of hummus, leave it at work, and pack pita in the morning...

03-18-2008, 12:08 PM
I pack my lunch five days a week - its usually Lean Cuisines or Smart Ones, whatever is on sale, and ranges from $2 to $2.50 each. We have a tiny "to go" place in our building and sandwiches are $4.95 and a hot meal is $6.95 - beverage extra. I used to eat at McDonald's across the street once a week and when I stopped that, my cholesterol dropped 20 points!

We have a lot of noontime meetings in our building and at least once a week there are leftovers free for the scrounging!

The kitchen on our floor offers free Poland spring water, coffee, tea or cocoa.

03-18-2008, 12:14 PM
I always packed my lunch when I worked. I never could justify paying money when I was working, I saved it for eating a nice meal out. DH also brings lunch. He bought lunch for years and while I really did not mind I never could understand why my normally frugal DH did not cringe when he paid for his coffee and in the morning and then again at lunch.

03-18-2008, 12:45 PM
DH and I usually pack lunch, since we only get a half-hour for lunch anyway... (We work together.) DH has a pack of tuna & a yogurt, I range between soup, potato, sandwhich, salad, or leftovers. DH also has soda which we keep in our car - that alone saves us anywhere between $2 - $8 a week instead of buying the vending machine soda.

On Fridays, when we get an hour, we go out for pizza (one slice each, and a soda each = $9.)

Handbag Lady
03-18-2008, 12:57 PM
I used to spend $10 a day on lunch. This is a full entre with salad and a drink.

I needed to cut back somewhere, so I started making bigger dinners and bagging leftovers for lunch.

I now rarely eat out at lunch and eat at my desk. :rolleyes:

But, I save about $150 a month. :woohoo:

03-18-2008, 01:04 PM
The cheapest decent lunch I can get near me in DC would be about $4.50 or 5, and that is just a sandwich or soup, no drink or fruit or anything else.
Since it is chilly out, I have been taking cans of soup for lunch. I got them on sale for $1 each, plus a 50 cents off four coupon, which was doubled, so I guess they cost around 75 cents each. With my fruit, my lunch from home this time of year is about $1.50.
For breakfast I bring a yoplait and fruit and I make my own coffee here (total cost roughly $1), versus getting a coffee and scone at Starbucks (over $4) or a Bagle Bundle at Cosi (over $3).
I treat mysewlf to breakfast occasionally (usually when I notice that we are out of yogurt and fruit about 5 minutes before I leave for work) and I usually have lunch out once a week, but I know I am saving a lot of money doing this.
I need to save the money, taxes and prices are rising left and right in MD!

Stop the presses! There is a Cosi's in MARYLAND???? That is mine and DH's favorite place to eat in NYC and Philly. Wonder if there are any closer to us here in Harford County.

Back to the thread - I pack DH's lunch daily - so much cheaper (and healthier) than him running thru a drive thru every day!

03-18-2008, 01:22 PM
We mostly make larger suppers and keep the leftovers for the next day. Those box meals are worthless! To me, anyway. They're so tiny that I'd have to get two just to feel remotely full. And where's the cost savings in that? :confused3 Never mind that we both can cook way better than anything that comes from a microwave tray...

I can't live off of break room leftovers the way I used to... they've really cut back expenses around here, and I see lunch leftovers in the breakroom maybe once a month rather than several times a week. While this is is good for the company, it's been harder to say "No, just wait until 2 and see if something shows up in the breakroom" if I for some reason don't have a lunch that day. And before anyone jumps down my throat, NO I'm NOT talking about STEALING people's lunches. I'm talking about things like leftover pizza (or sandwiches, or whatever) from a meeting bought on the company dime, that would be thrown away if no one ate it. Anyway, it's become more more of an imperitive for me to bring my lunch for this reason.

03-18-2008, 01:51 PM
I bring my lunch everyday - only eat out maybe 1-2 times a month. And I work in the Loop! Every restaurant known to (Chicago) mankind is within walking distance. In summertime it is be a BIG temptation again. I'll just try to budget accordingly - lunches out come from the same envelope as my Going Out envelope.

I, too, get on cycles. Right now I'm stocked with microwaveable soup. I'll bring frozen meals on occasion (if they're $1 or less), but my favorite is to have leftovers, especially if it's something really good that DSis cooked up!

I always have dried fruit, crackers/snacky/crunchy something, and chocolate :rolleyes1 in my desk drawer. I try to bring fruit and veggies along in the morning.

Breakfast is usally at home, consisting of eggs or cereal. I'll have my tea in the morning at work with a Soy Joy or granola/cereal bar.

Then, when I go out, it is SO delicious! And I don't feel guilty about busting the budget, either. :thumbsup2

03-18-2008, 03:55 PM
I started a great idea in our home recently. I put a big glass cookie jar on my island in my kitchen to hold spare money. We are going to WDW in June and each of my kids are bringing a friend. I told the kids that this is our fun spending money and that we are going to need to contribute to it every chance we get in order to have the fun we are used to having w/out the friends along. With that being said I told my family that we are only eating out 1 day a week, what ever they want is fine, but if we cheat then the money comes out of the jar. In 1 1/2 weeks I have over $600.00 in that jar! I sold my gold, took kids clothes to resell, round down my paychecks and put difference in jar, got all spare change from the whole house ($12.00). Anyway, with it sitting right in front of our faces everyday it is really hard to think about taking money out just to go get a burger! I should do this all the time, it has really shown us how much money we spend for no reason. Just this morning my DH said he would just get coffee out, I looked at the jar.......he ended up pouring his coffee in his mug and heading out the door.

03-18-2008, 04:02 PM
I pack my lunch, except on Fridays, which has a bit of a complicated reasoning behind it.

Anyway, I just do leftovers from dinner. If I don't have left overs on hand, I take a salad, or a wrap, I always have those ingredients on hand.

DH eats carrots for lunch. That's it. every day. I keep him stocked up carrots, and don't ask questions. He does come home hungry every day. :)

of course, I work in a school, and for me to NOT pack a lunch, only costs 2.60 (plus I buy a can of soda). Still, for a hot lunch, plus salad, not a bad deal.

03-18-2008, 04:26 PM
Another school employee here. I could buy school lunch for $3 (though the lunch ladies are weird and don't always charge teachers the same thing regularly), but I'm not a huge fan of school food. I'd rather spend my 20 minutes eating than waiting in line with the kids! So I bring my PB&J, or leftovers. Today I had cereal because I didn't have any bread or any leftovers! If I bought school lunch, it would be $15 a week. While that's not a huge amount, what I bring comes out to much less than that.

NY Disney fan
03-18-2008, 04:34 PM
I In 1 1/2 weeks I have over $600.00 in that jar! ....


03-18-2008, 05:07 PM
I'm kind of ashamed to admit this, but I usually eat a bowl of oatmeal for lunch. It's warm, yummy and easy to store in my desk. I usually bring an orange everyday. But I also bring hard boiled eggs, swiss cheese (my favorite) and yogurt to keep in the fridge at work.

We are lucky to have a kitchen on our floor and we make our own coffee in the morning--if you want coffee you just have to contribute a can of coffee and filters every once in a while.

We also have a microwave and hot shot pot for my oatmeal or tea. My co-workers all bring their own lunch everyday. My work friends and I eat at noon and bring our crafts, knitting, crocheting, etc. It's a nice break.

03-18-2008, 05:18 PM
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday - I take my lunch to work.

Wednesday - Is our weekly girls' lunch out (a nice treat!)

Friday - I don't work on Fridays so I usually eat at home unless I am out running errands then I'll grab a bite to eat.

03-18-2008, 06:11 PM
I have had many conversions with the gals from the office on this topic..
and yes I have read thru the whole thread... its all nice and $$ saving...
but the concensus with the gals I work with... we go out about twice /week...but its all about the social aspect of it ... getting out...
catching up.... breathing some different air other than the office air all day ...
I was all for NOT going out to eat.. but then I felt.... heck.. I (we) deserve
to treat ourselves !!

have a great lunch.

03-18-2008, 06:36 PM
I gradually changed to a healthier lifestyle about 8 years ago. Heathier, mind, not absolutely healthy! Still love the occasional junk food! *LOL*

Most weekends you'll find me prepping lunches for the following week. Fresh and/or fozen or canned produce, bread for sandwiches, etc. I don't really spend that much time on it, and my daily food (lunch & 2 snacks) average about $2 per day. Some days more, others less. Depends on what's in season, what's on sale and what I like! :)

If I were to buy typical drive-through stuff it would cost me at least $5 per day, healthier stuff is $7 plus. That feels pretty good when I compare costs.

If my colleagues can decide a week in advance, I'll usually go out to lunch with them once or twice a month. That wipes out some savings, but it's good to socialize occasionally.

03-19-2008, 01:43 AM
wow years ago I tried packing lunches for DH and myself. We worked in same city and DH would come down to my office and we'd eat together. that was many moons ago as I have been a SAHM for 20plus years now.

Here is what inevitablly happened. I was the one who had to carry the lunch in with me. Around 10am my coworker would ask what's for lunch to day? I'm hungry how about you? and we would eat at least half of the lunch right there on the spot! :rotfl: My poor DH would come down for lunch and find most of it gone! so then we would "pick up something" to supplement.

Guess what? that lunch packing thing? just never worked out for me! :confused3

DH now has lunch with clients or on the run most of week. On a rare day he is in the office for lunch hour and knows ahead, he will take leftovers out of fridge in the am and have them for lunch . . .at around 10am!

since I homeschool we also eat left overs and easy to fix at home not so easy to send to school type things. That is on days I/we are not out running errends or what have you, then we definitely just pick up something. taking lunches along in car with us? guess what happens? we eat them by 10am :rotfl:

I'm seeing a pattern here!

03-19-2008, 09:04 AM
I used to eat out at least 3 days per week, sometimes 5! Then my coworker moved away and I had to stop cold turkey! :lmao: It saved me at least $25 per week. that's a bunch of money over a year! With my schedule I could go in after lunch so I would eat at home and then go in. This year I have to be earlier so I've been packing and it ranges from frozen stuff to left overs to sandwiches or salads. I get to go out about once a month now and that's enough to keep me happy.

03-19-2008, 09:23 AM
With prices for school lunch at $3.50-$3.75, I let DS pick day per week to have school lunch and pack his lunch the remainder of the week. Likewise, he's allowed to buy ice cream at school on Fridays (many kids get ice cream every day :rolleyes: ).

We've cut eating out to once every other week. Also, we're having one or two nights a week where we eat leftovers for dinner.

We've been working on cutting our food waste by trying to eat leftovers before they go bad and cutting the portion sizes I serve to the kids. We've been saving roughly $100-$200 a month just from food that would've been wasted.

03-19-2008, 09:29 PM
We just started something fun. There are 6 of us in my group at work. Every Thursday someone cooks a meal (last week it was curry) and brings it in for everyone. So it's kinda like eating out but all it costs you is ingredients 1 out of 6 weeks. So far, so good!

03-19-2008, 09:38 PM
I bring food for lunch now too (except for one taco meal a week at $5) and I am saving $100 a month with no increase to my regular grocery bill. I am just throwing away a LOT less food!

miss missy
03-20-2008, 04:13 AM
we have refridges at work, I take mine 5 days a week and have for over a year. One Monday, I bring in 5 frozen meals, 5 yogarts, 5 waters, 5 snacks. I dont spend a dime on food at work :) I used to do take out with the crew once a week, they do all 5 :scared1: But I tell ya, I lost 20 lbs by not eating take out at work! :thumbsup2 Its a win win!

03-20-2008, 05:53 AM
I work in a grocery store, so I started bringing my lunch to avoid the temptation of the snack aisle and the power of the twinkies. But it does help me save a bunch. Every once in awhile, I do splurge on some salads, fruit, or hot foods.