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Old 01-04-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
Omalley
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2013 Spending Challenge - Work Lunches/Snacks

I am not sure if there is a similar thread that has been started. If yes, let me know and I will join that one. If not, I am looking for inspiration as I try to meet my goal of limiting my spending on lunches and snacks at work this year. During 2012, I spent about $1,000 on fast food lunches, and soda/snack foods from the vending machines at work. That is $20 per week and it adds up fast.

While I would like to achieve $0 spending for 2013, I will be happy with $240 which allows me a lunch with friends every couple of weeks. Let me know if you have similar goals and we can share our successes and moments of weakness as we try to eat better and save money for better uses like Disney trips.

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Old 01-04-2013, 09:13 PM   #2
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There's a similar but not identical 'eat at home' thread but I think of it being more dinner oriented. I'm in for this! Definitely ate too much fast food last year. I did pack lunch and snacks all 3 days this workweek. Next week all I have planned so far is using a free chicken sandwich coupon I have.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:17 PM   #3
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We have always eaten out wayyyyy tooooo much. Not so much for lunch out while working....just weekend meals out and fast food here and there. I am trying to be very good at NOT doing this so much this year and better planning so we aren't going to drive thrus or picking up pizza.. I will join in too.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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We had lots of leftovers from New Year's so I managed to pack a lunch for the three days this week. My downfall is usually mid-afternoon snacks from the vending machines.

I got back into the habit of making instant tea to avoid the soda machine, and I brought in granola bars to avoid the snack machine. It seems like my grocery spending may increase if I keep this up, but at least I can shop for items on sale and use coupons to limit the financial damage.

I track all of our spending using Quicken so I easily identify my spending from last year. I know others who use Mint, and other budget tools to keep track of these expenses.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:09 AM   #5
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I'm in I use Quicken too and am floored by our dining total
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:18 AM   #6
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Soda....

I get a 16oz soda from the vending machine at work every afternoon. Its $1.25.

Kroger had soda on sale last week 6 24oz bottles for $2.50! Huge difference. I stocked up on a 6 week supply and marked them "for work only" so everyone doesn't start grabbing them. I already take my lunch most days so grabbing a soda to throw into my bag won't be a big deal.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:10 AM   #7
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Trying to go cold turkey is difficult with no eating out is hard. I try to leave a 12 pack of Coke in my desk and add a single can to the work fridge. Also if you hit the vending machine for snacks, buy single serve bags of items you enjoy from the grocery. Bringing in a huge economy size bag of chips is cheaper per serving, but you will also tend to overeat it or get tired of it before it is over.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:31 AM   #8
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The only thing that stopped me from spending money in vending machines etc is to not take money with me!
Within a couple of weeks I'd got used to not having snacks so starting bringing my purse to work again!!
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edk35 View Post
We have always eaten out wayyyyy tooooo much. Not so much for lunch out while working....just weekend meals out and fast food here and there. I am trying to be very good at NOT doing this so much this year and better planning so we aren't going to drive thrus or picking up pizza.. I will join in too.
I am in...we eat out WAY to much too...
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:43 AM   #10
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I'm in!

I work at a pizzeria, and eat too much pizza, so I need to get healthier, plus between classes, I barely have time to grab a lunch. Just spent an extra $20 on lunch making supplies. Hope I can stick with it!
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Leader of the Club View Post
I get a 16oz soda from the vending machine at work every afternoon. Its $1.25.

Kroger had soda on sale last week 6 24oz bottles for $2.50! Huge difference. I stocked up on a 6 week supply and marked them "for work only" so everyone doesn't start grabbing them. I already take my lunch most days so grabbing a soda to throw into my bag won't be a big deal.
My dh takes a can of diet soda to his work every day.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:33 PM   #12
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I always take my lunch. It helps that we have a fridge at work and no vending machines! I admit I am a pop addict, so I buy on sale with coupons and stock up. I always keep a case at work. I couldn't imagine spending almost $2 for one when that's what I pay for a 12-pack! I also keep some Progresso soup in my desk and a box of wheat thins or something for snacking or if I run out of time to grab a lunch. If they are on sale, I buy Lean Cuisines on occasion. Normally I have a sandwich, carrots, apple, or bring a salad. I keep salad dressing at work. Even if I buy bagged salad, it's cheaper than buying one at McD's and easy to throw some cut up lunch meat or leftover meat and cheese on it. I also bring my breakfast, either some dry cereal, oatmeal that I add water to or a bagel.

It's not hard once you get in the habbit. When we have leftovers, I put them into containers to take for lunches so I can just grab and go. Most of my co-workers eat out every lunch, I don't understand how they can afford it! It costs me $20 in gas to get there (120 miles round trip) plus daycare in the summer, if I had to pay for lunch I might as well not go to work!
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:58 PM   #13
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I'm in. I take lunch or pay for it at work. Its 2.25 for kids size meal whicch arent great. We got a new coworker so we've been eating out a lot. She likes to eat and goes out to lunch so we place an order.

i'm trying to get healthier so I plan on taking lunch to work.I bought a box of indivual peanut butter cups.
I plan on taking salads, mini turkey subs, leftover grilled chicken

snacks- carrots, celery, fresh pieces of fruit , nuts

I also plan on using what I have in my pantry first

Sodas are .50 for a can and theres time I but 2-3

I plan on drinking more water or making arnold palmers 1/2 tea & 1/2 lemonade
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:40 PM   #14
Omalley
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Lots of good ideas so far with bringing in food/snacks/drinks to avoid spending money during work. My building makes is very easy to spend money with a decent cafeteria/store on the ground floor and snack/soda machines on every floor.

I just have to be sure to bring in plenty of snacks from home. My biggest challenge is the store downstairs with the best peanut butter cookies ever, but at $2.50 for 3 they are not budget friendly.

I like the idea of not bringing any cash into the building! Of course the store/cafeteria take credit cards, but if I bring in plenty of stuff from home I should be fine. We are roasting a turkey breast ($1.49/lb) tomorrow so there should be plenty of leftovers this week.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:08 PM   #15
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I make convenience type foods from scratch and keep them in the freezer for quick grab meals. Homemade hot pockets are super easy to make using whole wheat pizza dough ( I make my dough but you can buy pizza dough at trader joes in the fridge section). I make bean and cheese burritos and chicken or beef and rice burritos and freeze those to. I make large dinners and then portion out lunch size portions sometimes too, or make extra chicken to throw on top of a salad the next day, that kind of thing. When I cook a ham after it cools I slice it really thin and use it for sandwich meat. Leftover ham is yummy on salads too.
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