I am a foodie. But, I am a foodie who has to go to work everyday and I hate eating the same thing day in and day out. I’m also a foodie who is in the process of paying off debt and trying to save money. So what does a frugal person do during the workweek for food?
Have a meal plan.This is a great way to eliminate the guessing game of “what’s for lunch.” I typically will do this at the end of the previous week so that I can go to the grocery store or farmers’ market to pick up any additional items that I might need. An example of a menu would be:
yogurt/oatmeal/protein bar/fruit and peanut butter/ or a smoothie
salad with roasted chicken, chickpea masala, or the old standby peanut butter and jelly!
almonds and dried fruit, smoothie, veggies and a low fat dip, hummus and veggies
a hearty soup, chicken and salad, some crockpot special
You get the picture. You might not need as much food variety as I do! Typically I will prep my lunches on Saturdays, but Sundays are just as good. Make sure to have good quality glass food storage containers (not plastic) and a nice bag for your lunch. DO NOT pack your lunch in the morning. Do it the night before. You will be too tired to deal with it in the morning.
Buy a crockpot or ask one of your family members for one. If you have a crockpot, you have the whole cooking world in your hands! It is the easiest way to prepare a wonderful meal without slaving away over a hot stove when you’re tired. Typically what I will do is throw all the items into the pot the night before (put the removable pot into the fridge the night before). Then I will add the water the next morning, turn the crockpot on low and have my meal cooking throughout the day. The best thing is to return home to the smell of delicious food and just having to relax and eat. If you’re not into cooking this is a fantastic option for you.
If you like to eat out with your colleagues/friends at work try to limit the number of times you go out. I would say that once or twice a week is more than enough. You may even want to figure out the average amount that you spend and then adjust your outings accordingly. For example: if you spend $10-$12 in a day ( a meal/drink/snack) and do that twice a week multiply it by 4 (4 weeks in a month) and then you have your monthly lunch expenses. If you feel comfortable with the amount then no problem, if not-make some adjustments!
Having a good handle on daily food expenses is an easy way to minimize your expenditures. Good luck!
What are your favorite cheap work day foods?