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5 Ways To Save Money When Eating At Work

There are plenty of ways to save money when eating at work, and today I’m going to mention my 5 top ways to do so!

5 Ways To Save Money When Eating At Work:

  1. Pack your lunch!  This is the best way to save money on lunch, but you must be thoughtful.  If you drive to the store every few days to buy the food ingredients to prepare your lunch, you are adding to the cost of lunch because of the extra gas expense!  So ideally, you would go perhaps once a month to go shopping for the food ingredients.  Buying in bulk helps too!
  2. When going to a drive-thru, only buy from the value menu!  A great disappointment of mine is that one of my favorite McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches, the Sausage Egg McMuffin, is not on the value menu!  So to buy one of those, it costs $2.89 at my local McDonalds.  The dollar menu Sausage McMuffin sandwich (which is the same but without the egg) only cost $1.00!  So that one egg on the Sausage Egg McMuffin sandwich costs more than an entire cartoon of eggs, so do I still buy the Sausage Egg McMuffin?  No, I don’t think so!!!  I’ll take the Sausage McMuffin please!!!
  3. For fancier restaurants, consider soup, or soup and salads instead of the regular meal.  I’m often surprised to find that the soups are much cheaper than the other entrees on the menu.  And some soup options are down right delicious!  I’ve had my fill of surprises lately at restaurants like Rocke’s, where their soups are superb!
  4. Keep a cheap meal in your desk drawer!  At work, I typically keep a meal hidden away in my desk drawer.  I like the instant oatmeal (brown sugar is my favorite) packets, and I also keep about 10 ramen noodle packets in my drawer too.  Both are very tasty if they are only eaten once in a while!
  5. If you absolutely have to go out from lunch with a group of friends from work (networking and all), don’t spend a lot of money.  Try drinking a few glasses of water before you go out to lunch.  There is a good chance you won’t be near as hungry after drinking at least two full glasses.

I use all of these techniques when eating both breakfast and lunch on work days!  My only vice is the McDonald’s lattes, that I have 4 days a week, but at least it’s covered by the dividends that my lunch experiment stocks yield.

Did I miss any other ways to save money at lunch?

-MR

25 Responses to 5 Ways To Save Money When Eating At Work

  1. I pretty much do those, except when I do go out to eat, I get what I want regardless of price (and I’m fine with that).

    It’s important to have food on hand if you’re likely to get low blood sugar. Hungry folks can be less productive and make bad decisions.

    • For dinner, I’ll usually get a cheaper meal, letting my wife get the more expensive entree…

      I like your idea of having snack food (like a granola bar) handy just to give an extra boost of energy 🙂

  2. When I used to work in an office a million years ago, I brought in leftovers to eat all the time. Spaghetti, stir fry, you name it. It was healthy, and a great way to use already prepared food!

    • Leftovers is a great idea, I don’t know why I don’t do that… I should make a huge batch of food and then freeze part of it for a few lunches.

      I’ve never done that either, but it sounds like a great idea!

  3. When I was looking to cut back on my lunch spending, my friend (who’s really into nutrition) gave me a whole bunch of advice. The most memorable one was about taking multi-vitamins regularly. She said that when our body runs low/lacks vital nutrients it triggers a hunger feeling so that you’ll eat something (hopefully containing the nutrients you need).

    Oh, and this probably won’t work for anyone with a family but most restaurants have really awesome lunch specials with a sizable portion. I’ll eat half and save the rest for dinner. Two meals for a (reduced) price of one!

      • Wait, you can request lunch portions and sizes during dinner?! I don’t know why I never thought to ask! Sometimes I’ll order the kids meal, they’re more filling than you’d think. However, some places are sticklers for not serving kids meal to anyone over twelve.

        • My wife and I can never eat all of the food they typically bring out for dinner. Once day, my wife asked if she could order a lunch size portion, and they said sure. Now at certain restaurants (Olive Garden), that’s how we always ask for our food.

  4. Yes, I love bringing in my own lunch for another reason too: it tends to be more healthy. I hate how some restaurants often try to overcharge you getting for wanting an appropriately portioned healthy alternatives.

  5. good tips – i’d just caution to watch what is going inside that tummy. cheap usually means CHEAP in terms of quality (rich in oil, cheap and dirty chemicals etc). there are some good buys however for less….

    great point on lunch portions however…usually a few bucks less for pretty much the same size.

    • Thanks, yeah, restaurant prices are way, way too high!

      I’ve been supplementing my cheap means with vitamins, but you are right about the quality of the food… I’ll have to start incorporate broccoli into the mix. 🙂

  6. Somehow, we have the same idea of things to save money when eating at work (packing lunch, a little healthy snack in the drawer, etc.) . I do the same at McDonald’s as well, I always ordered the value meal especially the item is very similar. I think the sausage mcmuffin with egg is the one on value meal in our area.

    • The food in my drawer isn’t so healthy (ramen noodles), although the oatmeal is!

      I ran an experiment where all I would eat was oatmeal, ramen noodles and 2 eggs for at least 8 months. Actually tomorrow I’m going to post about it. It’s an awesome experiment, even if the food was bad for me (I supplemented it with vitamins).

      I need to get off of the habit of eating at McDonalds…

  7. Keeping emergency food in the drawer is a great idea =) I keep a bowl of Kimchi noodles (they are so terribly bad for you, but taste delicious on a cold and stormy typical vancouver winter day).

    I’d say packing lunch the night before helps too. I am often too lazy to pack a lunch in the morning… =)

    • Great tips young!

      I’m going to take your advise and try to pack lunch the night before!!!

      I’ll also look for Kimchi noodles; I’ve never heard of them prior to your comment!

  8. I currently have oatmeal packets in my desk drawer and a couple of little snacks. I’m with Young and Thrifty on packing lunch the night before. If I don’t, then I usually go through my rations, or eat out!

  9. Ramen? Ugh. Well, I’m lucky enough to live close enough to work to go home for lunch; and I will pack on the days when I know I’ll be stuck at the office. However… when I “do lunch” at one of my favorite eateries, my favorite lunch is from the appetizer menu. Just enough edibles to not worry about leftovers.

  10. Those are some great ideas for saving money on lunch at work. Most of them I already utilize. My only downfall is the McDonalds strawberry banana smoothie.. That would make McDonald’s a bad place.lol

  11. Good tips for saving money. We’ve also discovered the value of a good soup, there are some restaurants which offer a nice and pretty substantial soup with noodles and there’s enough for us. Slowly, slowly, we’ve deleted McDonalds from our menu list, which we are more than glad to have done.