I have pretty much mastered how to have lunch on a budget. In all honesty, I stretch my dollars! This particular week I spent $19.35 on lunch items. That’s less than $4 a day!
Less Than $4 a Day?
Yes! Every Monday I head to the grocery store before I go into work. There I purchase crackers, hummus, greens, a couple of pre-cooked chicken breasts from the pre-made deli section, and a bag of frozen berries. Often I’ll add in a little something extra to round out my week.
This receipt reflects a Monday when I splurged. I purchased:
- A new reusable grocery bag (splurge)
- Frozen brown rice (lasts all week)
- Hummus (lasts all week)
- Frozen Mango (splurge for my protein shake)
- Salad Mix (I get 4-5 salads per bag)
- Honey Mango (splurge but oh so tasty!)
- Two tomatoes on the vine (four salads)
- Two grilled citrus chicken breasts (small)
- Small bag of mini sweet peppers (lasts all week and is delicious in my salad and with hummus)
- Frozen mixed berries (for my protein shake and lasts all week)
The total? $26.79 for a week of breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Not too shabby! To order out, I can spend seven, eight, ten, fifteen dollars! There really are no “affordable” lunch options close by, and few deliver.
How My “Lunch on a Budget” Breaks Down
I add the frozen fruit to my morning protein shakes. It gives them additional nutritional value, gives me a more well-rounded meal, and helps thicken the shake (who likes a thin shake?)
I add the brown rice is to my salad or I have it as a side. Rice helps fill me up, and well, I kinda love it. I love white rice, jasmine rice, black rice, brown rice…I love rice!
The frozen mango and honey mango were total splurges, as they just sounded good! Adding frozen mango to my shakes adds the same value to me as the frozen berries. Plus, I LOVE mango. Mixed with the vanilla shake, it’s totally yum! The honey mango made a very nice little mid-afternoon snack.
The chicken breasts I cut in half. Doing so gets me four days of chicken. I put them in the salad or have them on their own as part of my lunch with the rice and salad to round out my meal. Chicken is something that I find to be very versatile, so I tend to use it a lot.
Yes, I add the frozen fruit to my protein shakes and I also snack on protein bars and an occasional caramel or chocolate chew. I love caramel! But I digress…When I add my nutritional products with what I’ve purchased, I’ve still spent a lot less than I would have otherwise.
I will not divulge the number, that dollar amount that I used to spend on food (groceries and eating out, mostly eating out.) Nope, I won’t tell you that. It’s rather embarrassing and I was horrified when I figured it out. Just know I’ve cut the amount I spend on food by half, to two-thirds. So basically, I’m eating healthier and saving money! Win-win!
I am fortunate that there is a refrigerator at work. I’m able to keep a few days of lunches in there without taking up all the space. I also take 2-3 gallons of water with me a week. Why? Because I drink so much! I don’t want my workplace having to pay for my water habit.
If you want to cut back on your lunch budget, give this a try. Just look for things that will keep that you won’t tire of eating. Let me know in the comments what you do for healthy, budget-friendly lunches.
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