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April 14, 2011


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I'm notorious for bringing frozen dinners (or leftovers) to the office. The cafeteria at our office is very, very good, but at $5 to $8 for a lunch, it adds up over time. I wait until frozen meals go on sale at the grocery store for $2 each (or less) and stock up on them. They keep just fine in the deep freeze. At $2 per day versus $5 per day for lunch, I'm saving $3 per work day, or $750 per year on average. Over the course of a 40 year career, that works out to $30,000 (even if you don't account for any investment return).

I've been bringing dinner leftovers to work since I got married. Not only are they absolutely delicious, but they take no time to prepare, make it easier and more economical to prepare dinners since most recipes make more than 2 servings, save me $8 per workday, and it only takes me about 15 minutes to heat and eat my meal. Thus I don't take a full lunch break and I go home earlier.

Brown bagging is one of the easiest ways to save money and I have been doing it for years. I brown bag four days a week and buy lunch on paydays (every two weeks). This is a great compromise so you feel you are treating yourself as well as saving money.

I bring lunch or go home to eat (live 10 minutes away). I eat lunch out 2-3 times a month. Not too much out there that tempts me away from a left-over burger or PB&J.

I take my lunch to work literally every single day, mostly for budgetary reasons, but because I work in an environment where we bill time and EVERYONE eats at their desk so they can work straight through lunch and not spend any more time at the office than they have to.

There has been one day this year when I bought lunch, and it was only because I walked out of the house and forgot the lunch I'd already packed.

My husband, on the other hand, works in an environment where everyone goes out to lunch almost every day - TOGETHER - and if you don't join in most of the time, you're soon viewed as someone who is not a team player or invested in the job. This dynamic really itches my bitch bone, because it's a budget buster. He's been much better about graciously declining over the past 6 months or so and eating at his desk, but he still feels as if he needs to participate a couple days a week for the sake of the team.

I used to brown bag only in tax season to save time, but now I always do it. We get high-quality lunch meat (we are talking $8-9 a pound for meat, a couple dollars less for cheese) and bread that tastes better than 95% of the food I could walk to and I still save money. I would estimate it's about $15 a week for the meat, cheese, and bread, so that's $3 a sandwich. The sides probably cost 50 cents to a dollar a day, and I only drink water. So $3.50-$4 a day for a great, nutritious lunch. A heck of a lot better than the $6+ I'd have to pay at a nearby place to get something that probably isn't as healthy or tastes as good. If you buy ingredients that aren't as expensive, then you'll save even more; but I like to make sure that I eat healthy and responsibly. So say I spend an average of $3.75 per day on lunch instead of $6- that's still over $500 a year in savings.

My husband, however, hasn't jumped on the brown-bag wagon as much as me. His usual lunch is, surprise, Subway, but he only gets the $5 sub instead of including the sides and drink. Since he has been receptive to cutting food costs by cooking dinner at home more instead of going out, which also saves us a lot of money, I let it slide. Plus, he loves to get away from the office because he doesn't like his coworkers. Thankfully he is transferring in a couple months and won't have to see them as much anymore!

One more great benefit of working from home. I dont leave my house before 5PM, so never spend money before 5PM. And with my wife's home cooking leftovers always just upstairs from my desk, I eat better/healthier than ever before...

I guess when we go out to lunch we are just too cheap. We usually go to a place that has a dollar menu and we all usually eat off of that. So $3 to $4 usually. Heck we even have a pizza place where we can get two large pizzas and pop and it only costs us $2 each when we have 6 guys or $3 when we have 4.

$8 for lunch rarely. $5 high end, $3 to $4 usually

I eat out for lunches anywhere from 1 to 5 times per week. I pay for about one lunch every 2 weeks.

I have been bringing my lunch from home since I was in middle school. I am one of only two co-workers out of 16 that brings lunch from home everyday. One thing that works in my favor is that I don't mind having the same thing for lunch for the entire week. For example on Sunday, I will make a huge salad for lunches for the week. Healthy and nutritious and even with organic ingredients it costs a fraction of what it would cost if I ate lunch out everyday. I also agree with FMF about the time saving aspect. However, unlike FMF, I work in an extremely populated area and it takes just about my entire hour lunch break to pick up something and bring it back to work.

I work from home! It makes it much easier to brown bag it (and if I want I can whip up something nice).

Another advantage to brown bagging it is it makes it a lot easier to eat healthily!

I brown-bagged it every day for 32 years in my final job. Part of the appeal was that I was part of a foursome that loved to play Pinochle. In fact all around the office there were bridge games going on and those that were not playing were standing around kibitzing. To me, as a person that practiced frugality it was a no-brainer. Another interesting fact about our office was that we had a Mormon engineer that used one of the file cabinets to keep merchandise. His little store opened at lunchtime and he wasn't your typical Mormon, he did a pretty good trade in cigarettes, cigars, and candy bars in the days when smoking at work was commonplace. What was interesting after smoking was disallowed was seeing one of the top managers in the company sheepishly sneaking outside to the landing of our 5th. floor fire escape to have a quick smoke.

I I usually take my lunch with me 2 days per week. We have a gym in the building that I use 2-3 days per week, then I just eat my lunch from home at my desk and read the paper once I am done working out.

I typically will schedule lunches with customers 2 days per week. This is nice because it gets paid for by the company. I usually take the customers to pretty good places to, and I enjoy eating a good lunch. This is a frugal way to do it.

One or 2 days per week (depending on how many customer lunches I have and how many days I bring lunch) I will buy food myself. We have a couple places within walking distance that I enjoy, and also several places within a 5 minute drive from my office.

Sometimes I really enjoying going to eat somewhere by myself and just sitting here enjoying my lunch and reading the paper.

In every scenario, I have to get out of my office for at least an hour each day at lunch. I either go upstairs to work out, or go out for lunch.

I've been taking lunch to work for 3 years on the current job. Remote location with no cafeteria. I go in to town for lunch about twice a month to network. My wife also brown bags and we have been able to save substantial money.

I don't bring lunch but I work next to a supermarket so I just walk over and buy bread or instant noodles or something. I never buy drinks or coffee though

I've been bringing my lunch pretty much since I started working 8 years ago. I started because it was healthier and the only places around my office were fast food. Now that I pay more attention to our money, I'm glad I developed that habit early on! (We brew and bring our own coffee too.) Now that I have a miniscule commute I go home for lunch and walk/play with the dog, which is a nice break in my day. My husband eats lunch out a lot, but he is able to expense it to his company 75% of the time. His job is very stressful, and he really enjoys eating out, so we consider that money well spent.

I actually consider lunch with colleagues as networking expenses. Some groups have most of the people bringing lunch, some like to eat out, so husband and I just adjust accordingly. The connection that we make over food is so valuable that it's worth it to spend money on. Husband is not very good at interview, so he has always found job opportunities through colleagues and friends, and those relationships are built partially over lunch.

I started brown-bagging it about a year ago when we had a bit of a money crunch due to unexpected home repairs. I'm in the office three days a week and brown-bag at least two of those, often leftovers, but sometimes I'll make something specifically for lunch. My husband brown-bagged it for a while but has mostly gone back to cafeteria lunches.

I used to brown-bag it, but now I usually eat at the company cafeteria instead. It's cheap and fast (usually just $2-3 for lunch) and makes up for my usual light evening meal of just a salad. I love to cook but my kids prefer kid-food and I'm pretty sick of eating that. I save cooking & eating a big meal in the evening for special occasions or weekends when friends are over.

In past jobs I would try to bring a lunch to save money. My jobs did not have on-site cafeterias and 99% of the other workers would go out together in groups to eat every day. I generally felt deprived of the company, missed out on networking, and didn't find my homemade lunches very appetizing either.

When I became unemployed I saw how easy it was to grab leftovers for lunch without feeling like I was sacrificing anything. No more missing out, and I found other times to network. At that time I promised myself that when I was working, I wouldn't let money issues dictate where I ate lunch since it was something that I found very easy to cut back on when the money wasn't there.

Now I work at a company with a large on-site cafeteria. Most employees eat at the cafeteria and it's just as easy to bring a lunch and eat with everyone as it would be to buy one. So I get the company, I get the networking, and my cooking has gotten better over the years too.

Completely different philosophies based on the different situations. Of course, I wasn't in debt at any point so the money saved was simply extra that was applied elsewhere in my lifestyle.

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