While the Frugalwoods enjoy their daily lunch of rice and beans, this is what I survive on at work:
I eat breakfast during my commute, consisting of an oatmeal cupcake and a hardboiled egg. At lunchtime, I munch on peanut-butter cracker sandwiches, carrots, a granola bar, and some grapes. The grapes are sometimes substituted with a different fruit. I love these granola bars, purchased in big packs with Amazon credit earned from Swagbucks. It is my sweet treat and cheaper than a candy bar (currently 33 cents each). The oatmeal with honey is a snack, if needed, in the morning or afternoon. I usually enjoy the cantaloupe near the end of the day. I drink water with lunch and usually grab a coffee afterwards (free from the office kitchen, of course) in a preemptive attempt to ward off the 2:00 slump. And yes, I save and reuse the plastic bags.
My lunch could probably be a bit healthier, but then again, it could be a lot worse (there is fresh fruit and a vegetable). My coworkers seem to all disappear for an hour at lunchtime. Sometimes I see them walking back to their desks with styrofoam containers. What are they eating for lunch? I haven’t really asked. Maybe it’s a healthy, expensive salad? Or perhaps it’s a greasy hamburger or slice of pizza. Either way, I know that they their lunches cost a lot more than mine – both in money and by wasting the time it takes to go out.
In adopting our frugal lifestyle, it seems that creating routine can be a really helpful tool in saving money. Should everyone eat this lunch, or the Frugalwoods lunch? No. The key is finding what satisfies YOU. Once this is accomplished, you can figure out the cheapest, most efficient way to make your lunch. For me, it’s easy enough to spread some peanut butter on crackers in the morning. Do you like soup? You could cook up a big batch of it on Sunday, separate it into five Tupperware containers, and you would be good to go for the week. Mr. Smith likes sandwiches. We found the cheapest lunchmeat is at a local Farmer’s market and I bake him fresh loaves of bread. His lunch costs more than mine, but is still much cheaper than heading out to a sub shop everyday.
This lesson translates to much more than just bringing lunch to work – being frugal takes planning and preparation. Otherwise, it’s noon and you’re hungry, so what else is there to do but reach for your wallet?