Reader Tip: How We Save $20 in 15 Minutes

The following tip was submitted by Melanie G. from Buffalo, NY:

My husband and I are both employed full-time out of the house. We don’t have any kids yet, but we are planning for that day and already
have savings mechanisms in place so we can make the transition easier from spending for two to spending for more!

One of the easiest and quickest ways we have found to save money is by bringing our own lunches to work. On days that we don’t, we easily spend $10 each on lunches that probably aren’t very nutritious and don’t really even provide leftovers for another meal.

Our solution to this problem is to take 15 minutes (or less) every night after dinner to pack our lunches for the following day. Even on nights that we are just so tired or can’t think of what we would like to eat the next day, we realize that it is totally worth the effort to take the time right then to save us $20 the next day. If we didn’t do this, we could easily spend $400 per month on lunches out during the week, money we would much rather put towards becoming debt free!

One easy meal solution for us is to make twice as much dinner as we need, then take leftovers for lunch the next day. Another oldie-but-goodie standby is to make sandwiches. I always make sure to have bread and deli meats available. -Melanie

What are your favorite quick and easy sack lunch ideas?

photo by Kusine

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Comments

  1. says

    I don’t buy a lot of the canned soups because they are so full of sodium, but I often freeze portion sizes of soup and stack them in the square Ziploc tupperware. They stack easily in the freezer, and if I don’t have time in the morning to pack something more complex, I just grab a container of soup from the freezer, add an apple, and go!

    I also try to keep nuts at my desk – sometimes they can help tide me over and are more filling (to me) than most of the granola bars I like.

  2. Rebecca says

    I keep a case of Ramen noodles in my breakroom and a bag of frozen mixed veggies in the freezer for “oops I forgot to pack lunch” days.

  3. Melissa R says

    I like to make a whole roasted chicken on Sundays and it will make enough for chicken salad for 2 during the week. I also use variations of different chicken salad so it doesn’t get boring. You can add pears, apples, or grapes for a Waldorf chicken salad or make a Thai chicken salad with sliced carrots and veggies. In the winter months I might make chicken soup or chilli. But always roasting a whole chicken/turkey goes a long way!!

  4. says

    When my son was eating baby food we stocked up on the small baby food jars and we use them for condiments when we pack lunches. then we pack the meat and bread separately and when we get to lunch everything good to go.

  5. kimme says

    We save tons of money by eating a home-cooked dinner every night and bringing lunch every day. When I make dinner, I make dinner for 4, not 2 and that is because I need the other 2 servings for our lunch the next day. Even after a long day at work, I still force myself to make dinner for 4. We both eat ours and immediately after we’re finished eating I pack the other 2 portions for our lunch for the next day. This method has worked in saving us A LOT of money not having to eat out for dinner or buy lunch every day.

  6. Amy says

    I always package any leftovers from dinner into lunch containers. This way it is all ready to go and there is no excuse about having time in the morning to make up a lunch plate. It works great for us!

  7. Tammy says

    I hate eating the same thing for lunch as last nights dinner so I bought a couple of containers with compartments @ Target. Each night I make extra for my husband’s lunches and then freeze them for the following week. By lunchtime everything is thawed and ready to go into the microwave! Before he leaves in the morning he decides what frozen dinner he’s in the mood for! For a little variety try filling each compartment on a different day, Monday’s chicken with Tuesday’s veggies and so on!

  8. Erin says

    When I make Brown Bag Burritos, I take a few in to work and keep them there in the freezer. On days when I don’t have time to make my lunch, I have one ready!