How Bringing Your Lunch to Work Could Save You $1,000 Every Year

Are you trying to save more money? Did you know packing your lunch could save you thousands of dollars each year? Let’s check out the math.

Moderately Priced Restaurants Cost About $3,000 Each Year

A lunch entrée at your local diner usually runs between $6-$12. Taking the average cost, $9, plus a 20% tip brings you to $10.80*. With approximately 260 working days in a year, 260 x $10.80 = $ 2,808. That’s close to $3,000, and this number doesn’t include drinks, appetizers or desserts.

Wow! I didn’t realize I was spending so much money!

Budget Plans Can Cost As Little As $500 Each Year

Plenty of websites offer lunch recipes costing under $2. Here are examples from Self Magazine and Better Homes & Gardens. This time, when you do the math, 260 x $2 = $520 per year.

That’s amazing, but I don’t have time to cook.

Grab & Go Lunch Options Run Around $900 Each Year

So, you want to save money and you aren’t interested in self-prepared meals. No problem. Between your local grocery store and online ordering, you can shop ahead and pack a lunch that’s cheap and easy. Check out this approximate price list of convenience items.**

Smuckers Uncrustables – $0.70 each
Crackers & Hummus Snackbox – $2.00 each
String Cheese – $0.30 each
Apples – $0.40 each
Mandarin Orange Fruit Cups – $0.50
100-Calorie Nut Packs – $0.50 each
Multigrain Chips Variety Packs – $0.50 each
Granola Bars – $0.25 each
Dark Chocolate Squares – $0.30 each
Fun Sized Candy Bars – $0.20 each
Bottled Water – $0.15 each

Even if you choose a few of the more expensive items such as the crackers & hummus snack box, mandarin orange fruit cup, 100-calorie nut pack, dark chocolate and water, your total cost is around $3.45. Or, 260 x $3.45 = $897 every year. And the best part, with the items on hand, you can pack your lunch in under five minutes.

OK. I’m ready to try it!

Finally, remember, you don’t have to pack your lunch every single day to see savings. If you use a $3 Grab and Go lunch three days per week and eat out the other two, your total costs will come in at $1,591.20 each year. You’ll still save more than $1,200 on restaurants costs each year. Think what you can do with that money!

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* Price estimates do not include state and local taxes.
** Prices may vary by store, brand and season.