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Saving Strategy: Brown Bag Your Lunch!

I’d like to talk about a savings strategy that I use that saves me around $1300 / year (or more for some people). This simple strategy that a lot of people don’t use is brown bagging your lunch! If buying lunch everyday costs $8/day compared with a brown bagged lunch which costs me around $3/day, you are saving $5/day ($1300/year). You can save even more by packing up those left overs for lunch the next day. I personally enjoy left overs. Easy meals that are ready to go that just need a few minutes in the microwave.

I must admit, I like to eat a lot. So, what does a food glutton like me do? I cook in bulk, separate the food into tupperware, and store it in the freezer. Cooking in bulk can save you a lot of hard earned cash. Where do I get my recipes? I find that AllRecipes.com is a great resource. My favorites are the quick and healthy meals.

For you home chefs out there, where do you get your recipes?

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Canadian Dream January 5, 2007, 8:55 am

    I agree leftovers are great for lunch. I can usually make my lunch in 8 minutes in the morning.

    As for recipes, I like those Company’s Coming cookbooks. Most of the recipes consist of things I keep in my house so they are very useful for me.


  • Avatar tim brown January 5, 2007, 9:38 am

    I try to eat out once a week with my group at work. This increases the friendship and comradory with the group. Sure it costs $10 but the benefits are worth it. Otherwise i brown bag it.

    Or if i’m feeling cheap, i’ll buy hotdogs up the street. they are $1 each. So if I buy 2 i am full and it cost less than brown bagging it.

  • Avatar AroundTheWorld January 5, 2007, 12:59 pm

    Oh, I agree. So much of our money goes out the window with purchased meals on the go…

    My biggest challange – TIME to prepare the meals… I just can’t seem to get it done in advance. Before I know it, it is lunch time, I have no food, and I am nowhere near home.

    When I do manage to prepare something, I use the cookbook “whole foods for the whole family” They have a great lunch bag section.

  • Avatar FrugalTrader January 5, 2007, 2:08 pm

    In terms of time, I usually take one evening in the week (usually Sundays) and cook all my lunches in bulk so that they’re easy to grab in the mornings.

    Thanks for the recipe ideas guys!


  • Avatar matt608 January 5, 2007, 3:55 pm

    Hi, thanks for added my to your blogroll, I have now added you to mine.

    best of luck!

  • Avatar Canadian Money Blogs Reviewer January 6, 2007, 10:53 am

    I started lunches a few years ago .. I wouldn’t say that I invest that extra money, I spend it on sushi :-)

  • Avatar matt608 January 6, 2007, 12:31 pm

    Hi, as you know we have exchanged links. I thought should remind you about


    It will get you ranked in the ‘worlds’ rankings.

    I am telling you this, not because you would be my referral (there isnt a referral system on it), but because it records the number of other technorarti sites that link to me. And for your link to be recognised you have to be a member.

    Most bloggers are a member, I would advice you to check it out.


    Thanks, Matt608

  • Avatar FrugalTrader January 6, 2007, 12:35 pm

    Hey Matt,

    Yip, i’m already a part of Technorati, no worries! Any ideas on how to increase my ranking on Technorati? Is it only based on other blogs linking to you?


  • Avatar matt608 January 6, 2007, 12:42 pm

    Yes, to my knoweldge it is based on the number AND more importantly the ‘authority’ of those sites. ….its just strange because your site has not appeard as one of the sites that link to mine…maybe it just hasnt updated yet.

  • Avatar Canadian Money Blogs Reviewer January 6, 2007, 1:45 pm

    matt608: thanks for the Technorati tip!

  • Avatar matt608 January 6, 2007, 1:58 pm

    No problem…if you havnt allready add me to your blogroll…I have to stop posting here it isnt a forum!

  • Avatar Final Fantasy Game January 8, 2007, 3:30 pm

    What fun is that? I have to eat out each day, because sitting here in my cube for 8 solid hours would kill me.
    One thing my girl friend and I do however is to split an entree. Here in the states, the portions at most restaurants are way too big. We will split one, to save money and be more healthy.

  • Avatar FrugalTrader January 8, 2007, 5:34 pm

    How about brown bagging your lunch but eating it outside for lunch?


  • Avatar Anteater January 19, 2007, 10:32 am

    I bring my lunch but try not to eat it at my desk. Either in the staff lunch room or outside. I make lots of vegetarian recipes to bring to lunch. One of my favourite cookbooks is the Vegetarian Gourmet’s Easy Low-Fat Favorites by Bobbie Hinman. Even if I do end up eating lunch at my desk, I make a point of leaving the office to go for a brisk walk — makes me feel tons better.

  • Avatar Jon August 12, 2007, 7:09 pm

    My goodness! $8 a day (on average) for lunch! I don’t think I’ve ever been that lavish.

    I used to feel bad if I went over $5 (on average) for lunch. I understand at times, its nice to spend a bit more.

    But with the advent of 99 cent and $1 menus, I can have a decent lunch even if I decide to eat out for about $2.14. Wendy’s probably has the some of the best cheap eats. To drink? Water or better yet, if you like soda, you can get a 12-pack of the generic brands for about 23 cents a day (if you buy the 12-pack). So even though I eat out several times I week, I rarely if ever spend more than $2.50 each time.

    So, there are other ways to do it if you don’t want to bring leftovers to work.

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