How To Save Money Packing Lunch (#4 Will Surprise You)

I have always been the type of person to bring lunch to work. Most people I have worked with have no idea how much money you can save by packing a lunch. Packing a lunch not only brings money-saving benefits, but it makes the workday so much easier given limited time and resources. Everyone should try packing a lunch to work because you have complete control over the ingredients and cost.

If you want to save money by packing a lunch, you will find that it is a lifestyle change that is easy to adapt to. I would recommend that you make sure to buy a good lunch box to store food in, Prepare your lunch meals in advance, Get support from a coworker or partner and be thankful that since lunch is being brought with you, there are no additional transportation costs or opportunities for impulse purchases. Bringing lunch to work is a variable savings amount that could potentially be worth more than you think!

Buy A Good Lunch Box

Having a good lunch box by your side is an essential first step to developing a habit of taking lunch to work. A good lunch box will keep your food cool or warm with its insulation. You want to choose a lunch box that is appropriate for you. It is ideal to choose one of high quality of course, but the size is another factor that needs to be considered.

Obviously, the size of your Tupperware needs to be able to fit in your lunch box for it to be worthwhile. Some of us require more food than others, you wouldn’t believe the size of my lunchbox.

You don’t want to skip this first step trust me, bringing your lunch in a plastic bag is just asking for spills and/or smashed food. That leads me to another important concept; your lunch box needs to be easy to carry, which is why I really appreciate that the one I use has a shoulder strap for hands-free transportation.

Unfortunately, having a good lunch box alone won’t save you money. You need to have meals to put in them and bring to work, which leads me to my next point.

Prepare Your Meals In Advance

Meal prep as it is informally called is the strategic act of cooking food and eating it later. Having meals ready to go makes it so much easier to stay motivated and save money by bringing lunch to work. Meal prepping may sound like a lot of work, but it is actually very useful for us lazy people.

We only have to cook for maybe 2 hours and we get an entire week’s worth of food to eat. I have specific meal prep containers that I use, but regular good quality Tupperware works just as fine. Now you need to remember that some foods can last that long and still taste good and some others can’t. So it might take some recipe researching to find the right meals for you.

Another important thing to remember about making your own food is that you have complete control over all the ingredients that go into it. They can be as healthy or as unhealthy as you want it to be. Food prepared at home is going to be cheaper than food bought at a restaurant, hands down.

The math associated with how much will be saved is variable based on your previous eating out habits and your new meal prep habit. If you are the only one in your household doing this or at your work doing this, then it can be harder to stay on track, but if you can get someone else involved then it doubles your chance of success.

Get Support From A Coworker Or Partner

Everything is easier when someone else is doing it too. A Partner here means anyone that is willing to put in the effort with you, this could be a spouse, a friend, a family member, or a random stranger. Having similar goals and participating in activities together strengthens relationships between coworkers and/or partners.

First, try to get others in your household on board about making more meals at home. Next show your coworkers by example how great packing and lunch really is. Inform them about how much money you are saving by doing it and how much better you feel from eating healthy home-cooked meals. What has started out as a way to save money can be turned into a life-changing healthy attitude.

If you can’t seem to get started then try to get your closest coworker to begin bringing in lunch with you. Make it a competition to see who can be the most consistent at packing a lunch for work. The agreement creates a sense of responsibility to each other. This support helps keep everyone on track to save more money and live healthier lives. With time you will find that not only are you saving money directly on food costs by not eating out as much, but you are saving a little more in indirect ways.

You Will Spend Less On Transportation Costs

Not having to drive to your place of lunch saves you money on transportation. Depending on how far you have to go to get lunch, it is important to remember how even little things can accumulate to equal big things. Even if you are only driving 5 miles round trip on average per day to your place of lunch, but you are doing it 5 days per week, it amounts to 25 miles per week.

That number already sounds high, but when you turn it into a month it becomes 100 miles per month. Finally, in one year, 1300 miles have accumulated, so as you can see that is a lot of transportation costs in the long run.

First off you have gas and even if you drive a fairly fuel-efficient vehicle, vehicles get their worst gas mileage during small driving trips. 5 miles round trip is a short driving trip so your miles per gallon are going to be noticeably worse than normal. In addition to gas costs, there is preventive maintenance that needs to be done based on how many miles you drive.

Over the course of a year driving to lunch, you are adding 1300 miles to the odometer. Not only that, but short frequent trips are harder on a car’s parts than longer trips are. In addition to that these trips depreciate your vehicle’s resale value because of the wear and tear and odometer reading. Not only does packing a lunch save you on transportation, but indirect savings may be realized as well.

There Is Less Opportunity For Impulse Buying

A very indirect positive of not having to go out for lunch is that you are not exposed to opportunities for impulse buying. Impulse buying is simply making a purchase when you did not plan to make that purchase. Impulse buying happens on a whim and is the product of modern consumerism. In order to become a master of our cash flow, we need to make a conscious effort to know when and how much of our money we are going to spend on any given day. If you can get this concept right most of the time, then we will be better off than most.

This is especially true if you have extra time after eating lunch and you are where there are other businesses. Just the fact that you took yourself out of that situation of being surrounded by consumerism could potentially prevent you from spending money you didn’t plan on spending. Some people are more susceptible to this phenomenon than others, but no one is absolutely resistant.

We have all done it, and while I like to believe that I am in complete control of choosing what, when, and why I buy something, I have still made purchases that I didn’t plan to make. These instances were because I was in an environment that promotes impulse buying. Hopefully, all of these steps lead you to a new life of making home-cooked meals and enjoying the many benefits such as lower costs and improved health.


  • Buy a good lunch box to bring to keep your food fresh and safe.
  • Prepare your meals in advance so they are easy to take with you.
  • Commit by getting a coworker or partner involved.
  • Not only do you directly save on food costs, but you save on transportation costs as well.
  • Going out to eat less gives you less opportunity to make other impulse buys.

Zachary Smith

Zach is passionate about personal finance, especially when it comes to financial independence. He is a heavy index fund investor and budget connoisseur that also loves traveling, exercise, and the great outdoors. See his full bio here

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