We all want to save money. You hear it in the news; it’s on the front page of the newspaper and your coworkers are talking about it at lunch time. Today’s economy is tough and stock markets seem to stay below water. We all need to watch the dollar, roll the change, and keep those diesel trucks off the road. I came to this conclusion after I noticed prices of consumer goods start to go up. So, after crunching some numbers I assessed my lunch budget and decided to cut it in half to save some money.

     First, think brown bag. Yep I said it. It's not as near as good as the fast food chains that are close by and you'll drop 20 bucks on a tab if you dine it at a restaurant so brown bag it. A typical meal at a fast food chain cost around $6 dollars. You can go to your local grocery store and buy bologna, ham, turkey, spam, wieners, and pb&j just to name a few.  You can eat on all this for 3-5 days, (depending on the size of your sandwich and hotdog). A loaf of bread and pack of hotdog buns will cost around $2-$2.50. You can also buy slices of cheese for around $2.50. From this you can make hotdogs,  bologna sandwiches, ham & cheese sandwiches, ham, turkey & cheese sandwiches, spam sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, pb&j sandwiches, you can also mix and match your meats so you have several options. Next, just buy a large box of variety of chips; you can normally get these 36-48 count in a box. The box normally costs around $6-8 dollars but it's definitely worth it. Pick up a 24 pack of soda, that equals to less that .30 cents a can versus .55 to .65 cents a can in the vending machine.  I like to by a gallon jug of my favorite tea.  I can drink on it for a full week.  Drinks at a restaurant start at 1.99 and go up so you do the math. Altogether, you’re looking at less than $30 bucks for the week and that's just one way to save some money.

     Second, read the newspaper.  You’ll find coupons to local food establishments and consumer goods.  For example; a large pizza costs around $10 dollars.  You can order a large pizza, eat two slices at dinner time and stick the rest back for lunchtime at work.  Just stick 2 slices in a zip lock bag and store it in the freezer. There’s normally 8 slices to a pizza so there’s lunch for 3 days!  You can also do this with hamburger’s and cheeseburgers, (I like to order off the McDonald’s dollar menu), burrito’s (they come already packaged), Stouffers cuisine, chili (soups), left over Chinese food and others just to name a few.

     Third, grill out.  You heard me right.  Everybody pitch in.  Post in the break room, “community lunch on Friday’s”.  Have everyone sign up to bring something on      Fridays and let it be a community lunch one day a week.  One week you can do chili, next do hamburgers and chips, the next week do hotdogs and chips, etc.  Just have everyone pick a dish to bring but be sure to include the necessities, (cups, cutlery, plates, napkins, etc.) if your place of work doesn’t supply them.  It will offer a variety at lunchtime, provide lunch for everyone and be one day a week that you only have to bring one item to work.

     Fourth and lastly, order in.  Have everyone pitch in and order out.  Say everybody pitches in $5 and there are 20 people at the office. That’s $100 to call and order lunch.  Most food establishments offer carry out so take recommendations and start from there.  Lunch for $5, now that’s hard to beat!


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