Eating cheap during the work week.
Personal Finance

Eating Cheap During The Work Week

Dining away from home during the work week can get expensive in a hurry. If your situation dictates that you have to eat the majority of your meals away from home Monday through Friday, it can really wreck your food budget. Here are some ways to get much of that money back and save money on your on the go meals.


Some say it is the most important meal of the day. Whether that is true or not, what I can say is that it can surely be one of the most expensive. Here are a couple ways to cut costs and start saving money ASAP.


Many people can just not skip that morning cup of coffee and that is okay. Coffee gets you going in the morning and there is even evidence that a few cups every day can even be healthy. Where it hurts you is in the wallet. At around five dollars for a standard cup of coffee, it can really add up. In a standard work week alone, that is 100 dollars that you spend, on a beverage.

Instead of wasting money on coffee, make a couple investments. You are used to good coffee, so let’s not go the instant route. A quality coffee maker can be had for twenty dollars, a bean grinder is another twenty dollars, you can get an insulated travel cup for ten dollars and enough premium coffee beans to last you a month is less than ten dollars.

So, for an initial investment of sixty dollars, you can start brewing your own premium coffee at home. In the first month, you will save forty dollars and each month thereafter, you will save ninety dollars. That is nearly 1000 dollars a year making it a significant savings.

In addition to the money savings, think about the time savings. If you regularly get your coffee at a place like Starbucks, waiting is a part of the game.Save an easy 15 minutes a day by skipping the line. That is over an hour a week that you can put towards more productive activities.


If you regularly pick up some fast food on the way to work, it is probably not only expensive but bad for you. Greasy hash browns and processed meats like bacon and sausage. Not good for you.

Instead, pick up a package of healthy muffins, bagels or even croissants at the grocery store. Place a serving in a paper bag every night so that you can just grab it on the way out. You spend a fraction of the cost of fast food and you will be healthier too.


There are a lot of different ways to save at lunch. Some are obvious but other might surprise you. Let’s take a look.

Brown Bag Special

You knew we were going to go there. Taking your own lunch with you is the ultimate way to save money. With a simple fast food meal costing as much as ten dollars, it is logical to just take your lunch which could cost you as little as one dollar.

The cheapest way to go is with the basic sandwich. Sounds boring I am sure but you can elevate it to something special pretty easily. Take a page from that deli around the corner. How do they get away with selling a sandwich for so much money?

Here is how. It all starts with the bread. Ditch the Wonderbread in favor of some nice sourdough or rye bread. It will only cost you about an extra dollar a loaf. Then in addition to your meat, add a nice cheese like swiss or pepperjack. Finally, top it with fresh veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, olives, etc. This is how you make a boring sandwich something special and it does not cost that much.

Then just add some fruit or even a basic bag of chips and you have a nice, healthy meal that can help you save an easy 200 dollars or more a month.

Dining Out

If you have to dine out, it is still possible to save some money. Besides looking for the most affordable restaurants, you can also save significantly by cutting the soda. Depending on where you dine, a soda can be two to three dollars. Water is free and will save you sixty dollars a month.

Another way to save is with email clubs. Just about every restaurant has some kind of club that you can join online. Take a few minutes and visit the websites of a few of your favorite dining spots. Scroll to the bottom and you will probably see some sort of join link,

Once you join, you should start receiving coupons in your email. It might be a few dollars here or a few dollars there but if you join enough clubs, you could always have a discount. Save just two dollars a day and you can save forty dollars a month or almost 500 dollars a year.


A few hours before or even after lunch, you could start getting a craving for a snack. This is when most people hit the vending machine for a soda and a candy bar. That could easily be three dollars a day or sixty dollars a month. It is also a snack made entirely of sugar, not good.

Pack Some Snacks

Instead of hitting the vending machine, you could just pack in some snacks to work. You have a lot of healthy and cheap snack choices that you can go with depending on your particular tastes.

Choose from nuts, raisins, peanut butter crackers, hard boiled eggs, fruit or even some veggies and ranch dip. There are literally dozens of choices so be creative and be sure to mix it up so that you do not get bored.

Wrapping Up

It might seem trivial, but every dollar saved can really add up. You might not notice it right away but sooner or later, you will just discover that by being frugal with meals, you just have more money in your pocket.

Saving money is not always just about the major savings, sometimes it is the little things that add up the most.

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