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Tuesday Tip: Pack a Lunch

When you’re looking for areas of your budget to cut back spending, one of the toughest to change is groceries. Food is a necessity. There are several ways to stretch your grocery dollars like coupons, rewards programs, and buying in bulk. But here’s another simple way to reduce the amount of money you spend on food. Pack a lunch. Besides saving money, it also helps you avoid credit card debt.

ACCC knows you'll save money when you pack a lunch.

ACCC knows you’ll save money when you pack a lunch.

You may not consider buying lunch, part of your grocery category, but think of it this way… Whatever you spend to buy lunch while you’re at work, you can probably cut in half by purchasing the groceries to pack a lunch from home. Let’s look at an example:

The average cost of lunch is $10.00. The average American buys lunch twice a week. That’s $20 a week which totals $1,040.00 a year.

What does it cost to make a typical lunch at home?

  • 1/2 pound of deli meat = $5.00
  • 1/2 pound of deli cheese = $3.00
  • 1 loaf of bread = $3.00
  • 12-pack of soda = $5.00
  • Large bag of chips = $3.50
  • Mayo/mustard = $3.00

This should be enough supplies for a week of brown bag lunches. If not, bring leftovers from dinner and continue to save money. With these estimates, the total cost comes to $22.50. You can make 5 lunches at home for about the same cost as 2 takeout lunches. A savings of $11.00 a week, or $572.00 a year. It’s definitely easier to stay on a budget when you pack your own lunch.

Making lunch at home allows you to control the cost as well as the health of your meals. Swap out the sandwich for a salad, and the chips for a piece of fruit. You can shop sales and use coupons for lunch items at the grocery store, or opt for inexpensive options.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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