Deciding to leave the Army and become a stay at home mom meant that I would be able to provide our children with a more stable home life. But it also meant that we would be losing 60% of our income. OUCH. My husband and I knew we needed to drastically cut our monthly living expenses before I could afford to leave my job.
One of the easiest ways my family found to save money each month is to pack a lunch! Seriously it’s that easy. Lunch is one of those things that seems like a small expense but it adds up quickly. When both my husband and I were working I realized how much money we were wasting by not packing our own lunch.
The average lunch will cost you around $15, but that price could be much more depending on where you are eating (fast food vs. sit down restaurant). So let’s say you go out every day for lunch spending on average of $15 each time. $15 a day for 5 days a week is $75.
If you are going out for lunch every workday of the month you’ve easily spent $300!!! That’s $3,600 a year!! if you AND your spouse are going out for lunch every day that’s over $7,200 a year!!!
I don’t know about you but I would much rather use that $2,400 a year to pay down our debt or save towards a down payment on a house.
If you’re reading this and thinking. Sure going out to eat every day can quickly add up. But I only go out to eat twice a week, could packing my own lunch really save me money? Of course it can!!
Even if you only eat out twice a week that’s around $120 a month, $1440 a year. If both you and your spouse are eating out twice a week that’s $2,280 a year.
Packing a lunch doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Two of the quickest and easiest ways to pack a lunch are;
Weekly Meal Prep –
Pick one day a week to cook and prep all your lunches for the week. Choose two or three different proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Cook enough of each to make three meals. Then use those ingredients to make a combination of different meals.
An example would be if you choose chicken and turkey for proteins. Brown rice and sweet potatoes for carbohydrates. And broccoli and green beans for your vegetables. You can mix and match those ingredients to make grilled chicken with brown rice and broccoli, Turkey with sweet potatoes and green beans, chicken with sweet potatoes and broccoli, ect. The great thing about meal prep is its versatility, you can keep it super simple or extravagant. It’s completely up to you.
If you are going to meal prep I highly recommend you use stackable containers like these 3 Compartment Meal Prep Food Storage Containers . They save you a TON of space in your refrigerator. They’re also microwave and dishwashers safe which means you use them over and over again. I use something very similar when packing lunch for husband and myself.
Pack Leftovers For Lunch –
I’m a big fan of using leftovers for your next day’s lunch. For our family its the easiest and cheapest method. I simply double my dinner recipe so I am cooking enough left overs for the next day. When I clean up after dinner I will pack the leftovers into a separate container (like these 3 Compartment Meal Prep Food Storage Containers ) and that’s it you’re done. No extra prep work or planning required. Which is a really important factor for me.
Stay at home moms need lunches too!
When I started staying home I figured I wouldn’t need to “pack” a lunch for myself anymore. But I found on days that I didn’t have lunch in the fridge ready to go I was either skipping lunch or eating junk food. Neither of which are healthy options. But when you’re running around taking care of little ones all day the last thing you want to do is make a mess in the kitchen just to make yourself lunch. Packing yourself a lunch the night before when you are making one for your partner is an easy way to save time and energy the next day while ensuring you have something healthy to eat.
Whether you are doing a weekly meal prep, packing leftovers, or using a different method that works for you. Packing a lunch every day has the potential to save you at least $200 a month. And not only will it save you money but when you pack your own lunch you have total control over what you are eating, which helps you eat healthier! It’s a win-win situation.
Do you pack a lunch every day? I would love to hear what works best for you! Let me know in the comments below
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