Be a Smart-luncher to Save Cash and Stay Healthy

Save money on lunchBritish workers spend on average £2.84 every day on shop-bought sandwiches. It might not sound much but over a year that adds up to a whopping £667.

Surely that could be spent on something better than a bunch of sad sarnies? That’s not even the whole picture.

If you add a packet of crisps, drink, sweet treat, a couple of takeaway coffees and maybe a croissant or porridge pot for breakfast – that figure goes up to £10.59 per day, according to research by Visa Contactless.

That’s (deep breath) £2,451 every year: enough for a two-week holiday to Greece or to start investing.

And shop-bought lunches are often high in calories and full of unhealthy nasties. You can find out how healthy (or unhealthy) your shop bought lunch is here.

Let’s compare a shop-bought and homemade cheese and pickle sandwich (both using the same ingredients):

  • M&S: 504 calories, 21g fat. Cost: £2.50
  • Homemade: 279 calories, 12g fat. Cost: £1.05

Shocking isn’t it? A homemade sandwich contains just over HALF the calories of a shop bought one and is £1.45 cheaper (that’s a yearly saving of £340).

When you get on to coffee it gets worse. A home-brewed basic coffee with milk will cost you 42p while a basic latte from Costa will set you back a hefty £2.45.

A shop bought lunch and coffee is not only expensive but it’s also fattening. Why do we do it? The answer is time or lack thereof.

Most of us are time-poor. After you’ve tackled the mountain of things to do before you’ve even got to your desk, there’s just no time left to be faffing with making a tasty lunch.

But the fact is – being time-poor makes you SPEND. So here are our expert tips to help you have a chaos-free healthy homemade lunch.

How to Save money on Lunch and Your Waistline (in just 10 minutes a day): 

1. Plan for the Week

Take 10 minutes to plan what you are going to have for lunch each week. If you are happy with a food-as-fuel lunch, have the same one each day, then change it the week after. Here’s an example healthy lunch:

  • Homemade ham salad sandwich (wholemeal bread): £1.25
  • Carrot sticks: 20p
  • A piece of fruit: 20p.

Total cost: £1.65 per day

If you shop online (a great time saver), include wholemeal bread (or wrap/pitta), butter or light mayo, two packs of ham, lettuce, a pack of apples and carrots on your list. Job done.

If you are really into cooking and have more time, you could make a veg-filled pasta or couscous salad – BBC Good Food have some great homemade lunch recipes that don’t cost much, find them here.

2. Get Busy the Night Before

Save money on lunchWhen you get in from work and have done all the other little jobs, all you want to do is flop on the sofa in front of Netflix. We hear you.

But…..it only takes 10 minutes to make a sandwich, cut some carrots up and put them the fridge ready to grab in the morning.

Remember: that time could save you around £340 a year. Time really is money.

3. Invest in a Coffee Flask and Reusable Drinks Bottle

A good coffee flask will become your best friend.

Invest a bit more in one that won’t leak and will keep your coffee hot for hours like this one, a firm favourite with the Money Nuggets team.

Many of us buy a bottle of water each day, which is costly and bad for the environment. Invest in a good reusable drinks bottle and take your own water from the tap.

If you’re a tea drinker – bring your own teabags to work.

4. Download a Calorie App

If you’re trying to lose weight or just want to get a bit healthier, invest in a calorie counting app such as MyFitnessPal to keep track of what you’re eating.

Over the weeks, you will also have a record of what you have had for lunch each day, giving you ideas for the future.

We all try to save by switching bills and not buying designer shoes and bags. However, it’s the small daily savings which really add up to make a big difference.

Plus, there’s nothing better than homemade food – at least you know exactly what’s gone into your lunch.

Happy Lunching!

Over to You:

How healthy is your lunch? Do you take a homemade lunch? How do you save money on lunch at work? Share your tips and ideas with us here!



Money Nuggets

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One Comment

  1. 100% agree with you that buying lunch is a downward spiral.

    My solution is to make extra dinner the night before and that becomes lunch the next day. Okay, so it’s not very exciting to have two meals the same, but it’s frugal!

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