Don’t make a meal of your working lunch

Ah, the power of convenience. Wraps, sushi, falafel - Isn’t it just wonderful to have so many tasty lunchtime treats within strolling distance? But if you count up the price of those strolls, tasty can turn into costly. If you’re the kind of person who likes to head out for midday munch, here’s some food for thought.

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Crunching those numbers

A poll (opens in a new window), from the office search firm in a new window), found that the typical worker spends an average of £7.81 a day on lunch, drinks and other work-time snacks. If you scale that up, it works out at £39.05 for the whole working week and a whopping £1,796.30 over a 46-week year.

In comparison, people who pack their own lunch and snacks, as well as making their tea and coffee, will spend an average of just £1.50 a day. That works out at just £7.50 a week, or £345 for the year. So how much better off could you be by doing it this way? Well - drumroll please - an unbelievable £1451.30 a year!

Double-up at dinnertime

For some, the thought of a standard, sandwich-based packed lunch may leave a lot to be desired (not to mention having to be up early and organised enough to prepare it). So why not double up your dinner recipes and take leftovers to work the next day? Sure, it seems an obvious suggestion, but how often do you actually do it? Not often enough? If inspiration is the issue, check out (opens in a new window) for 15 great recipes for double-up meals. It’s also a great way to avoid going back for seconds at dinnertime. Just syphon off the extra into your lunchbox before you serve up and there’ll be less temptation to over-eat in the evening.

“Good preparation and a little motivation are all that you need”

Stock up on the good stuff

Even if you’re a bit of a kitchen nightmare, sandwiches, salads, and wraps are easy to rustle up at home. Start by filling your freezer with bread, pitas and tortillas – keeping them fresher for longer – so you’ll always have a steady supply whenever you need it. For fillings, cooked chicken or tuna mayonnaise are classically quick and easy, or get more adventurous with hummus and leftover roasted vegetables.

If you like the thought of pre-preparing lunches, chef James Ramsden has a book full of 101 nifty recipe ideas (opens in a new window) that do the trick. At £7.14 for the Kindle edition (just over 7p a recipe) it’s an investment that’ll soon pay for itself.

Have a secret snack stash

If your office has a shared fridge or you’ve a drawer at your desk, take in things you can snack on throughout the day. Again, it might seem obvious, but vending machines exist because many of us cave in to the lure of chocolate and fizzy drinks – especially in that afternoon slump.

Fruit, nuts and seeds are healthy options that can keep you topped up, or – if you just can’t resist the odd packet of crisps or choccy treat – bring in your own multipacks instead. You’ll soon notice the difference.

Think a monthly lunch budget might help you cut back? See how B’s budgeting tools (opens in a new window) could keep you on track.

This blog is a bit of fun and not intended to influence your decisions in any way. The content of the blog is reliable at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that it is neither error nor omission free, beyond our knowledge. The links are there for you to explore if you wish, but we don’t have any connection with the third party sites, nor responsibility for them or their content.