I am cheap and my cheapness doesn't just include dinner and drinks, lunch has also been grouped under this frugal umbrella. I’m not one to make a big lunch at home or put forth a lot of effort in making a lunch for work because I’m usually too busy working to enjoy it when it comes time to shove food down my throat.
Which is why I bring the same lunch to work every day. It’s sad.
My daily lunch consists of the following (eaten in this order):
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Cheddar cheese stick
- Baby carrots
That is it. Food is pretty readily available in my office so I will grab something small to snack on if I get hungry between courses, but I keep my lunch simple, primarily because it takes five minutes to make and pack in the morning.
I don’t get tired of this "plain Jane" lunch, but I always look forward to “treat day Friday,” when I venture away from my desk and leave five minutes earlier from home because I get to buy my lunch. I consider Friday my, “you survived the week now go get yourself something nice” day, where I join the other people in my office building in waiting for warm, slightly overpriced food for lunch. I am excited about Friday now already.
But even though it’s “treat day” on Fridays, my cheapness comes out in the fact that I refuse to pay more than $6 for my lunch. In my scattered mind, I feel that anything above $5-6 is too much for lunch because then that amount moves the meal closer to being more of a dinner-like occasion. For dinner, I prefer to pay $10-12 for entrees. Now I won’t give up something if it’s over that amount, but in general, that’s a range I feel comfortable with paying. As a single income household in the city, where everything is getting more expensive, I like to splurge, but need to be mindful about when I do it and how.
So I have my “regular” meals that I get on Friday that fall within my lunch cost range and I rotate between them on a weekly basis. I was horrified to find out last week that my favorite Au Bon Pain lunch is now a dollar more than last year, pushing me out of my comfortable lunch cost range, but I might make an exception. It’s getting cold now and I need my soup!
Am I the only one who brings a lunch all the time? A lot of people in my office buy lunch so I always feel weird “brown-bagging” it. Or has anyone started to bring a lunch more than they did before our economy went south? I'm more than curious to see what you guy say :)
Reader note: Thanks everyone for their feedback on my weekend "key learnings" list. I'm so glad you're enjoying it. By popular demand, it will now be a weekly feature! Yay!