Today, many households are on tight budgets for various reasons. Some people may have fallen victim to the housing market downturn, others may have taken a pay cut to save their job, while some may be working at a less than ideal job just to make ends meet. One of the easiest ways to save money is to brown bag your lunch to work. According to Wikipedia, the definition of a brown bag lunch is a lunch prepared at home that is rented in a lunchbox, paper bag, etc. to be eat somewhere else, such as a workplace.
Bringing your lunch to work, not only saves money by not eating out, but also saves gas since you will not have to leave the office. Let’s say the average lunch costs a modest $ 5 a day; multiple that by 5 days a week then 4 weeks a month and your average savings will be at least $ 100 a month. The savings could potentially be even higher depending on how much the average lunch costs in your city, plus varying gas prices will increase the savings even more per month as well.
Once you have made the commitment to brown bag your lunch, you will need a few key items to get started. First, and most importantly, you will need a sturdy lunch bag or box that can be reused, or at least recycled after some uses. Second, you will need a selection of microwaveable plastic containers, along with sturdy silverware that can be reused as well. Depending on your workplace, you may need to invest in gel ice packs to keep food cold until lunchtime. According to the USDA, harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in temperatures from 40 ° to 140 ° F. Properly handling perishables, such as meat, vegetables, pasta, and salad to name a few, will prevent food borne illnesses.
You might also be asking yourself what are you going to pack for 5 days that is easy to prepare at home and easy to eat at the office. Packing leftovers is a great place to start. Not only is the preparation already done, but also no food is going to waste. As a side note, please be considerate of your coworkers and think about preparing food that will not permeate the office with an offensive odor. Then you have the typical sandwiches and salads to choose from that are easy to prepare and eat. You could also freeze a yogurt cup; it can double as a cold compress and by lunchtime, the yogurt will be defrosted but still cold. Non-perishable items, such as fruits, hard cheeses, and crackers, are also great options. No matter what you choose to pack and eat, be sure you have the proper condiments. You may need to bring your own salad dressing, spices, or dips.
The goal of brown bagging your lunch is to save money. As an added benefit, an assortment of other wastes are cut down as well (gas, paper products, food). So, by using reusable products and eating leftovers – you not only help your budget but the environment too!