Packing a lunch is a well known way to save money. Although, there are ways to even cut back on the packed lunch costs too. We've been doing this for years and it's made a big difference in our grocery budget. Here are some of the ways we cut out extra spending when it comes to our lunches.
-Don't buy individually packaged items. This includes things likes the yogurts (unless you have coupons), jellos, puddings, chips, snack packs, sliced cheese bags, sliced apple bags, carrot and ranch packages...you get the idea. That packaging is costing YOU money. I know it's really handy to have those things ready for you, but if you cut even some of them out, you'll save a lot at the grocery store. Buy the large bags, packages or unprepared version of them and prepare it yourself. You can get some small tupperwares for $1-2 at the store to use for your "snacks" in your lunch. I'll give you an example of the savings: A box of Jello mix-$0.50, 4+ servings (depends on how much you eat). Packaged jellos, the cheapest are $1 for 4 servings and then go up over $2 for 6. So, your homemade jello will cost you $0.12/serving, compared to $0.50 for the packaged ones. (Which is also adding plastic to the landfill!) Baggies work just as well for a few handful of chips too and is it really THAT hard to put some chips in a bag?
-Make snacks, like your own trail mix, you'll get a lot more putting it together yourself from bulk stores.
-Take leftovers, it's already made, it's already paid for.
-Skip the frozen dinners. A lot of them are really small and cost quite a bit. You could make a much nicer meal out of left overs and packaged snacks, fruit and veggies from home and it'll probably taste better too.
-Get reusable bags, containers and utensils to keep as your "lunch ware".
-Pre-package a week's worth of snacks ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for easier lunch packing during the week. Take a half hour on Sunday afternoon to cube some cheese, cut carrots and store them in a bowl of water, fill containers with condiments or snacks (yogurts, jello, puddings). Take fruit that is easy to eat on the go like apples. Otherwise, pre-cut that too, like a pineapple, watermelon or cantaloupe can all be cut and stored in small containers and ready to go.