brown bag it or buy it?

United States
August 2, 2009 8:34pm CST
I am just wondering, with the economy the way it is, has any one else out there started to pack their own lunches to take to work as opposed to going out for lunch, buying something on the way in, or hitting the cafeteria (if your place has one)? I am trying to make myself do this more often. It is just so hard for me, especially as i actually ork IN a grocery store so there is so much readily availiable for uick easy lunches. I have even actually been trying to plan the dinners i make at home at night to include enough for leftovers for me to take to work the next day, then i just have to buy my soda or other drink. Problem is, since this hasn't been a regular habit for me, i constantly forget to grab my lunch from the fridge on my way out the door! Then i wind up having to buy my lunch anyways. So how about you? Do you make and take your lunch? or get it while you are out? Any tips to help me remember to grab my pre-packed lunch in the mornings?
4 people like this
14 responses
@gstitzer (104)
• United States
3 Aug 09
I totally brown bag it. If there are leftovers from dinner I usually take those. If not I have a variety of tv dinners and frozen items that I can microwave at work that is included in our weekly shopping trips. It still ends up being cheaper than buying items out of the vending machines at work to heat up a sandwich can cost anywhere from 2.00 to 4.00. I also get cases of water so I don't have to buy drinks out of the machines. I just drink a little out of them at night and put them in the freezer so they stay cold in my locker but melt enough that I can drink them.
• United States
3 Aug 09
The water is an awesome idea. Unfortunately i like to have my little caffine jolt from soda at work on my lunches, and we have a cheap soda vending machine in our employee break room, so i generally just get my drinks while i am there.
1 person likes this
@erikmama (12934)
• United States
3 Aug 09
I agree! Think of what you could buy in a month with the Mcdonalds money!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
3 Aug 09
I do both of those things. I usually cook my own food and pack it for lunch then I just reheat it in the microwave oven at the office. If am going to be late, I don't cook anymore and I will just buy something from a take-out restaurant or fastfood but I seldom do that. Cooking my own food is much cheaper and healthier wise. I think you need to put a small post-it note at the door so that you can see it to remind you that you need to grab your lunch before you leave in the morning. I always check my bag before I go out to make sure that I have my lunch and everything that I need during the day. Try it.
2 people like this
• United States
3 Aug 09
I will have to give it a shot. A simple reminder note on my purse or the door woul probably do the trick...As long as i can remember to leave myself a note that is LoL
@busky5 (3166)
• Thailand
3 Aug 09
I like to buy everythink to keep in my house, but they were the food packs which i could do warm in the microwave.I don't like to cook food myself.
2 people like this
• United States
3 Aug 09
it is still cheaper to go that route i am sure, especially because you can buy things in bulk and save money that way, then store them in your freezer and take to work to eat.
1 person likes this
@amybrezik (2123)
• United States
3 Aug 09
I brown bag it as much as possible, got to cut costs where necessary. However, sometimes it seems cheaper to buy off the dollar menu at Taco Bueno, where I can get lunch for two for less the 7 dollars.
2 people like this
• United States
3 Aug 09
If i had places near me with a dollar menu, i would probably take advantage of them once or twice per week, but unfortunately i only get a half an hour for lunch, and most of the resturaunts are farther in town and would take up my entire lunch break just to get there and back, leaving me no time to eat.
1 person likes this
• Lithuania
3 Aug 09
i am always packing a lunch for my husband to take to work. because: 1. it is much healther. 2. it is much cheaper.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (87577)
• Marion, Kansas
3 Aug 09
Put your keys in your lunch bag, then you will have to remember it. I pack my lunch almost every day. I have one day a week that I have to take a group out to eat, but that is reimbursed up to $7. I do buy a bunch of microwaveable meals when they are on sale in case I do not make a meal. Our offices have a reverse osmosis water filter and I fill my water bottle when I go in there. One of my quickest most satisfying meals is a topped potato. I microwave a potato. At work I put chili, or left over sloppy joe stuff, or shredded meat and cheese on top. Heat it for a minute. Very easy and healthy. I buy frozen veggies and we may cook an entire bag for supper, then I put leftovers in my lunch. With it being summer I am big on salads, fresh fruit and veggies. I use a tortilla, line it with lettuce leaves, slice of cheese and thin sliced meat. Roll it up, cut it into about four pieces. Finger food. Mondays I often eat in a vehicle.
• United States
3 Aug 09
Love the potato idea....a very filling lunch and such a variety of thing you can use to top it with (especially leftover things!) the keys in the lunchbag is another great tip...but unfortunately i walk to and from work, so i don't know how helpful it would be for me. I think i will just try pinning a note to my purse at night when i make my lunch so that when i go to grab it in the morning, i will see the note and remember to grab my lunch before i head out the door.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (87577)
• Marion, Kansas
3 Aug 09
Yes, do something to remind you related to something you always take. Lucky you, to be able to walk to work.
@erikmama (12934)
• United States
3 Aug 09
I do a little of both. There are times when nothing but fast food will do. Plus who can beat the McDonalds value menu? But a good ole pb&j is very cheap. It just depends!
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Aug 09
yes, with so much cheap, easy food availiable now days, it is hard to resist the tempation to go that route. Unfortunately the only resturaunts nearby where i work are subway and pizza hut. Pizza hut can be expensive, and take to long on my mere half an hour lunch break, and you can only eat so much subway. Granted, as i siad i do work in a grocery store, so i have a wide variety of microwavable meals and prepared foods availiable to me..but i find i spend way too much money buying my lunch every day. Id give it an approximate cost of 30 bucks a week. now, if i am buying food for home, thirty bucks a week can just about feed me AND leave me with left overs or sandiwches to take to work...
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (87577)
• Marion, Kansas
3 Aug 09
The things you bring from home are generally healthier as well. I can eat at McDonalds for under $5 and get a pretty healthy meal, though. for a five day work week that would still be close to $25. I like to keep more of my money in my pocket.
1 person likes this
@laurahen (597)
• Canada
3 Aug 09
I would brown bag your own lunch. There are so many good reasons to get bring your own lunch. You are able to know what is in your own food. You can decide if it's going to be processed or not. It's much cheaper because you are not paying for the packaging. It's also much more environmental because you can bring reusable containers and your own forks that you can take home and wash. It's very simple to make a quick sandwich or just to throw some leftovers into a container and have them for lunch.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Aug 09
yes, i am finding that. My meals at work are certainly more healthy now
• United States
3 Aug 09
I also work in a grocery store and our store had a cafe and I used to get food from there almost every day or I would go over to the frozen food sections and buy me a dinner to put in the microwave to eat for lunch. It is really expensive so I have started to pack my lunch and found out that it is alot cheaper than buying my food there. Alot of my co-workers are doing the same thing even managers of the store are bringing there lunch from home and you know that they can afford it. It has saved me some money. Now all I have to do is to remember to pack my lunch and I will be OK.
• United States
4 Aug 09
Nice to hear from someone else who is in the semae prediacament i am in. It is still so tempting to just buy something there. Especially as the deli in my store is always doing up fried chicken and chicken tenders and potato wedges, and on certain days of the week they do bbq ribs...and it always makes the store smell sooo yummy.....but i resist!
@Hatley (152089)
• Garden Grove, California
3 Aug 09
hi fruitcake fourth time maybe I can get this down before it goes off into the ionosphere.I did brownbag as all my fellow workers in the library did and we had fun , we shared, we traded and we yakked our heads off while we ate. a library crew is like a little family we never went out as we werent paid that much. take care.
• United States
3 Aug 09
sorry you had so much trouble responding! That is so neat...reminds me of being bak in school "i'll trade you my fruit roll-up for your pudding cup" LoL
@dorannmwin (36608)
• United States
3 Aug 09
I stay at home, so I don't have to deal with this issue myself. As far as my husband, he now comes home and eats lunch every day instead of going out to eat. I added some quick lunches to my weekly shopping list and he chooses from what I have in the fridge or freezer for lunch. It's been a great money saver for us. We used to spend 30 dollars a week for his going out to eat every single day, but now it is about 12-15 dollars a week for lunch.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Aug 09
Cutting what you were spending in half...that is very good accomplishment. That extra money probably comes in handy for soemthing else!
@roxpink (11)
• United States
3 Aug 09
Yes! There are many reasons to pack a lunch for the work week now a days. Not only is the economy and money tight, but it is much healthier, and saves you money for wants and needs. I pack a lunch 6 days a week for my husband and his coworker/friend so not only are they eating healthy they are both saving money and time that it takes to go out and buy food, rather than working and getting their job done. He is a tip so you don't forget your lunch: You could pack it at night and leave a note on the front door saying something about don't forget your lunch, or wake up a little early and pack it on your way out the door. Hope this helps!
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Aug 09
Thanks so much for your tips, and you are right, when i pack my own lunch, i do feel i am eating a much healthier option than anything i would pick out and purchase ready made to eat. It is so wonderful of you to pack their lunches for them! Wish i had someone to do mine for me....maybe i can work on getting my boyfriend to do that for me when he is up....LoL
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
3 Aug 09
Unfortunately for me I buy my lunch. Like you I have the best of intentions...but end up eating in a restaurant....but the only real justification I have is that its my main meal for the day...I live alone and don't have much ambition to cook anymore....I think if you packed it the night before and had it sitting in the refridge with a note attached to the refridge door reminding you to take it? Maybe that would help? Maybe put a note on the bathroom mirror to remind you while you brush your teeth, that it's just waiting there for you...or find a special treat just for your lunches and maybe that would also help you look forward to brown bagging it.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Aug 09
Well, if it is your main meal of the day, you might as well make it a good one. I know how it feels to live alone and have no real ambition to come home and cook a meal just for one person. Maybe if you are lucky, the portions at the resturaunt are big enough that you can package some of it up and have it for a quick, easy dinner later that night. I do try to keep some yummy little treats to throw in my lunches, as i like to have something sweet to finish off my meal.
@ladym33 (11009)
• United States
3 Aug 09
I work from home so I am here to make my own lunch every day, however my husband takes his lunch to work every day. Fortunately for him I am the one that packs it for him. We usually have leftovers after dinner (on purpose), when I clean up after dinner I just package up the left overs for him for the next day. I usually have to get out of bed in the morning and put his lunch on the counter. If I don't he will forget it. Maybe you could write yourself a note the night before or just use the same one over and over again and leave it someplace that you know you will see it in the morning. Like on top of your purse or on the bathroom mirror or next to your toothbrush or kitchen counter.
• United States
3 Aug 09
It is so lucky for your husband that you do that! And yes, i was thinking the same thing with the note on the purse thing. I'llhave to give it a try. Thanks!