How to stretch your lunch budget - HMS National, Inc.

How to stretch your lunch budget

December 5, 2014

When you have to pack lunches for each member of your family, it can quickly get expensive. You may even find that you're spending more money on lunches than on dinner! However, there are some easy ways to make your food budget go a little further. Use these tricks to give your family healthy, delicious lunches for a fraction of the cost.

Don't eat out
When you're pressed for time, you might choose to buy lunch instead of bringing it from home. This convenience comes at a steep price. Even if you just spend $5 on lunch once a week, that's an extra $20 each month. The little expenses add up quickly, so pack your lunches ahead of time if you know you'll be busy during the week.

Go meatless
Another way to cut back on your food expenses is to plan more meatless meals. Cooking Light magazine explained that meat accounts for the greatest portion of most grocery bills. Instead of packing turkey or ham sandwiches, bring a garden salad or hummus and crackers. When you base your lunches off pantry staples and produce, you can stretch your budget a little further.

Choose in-season produce
When produce is at its peak, you'll get it for cheap at the supermarket. Take note of which vegetables are in season and plan lunches around those ingredients to cut costs. In the summer you'll find tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and herbs at great prices. During the fall and winter, include squash, leafy greens and sweet potatoes in your lunches. In the spring, keep an eye out for good deals on berries, asparagus and peas. Using seasonal ingredients will also keep your lunch menu fresh and exciting.

Do the prep
Prepackaged and pre-prepared foods will drain your budget. The Simple Dollar recommended doing the prep work yourself to save a few dollars. Instead of buying individual snack packets, buy the product in bulk and separate into resealable bags. You can sort lunch sides like crackers, granola or chips into individual bags on the weekend so they're easy to grab each morning. Opt for raw meats instead of pre-cooked and buy whole vegetables to cut up yourself. Convenience foods are often significantly more expensive, but you can do the work yourself in a matter of minutes.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.