When you’re busy at work, the easiest choice is to grab a bite to eat someplace nearby. The problem is that the cost of buying lunch takes a toll on your food budget. (The average lunch at the national chain Panera Bread, which specializes in sandwiches, soups and salads, is $8.50.) So try bringing a lunch from home. When you make dinner, think about what you’re going to eat for lunch tomorrow. If you’re making a salad, make a little extra and put it in a container, undressed. And what about your leftovers? If you have a little extra chicken or half a can of beans, toss that in with your lunch salad. Soups like this Curried Red Lentil Soup, which is less than $2 a serving, are also great for lunch. Make more than you’ll need for dinner, and reheat it for lunch the next day.
Save $1,375 per year. (Replace an $8.50 lunch with a $3 lunch from home 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.)