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Michelina's Ways to Save Money Pack Your Lunch

Updated on July 18, 2010

You're at work and lunch time is in about 5 minutes. You're getting eager to go on break so you can run a few errands and pick up some fast food along the way. Well if you aren't looking for ways to save money on lunch food, then you'll have no issues chowing down some burger and fries from McDonald's or other fast food joint. But for those looking to save more money, between eating in or eating out, you are sure to strongly consider eating in. In other words, bring your lunch to work with you from home. It would be a shame to buy groceries just for when you are at home. You might as well use some of that food for taking your lunch with you to work.

Remember the days momma used to pack you a lunch?! Apply the concept to save yourself money.
Remember the days momma used to pack you a lunch?! Apply the concept to save yourself money.

Save More Money Packing a Lunch

I recall in my younger days when momma would pack me and my siblings a variety of lunch meals. Among one of them would be a sandwich, caprisun, a little snack and chips putting it all in a brown paper bag. The paper bag started after we outgrew our lunch boxes. If my memory serves me correctly, I had a transformers lunch box in elementary, much like the one to the right, but I remember mine being blue in color and not red. As we got older it seemed we just stopped taking lunch and ate either the cafeteria food at school or waiting til we got home. Kind of like we as adults do when going to work. What I mean is, not taking a lunch anymore like we used to when we were younger.

Ninth through twelfth graders had the privilege of eating off school grounds if desired. And again, we could wait to eat until after we got home since school scheduling then was on block scheduling where school was out around 12pm/1pm (something like that). Just made sense to eat lunch when we got home. After all, I could wait. I wasn't the type of person who was hungry all the time and still am not. So in other words, all students had a pretty good selection of options when it came to lunch time. The school's cafeteria food in Yokota AFB, Japan was pretty good; nothing like what they feed kids here in the states. We definitely had it made now that I look back. My elementary and high school days overseas were the best times of my life. I didn't experience middle school; high school was 7-12 grade in Japan during the time I was there.

So what does this have to do with saving money? Use those good old fashion ways to keep more cash in your pockets: take your lunch or wait til you get home to eat. If you're going to take a lunch, then pack it the night before so that in the morning you can just get it and head to work. And for those who have different work shifts, if a nighter, then pack it during the day so it'll be ready when you head to work. If you work from home, well then you should be saving a heap of money then when it comes down to what you'll have for lunch since your refrigerator is in the same place as you are. Take advantage of that.

Ways to Save Money Taking a Meal Under $1 to Work

If there is a microwave at your job or a grocery store near by that has a microwave for use (like they do here in Austin at one of the H-E-B stores) then you can take something like a Michelina's meal. They are quite tasty and under one dollar. I work from home, but I'd usually buy a bag of mixed frozen veggies and add it to my Michelina's meal, makes it even more tasty and more filling. But the small portion does the job without adding anything to it. Some kinds of Michelina meals are chicken Alfredo, beef macaroni, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, fried rice, some shrimp meal, beef steak, peppers and rice and so on. They have a taco one I just don't recall the name of it. Take one to work, pop it in the microwave and it'll be done in about 3 minutes for you to enjoy. A good size meal for under one dollar.

Calculating Ways to Save Money with Michelina Meals vs Fast Food

I find Michelina's meals to be more satisfying than traditional "TV dinners" or microwaveable dinners. These small-portioned meals range from 85 cents to 95 cents at the grocery store I frequent. Compare that to a $3 meal at a fast food joint, you've saved yourself at least 2 bucks. And if you are going out to eat at least 5 days a week, then you are spending well over 15 dollars for that week.

If you invest in some Michelina's meals, you can get 5 meals for 5 days' worth of lunch and only have spent just under 5 bucks versus 15 dollars minimum per week eating out. If you multiply $3 per meal each day eating out by 25 days, by the end of the month you would have spent a minimum of $75. And chances are much more because most meals are over 3 bucks eating out. And of course if you eat out at any other restaurant with better food than fast food, the price will go up even more. I use fast food since price is on the lower end of the scale when eating out.

If I bought 25 Michelina's meals for 5 days each week in a month at the highest price they sell for (which is 95 cents at the store I go to often to buy groceries) then by the end of the month I would have spent only $23.75. Thus saving me well over $50 when compared to eating out for lunch. Which one looks more appealing: over $75 eating out or spending no more than $23.75 eating in (taking lunch from home)?

Conclusion to Save More Money

Buying Michelina's meals at a grocery store will most certainly help you save more money: at least ten dollars more for 5 days compared to eating out for over $15. Not only are they better in taste than most other microwaveable meals, but they are also way less in cost. The whole point is, you don't have to eat out to get good food. You can get food for less money and save more money, without sacrificing quality. I just used Michelina's meals as an example since it is one I use often. At first I started buying those meals because I had very little money and I had to stretch a dollar. So I had to make it work back then and Michelina's inexpensive meals did the trick for me. As long as those meals continue to be tasty and at a price I'm willing to pay, then I'll keep on buying them even though I am no longer in need to buy them as I was before. I'm still frugal regardless how much money I have.

Why buy one item from the dollar menu at a fast food restaurant, when you can get a decent size meal for less than a buck at the grocery store that takes just 3 minutes to warm up in the microwave?


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