If you’re like me, lunchtime is a much enjoyed reprieve to “sandwich” in the busy work day. It also means that $5 to $9 are about to leave the wallet. This may not seem like much, but after grabbing a quick bite over the last month, I counted my receipts and realized I said goodbye to $88.07. I’ve set a goal to shave that in half, and here’s what I’ve found to be helpful.
Water Cups Can Save a Ton
Did you know drinks are the number one profit margins (percentage-wise) at restaurants? Every time a cup is sold, restaurants are making around 800% profit. What really costs 18 or so cents costs the consumer $1.79. Avoid being marked up by sticking to the free water cup. You’ll immediately see your $5 to $9 reduce to $4 to $7. If you absolutely need that jolt of caffeine, keep a can in your purse or car and ask for a cup of ice. Enjoy that on your way back to work.
Consider the Questions
If you’re the type to visit the drive-thru during lunch break, you’ll most likely be offered to “try” something new. Those “trys” are new items that are usually marked up more than your average lunch. At the end of your order, you’ll probably be asked if that combo was “medium” or “large”. Stick with the small, and don’t let those little up-sizes get to you. Did you know that some of those cups only differ by a few ounces and yet charging you way more than a few cents? The stores asks consumers at the drive thru these questions to maximize profits. Take a few minutes to think about what you really want (and what you really want to spend) and stick to it at the speaker.
Pack a Lunch (or More)
Taking 10 minutes (or less) on Sunday night and Wednesday night to pack a lunch will save you quite a few bucks as well. Grocery stores, especially warehouse bulk foods, are not as marked up as restaurants. Sure, you won’t be handed a delectable BLT at your request, but making a lunch yourself will bring down that $5 to $7 to $2 to $5 (if we’re going on averages). That combo at the sandwich shop costs $8.99, but if you make something similar the night before, you’re looking at $2 or so. Added Bonus: You can eat healthier by packing fruit instead of getting those fries.
Setting a few financial goals during your much needed lunch break can save way more than just a few bucks. After a month of trying these tips, my lunch receipts went from $88.07 to $62.44. I’m not quite there yet with my goal of reducing lunch expenses by half, but I’ve already earned myself a free tank of gas with the extra $25.
Do you have any tips to save while craving a bite?
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