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Money Tip: Make Weekday Lunches on Sunday

We all have different spending priorities, but there seems to be one thing most of us agree on: Bringing your lunch to work is a great money-saving trick. You need to be proactive to get results with this one (versus your automatic savings account), which means thinking ahead on the weekend.

Sometimes, I like to make a big batch of something that I know will taste even better as leftovers on Sunday, like a hearty soup or vegetarian chili. Other times, I plan for dinners during the week and make enough to have it for lunch the next day, too. And if salad is your thing, there's a simple trick for prepping your lunch as quickly as possible: Divide your lettuce in separate reusable containers that will hold your salad. Cut up all of your veggies and place them in different containers in the refrigerator. In the morning, simply throw your veggies and other add-ins to your lettuce base, and you're out the door.

Keep these ideas in mind as you create your weekend grocery shopping list. You'll fork over less money for food, just by thinking ahead.


Join The Conversation
Teabiscuit Teabiscuit 8 years
I started getting really good about bringing lunches last year. I used to get a chopped salad almost every day from the soup and salad place near work. At about $8.50 a day, it certainly added up. Then I decided to try to recreate the combinations I was picking myself. The trick to sticking with it over time for me has been finding a combination of fresh and canned or jarred stuff to make salads from. I often buy a bag of hearts of romaine, with three bunches of romaine in it. Then I get a combination of fresh ingredients, like goat cheese, berries (whatever is on sale), carrots, and smoked turkey from the deli to put on top. I keep stuff like walnuts, hearts of palm, and roasted red peppers in the cabinet until ready to be used and I top salads with that. It's become pretty easy to create new combinations over time. When I get tired of eating salads, my other go to lunch is light cheese ravioli from bertolli, with fruit and greek yogurt as a side. Even if you can't keep up with bringing lunch everyday, it's worth at least aiming for a few days a week.
hataricat21 hataricat21 8 years
Preping items for the week is what saves me. I plan out the dinner meals, cut the veggies(the ones that will be ok cut up), and portion out the meat(and cut it up if a recipe calls for cubed or sliced meat). It saves time when you go to cook the meal. When you go to cook a dinner, you don't have to spend a lot of time with prep work. You already did it. Plus, pre-portioned meals help save on wasted food costs.
ella1978 ella1978 8 years
I take the next step on this as well. I am experimenting and finding out which ingredents will sit in containers all week and still be just as great on Friday. I have a salad this week that is fab, but a little pricey. Lettuce, grapes, dried cranberries, blueberries, walnuts and reduced fat feta. Nothing gets old or withers in a week. Next week I'm going to try to cheapen in up with things like frozen corn, garbanzo beans, black beans, soy nuts, peas, dried cranberries and 2% sharp cheddar cheese. Great idea!!!
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great ideas!!
cupcake_ cupcake_ 8 years
This is exactly what I do. It's always so tempting to go out to eat at work when people ask you but I try to be very disciplined. On Sunday I make a huge meal and make sure I have leftovers for the next few days for lunch. Similar to mamasitamalita - I love salads as well. Usually for the other couple days that I don't have leftovers made for I'll make a big salad :)
vlsin vlsin 8 years
To me this is a total money and calorie saver. During winter, I've been making a big soup on Sundays using half for lunches and storing the other half in the freezer. Then in the later part of the week I have different choices from the freezer to choose from so I don't eat the same thing every day.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I always mean to do this! I get to it about half the time.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I do this a lot. I'll make one big meal for lunches on Sunday (sometimes Monday if I have to work on Sunday) and pack it in individual containers in the fridge. Then, during the week, I just have to stick one in my lunch bag with an apple and a yogurt and I'm good to go.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
it definitely makes sense to plan ahead, and it gives you something to do for a little while since there are big blocks of time when there's NOTHING to watch on TV :)
jen1975 jen1975 8 years
I still can't believe that crispy lettuce will be waiting for you on Friday under this plan. . . .
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
I love chopped salads, so I'll just make a huge one on Sunday and take portions as the week goes on from a big bowl -- some days I'll add cheese or chicken, some days I'll only take a small container if I bring a sandwich, too. I keep dressing at work.
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