We have a weekly grocery budget of 100.00 a week if we buy our lunches out, or 120.00/week if we pack our lunches. (If you're interested in dinners- the dinners that we rotate through are also listed in this blog- just check my archives). This is the lunch database that we use to choose our lunches. I'm currently pregnant and my doctor has advised me to stay away from sandwich meat that isn't heated, so there are plenty of options on here for me. If you're stuck working in a car while pregnant may I suggest thinking outside the box to bring heatable lunches (for instance the Wegmans that I use has a microwave that you can use for free, and I bet if you ask nicely a local 7/11 will let you use their microwave).
When we were eating our lunches out, we had a budget of 40.00 per week for lunches, which we both never stayed within. I normally spent about 50.00 per week and my husband spends about 80.00 per week (I'm convinced he goes to Ruth Chris Steakhouse every day but he can get away with it because he's adorable).
When we switched over to packed lunches, we saved about $110.00 per week and it made our days much easier. For instance, I can now eat a little bit of my lunch every hour or two so that I don't get sick like I do when I eat a full meal. I can also take my lunch break to run errands (like the bank, or picking up a redbox movie, or just taking a walk around the grounds). Plus, you're eating the same amount of food but ingesting significantly less calories. Although our options could certainly be healthier, they are much healthier than what we were eating. Our goal is to continue to improve our healthy options while staying in budget and avoiding the temptation of fast food (except for the occasional Chipotle run- but we're only human.)
Just a quick note- If you have trouble staying within budget during your grocery runs- encourage your partner to join you as an enforcer. They can be in charge of ensuring that you're sticking to your list and choosing the cheapest unit price (as long as you both still like the taste). After a few hilarious arguments in the middle of the grocery store about a 10 cent difference in price or why the lastest issue of Cosmopolitian is an absolute necessity, you won't even need your enforcer.
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