The diner or the desk: can you do lunch for less than a fiver a week?

The diner or the desk: can you do lunch for less than a fiver a week?

Unless you’re one of the lucky few who have the luxury of working from home, resisting the temptations of the high street can be a challenge, and the demands of your stomach can often take precedence over the demands of your bank balance.

With the average UK employee spending an estimated £10-£15 on lunch every week, the money we spend on the middle meal of the day quickly adds up, with many of us paying in the region of £500 per year to appease our appetites.

But does making your own work out that much cheaper than grabbing lunch on the go? We set ourselves the £5 lunch challenge to find out…


Week before payday

Mon

Tomato soup with bread

Banana and raisins

£1.60

Tue

Tuna/egg mayo/cheese & onion sandwich

Apple and raisins

£0.76

Wed

Beans on toast

Orange and raisins

£0.60

Thu

Cornflakes with banana

Grapefruit and raisins

£0.96

Fri

Jacket potato with beans

Banana and raisins

£0.68

Total

£4.60

Middle of the month

Mon

Tuna Salad with pepper, cucumber and mayonnaise dressing

£3.13

Tue

Chicken and mayonnaise pitta with lettuce

£2.50

Wed

Tomato and marscarpone pasta (will require cooking night before)

£1.29

Thu

Fajita wrap meal deal

£3.00

Fri

Houmous and pitta, with pepper and cucumber crudites

£0.85

Total

£10.77

Payday

Mon

Margherita pizza with dough balls

£10.40

Tue

Wild crayfish and rocket salad w/ drink and crisps

£4.60

Wed

1/2 chicken, rice and coleslaw

£9.85

Thu

Turkey and ham sub w/ drink and crisps

£3.60

Fri

Salmon nigiri sushi bento box

£3.95

Total

£32.40

Verdict

Week before payday

Plain and simple. Surprisingly filling, if a little basic (may have gone overboard with the condiments)

£4.60

Middle of the month

Good variety and relatively healthy, probably have a little more room (wafer thin mint perhaps)

£10.77

Payday

Well and truly full. Although bank balance may not be

£32.40

OK, so in comparison, the high street lunches may look slightly more appetising. However, not only do the meals work out much more expensive, they are all almost certainly higher in calories, salt and fat content. By taking your lunch to work with you, you know exactly what’s going in to your food, making it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle and spend less money.

Of course, this plan is just an example of what you can save. There’s nothing wrong with being impulsive and treating yourself every once in a while, but if you head out for a hearty high street lunch simply out of habit, the money can quickly add up.

By downgrading to the budget option, you could save anywhere between £10 and £15 every week. And who couldn’t do with an extra £500 a year?

£500=

  • a week’s all inclusive holiday to the Algarve
  • A 47″ 3D HD TV
  • Tablet, eReader and MP3 Player
  • Brand new phone and contract for the year

Or if you’re feeling particularly thrifty, you could buy 500 Pot Noodles and never have to buy lunch again.

Bon appetite.

So, do you make your own, or go for a high street treat? Share your working lunch tips with us below, or tell us on twitter @reedcouk

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