Since the new year, I’ve been making a concerted effort to prepare lunch at home on a daily basis and avoid eating out. My friend Tash pointed out, however, that if you’re willing to look for a deal, it’s not hard to find a wallet friendly lunch. I thought about it all week and tried to figure out the hidden deals that are available within walking distance of my own office. I have found that if I leave my immediate area I am much more likely to spend more money. In some strange way it makes the inconvenience of losing my parking space and dealing with traffic worth it.
The best deals are often the ones closest to us. Perhaps we overlook them because they aren’t trendy or are known for less than stellar service. Just a few buildings away from me is a cafe where you can get a number of items for less than five dollars. The lines can be long if you don’t get there at twelve on the dot, and depending on what you order, you may spend more time waiting than eating, but the price point can’t be beat. On Thursday, I ordered one of my favorites–grilled chicken served in a pita with tzatziki sauce and hummus served with a choice of brown rice, french fries, or salad. I also got a diet coke, and my total came in at $5.77. Another standby favorite is Wendy’s chili for less than $2. It may be a bit high in sodium, but it’s not bad for the price and considering it’s from a fast food joint. It’s high in protein and fiber, plus the long lines move swiftly and the food is easy to transport away from the food court to a nice sunny bench overlooking the water.
Work day lunch hours are not known for being gourmet, but remember that even a Lean Cuisine microwave meal can be all the more palatable if you take a walk, read your new book, or chat with a coworker you don’t get to see often. All of those things are free. Get out of the office, find your hidden deals, and utilize them when you’re in a pinch…like those days you oversleep and packing a lunch is so not possible.