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5 Quick & Easy Lunch Ideas That Will Save You Money

Written by Jessica Steer
Buying overpriced salads and sandwiches from the café nearby can burn a hole through your wallet fast. If you want to save money, one of the easiest ways to do so is by preparing your lunch yourself. Not sure what to whip up? Inspire your meal prep efforts with these delicious recipes that will keep your stomach and savings account full.
Table of Contents

    1. Homemade chilli – Budget Bytes 

    After graduating with student debt, Beth Moncel began tracking how much she spent on groceries to identify areas where money could be saved. This simple act of tracking food costs allowed her to find new ways to eat for less. It also led to the creation of Budget Bytes, a food blog that now has millions of loyal fans.

    Her no-frills homemade chilli is an excellent option if you’re looking for a gluten-free and protein-packed meal. The whole recipe works out to $9.28 ($1.55 per serving) and can be customized with yummy add-ons like jalapeños, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.

    2. Sesame peanut noodles – Tasty 

    What began as a BuzzFeed experiment has become one of the largest food networks in the world. Tasty’s wildly popular recipe videos are watched by 500 million people a month and have amassed over one billion views on Facebook. 

    From one-pot meals to three-ingredient dinners, Tasty offers tons of creative options when it comes to frugal eating. One great example is the sesame peanut noodles. Soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar give this dish an authentic Asian flavour, while ingredients like carrots, cabbage, and spaghetti keep costs low.

    3. Grilled cheese sandwich with guacamole and bacon – The Frugal Chef 

    Mary Ann Jacobs Allen had to change her lifestyle after the economic crash in 2008. She started making inexpensive homemade meals every day and got really good at it. The Frugal Chef was born out of her desire to help people cook healthy fare without going broke.

    Treat yourself to Mary’s satisfying grilled cheese sandwich on the weekend or a work from home day. Loaded with crispy bacon, guacamole, and two types of cheeses, this mighty sandwich can be made in minutes and tastes best with a side of salsa.

    4. Shepard’s pie – Eazy Peazy Mealz

    Rachael Yerkes is the busy mom and home cook behind Eazy Peazy Mealz. She’s a fan of recipes that use affordable staples and don’t require extensive clean-up. 

    You can trim your grocery bill down with her classic shepherd’s pie. The dish is made with some of the cheapest ingredients around, yet still packed with hearty fillings, savoury gravy, and creamy mashed potatoes. It’s also guaranteed to hit the spot and give you enough energy for the rest of the workday. 

    5. Easy couscous salad – Madeleine Olivia

    Madeleine Olivia is a minimalist, vegan, and advocate for low-impact living. She believes this lifestyle is attainable for everyone and that it can make you happier, healthier, and more aware of your spending habits.

    Vegans and thrifty eaters can’t get enough of her easy couscous salad. The recipe makes four servings and comes to a grand total of $4. The main ingredients include dried couscous, chickpeas, and various vegetables and spices. If you’re meal prepping, make sure to leave the tahini out until the day you eat it so your salad doesn’t get soggy.

    Meal prep on the weekend

    Lunchtime can end up costing a small fortune if you forget to plan ahead. To prevent this, consider preparing five to seven lunch portions on Sundays and then storing them in the freezer. That way, your meals are ready to go and can be enjoyed all week long!

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