Lunch for Less -- Savings Experiment

Lunch for Less
Lunch for Less

A recent survey found that 66 percent of Americans buy lunch at work, spending an average of $37 per week. That adds up to nearly $2,000 per year! With a little planning, though, you can easily save that lunch money.

If you're burned out on soups, sandwiches and salads, steamer lunches are a great alternative. Not only are they budget-friendly, but they're healthy, delicious and super easy to make, too. All you need are two 10-pack boxes of Ziploc Zip'n Steam bags ($6); three to four small bags of your favorite frozen vegetables ($5); two to three packs of pre-cooked, microwave-ready meat or meat substitute ($10 to $15); and one bottle of a preferred sauce ($5). To make your meals more filling, buy a box of instant rice, as well.

To make your lunches, take one bag and add two hands of vegetables, one handful of meat, a little sauce and a half cup of rice. Repeat until you've used all of your ingredients, and then pop the bags into the freezer. They'll be ready to microwave and eat the next day. If you want to switch things up, buy a mix of different vegetables and/or different sauces. You can even invite your friends to make their own bags and swap a portion of them to give your daily lunch some variety.

Making these rice bowls will cost you just $23 to $30 for two weeks of food. If you're spending an average $10 per day for your takeout lunches, you'll save 70-80 percent off the cost of eating out. So, before you overspend during the workweek, try making these steamer lunches for a cheap and delicious option.

Originally published