If you work a full-time job, you’re probably familiar with the daily struggle of whether to pack a lunch or eat out.  While bringing a lunch from home is typically the more cost-effective option, it can be tempting to spend the extra money and get lunch from your favorite take-out spot.  If you’re struggling with the decision of whether to eat in or eat out, here are a few tips to help you decide.

Consider Your Budget

While that slice of pizza every day may not seem like a big financial burden at the time, it can really add up.  Considering that a typical slice of plain pizza costs around $2, if you were to eat that every day during the work week, that would amount to about $10 per week on pizza alone.  This may not seem like a lot of money, but if you’re someone who is on a tight budget, you could be putting that money towards something else.  If this is the case for you, consider packing a lunch from home for most of the week, and treat yourself to a lunch out once a week.  Having something to look forward to will make eating out feel more special, and you’ll enjoy having some extra money in your pocket!  Additionally, packing lunch from home can be a fun and creative way to keep track of exactly what you’re eating, which is something that’s not always possible when eating out. 

How Much Time Do You Have?

Eating out every day can not only be costly, but it’s often time consuming as well.  Many people simply don’t have time to take an hour out of their busy work day to have lunch, so packing a lunch at home is often the most realistic option.  Once you get to work, preparing a meal you brought from home takes virtually no time at all, especially if you’re just heating something up in the microwave.  Things like sandwiches, beans and rice, pasta dishes, and soups and salads are all examples of quick, easy lunches you can prepare the night before and store in your office’s refrigerator until lunchtime.  For in between meals, you can pack a few healthy snacks for work, such as almonds, fruit, or granola bars, to keep you from binging on something unhealthy.  Bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out will save you precious time during the work day, so be sure to consider how much time you realistically have before making the decision to eat out.

Special Occasions

While packing a lunch is typically the smarter, more cost-effective decision, you should still treat yourself to a meal out every once in a while.  Whether you’re celebrating a big achievement at work, a coworker’s birthday, or any other kind of special occasion, don’t be afraid to treat yourself from time to time.  You deserve it!

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