10 Lunch-Buying Tips That Will Save You Money

Illustrated by Norah Stone.
We're always saying we're going to be better about packing our lunches. We pin lots of recipes and share hacks with our friends, but at the end of the day, we still end up ordering plenty of meals.

So, instead of promising ourselves we're going to be better every time we look at our credit card bill, we're looking for some more realistic damage control. Ahead, find 10 tips for saving money on purchased lunches. Because if we're going to get takeout, we might as well make sure we're spending as little as we can.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
Fancy add-ons at a salad or sandwich chain can easily take a meal from cheap to overpriced. Instead, bring expensive extras, like avocado and bacon, from home.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
Yes, it's easier to lump in a soda or even bottled water with your lunch order, but that's an unnecessary cost. If you're already splurging on takeout, stick to water from the cooler at work. Or, buy a case of soda and start bringing them with you.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
If you've got a fridge at work, you can make those takeout leftovers last. Eat half your order for lunch today and the other half tomorrow. That way, your $12 order ends up only costing $6 per meal.

You can always order a a little something extra to help stretch the meal, too. If you ordered something with rice (which is only a dollar or two), order an extra serving for the next day. Same goes for pita or other inexpensive sides.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
If you're ordering from a make-your-own salad or sandwich place, stick to pre-priced menu items. Usually, those places charge less for the same exact item when you make your own, instead of purchasing it their way. Weighing a salad or tallying up price-per-item extras will leave you with a much more expensive bill.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
We love the convenience that delivery apps bring, but if you're willing to go old-school, you'll save big in the long run. Call your fave restaurant and order directly. There won't be added fees and you can tip the delivery person in cash.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
If you are going the app route, order with a group of coworkers, instead of on your own. That way, you can split the cost of delivery, tax, and tip. Plus, you can share menu items and cut down on costs there, too.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
We live seem to live in a post-coupon world, but that doesn't mean they don't exist! Sign up for email deals from all the delivery services you use — and actually use them. You'll feel much better about your 15% off lunch, even if it took a few minutes to find that coupon code.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
With Seamless, GrubHub, and other delivery apps, sometimes it's easier to not even have to get up from our desks. But ordering pickup can save you on delivery and tip fees, not to mention it's nice to take a 10-minute walk outside once in a while.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
Even if you have a routine down with Seamless, try out new delivery companies as often as you can. The first order will usually have some kind of deal involved. And sometimes, if you're stagnant on one app, a new coupon code will magically appear in your inbox.
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Illustrated by Norah Stone.
Restaurants that offer lunch specials are the best way to eat for $10 or less. You can often get the same exact item served at dinner for a reduced price. Seek them out and make those places your delivery go-tos. If you don't see a lunch special on the online delivery menu, it's also worth calling to see if it's just been conveniently left off.
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