3 Easy Ways to Save Money on Food While at Work

When you are at work, it is very easy to spend too much money on food. Many times offices are located close to coffee shops, fast food joints, and more. It’s often easy to walk or drive to one of these nearby options when you are hungry. Many offices also have vending machines full of soda, chips, and candy. Most of this easily accessible food is not good for you, and it is expensive to boot. So, here are a few tips to help your waist and your wallet.


Instead of spending $4 on coffee from the shop on the first floor, you should consider bringing coffee from home. Buying a couple of inexpensive travel mugs is less expensive than a week’s worth of $4 lattes.

In some cases, you might be able to set up your own small coffee maker in your office and make your coffee when you get to work every day. If you have a break room at work, you might be able to get coffee there, and if there isn’t a coffee maker or a percolator, you can petition your boss to purchase one for the office or even invest in an office coffee service.

If you are not a coffee snob, you can even purchase instant coffee, though you will need to be able to heat water. Instant coffee is often very inexpensive.

Snacks and Drinks 

At about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the vending machine down the hall starts calling your name, and it can be hard to resist. Still, vending machines rarely offer healthy options, and they are a great way to spend too much money on a small, calorically dense snack.

Instead of giving into your sugar cravings, try packing some snacks for the week. If you do not have a lot of time in the mornings, you can prepare snacks for the whole week on the weekend. Many offices have refrigerators in break rooms where you can store food. Celery and carrot sticks, apple slices, and cheese sticks are all good, healthy options that help keep you from spending $1.25 on Nutter Butters. If you do not have a refrigerator, you can look into 100-calorie packs of cookies and crackers. Baked chips are another option.


When you are at work, it’s almost always easy for you to go down the street and pick up some fast food on your lunch break. However, again this is not your best option. Every once in a while, it’s fine to run to your local burger joint for lunch, but you can save money by bringing your lunch from home on a regular basis. If you live close by, you can even go home and make your lunch. Both of these options help you to save money, and in many cases, a homemade lunch is much healthier than what you will get a local restaurant.

By following these tips, you can save a few dollars and eat healthier at the same time.

Would you add anything to this list of tips?


3 Easy Ways to Save Money on Food While at Work — 33 Comments

  1. Good post. I am always amazed bhy the amount of money people spend on food at work and then complain about their finances. They don’t see that their spending money on lunch or whatever can add up to some serious money that could be better served on other things. I would also add avoid stopping to buy breakfast on the way in to work…it sort of fits with both #1 & 3. A breakfast at the fast food or coffee joint could be $5 or more. Sure, that’s fine every once in a while is ok, but can add up. I would suggest bringing in a bag of bagels at the beginning of the week, granola bars or a few pieces of fruit.

  2. Definitely planning is the key. I keep stuff in my drawer at work. I also take advantage of free food, and if there’s leftover cake at the end of the day (we seem to have cake at least once a week!), I take a few pieces home with me to freeze – no point in it going to waste.

  3. Once when I worked at an office, my teammate circulated an e-mail around the office that Starbucks was giving away free drinks. Since then, everyone in the office who knows a deal that’s happening makes sure that everyone else knows via e-mail (sometimes attaching a coupon if need be). It felt like there was something every week – the whole floor was working together to save money haha

  4. “Coffee: The low end of the speed spectrum.” George Carlin. 🙂

    Paying for coffee’s definitely a big waste of money while at the workplace. That’s for sure. If you’re an office worker you probably should never pay for coffee, as most employers provide free coffee as a cheap, performance-enhancing drug. It’s that cheap, low-quality, instant stuff, but hey, it’s free. Don’t waste your money on something that’s free of charge.

    I also had a co-worker who would bring a huge thermos of coffee to work with him every day. The thing must have held half a gallon of coffee. Bringing your own rather than paying for grossly overpriced stuff is always a no-brainer for saving money.

    In some of the places I’ve worked, taking the free coffee away is akin to taking cigarettes away from a smoker, or heroin away from a heroin addict. Productivity would go down to zero or lower.

    Vending machines are a great way to throw away money, get fat, and destroy your health all at the same time. I used to bring fruit or yogurt to work with me at my last job. I would also bring my own instant tea mix and other healthy drinks with me as an alternative to soda. Buy some cheap fruit instead for a snack. Even organic fruit is cheaper than the crap they sell in those vending machines.

  5. When I was working in an office I would bring my lunch to work monday through Thursday and then go out on Fridays. Most places it will cost you at least $6 each day so I figured that was about $100 saved each month.

  6. I was just sharing our lunch packing process (the key is packing your lunch after dinner while leftovers are still out and dishes aren’t done yet!) It amazes me when coworkers eat out 3-5 times a week! You’re not allowed to complain about being broke, mr. Panera bread frequent flyer…

  7. When I worked in an office, I was pretty good at keeping food costs down. All the offices I was ever at had a coffee pot with free coffee, and I would pack a lunch and put it in the fridge. Just pop it in the microwave when it was lunch time. Even at the greenhouse, it was the same.
    But now that I’m in road construction, it’s a lot tougher. Not only to I no longer have access to a refrigerator, but the only microwave, only coffee, only bathroom! is in the local convience stores. Very hard to resist temptation not to buy food when you have to walk past shelves of it just to pee!
    Of course, this week I’ve been on a different project out in the sticks. No stores within 20 miles of me now!

  8. One of my biggest breakthroughs in frugal living was making a big batch of food on Sunday and portioning it out for lunches throughout the week. I used to spend about $10 every day going out to lunch, now I spend about $2-3 per lunch. And to make it even better, I’m eating so much healthier that I was able to lose 15 pounds so far. Bringing in homemade lunches was the single best decision I’ve made for my finances and my health so far.

  9. I’ve been bringing lunch to work for over a year now. It was difficult at first to make it but then I got into a habit of making it the night before. This helped with the “I don’t have time” factor significantly and I highly suggest this to anyone who’s facing the same “problem”. My work likes to have snacks once in a while but I’d rather see more plants in the building to improve the quality of oxygen we breathe in.

    Why do offices have to be less healthy / fun / friendly than homes? After all, we spend more time there than at home. Odd.

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