Q: My question is in regards to your food budget. Making “cheaper” meals for us tends to mean a lack of leftovers, which means my husband ends up buying lunch almost every day (not to mention he is rather picky about leftovers, which doesn’t help). He also works an outdoors labor-intensive job and as much as I may nag him about it, I can’t control his spending on snacks and drinks (he isn’t extravagant, but even $3-$4 a day adds up significantly!).
How does your food budget take into account your husband’s lunches? Thank you so much for sharing all of your helpful information. I look forward to hearing your advice!
A: Great Question!
We are very blessed because my husband is able to eat lunch for free at his current job, so I only have to feed him lunch two days a week on his days off. This is obviously a big help to the budget. When he worked his previous job, I made enough for dinner to have leftovers for his lunch the next day, or he ate sandwiches.
As for your situation, you will need to be in agreement about what your financial goals are and how to get there. You may need to raise the budget to allow for him to buy lunch out, or have him make a list of affordable lunch ideas that you can purchase at the grocery store. Even buying snack foods in larger sizes and repackaging them for him will save money over him buying them at a convenience store or vending machine.
You might also find a cool lunch box (like this Lunchbox Cooler & Bottle Combo or this Black Dome Lunch Box & Thermos) to up the manliness factor. They are a little pricey, but worth the investment if using them will mean your husband takes lunch to work instead of buying convenience foods or lunch at a restaurant. 🙂
If he insists that his only option is to spend that money every day, then you have a bigger problem. I would suggest that if you can’t come to an agreement about your finances that you seek outside counsel from a pastor or trusted friend, or take the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class together. It saved our marriage!
Do you have an idea or suggestion for this reader? Leave a comment.
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My husband also gets lunch for free at work, so we are blessed in that regard.
But I wanted to comment on what Maureen said. We also have a personal allowance and we don’t question each other and our purchases from this money. I love it because it means we don’t spend from our primary checking account or touch any of our other money. We do the envelope system and of course, when that money is gone, it’s gone. It makes us think wisely about where we spend our blow money. It works great for us.
Great point Crystal. I love the freedom of having a little money I can spend in whatever way I wish as a part of the budget. It makes it easier to make sacrifices in other areas.
Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says
We’ve learned to save a ton of money on lunches by me packing them for Rick at night. I make 2 simple sandwiches, usually some type of deli meat with cheese, mustard, butter and a leaf of lettuce. Then I buy chips that he likes (generic or on sale, of course. 🙂 ), and bag them up into baggies, an ounce or a little over in each baggie, then I include an ample homemade dessert such as cookies or brownies. It’s pretty cheap, about $2 or a bit under. I bake the desserts ahead of time and put them into baggies and freeze them so I can just pull them out when I’m packing lunch, put the lunch in the fridge and Rick grabs it on the way out the door in the A.M.
But if hubby won’t go for that, you may just have to let it go and focus on reducing the budget in other areas to make up for the expense. That’s what I do here if we discuss budget cuts to no avail. Good luck with finding a solution!
My husband and I have a personal allowance. This is our no-questions-asked account. I’m not allowed to nag or harp on what he spends of his own money, and I get the same. That way, he can buy himself lunch if he wants to. (If he takes lunch from the house, like a sandwich, a frozen meal, or leftovers, that comes out of the food budget.) He cut out going to lunch on his own, once he figured out that his allowance doesn’t cover much at the end of the month if he goes out every day. I guess he figured that spending money on golf was way more important. 🙂
I pack my husbands lunch from our dinner just before I serve dinner. That way I ensure he has lunch for the next day and it keeps us from overeating. You could also try to prepare things like potato salad, tuna salad to have things ready for easy preparation on work days. To help curb vending cost try buying snack foods such as chips, crackers, or peanuts to keep in the trunk. I would do this when I was working to help with my soda habit. My family has just started our budgeting journey but these things help. We try to evaluate what is working and what is not about once a month. We did find we needed to add some money for days my husband forgets his lunch so we are setting aside $10 a month for if this happens so he does eat. Good luck!!! I know how hard it can be to budget and feel like you are not depriving your family and how much to pack without waste. Most of the time my family says I pack too much food!! Communication helps.
I really like the idea of packing lunch before you start eating dinner Carrie. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂