I'd never really worked out how much buying lunch at work was costing me, but once I did I was sold on the idea!! I had been spending around £3 a day on lunches for work. That's £15 a week, and that's when I didn't treat myself to a dessert as well! I realised I could spend £1 a day on lunches if I brought my own, which would save me a whopping £10 a week. Even allowing for four weeks off work a year, that would save me a total of £480 every year!! To me, that could pay for a decent holiday (something I had been unable to afford for years)! Suddenly, the 'treat' of buying lunch at work seemed a horrendous waste of money!
One thing that helped to wean me off expensive shop-bought lunches was buying cheap ready meals instead. I know that's not very healthy, but it was a great way for me to persuade myself to take lunches to work, as there was no preparation involved. I'm slowly starting to cook proper meals now, with leftovers for lunches, but the ready meals softened the blow of not eating out for lunch, because at least I didn't have to put in any extra effort. You can get plenty of frozen ready meals for £1; Asda do tasty Sharwood's oriental ready meals for this price, and Iceland do 3 for £3 on Weightwatchers ready meals. Don't worry if you don't have a freezer at work, I let my frozen meal defrost for the morning (you can keep it in the fridge or even at room temperature) and just adjust the cooking time. If you don't have a microwave at work then you can always make sandwiches! I've now started making my own cooked lunches from time to time. I make a big batch of pasta sauce and pasta, or a big batch of vegetarian (because it's cheaper) chilli. As long as you keep it simple, it only works out at around 50p a portion and it's really healthy!
If you're reluctant, like I was, to take your own lunches to work, just give it a try! I'm sure you will be convinced when you realise how much you could save. And there are lots of options for cheap lunches available, you just have to find something that works for you!
If you have any more cheap lunch ideas, please comment below, I'd love to hear them :-)