Start a Lunch Co-Op at Work

Packing a lunch can save a lot of money, and starting a Weekday Lunch Club is even more fun! Not only does it beat the high cost of restaurant lunches, but it is definitely healthier than fast food. Packing your lunch isn’t always glamorous and there are a lot of obstacles. I could give you dozens of lunch packing ideas or creative solutions, but what if you could enjoy a nice meal at work without brown bagging it?

If you and your coworkers are looking for ways to reduce your daily expenses, a lunch co-op could be just the thing! You’ll need a group of 4-5 people committed to saving money on lunch and someone (that would be you!) to coordinate the effort. Create a schedule—assign each co-op member a day of the week or choose 1 day each week for your home-cooked lunch to rotate weekly. (Tip: Mondays are not the best choice as people tend to forget over the weekend.)

On your scheduled day to host lunch, bring enough food for everyone in the group. Crockpot dinners work best for keeping lunch warm all day, especially if your workplace does not have access to a kitchen. One-dish meals are the simplest choice, but it is up to each member to decide what will be served each lunch. Be sure you have dishes and eating utensils as well as drinks (these could either be up to each member to bring their own or provided by the host as part of the meal).

Winter is the perfect time to share soup, stews and chili with your coworkers—enjoy a hot lunch without every stepping outside in the snow. The other advantages to a weekday lunch club are plentiful. Have lunch provided the majority of the time without thought or effort by you, dine with friends instead of sitting alone with your packed lunch and, most importantly, save money by cooking a budget meal for the group only once while you enjoy home cooking several times.

Crockpot 4.5-Quart Round Manual Slow Cookers, Amazon, $29.80

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