Lunch Budget

Updated on August 29, 2012
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL
10 answers

Hubby has taken to eating lunch out with workmates. Needless to say, we use to spend very little on his lunch budget, but now it has tripled. What is a reasonable amount of money to spend monthly on lunch?

If it was me, I'd bring lunch to work, but hubby doesn't do "packed lunches" --you'd never know he was raised poor, he is very, very picky!

Second question, do I have any right to even tell him he has a lunch budget since he is the one out there working hard? If I shift "priorities," we can afford him eating out a lot, it's just a matter of him taking money from savings goals --not important savings goals like retirement or college, but things like holidays, etc.

What can I do next?

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answers from Oklahoma City on

He and his co-workers have bonded and they are working closer due to this lunch time get together. I think that telling him how you fell is important but as for going out to lunch...that's a given for me. He looks poor and cheap if he takes his lunch. That's what everyone who takes their own lunch looks like. Either they can't afford to go spend a couple of bucks for lunch or they are just a cheapskate kind of person.

I know that women are more likely to do this but men, no, they should never take their lunch.

I suggest you sit down and go over the budget with him and look at just how much he's spending. If he can decide to get a lesser priced item, not salad or something but maybe not a T-Bone...that's what I mean...then try to understand this is work related and that you have some say in it but he is going to need to have enough money to do this each day.

Just try to work together so you can get the cost down a little if that will make you feel better. I would think that cutting it down some but not a lot would not be hard.

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answers from New York on

What is a reasonable amount to spend on lunch each month? Well, we bring our lunches every day and recently had the conversation that we are financially solid, so if our colleagues are going out to lunch then we are both comfortable with going out once a month or so. So, for us a monthly "lunch out" budget would be $25/ month each.

Print out your budget and show your husband "where" you will need to cut back. I wouldn't sacrifice family vacation time, nor would I take the $$ out of holidays. I would cut back on some of his grocery items and other things tied directly to "him" (clothing alottment, golfing, etc).

Yes, you do have the right to discuss this with him (don't "tell him" that he has a budget) because while he is out working to earn the money, you are working to manage it wisely. Together, decide what is reasonable.

Eating out every day is very expensive and really unnecessary. I would suggest some middle ground like eating out 2 days per week and taking lunch the other 3.

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answers from Washington DC on

Sit down with him and show him the finances. Ask him how important it is to eat out and why it's so important to him to not eat a packed lunch? Is he traumatized about sandwiches? What about soups? Microwave meals? Is it a matter of "now I can so I will"? Or is it that he has a new social group and they all eat out? If this is important to him, ask him to shuffle something else so that it can still be afforded. A reasonable amount varies by person, but if he's spending $20 a day (easy to do at some of these sit down places) then he needs to re-evaluate, IMO. Being social at work can be important both personally and professionally. But if it's breaking your budget, you need to talk.

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answers from Dallas on

I would not be setting limits and questioning my husband on his lunch choices and nor would he do that to me.

How much $ are you talking about? We eat lunch out almost daily.. I have to get out of the house (my office) and lunch is one things we do. There are no $1 or $5 deals anymore but you can eat out reasonably with co-workers. You don't say how much he spends but our lunches our are usually less than $10 each. Now, if he is springing $40 a day on a steak, etc then he might need to adjust a bit.

Also, by mingling and networking with co-workers, he is still "working".

We own our company and we have a lot of entertaining which involves taking clients to lunch, dinner as well.

I would not be tellling him what to do if he was happy, we were happy, and he afforded me the opportunity to stay home with children.

Good luck

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I can understand both sides. Does he realize he puts a strain on your budget when he goes out daily? I think you need to have a budget discussion where you both decide what are the priorities (vacation or socialiizing with co-workers) so that there is a balance. Maybe he can go out 1/2 as much or when he does make more frugal choices (drink water instead of ordering a $2+ soft drink). Then you're still working towards the same goals, even if they are modified.

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answers from Dallas on

This drives me nuts! My husband is a big guy so there is no 'salad only' lunches. He spends $5 - 10 daily. UGH. He used to come home for lunch, but that isn't an option now. I added it all up once and shared with him how much he was spending and he didn't care. So like you I just shifted $$ around and me, myself, only went out once a month instead of once a week and we were able to swing it.
I have to say though, I get it. sometimes a packed lunch for a guy has that feeling of being a child whose mom packed his lunch LOL.
Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

I would never question my husbands lunch plans at work nor does he question mine.

I don't know @JulieG if you work or not, but even at lunch you are at work, and you have to present yourself as you want to be part of the group, you are loyal to the compnay, etc. Every office environment has some unwritten rules, its own culture. In one compnay that I worked, I used to take my lunch and eat lunch in the break room with junior engineers and I was pulled to the side by my mentor that I should be having lunch with more senior staff if I want to go anywhere within that company.

Where I work now, is necessary to go out to lunch every now and then, even on days that I pack my lunch, I sometimes end up not eating my lunch and going out with the group or my boss, etc.

If you decide to give him a budget, be reasonable. Like $5 is not enough in my area, those days that lunch specials were $5 including drink are long gone!
I would not even go there to tell him to opt for water instead of soda. Put yourself in his position, would you want him to tell you, you can't drink this or that!! As @GammaG mentions in her response, it does give the illusion of being cheap or sometimes the weird guy in the office!

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answers from St. Louis on

Ten dollars a day. That is about the most I spend for lunch at the office. I figure with cost of living adjustments that should work as the average in Chicago. :)

I get the idea that he is taking money from the general budget but in his defense the general budget has been using his lunch money for some time now. Even in the best job, work is work, so if buying his lunch makes him happy then adjust your budget and give him his lunch budget back.

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answers from Washington DC on

both perspectives have merit. i would shift money to make room for my dh's lunches because of how hard he works, but he has actually requested packed lunches because he can keep his weight in check better that way than eating out every day.
so i'd say you don't really have a right TELL him he has a tight budget, but it's certainly a valid conversation to have. maybe if he takes a protein bar and eats it an hour before lunch he'll be happier ordering a lighter one when he goes out with his mates?

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answers from Chicago on

I can understand where you hubbie is coming from. When I was working, taking that break with my friends from work was wonderful - got me through the day happier and I looked forward to it. Usually, we would spend $5 - $10, but we didn't go out daily - maybe 2-3 times a week.

Are there some little expenses you can do without to supplement part of his lunch expenses and make you feel better about it? Maybe cancel a magazine/newspaper subscription, not ordering on demand movies from the cable company, getting books from the library instead of buying them??

I'd let it go.

1 mom found this helpful
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