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Ok I know the answer to my own question money-wise, but I wanted other people's opinions on weighing money with time.

I work at a school and can eat both breakfast and lunch here rather inexpensively, and the quality of the food is not as bad as you might think.

I have a growing family and have a hard time keeping up with dinner as it is. If I eat at work, I save a LOT of time and conserve our milk/cereal resovoir for a longer period of time. Also, if I'm short on cash and need to wait a few days before I can grocery shop again, the school never denies me food. I can buy on credit and there's no interest, I just have to pay it back by the end of the year.

Now for the actual cost. Breakfast for adults cost $2 and lunch costs $3. For breakfast you get milk and juice (or coffee, but I don't drink coffee), cereal and toast, and fruit; OR the breakfast of the day, which can be pancakes, waffles, sausage and egg, etc. plus fruit.

Lunch is a main course (hamburger, pizza, big salad, etc) with choice of 2 sides, fresh fruit, and iced tea.

Both meals fill me up, so it is enough food for me. The portions are a little smaller than what you might get at a restaurant or something, but I like this because it keeps me from eating too much.

So if I buy both meals every day for a week, it totals to $25/wk. If I eat breakfast at home and pack my lunch, it drastically depends on what's available. Honestly, I don't have the time to make sure I eat less than $25/wk every week consistently. I'm sure some weeks will be off.

So is the time saved plus convenience, along with always knowing to budget $25/wk for those meals, worth $25/wk? Or is it worth saving a few extra dollars but sacrificing the time and effort? What do you guys think?
 

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I think if the meals are healthy enough and you can afford to do this it's fine. It might even save you money if the extra time means you aren't tempted to order in food for dinner. Feeding a family pizza or other restaurant food a few times a week is probably going to cost a lot more than $25 a week. You are the best judge of what your time is worth, and if it helps to save your sanity during a busy week it's definitely worth it :)
 

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I agree- do what is best for you. If you feel like you need to cut back maybe cut the breakfasts and just do lunch. Breakfast is the easiest meal to eat at home- no thought and little preparation.
 

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My question is - do you really not have time for it OR just like the convenience of not having to make your own food for the day and this fills your 'need' to feel like you're eating out?

Also, I'm not a fan of the credit idea. Do you have the money set aside already so you can cover the 'credit' thats going to be charged at the end of the school year? $25/wk sounds like a bargain however it does add up quicker then you think. You can still portion out your own home packed meals so you're not eating as much.

How about doing a mix of both home packed lunch (with food you've already paid for - no future looming debt) and buying some of the lunches at school? You get the best of both worlds :)
 

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I don't know what groceries cost in your area, but to me that sounds like a lot of food for very little money.

I hate making lunches - actually hate preparing food in general - and have a terrible time trying to keep up with making suppers, breakfasts, and packing lunches. I do not have a limitless store of time and energy, if I could get lunch that cheap at work I wouldn't think twice about it.
 

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Personally, I don't find a hamburger or pizza to be too terribly healthy. If it's sporadic, my school only had them once a month, then it's probably not a big deal.

If it was me, I would probably take my own breakfast. I typically just eat fruit, which I can pick up for about .50/lb. Maybe add in some hard boiled eggs. Lunches I would probably eat at school.
 
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