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Posted on Aug 24, 2007 in Tips | 7 comments

Links: Bento on the cheap


One benefit of packing lunch is the money you can save by not eating out. Even US$6 a day can really add up over time — $1,560 per year! I don’t know about you, but I’ve got other things to spend that kind of money on, and my own food is usually better than what’s at lunch places closest to the office.

  • Freakin’ Tasty Bento has put together an excellent post Bento for Cheap Bastards, covering equipment and food ideas. Check it out — there are some good ideas here.
  • Calculate how much you can save over time by packing a cheap lunch instead of eating out with this lunch savings calculator. It’s eye-opening!

Do you have good frugal lunch tips or links? Let us know in comments!



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  1. I like to keep a bunch of parsley for garnish. It’s dirty cheap at our market (99 cents for a big bunch) and is really great for filling in little gaps or adding a little flair to a bento.

    Also, the last time I bought green onions I dumped it in a pot of dirt and now whenever I need some for my tamagoyaki or other things, I just go outside and snip some. They grow back real quick!

  2. @1 from Pikko: Parsley would be a good use of cheap color! Do you then eat the parsley to freshen your breath? I’m partial to edible garnishes. Nice tip on the green onions, too, BTW.

  3. @2 from Hélène (Cannes): Bienvenue, Hélène! Please feel to free to comment with questions even on old entries as I do keep up with new comments via the Recent Comments widget( in the sidebar to the right).

    BTW, have you checked out Moniki/Monique’s new French-language bento blog at Looks like she’s going to be doing some informative French-language bento blogging. I need to update my Links page soon…

  4. In the vein of ‘spending money to save money’, I bought several silicone muffin cups at Kohls & some real (not throwaway plastic) tableware from the Target Dollar Spot.
    The tableware (knives, forks & spoons) means I don’t have to keep buying plastic & if a few get thrown away throughout the school year, its not my good tableware.
    The silicone cups mean I can pack a nice amount of stuff in a square sandwich container & not have those paper liners that aren’t as sturdy & are thrown away after they’re used. I do want to get some pastel ones as the ones I have are red & blue but they have come in very, very handy.

  5. @5 from MJ: Excellent thrifty advice, MJ. I need to pick up some bigger silicone muffin cups too; I just have the mini ones and they’re not big enough. I keep hoping that Daiso will have them in, but I’ve only seen tiny and huge ones so far. Kohls, eh?

  6. @7 from Shannon: Hi there, and welcome to another ex-Japan mom! Does your daughter say why she prefers the individual container method? Is it because she doesn’t want any flavors to mingle? What would she think about the Laptop Lunchbox or a bento box with the removable sub-containers?

  7. @9 from Shannon: Hmm, interesting. And as you say, no reason to worry about it as long as she’s eating well!