There is a fabulous online tool, mint.com, that allows you to track the money spent in the all categories of your life. For example, it breaks your expenditures into healthcare, fuel and auto, shopping, groceries, utilities, restaurants and so on.
After several months of using this tool, and having an increased awareness about the amount I was spending daily just by eating lunch out, I set out to reign in at least my lunchtime spending. So, this girl on a budget has become increasingly fond of lunch stops that won’t break the bank. We’re not talking fine dining here, but hey you’ll save more money for those nice nights out!
Acme in Trolley Square – I know, it’s a weird thought to get take-out from a grocery story. However, they have a fresh salad bar as well as $5 chicken meals available at lunchtime (deli toward the back). You can get a large salad usually under $5, but you pay by the pound, so be mindful.
Café Verdi or Ciao Pizza – These two competing staples in Trolley Square are both equally delicious, but everyone has a favorite. Regardless of your preference, both sell quite sizeable slices of pizza in the 2-3 dollar ranges!
Kid Shelleen’s on Tuesday – ½ price burgers! Even though they have changed this special to eat-in only (25% off if you take-out) it’s still a great deal.
Hong Kong Chinese – This little gem, located on the backside of the Trolley Square shopping center, has plenty of lunch specials right around $5 including my personal favorite, Chicken and Cashews. Plus, the specials come with rice, an egg roll, and soup.
Urban Café (Recommended by a trusted source)– It’s located on Market Street and my friend tells me that you can get great salads here for under $5. Can’t wait to try this place out soon!
Another money saving tip for social media users: check in to your favorite restaurants on foursquare. Many restaurants have exclusive specials, coupons, or deals for patrons who “check-in” to their establishment.
I know there are tons of other options out there for $5 lunches so please share your cheap eats suggestions with me in the comments!