Score Lunch for Under $10 at These 8 Fast-Casual Restaurants


Score Lunch for Under  at These 8 Fast-Casual Restaurants

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Ordering a $10 lunch is an excellent way to treat yourself without ignoring your financial goals. 


Key points

  • While some lunches can be pricey, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a quick, delicious meal. 
  • Eateries like Panera, Chipotle, and Jimmy John’s have lunch options for under $10. 

Ordering lunch from a fast-casual eatery can be a convenient solution — especially if you forgot to bring lunch to work. But getting takeout comes at a cost. The good news is that you may be able to stick to your budget and get a quick, delicious lunch if you order from the right place. 

Lunch doesn’t have to cost $20 or more. Several popular spots offer lunch options for under $10, so you can likely get a satisfying and filling lunch without going over budget. 

Keep in mind that prices can vary across the country, but many eateries feature at least a couple of affordable menu options — even if the rest of the menu is pricey. 

Here are a few affordable lunch options to consider the next time you’re craving cheap takeout. 

1. Panera

A “You Pick Two” order will likely put you over your $10 budget, but there are several other menu options if you’re craving lunch from Panera. Here are three menu items that fit the bill: 

  • A large bowl of broccoli cheddar mac and cheese with a baguette
  • A Mediterranean veggie sandwich with a bag of chips
  • A Napa almond chicken salad sandwich with an apple 

2. Panda Express 

Panda Express is another lunch spot you can visit without busting your budget. These lunch ideas don’t cost a lot of money: 

  • An orange chicken bowl with white rice
  • A medium kung pao chicken entree 
  • A medium fried rice and a chicken egg roll 

3. Chipotle 

Perhaps you’re in the mood for a burrito. While several of Chipotle’s menu items are now close to or over $10, you can still score a deal. Here are three meal options that won’t leave you broke: 

  • A veggie burrito with guacamole
  • A chicken burrito bowl 
  • Three sofritas tacos 

4. Noodles & Company 

If you have a Noodles & Company near you, you can get your noodle fix without spending all of your money. For example, you can enjoy the following meatless noodle dishes for under $10: 

  • A regular Wisconsin mac and cheese 
  • A regular pesto cavatappi
  • A regular Med salad 

5. Five Guys

Some pricier Five Guys menu items are off limits if you’re on a tight budget, but others are more affordable. Don’t let the name “little cheeseburger” fool you — it’s a big burger, and you can add as many free toppings as you want. Try one of these three menu items: 

  • A little cheeseburger 
  • A bacon cheese dog
  • A veggie sandwich 

6. Einstein Bros. Bagels 

Einstein Bros. Bagels is an affordable fast-casual lunch spot worth trying, especially if you’re a big fan of bagels. Here are three cheap lunch ideas: 

  • A ham and swiss bagel sandwich
  • An Avocado Veg Out bagel sandwich
  • A pepperoni pizza bagel

7. Jimmy John’s 

If you’re in the mood for a sandwich, Jimmy John’s has menu options that cost less than $10.

Consider ordering one of the following budget-focused lunch choices if you’re keeping a close eye on your bank account balance: 

  • The regular veggie sandwich
  • The regular Turkey Tom sandwich
  • A Slim sandwich combo with a bag of chips 

8. Boston Market 

Boston Market has several tasty, affordable lunch options. This is a good place to go if you want something other than a sandwich. Give one of these three menu items a try:  

  • A small rotisserie chicken nuggets combo 
  • A chicken pot pie
  • A side item sampler with three sides 

With a little research and planning, you don’t have to avoid having fun or trying new dishes while you’re working on your personal finance goals. If you want to get lunch but are concerned about overspending, check your favorite fast-casual restaurant’s menu prices first. You may be able to enjoy a quick, delicious lunch for under $10. 

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