If you’re like us, you’ll start the month eating truffles and end it with toast. Dry toast

It’s the last few days before pay day and, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be feeling the pinch.

 

Try as we might – and while rapidly approaching an age at which such carelessness is not all that cute – we’ve never quite managed to master that whole ‘budgeting’ thing and, inevitably, the place that bears the brunt of out fiscal sluttiness is our stomachs.

 

If you’ve spent the last couple of days scrabbling around in your purse for a few quid or trying to figure out how to turn a tin of beans and a knobbly bit of old cheddar into three delicious meals, then this list is for you.

 

Here are the inevitable places that your lunch goes from those halcyon days when your bank balance is bulging, right down to the day before pay day. Don’t worry, we’re all going to get through this:

 

Pay day 

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Look at your bank balance! You’re rich! Rich beyond your wildest dreams! You know you’ve got to put aside money for your rent and bills and travel and stuff, but there’s no need to think about that now that you’re balance is actually in plus figures – it’s time to treat yourself.

 

Why not start the day right with a couple of flat whites and an all-butter pastry? And you’ve been so good for the last couple of weeks, you deserve a mixed sushi platter and a bottled water, iced green tea, diet coke and two puds for lunch. You've been dreaming about a takeaway and a bottle Burgundy of all week – and what’s the point in working so hard if you can’t indulge?

 

One week in

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So things got a little out of hand last week, and you accidentally ate out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every night of the week. You’re determined to rein things in a bit and promise yourself to bring in your own lunch at least twice during the week.

 

The only thing is, all of your colleagues are popping out for lunch and you’re getting food FOMO. What’s a cheeky sandwich away from you’re desk ever done to hurt anyone? You’ll be better next week. Promise.

 

Mid-month

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Oh dear. You knew you’d been a bit extravagant, but part of you had been hoping that by totally ignoring online banking you might have got your calculations slightly wrong. You haven’t.

 

Time to start bringing in pack lunches every day. Your colleagues, confused about your sudden change in eating habits, will ask what's going on. You’ll say you’re a diet, which you kind of are, but not because you really want to loose weight – you’re just too poor for the 4pm cake run now.

 

The slow slide into the end of the month 

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Even your attempts to salvage the situation with packed lunches haven’t helped: you’ve really over-egged it this time. Which is handy, because you’ll be eating nothing but boiled eggs for dinner for the rest of the month.

 

Your packed lunches, which began at the frugal end of the spectrum, have now become positively puritan. To combat the problem, you find yourself volunteering for any meeting where you think there might be nice food and hovering over the biscuit tin like a rabid vulture. Bad times.

 

Don’t worry – in a few days the whole thing will start all over again. Will we ever learn?