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Simple Money Saver 1

May 24th, 2014 at 08:23 pm

Pack your lunch. Sounds dumb right? But seriously I lid you not most of my stay at home mom's working husband's eat lunch out everyday. Most of my Dr coworkers buy lunch daily. Many of my sahp buy lunches when we go out. Yep eating out is prevalent and honestly easier.

But with a little planning you can save a lot of money. Assume a $5 foot long from subway is all you have or a six inch sub with chips and a drink. Want to do that for less than $110/month? 22 working days on average or 176 hours a month is normal payroll. Buy a big bag of chips, loaf of bread, and luncheon meat and cheese and throw it in office fridge for week and you are set. Even better put in five sodas and you are having a full meal. Seriously my DH did this throughout graduate school including the soda. Always brought in five on Monday for the week and 12 packs were $2 a case. His meals for the week were maybe $10? I did the same or if I didn't have a fridge I'd make a sandwich.

I also usually cook enough for dinner and lunch the next day or two. Leftovers are great. No microwave? But a thermos and it'll keep. Buy a lunch bag and ice pack. And chill your soda the night before in the lunch bag in the fridge.

I can't take credit for this behavior. But our parents behaved this way and we grew up only knowing you always pack your lunch even the soda you'd want but couldn't fathom paying vending machine prices.

But seriously I doubt most people only spend $5 a day on lunch if they are eating out. More like $20 after the morning breakfast, Starbucks Coffee in morning and afternoon. And it does add up fast.

Do you buy or bag it?

10 Responses to “Simple Money Saver 1”

  1. My English Castle Says:

    It's so true. Even a couple days a week makes a huge difference. My DH gets free lunch at work, and I figure it saves us thousands a year.
    Tax-free thousands at that.

  2. Dental Floss Tycoon Says:

    Most of my coworkers eat out and never brown bag it. They are spending $4-$5 per day. And, to hear them talk, most of them have high blood pressure and cholesterol issues. I cook a lot on weekends, and try to make sure I'll have enough leftovers for 5 meals for work during the following week for a lot less than $4-$5 per day. It's not only cheaper to brown bag it, but healthier than fast/junk food.

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    The worst I ever saw was in a factory setting (I worked there temp) where the work was minimum wage and there was a company cafeteria onsite, with no time to go out elsewhere on lunch break. The cheapest thing was a salad for $4, but when I looked around I saw people ordering full hot meals. Some must have been spending 1.75-2.5 hours of of their daily wages on lunch. You, know--1/4 of their earnings for lunch! Very sad!

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    My kids always pack a lunch...do not like the school lunches or the lack of time to eat them. My husband nearly always takes a lunch, but there are occasions where he eats out. He probably would eat out every day, but I trained him not to. Smile

  5. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    EnglishCastle that's a nice benefit.

    Joan that is very sad about how many workers would be spending so much of their income on lunch!

    CC very funny too bad I hear from too many other people they can't train their spouses.

  6. Nika Says:

    It is definitely very time consuming to pack lunch. Most of the time, I can't manage to do it. But that's because this example of soda+bread(especially the kind that keeps for more than 1 day)+ deli meat all add up to a nutritionally terrible meal. I can't imagine eating mostly empty calories on a daily basis just to save money unless we are in an extreme situation. In our family, majority of lunch should contain fruit/vegetables/greens and fresh lean protein (with occasional exception).

    Now, if these people are going to Subway and getting the same pre-processed nitrate-laden deli meats for more money, they are getting the same poor nutrition. Luckily, in Manhattan there are plenty of lunch places where fresh food can be cooked to order in a healthy way.

    Plus, there is a social aspect to eating out, so I would not want to limit that for DH.

  7. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Nope my DH is not into sandwiches. Mostly he takes leftovers so I would say that they are empty calories. They are pretty high quality considering what we buy and how we cook. We cook a lot and better than many places. We can and do make bread, pasta, pizza dough, etc.

    Today we made whole wheat mac and cheese for kids with smoked sausage. We smoked the sausage. We smoke ribs, chicken, pork, etc. We also make stick rice wrapped in lotus leaf, home made dumpling, and fresh vietnamese spring rolls for lunch.

    When I make sandwiches it's usually freshly made meat. We've made smoked turkey and chicken. We also buy them fresh off the bone. We also do roast beef for sanwiches off the bone. I know we spend an absurb amount on food, but we cook A LOT.

    I've made your kale salad, I have kale right now in the fridge. I also make rotisserie chicken salad with fresh grapes, apples, light mayo, nuts, etc. It's just a matter of cooking. Fresh fruit? Tons in my house. Bananas, strawberries right now and I'm going to get kiwi and grapes.

    Pretty much anything I make is leftovers for lunch the next day. Kids love curries I make japanese, indian, and thai. tomorrow I'm thinking indian butter chicken with basmati rice. Maybe some risotto the next day with homemade chicken stock made earlier in the week.

    Trust me most people who cook but can afford not too, aren't doing so because it's all money savings. Sometimes it's knowing what goes in the food and doing it better than what you can buy Smile Plus no way a kale salad costs me $10.

  8. Nika Says:

    We cook. A lot. Can't smoke my own meat - we live in an apartment. Plus, you stay at home so you do have more time to do these things. We both have full time jobs and long commutes, so it is a bit of a different situation.

  9. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    We've smoked meat since living in a 500 sq ft condo on the patio. We lived two of us together there. We've lived in 300 sq ft together.

    I do stay at home, but you make more money than DH and I because I don't work. You choose to have a long commute and full time jobs. I chose to economize because I'm not bringing home $75k/year or more (likely more) and instead work at maximizing our income and minimizing our lifestyle.

    You'd better read Mr Money Mustache about commutes that are 1 hour. Write to him be a case study. I think he'd take you on. He took me on.

    Everytime someone says enviously that I stay at home I'm offended. You chose to work, I chose to stay at home for less money. It's the trade off families make. No one is forcing anyone to do anything they don't want to do. I have to say that's sort of a pet peeve of mine.

    I know how much more we'd be making and how much YEARS of compounding lost income we are doing right now. But we've chosen consciously to do it. Like MonkeyMama, the CPA always says, people don't get how when two people make $50k each and gives up half salary they end up coming out ahead? It just does with taxes and everything else.

    I say it all the time to friends who make dual six figure incomes. They can choose to give up one 6 figure income instead of hiring a nanny, full time daycare, etc. It costs more for them to work. BUT NO ONE LISTENS.

  10. Nika Says:

    I did not state it "enviously" - it was just a statement that our life has some limitations that are different from yours.

    It takes 2 of us just to make income close to your DH's.
    I make just about as much as DH, so if I did not work, our income would be halved. We could not own an apartment on one income. Not to mention that our excellent health and dental come from my job, and other benefits such as a pension. And the fact that our childcare is subsidized by DH's employer and we are paying below market rate until DS goes to school. And no, we would not save anything at all in taxes if I did not work.

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