Author Topic: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days  (Read 2784 times)

FIRE Artist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Location: YEG
6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« on: November 19, 2018, 12:22:12 PM »
Not groundbreaking stuff for the die hard mustachian, but it is a nice life change for me and perhaps this strategy will work for others. 

I changed jobs and work site in the summer and had developed some not great habits of buying coffee with new colleagues and also buying lunch 3-4 times a week.  Enough was enough, I needed to kill the cash drain, and also could lose the stress weight I packed on during the last year of managing life with a dying father.  I have always been pretty good with this, but ate out at least once per week and the same with coffee.  On top of working full time, I have also been taking 2 night classes this fall, so time for meal prep has been at a premium.

So, I trolled the net,  my cook books, my momís classic recipes and made a bunch of soups and chili which I froze in single serve portions. I purchased first one, then a second thermos soup container, as well as a small drink thermos. I have managed to bring my lunch and tea to work every day for 6 weeks now. The thermos helps a lot, no waiting in line for the stinky communal microwaves in the hospital cafeteria, and coffee is much less tempting when I have a thermos of delicious hot tea at the ready. I take the thermos along when on a coffee break with others.

I donít think I have ever managed to go this long with zero work day spend before. I am giving myself the challenge to keep it up through to the end of March with the exception of a couple of pre planned lunches out with team mates dates for the holidays.

For me, the trick has been variety. I have chili, mulligatawny, broccoli cheddar, Thai coconut chicken, Russian vegetable, lasagna soup, and Acadian pea soup right now in my freezer.   I can eat a different lunch every day with no planning necessary.  I replenish one soup recipe every second Sunday to keep the stock levels up without burdening myself with another big soup cook off like when I started.

This meal plan did require an initial investment in containers. I purchased reusable deli containers from the local restaurant supply.  I find as long as I donít put them in the microwave they are washable and reusable.  Sometime the lid doesnít make it, so I have extras of those. A 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup is the perfect vessel to defrost and reheat in the microwave.

I am down 15lbs since implementing this life change.  Probably giving up the coffee with cream and sugar was the most effective change, but eating pre portioned meals also helps.

Plugra

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 06:00:07 PM »
It recently occurred to me to buy a nice thermos for work and it's worked out great. It's really pleasant to just pour yourself a cup of hot tea or coffee at your desk, right when you want it. And it probably paid for itself in the first couple of weeks.  Amazing that more people don't do this.

verfrugal

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Vermont
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2018, 04:05:21 AM »
Congratulations.  Nice plan and execution.  I am looking to put together a similiar plan, even tho i work from home.  Portion control, and having a proper meal ready will stop me from hitting the snacks or indulging in way too many carbs.

sonya

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2018, 08:55:29 AM »
My daughter always refused to eat cafeteria food, starting in 3rd grade. She wanted hot, healthy food like soups, etc. The camping thermoses saved the day - although they were expensive - $15 to $30, but they lasted for years with heavy use. Highly recommend.

soccerluvof4

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3994
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2018, 06:39:07 AM »
I always use to take a nice hearty soup in my thermos back in the day.

DoNorth

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 184
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2018, 11:23:13 AM »
I couldn't agree more.  Funny enough, I was the boss of an 8 person section and naturally, had the highest salary in the section, but was the only one who packed a lunch every day and brought my thermos. 

It recently occurred to me to buy a nice thermos for work and it's worked out great. It's really pleasant to just pour yourself a cup of hot tea or coffee at your desk, right when you want it. And it probably paid for itself in the first couple of weeks.  Amazing that more people don't do this.


Feefers

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2018, 09:04:09 PM »
I found this post to be very motivating, I hope to match your 6 weeks! Started this week by making broccoli cheddar soup. I also have the ingredients for beef stew. So far so good, 3 work days down, $24 saved!


apkanne

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 30
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Orlando, FL
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2018, 10:35:36 AM »
Thank you for the motivation. I pulled the trigger and am trying this out, got the thermos from mom and the tupperware off amazon, only had sandwich sized ones. Planning on shopping the soups at Aldi/Walmart this weekend.

Basenji

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1028
  • Location: D.C.-ish
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 07:15:40 PM »
Excellent work! Great ideas that I hope to copy (even at home).

FIRE Artist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Location: YEG
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2018, 08:24:05 PM »
Checking in on this one, the plan is still going strong with no falters at all.  I added a third soup thermos to my kit, I live alone and donít usually run the dishwasher more than twice a week so the third container helps cut down on hand washing.

I will be making more soups over the holidays, I plan to drop the broccoli cheddar (too high calorie) and add Italian wedding. I also discovered I can double the mileage out of the Thai soup recipe by making both green and red curry versions.

Far and away the pea soup with chunks of ham is my favourite, I could eat it every day, but only allow myself the pleasure once a week to ensure I donít get bored with it.

I have also been thinking I should add a Mexican flavour to the mix, tortilla soup is the obvious choice there I think. 

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1542
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2018, 04:24:03 PM »
Your soups sound delicious!  Please post recipes, especially if you find a good one for tortilla soup.

FIRE Artist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Location: YEG
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2018, 07:53:45 AM »
Your soups sound delicious!  Please post recipes, especially if you find a good one for tortilla soup.

Here is my momís pea soup recipe. I cook it until the peas break so donít bother with the blending step. I also add a grated carrot for colour. For the ham, I rarely bake one so I purchase a little half boneless ham when I see them on sale, and add a generous amount.


FIRE Artist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Location: YEG
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2018, 08:07:16 AM »
I use this recipe for the Thai soup.  https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/coconut-curry-chicken-soup

I double the amount of curry paste and add 2 tbsp of tamarind concentrate.  I use the leftover meat from a Costco rotisserie chicken, so usually 3/4 of a roast chicken.  I use palm sugar instead of regular, and full fat coconut milk.

Since I want to eat this out of a thermos, after the noodles are cooled, I put them onto the cutting board and chop it into 1-1.5" long pieces - the noodles will be a sticky mass when the noodles are cool so it is pretty easy to chop up.  For this recipe, if you reheat and eat it straight away, it is still pretty much like the fresh soup ratio of noodles to sauce, but once it sits in the thermos for 4 hours, the noodles will have absorbed most of the liquid, so you are eating a soft noodle and chicken dish more than a soup.  This doesn't bother me at all, but consider yourself warned if you don't like soft noodles. 

I will try to remember to post more recipes as I make them again. 

Antonn Park

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
    • Blue Flower Editing
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2018, 08:43:31 AM »
Nice! Carrot and butternut squash soups are good, but I suspect soup with lentils will keep you full longer. When I worked for an employer, I would make a pot of rice and beans every week and eat that throughout the week. Took me about a year to get sick of it.

FIRE Artist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Location: YEG
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2018, 11:36:31 AM »
I have an all vegetable soup in the freezer, but I can only take it when I have some kind of protein to supplement it with.  I am now just making soups with protein included to simplify the lunch bag. 

frugalkristen

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2018, 10:25:06 AM »
I want to jump on this trend - no spending during the work week.  I have no intention of spending the rest of this week (I did buy a couple of grocery items Monday) but will start completely December 31st.  Congrats to the OP on this change!

FIRE Artist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Location: YEG
Re: 6 weeks of zero spend during work days
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2018, 11:56:33 AM »
Over the holidays I have put up double batches of chili and pea soup and am trying out a new recipe - chicken taco soup.  With what I already had in the freezer, I am good for work lunches for the next 10 weeks.

My next challenge is to eat down the rest of what is in my freezer, I want to get to the point where my freezer doesnít contain ďingredientsĒ rather is used to store ready made meals. So in the future, I will no longer be buying meat for the freezer, rather buying meat to meal prep and be freezing completed meals, be it already made soups, stews or assembled meal kits for the slow cooker or instant pot.