Author Topic: Packing your own lunch  (Read 4266 times)

nixjasr

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Packing your own lunch
« on: December 22, 2015, 06:31:27 PM »
For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to say that my wife and I have saved about $3,000 this year packing our own lunch each day (almost without exception). This is $250 per month.
Invest this found money as we are in VTSAX, keep it up for 10 years (at an estimated 7 percent return for the market), and that alone yields $47,350.80 toward early retirement. That's a year's salary for a lot of folks, for something as simple as packing a lunch, which actually has worked out better for us.
Add to this our habit of never driving to work (bus or walking), and we'll shave off several years off of our required work time. Not too bad.

Quinny

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 08:19:32 PM »
Nice!

We (adults) pack our own, mainly leftovers, and pack for our kiddos as well (usually their choice, leftovers or peanut butter and jelly). I found a lunchbox for them that makes me happy almost every time I pack it... Stainless steel, and it has little compartments for multiple courses. It looks like an old fashioned TV dinner tray with a lid. I know that I'm ever so much better about giving them veg and fruit than if I just used a regular lunchbox, or multiple small containers. They're pricey, but if they don't get lost they should last forever.

When I see the people at work that I know make far less money buying lunch on a daily basis it makes me sad. Anyone doing it makes me sad, honestly.

Zikoris

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 09:55:54 PM »
Totally. It's been around five years since I bought a work lunch, and I imagine I must have saved a humongous amount. I'm always blown away by how casually people hire other people to cook for them. I do very basic, entry level clerical work, and many people in my department, who presumably make a similar amount as me, seem to buy breakfast, lunch, and coffee every day. I'm not sure how much money I'd have to make to feel like that was inconsequential spending, but it would be a hell of a lot more than I make now.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2015, 04:47:19 AM »
I've been eating leftovers for lunch since I was in grad school 25 years ago.  I can't imagine spending 5 - 10 bucks a day, 5 days a week for processed fast food crap when I can have a yummy and healthy repeat of last night's dinner for free.

GrOW

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2015, 04:53:58 AM »
Sweet savings!

I am a big fan of six small meals a day and have been doing it for almost three years. It has really helped me maintain a healthy diet, weight, and energy level all day. As a great side benefit, it just makes sense to pack 4 meals into a lunch box and be done. So win-win.

I go into work early at about 6:15 so the four meals are:
7:00 breakfast
9:30 morning snack
Noonish lunch
2:30 afternoon snack

Fishindude

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2015, 05:05:58 AM »
I eat lunch out about 50% of the time, but we are empty nesters with plenty of savings and income.   When I was younger, I packed my lunch every day.
Eating out usually runs about $10 per day if you keep it pretty simple and cheap.  That works out to about $2500 per year, if you did it every day.

This is a big area for the average person to save some money.
Also eliminates the drive somewhere, giving you a little more time to relax, and saves gas $$.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 05:12:19 AM by Fishindude »

mrteacher

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2015, 06:38:55 AM »
I pack my lunch every day for the reasons noted above: huge money saver, much healthier, and, to be honest, much tastier (I easily prefer a "repeat of last night's [delicious, homemade] dinner" to the vanilla fast food joint to which co-workers flock).

To anyone struggling with packing lunch because "it's the last thing I want to do when I wake up in the morning," I've ingrained a habit that gets around this: the first thing I do when I get home from work is pack my lunch for the next day - unless I'm using leftovers of the dinner I'm yet to make, in which case I just plop leftovers in a tupperware as soon as I'm done eating dinner.

nixjasr

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2015, 10:23:37 AM »
I teach at a community college,and I'm shocked at how many of my low-income students (most of whom are racking up hefty student loans) spend $4 for a cup of coffee and $8-$10 for lunch each day without thinking twice about it.

Since I advise the student newspaper, I was able to get a full-size refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and toaster oven for the space. I encourage students to use it just like I do. I've found that the act of preparing my own lunch in front of them sets a good example, and I've converted many to the idea that you don't have to eat at the cafeteria just because it's there. Seeing me actually do it makes more of an impact than wagging my finger at them and telling them they're wasting money.
Once I show them the economics of paying people to cook for you and brew your coffee, vs. doing it yourself and keeping that money (or not borrowing it), most of them see the light.

Now, if I could just convince more of them to ride the bus to the college--they get a FREE bus pass, and most never even use it--instead of financing a car using student loans, I'll feel better about their future economic situation. Again, seeing me do it makes it less foreign and doable, so maybe I'll pull more of them over to the the frugal way of thinking.


esq

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2015, 04:52:19 PM »
Every Sunday afternoon I make a large, low carb casserole or crock pot of meat and veg (or just meat), and pre pack five tupperware containers for my lunches all week.  I leave for work at 6am, and not having to do anything but grab a tupperware out of the fridge is wonderful.  I'll usually pre pack salads or veggies in another tupperware - either on Sunday or the night before.

Last week I let it slide for the first time in several years, and I was very sorry every morning. :)

nixjasr

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2015, 05:07:06 PM »
Ha!!! I also feel guilty when I miss a day.
I had to spend $8 for a greasy burger and salty fries at the college cafeteria where I work and came away with some new insight as to why people graduate overweight and in debt.

JrDoctor

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2015, 11:30:17 PM »
I have actually been considering paying for lunch.  1.80 for a self filled plate of salad, with tonnes of choice.  Typically I get six eggs a bucketload of veg.  Which actually for the price isn't terrible.

Prairie Gal

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Re: Packing your own lunch
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2015, 06:03:01 PM »
I definitely need to do better at this. I have fallen into the bad habit of getting fast food almost every day for lunch.