Are you participating in the 52 week savings challenge? In our free printable challenge we include packing your lunch as one of the 52 ways you can save the money you want to contribute to your yearly savings plan and try to reach your goal of saving over $1300.00. So let’s talk about how packing your lunch instead of buying it can save you a reported up to $2,500 a year.*
How Packing Your Lunch Saves You Money
Here are a few examples of how you are spending money by dining out for lunch:
- Leaving the office to dine out you money on gas.
- You also lose time on work – time you may have to make up if there is a situation which gets you back in the office after you designated lunch hour (or portion of hour).
- Eating at a fast food restaurant could cost you approximately $6.00 (based on small combo meals at fast food restaurants).
5 days a week/50 weeks in a year (let’s pretend you got two weeks vacation)/$6.00 a lunch = $1500.00 a year in lunch expenses.
- In the event you dine out for lunch at a sit down restaurant you may spend an average of $12.00 a meal including a tip.
5 days a week/50 weeks in a year (let’s pretend you got two weeks vacation)/$12.00 a lunch = $3,000.00 a year in lunch expenses.
- Dining out at fast food restaurants are also not as good for your health. We all know that fast food isn’t “healthy” unless you are frequenting some of the healthier options like Snap Kitchen or Salata (fast casual dining with healthy, low calorie and gluten free options). This could also translate into higher health care expenses as you care for medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Loving some leftovers? You should be. You have already put the work into making a nice meal at home and you have leftovers. Why not pack those up and enjoy your own home cooking instead of eating out? You have now made your grocery bill go further and last longer.
- Packing your lunch not only saves money but is eco-friendly. There’s less waste and less involved in the resources on the environment (gas, car emissions, restaurant services). You can use reusable items to pack your lunch, which also saves on waste like trash as you avoid plastic bags and other waste products.
- Earning money on the money you saving by “brown bagging” lunch. Don’t just take my word for it. Use this calculator to find out exactly how much you are spending on an average by eating out and how much you could earn on that money by investing it, even if it’s in just a savings account.
But how can I find out how much I’m spending on buying my lunch? That’s easy. Take a look at your bank statement. Look at the credit or debit card charges for a month. Look at them for three months and see where your money is going. You may be surprised!
What You Could Do with $1500 Saved from Packing Your Lunch
Start a savings account.
Use it to pay off credit card debt.
Use it for your retirement fund (and get a tax benefit).
Pay down student loans, then ask for a new calculation for monthly payment.
Use if to fund your FSA – have health care expenses? There’s a tax benefit and you can use it to pay for health care expenses.
Now I’m not saying to NEVER eat out. There’s a time and place for it. I actually am doing it this week. But it’s not something I do daily. Mr. MoneySavingParent packs his lunch every day unless there’s a party or celebration. He’s done this for years.
The list of what you can do with the money you save goes on, but you get the idea. While $6.00 a day may not seem like much, the benefits of saving $1500 a year can really add up. Which will it be? Browning bagging or buying your lunch?
*Source: How to Save $2500 a Year on Lunch