Don’t Let Lunch Eat a Hole in Your Future

October 16, 2015  
Filed under Blogs

BY MARY HUNT

If you were to be hit with a major economic crisis right now, would you be prepared? The vast majority of Americans admit they’d be in deep trouble. The sad truth is that most Americans are theoretically just one paycheck away from the street. Approximately 62 percent percent have no emergency savings. Nothing in the bank. Nada. Zilch!

 

Why aren’t people saving? They don’t believe they make enough to keep current on their debt, pay the rent, keep food on the table, gas in the car — and come out with anything left to save.

 

While all of this is certainly plausible, another statistic kind of blows a hole in that argument: 70 percent of Americans spend $18 per week eating lunch out twice a week. At $9 per day, that’s $936 a year! And for those who eat lunch out five days a week the number jumps to $2,340 per year. Lunch may well be eating a huge hole in their finances.

 

The solution is not hard to figure out. Taking your lunch to work or school could easily recover $2,500 per year for savings, if we consider at least 2.5 lunch-eating people per household. And every time you are strategic with using last night’s leftovers to make today’s lunch, you’ll be saving even more. (Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?)

 

The biggest hurdle for many of us may well be psychological rather than practical. No one wants to look like a nerd at the office. And not everyone is intuitively creative with loading up a brown bag with something that will be close to appealing come lunchtime. It does require a bit of planning and a rigid commitment to a plan. The secret is to make it a rigid behavior long enough until it becomes a habit — a habit that will increase your bottom line.

 

CALCULATE. Need more proof that taking your lunch to work will pay off big? The Brown Bag Lunch Money Savings Calculator will do just that. Check it out. (It’s free.)

 

REUSABLE TRANSPORTS. While the traditional brown bag will hold the average sized lunch, it’s not protective, it’s not insulated and it’s a single-use proposition. To affirm your commitment to packing your lunch for the office or school, I recommend you invest a few bucks in a functional and also attractive lunchbox or bag.

 

I’ve had a Freddie and Sebbie black-and-white polka dot lunch bag for a while now, and I love it. It’s just the perfect size, made of neoprene (a great insulator), has a zipper top and cleans up like a dream. I wash it in the sink like I’d wash any food container and set it upside down on the counter to dry. This bag would make a great gift for any working gal or student. Seriously cute, too.

 

Of all the lunch transports for my male readers and their sons, I would recommend the Hango insulated lunchbox cooler set in the black option. And it’s really great in pink for ladies and girls. This set of two lunchboxes (one large and one a bit smaller) fold up for easy storage. You can eat your lunch, fold up the bag and put it in your handbag, book bag or briefcase. Hand washable, too.

 

MOTIVATIONAL RESOURCES. If you could use some motivation, instructions and fabulous ideas for making really great lunches for kids, students and adults, too, check out these resources:

 

“What Are You Doing for Lunch?” by Mona Meighan (Book Publishers Network, 2012; $12). This helpful book approaches the subject of from a nutritional viewpoint and is packed with ideas and specific instructions for packing healthy lunches that will appeal to all ages and specific tastes. Included with great nutritional information are cost comparisons and potential savings.

 

“Beating the Lunchbox Blues: Fresh Ideas for Lunches on the Go,” by J.M. Hirsch (Rachael Ray Books, 2013; $12). You’ll find some recipes in this book, but mostly you’re going to find fun ideas that can be combined in endless ways (depending on what you have on hand) to make a delicious lunch. Presents tons of ideas for kids’ food and grown-up lunches, too. One section of the book has recipes for family dinners that can become the foundation for packed lunches the next day. What a great idea!

 

For more information on the lunch bags, calculator, and books mentioned above please visit www.everydaycheapskate.com/lunchbag.

 

 

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