A recent headline on a PBS radio show caught my attention. It said:
Why Bank of America Employees are Bringing Their Lunches to Work.
They then went on to describe how, when employees got word that their employer, Bank of America, may be cutting 40,000 jobs, they immediately went into “austerity mode” and stopped buying lunch out, even hot dogs from the wagon on the sidewalk in front of the building, in order to start holding onto their savings because they may find themselves out of a job in the next few weeks.
Hmmm… am I understanding this correctly? Extravagance and unconscious spending don’t matter if you have an incoming salary? Isn’t saving “always” critical? Isn’t “pay yourself first” the general rule? Isn’t growing one’s emergency savings always a priority? It strikes me as ironic that perhaps the simplest bit of money-saving one can do on a daily basis is one that is ignored when everything “seems” to be okay, but is the first to go when saving “seems” critical. There are many big ways to cut expenses to free up some money to balance your budget or add to your savings like re-negotiating mortgages and insurance policies, but you can still receive notable savings benefits from changing some simple habits, like bringing lunch.
I’m not implying a mindset of deprivation. I’m not a frugality fanatic by any means, and I don’t come even remotely close to being an extreme coupon master, but I do try to be conscious of waste and wasteful spending, like buying lunch out everyday. Taking the easy and accessible alternative of bringing a delicious lunch most of the time is a simple way one can enjoy feeling abundant without unnecessary spending.
We did an earlier post on how much money breaking the bottled water habit would save, and discovered that a family of four could save as much as $2,878.57 per year with the use of a simple home water filter. What about bringing lunch vs buying out? Using Bankrate.com’s Lunch Savings Calculator, we found we could save close to $900 per year, per person, based on lunch purchased out at $6 a day vs BYO bagged at $3. And what if you choose to go more eco-friendly? What about the added cost of purchasing reusable containers, reusable bags, and running extra dishwasher loads? Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar blog did the math and found that it only takes one or two lunches to recover the initial cost of the containers, and the cost to wash is just about 3 cents.
Not only does bringing your own lunch save you money (money that could go toward your retirement savings, emergency savings account, or for travel, or holiday fun) but it’s better for your health, too! So why wait?
Bring Your Own Lunch: DIY vs Pre-made Products - It might be quicker, but does it cost less money? See exactly how much pre-made lunch products are costing you when Grocery School does the math.
Grocery Shopping: Cut Your Tab in Half - Save money, as much as $70 a week, on grocery shopping without sacrificing health or taste, and you can even do it without coupons! Tips from the Good Housekeeping Institute.
Healthy Foods on a Budget? – You can afford to eat healthier foods – even on a tight budget. Get tips from nutritionist Natalie that will help you make wise spending and shopping choices and healthier ones, too!
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