Saving money is hard but it can be even harder if you’re going out to lunch every work day. But to be fair work is stressful (at least for most people), putting in a 9 hour day 5 days a week will cause people to be stressed out and this can cause us to ingrain the habit of jetting off to the nearest fast food joint or sit down restaurant (if you’re one of those people who is blessed with an actual hour for lunch) into our daily routine. Sometimes we think that we earned that BigMac or Triple Decker chicken club, and we never bother consulting our wallets to see if they agree.
The Cost of Going Out to Eat:
The average cost of a meal in the United State runs about $12.75 for a single person. Which may seem like a lot but in reality you’re most likely getting a burger/sandwich, some chips and a ice cold, refreshing beverage, nothing too exciting but good none the less. However if we do this every workday (and 90% of the people I have worked with in my career so far, do), this comes out to $63.75 a week ($12.75*5), and this in turn amounts to $3,315 a year. That means the average hard working American spends OVER THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS ON GOING OUT FOR LUNCH! Perhaps I’m weird, but that seems extreme to me, it kind of reminds me of when I was elementary school and our teachers used to make us calculate the cost of cigarette packs, to come up with a year total for the average smoker. The point of this exercise was to show the kids how much money is being wasted on something they don’t even need. Of course, the difference here is that you do in fact need to have lunch and in generally, you may just need food to not starve (really groundbreaking stuff here folks). However there is a much cheaper way to do lunch.
Eating on the Cheap:
The most hardcore (and cheapest) meal I could give you would be Jasmin rice and beans, a Dave Ramsey staple and meme in it’s own right. By my calculations this would run you about $.70 for a serving of both. Yearly this would come out to about $3.50 a week, basically saving you $60 a week or about $3,120 a year. However in reality you could make a variety of meals on the cheap. For example my favorite is salad, soup and a nice salami sandwich, the materials for the sandwich run about $5 for the week, $2 a week for the salad needed (just use a prepared salad for ease), and a nice soup running about $8.75 for five cans, totaling $15.75 a week. This would represent a savings of $48 a week or nearly $2,500 of savings a year.
To be honest there are probably a lot of way one can save with out having to swear an oath of allegiance to Dave Ramsey and join the Rice and Beans Alliance. Just being aware of what you’re throwing your money at is usually more than enough. In fact you can save thousands of dollars a year by just making your own meals, and you can even pretend to be a chef while making them.