I eat out frequently and I have noticed that I have spent a lot of money on food. In 2008, I spent more than $8,300 on food-related items (including drinks and dining out), and this is only for one person. I thought that I should cut down on my food expenses. I went to the supermarket and went food shopping. I came home with many bags of groceries. I prepared sandwiches at home and brought them to work over the next 10 work days.
In the morning at work, I usually buy breakfast from a deli and would pay $3 for an egg-and-meat sandwich. Now, I could prepare the same sandwich at home for a fraction of the cost.
In the afternoon, I would buy lunch in different food places and spend around $10 for a meal. Now, I could prepare a sandwich that would cost much less.
My Breakfast / Lunch Savings for 10 Days
Average Cost for Breakfast: $3
Average Cost for Lunch: $10
10 Days’ Cost for Breakfast: 10 days x $3 / day = $30
10 Days’ Cost for Lunch: 10 days x $10 / day = $100
10 Days Total Cost: $130
Cost of Groceries: $55.85
Net Savings for 10 Days = $74.15
Long Term Savings
The savings will add up over the long term. If I can save $74.15 in 10 days, I can save $741.50 in 100 days. And in one year, I can save approximately $2,706.
I have done this savings only for breakfast and lunch. If I decide to cook my own dinner, I could extend my savings even further.
The brown bag lunch concept has worked out pretty well in terms of money savings. Many of my coworkers bring lunch to work on a daily basis and they have saved a significant amount of money over the years. But when I asked several people why they bring lunch to work, I learned that the main reason is not just to save money. Surprisingly, the primary reason to brown bag lunch is because lunch from home is much more healthy than lunch from “outside.” In addition to eating healthy, they also happen to save money, thus killing two birds with one stone.
The only downside to this brown bag lunch concept is that I get tired of eating the same sandwiches after a while. But this is mainly because I have limited cooking skills. Once I become more creative in making better lunches, I believe this brown bag concept will work out well in the long term. I can see myself preparing and brown bagging tastier meals which will be beneficial to my health, and at the same time, save money, which will be beneficial to my wealth.