You know what can be a surprisingly expensive aspect of my life at times?
Lunch. I normally wouldn’t think of lunch being expensive but it really can be! I used to always go out to lunch at Chipotle or Panera because those are my favorite lunch destinations. Once I set a goal of saving money though, they were the first thing to get cut since my meals of choice at these places were over $10.
10/day X 20 workdays/month = $200/Month for lunch! That needed an adjustment.
So, I started going home everyday for lunch and eating the leftovers from supper the night before. Much cheaper! food = $0. Driving back home each day doubles my amount of driving though which means an extra half gallon or so of gas each day. That’s still much better at about $40/month instead of $200.
Next, I decided I wanted to start biking to work instead of driving. Then I don’t have to try to find parking, and I get a little bit of that much needed exercise I’ve been slacking on lately! The idea when I was biking was that I would pack a lunch everyday to bring with me. This worked for about a week. Then I started forgetting nearly everyday. So, since I didn’t have a car I would walk to the nearest eatery, Subway. That’s definitely a step backwards @ $8/day, or about $160/month.
Fortunately, I think I’ve found a plan that works for me. I can make my lunches to bring with me everyday, but make them all ahead of time. Then I can’t forget! So, on Sunday nights I prepare 5 lunches (and breakfasts!) for the week. It works great. Each morning I just grab a lunch, and a breakfast out of the fridge, toss it in my bag and I’m off. Not only is it the cheapest route, but I also eat the healthiest this way.
For a typical week, I will make 5 sandwiches, 5 small bags of veggies, 5 small bags of a fruit, and 5 half-cup containers of either unsweetened applesauce, or cottage cheese. Also, I like to pack a small breakfast, which is usually 1 larger fruit (like an apple, orange or banana usually) and something with some protein like yogurt, or hard-boiled eggs. I haven’t calculated the price on this but we buy everything at Aldi, and I opt for the larger containers instead of individually wrapped servings on things like yogurt, applesauce, etc. So, it’s not more than a couple dollars per day.