A couple of weeks ago, I posted on how you can save money by making your coffee at home instead of purchasing it on the go. Well you can save even more by packing your lunch before heading to work. According to a survey by Accounting Principles (summarized here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/american-workers-coffee-spending_n_1219579.html), over 2/3 of Americans buy their lunches while at work, averaging about $2000 per year! That’s more than the average cost of commuting to work (~$1500). According to a recent Canadian survey, the average cost of a meal at work is around $7-$13. Let’s say that the average cost of a meal made at home is $3 — you can save $1040 to $2600 if you bring your own lunch every day at work. That’s around $55,000 in 30 years (excluding interest), which is a lot of money for retirement!
You’re more likely to eat healthier if you bring your own lunch as well, since you’ll be less likely to make impulse food purchases. You may also be more productive, since finding a spot to eat may take up more time. I tend to work right through my lunch break and eat at my desk for better productivity. This usually means that I leave a little earlier at the end of the day, though some might prefer to utilize the extra time on their lunch break to exercise, run errands, or catch up on the phone with family or friends.
If you regularly buy your lunch during the workday, try substituting 1-2 lunches a week with meals made at home; you’ll find that you can gradually shift to bringing lunch every day and saving plenty of money to do the things that you enjoy!