Why don’t more of us take lunch to work?
A recent British study has shown that we could be saving £1,300 per year – that’s over $2000 at time of writing – if we took packed lunches to the office rather than buying our midday meals.
That’s a huge saving.
And we know that in most cases, the lunches we take to work ourselves will be healthier, especially if we’re now relying on fast foods to keep us fuelled up for the afternoon.
So why is it that most of us don’t do it? I suspect there are two reasons.
Some of us might have less-than-fond memories of packed lunches from our childhoods. Mums weren’t always at their most imaginative when doling out kid-food.
And I believe that the other reason why we don’t save money by taking our own lunches could be because of our own lack of imagination. But I’m looking at those figures again … $2000! Mostly, when we are advised about cost-cutting methods, the savings are far less.
After all, if our employers told us that they were increasing our wages by $2000 per year, we’d be pleased. Saving the $2000 instead is equal to the same thing. If there are two of you in your household who are working out of the home, your disposable income can rise by over $4000! It take a little planning but not very much. After all, fresh French bread, some lovely cheese, a few pieces of fruit and a little salad takes almost no time at all to throw into a lunchbox.
Most offices have some sort of kitchen these days, even if it’s just a microwave tucked away in a corner. Here are some ideas to make your saving easier:
- A container of salad will stay fresh in the office fridge from Monday to Friday. Assemble it on Sunday, take it to work on Monday and you’ll have salad for the rest of the working week
- Don’t dress your salad until you’re ready to serve. Keep your dressings -it’s good to have a variety – in the fridge
- Keep other items too such as a small peppermill, shredded parmesan, croutons, nuts … they will all add variety to salads and soups
- Take enough fruit to last you the week -bunches of grapes, bananas, whatever you choose
- Make a little more at dinnertime and take the additional portion to work the next day. This is great for items like quiches
- Join with others in your workplace with potlucks. With four other people, each bring a dish to feed all five of you one day a week each
- I make batches of homemade soups at the weekend and freeze individual portions in glass jars that I’ve saved
- For extreme budgeting, take cooked oatmeal and add fresh fruits, raisins, honey and/or chopped nuts
It’s worth making a small investment if you’re going to save thousands of dollars. If your office doesn’t have one, invest in an inexpensive microwave. A good but cheap blender is invaluable for making homemade soups and delicious fruit smoothies. Add to this a set of food containers and an inspirational cookbook and for about a hundred dollars you’ll be well on your way towards great savings.
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