Brown-bagging your lunch may not sound like a sophisticated thing to do especially when you’re working in an office where everyone is going out to the nearby fancy food court to eat lunch. I know, it’s called Keeping up with the Joneses.
It’s human nature, if we can’t afford to keep up with the Joneses in terms of buying fancy sports cars and homes, why not do it on a smaller scale such as eating out for lunch? The problem is, it no longer will cost you $1.99 for a hamburger, fries and coke like it did 35 years ago. It will now cost you at least $10.00 for a half decent meal with a glass of free water and ice. Add on the sugary drink, and it will cost a good $12.00 plus tax.
This may not sound like much, but here’s what it adds up to:
$12.00 X 5 days a week = $60.00
$60.00 X 4 weeks in a month = $240.00
$240.00 X 12 months = $2880.00
$2880.00 X 5 years = $14,400.00
By doing the above calculations, you can see that over a 5-year period of just eating out for lunch every day, can deprive you of a $14,400.00 increase in your retirement account, not counting the interest that could have accrued.
Of course, once you’ve gotten used to dining out on a daily basis, it certainly is tough to break the habit. What I started doing to assist me in breaking the habit is to actively allocate the money I would have used to dine out, to pay down my credit card debts. Yes, it may sound strange, but I would make a $10.00 payment towards my credit card debt at least three times a week on those days that I brown-bag my lunch. What started out as three times a week is often now five times a week. With the existence of online banking, making a small payment towards your credit card debt is quick, easy and free. Just log-in, and with a click of a button, you’ve made another payment which gets you closer to being debt free. By actively paying off your debt with every penny you save, can save you the mental burden of trying to hold on to that money for an entire month and then paying your credit card debt when it’s due. If you’re like me, most of the time, you’ll find an excuse to spend the money you’ve saved on something you never needed in the first place.
Oh, and remember that sugary drink I spoke about earlier which will cost you an extra $2.00? Well, that extra $2.00 per day can easily lead to obesity in the future and not to mention possible health conditions that can land you in the dreaded Doctor’s office which may cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run.
Next time you head to work, don’t forget the brown bag with a healthy meal that will slim your waist and fatten your wallet.
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