After graduating from grad school and when we started to get a paycheck, I
finally felt like I could eat out without the guilt of living outside of our
means. After a couple years of this so called "freedom", I quickly
realized how much we were spending on eating out. We recently went to a cash
only system for lunches. I get $30/month in cash for "lunch money" and
my wife gets $60 a month (she runs around w 4 kids and sometimes needs to get a
quick bite for everyone if time doesn't allow). This has been a great
system for us. We spend less, eat more healthy, and force ourselves to pay more
attention to our spending habits. I think if everyone sat done and wrote down
everything they spent each month, they would be shocked at the totals. I am a
dentist and I am shocked at how much money is spent by my staff on lunch. They
eat out for lunch almost daily! And I know they don't make as much as I do.
I think they would be shocked to see how much money they could be saving if they
changed their habits.
@CANIKICKITYou are absolutely right. $8 for every work day of the
year ends up being about $2000 dollars. If you put that in a 401k instead of
eating out at lunch for 20 years, even with a below average return rate you
could have around $80,000!
Years ago my husband and I looked at his eating out for lunch daily. His
company has an onsite cafeteria, so lunches usually cost under 5 dollars,
offsite, it is about 8. We had to look at what the meal I sent would cost
subtracted from the meal cost at work. We found that is was only about 2-4
dollars a day more. At 4 dollars a day, we would be saving about 80 dollars per
month. However, this is only part of the equation. There is
something about leaving work, or at least your office, that helps break up a
very stressful day. My husband has a very good, well paying job, but he has a
lot of responsibility and we found it worth it,to have nice hot lunch or a tasty
salad out. He usually puts in a lot of overtime and it is expected because he
is a salaried employee. We have found other ways to save. He does not hunt,
fish or golf so this is something he enjoys and I am fine with it. Also,if he
drove home and back there would be no savings either with the cost of gas.
I used to eat out a lot more than I do now-I mean 15-20 years ago. I almost
always take time now to put a lunch together or at least bring a can of soup
with crackers to eat. I maybe eat out once or twice a month and spend $10 each
time. I see people I work with go to lunch every day-every day! I can't
see spending that much money and I just hate trying to decide what to have.
Maybe because I used to do it all the time a just got tired of it.