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Hey New Dad, what does this have to do with you being a new father? I am glad you asked. For the last six years, my wife and I have brought our lunches to work practically every day. According to my conservative estimates, this has saved us over $6,600! If you have read “Have You Considered Affording A Child,” you may recall that once we started receiving bills from the hospital, my wife and I had to pay our health insurance out of pocket maximum, $6,500.
There are times in which my wife and I both eat out with our colleagues. For example, when a new team member starts, my team typically goes to a local restaurant as a welcoming event. In accounting for a few other get-togethers with colleagues, I estimate that my wife and I each do not bring lunch to work between five and ten times per year. On the other hand, I estimate that my colleagues eat lunch out two to three times a week.
According to a survey performed by VISA in 2015. Not only are men more likely to spend money eating out on lunch than women, but men spend an average of $24.93 per week eating out for lunch, whereas women spend an average of $15.55 per week eating out for lunch. Considering that someone can get a satisfying lunch, like a Chipotle burrito, for around $8, my observation appears to be pretty reasonable (Eating lunch out at work two to three times per week).
The Math of The Matter
Based on the survey findings, it seems reasonable to say that an average couple spends approximately $40 per work week eating lunch out. The same survey also stated that preparing your own lunch at home costs on average $6.30 per meal. Personally, my wife and I are able to make delicious lunches for less than $3 per meal, so I am not sure how the survey arrived at a figure which is more than double our cost.
Anyways, getting on with the math!
First, some basic assumptions:
- If the average man spends $24.93 per work week eating out on lunch and the average woman spends $15.55 per work week eating out on lunch, let’s assume that our average man is not bringing lunch to work three times a week, and our average woman is not bringing lunch to work two times a week; a total of five lunches per week for this couple.
- Let’s be generous and assume that whether from holidays, vacation time, or sick leave, our example couple does not have to work 20 weekdays, four work weeks, per year.
- Therefore, we are reviewing the cost for a couple that mutually does not bring their lunch to work five times a week for 48 weeks a year. A total of 240 lunches not brought to work per year (48 weeks x 5 lunches per week).
- And, we are comparing this example couple’s costs to those of my wife and I, who practically always bring our lunches to work. Historically, we will not bring lunch to work less than 20 times per year (10 lunches per year x 2 people).
If our example couple spends the average $40 per week on five lunches not brought to work, for 48 weeks in the year, they will spend $1,920 ($8 per lunch x 5 lunches per week x 48 weeks).
In contrast, in a typical year for my wife and I, we may not bring lunch to work ten times each. That means we will spend approximately $160 purchasing lunches that we did not bring to work ($8 per lunch x 10 lunches a year x 2 people). However, to be fair, we also need to account for the cost of the lunches that my wife and I will prepare at home, which our example couple has instead purchased while at work.
I mentioned before that my wife and I both eat delicious lunches for under $3 per meal. Do not worry, I will provide an example as to how we easily manage to do this later on. For now, this means that my wife and I will spend $3 per meal on 220 lunches that we will bring to work ($660).
In summary, the average couple will spend $1,100 more in a year than my wife and I, simply for not making a lunch to take to work ($1,920 – $160 – $660).
And what about those of you who spend $12 per lunch instead of $8? Yes, I am talking to you, the ones who instead of getting a cup of water always say yes when asked “would you like a beverage with that.” Well, in this scenario, that extra $4 is costing you an extra $960 per year (Additional $4 per lunch x 5 lunches per week x 48 weeks), which means that you and your partner are spending $2,060 more per year than my wife and I. As I have mentioned in a previous post, laziness and complacency are stealing your life energy!
What Does A $3 Lunch Look Like?
In a word, delicious. One of my favorites is a turkey sandwich with pepper jack cheese, a slice of onion, banana peppers, and mayonnaise. Let’s break it down:
- Approximately 14 slices of my favorite bread = $2.99
- 1 lb. of turkey slices = $6.49
- 10 slices of pepper jack cheese = $2.89
- 1 large onion = $0.99
- 12 oz. jar of banana peppers = $1.49
- 30 oz. jar of mayonnaise = $3.59
(Does this ever run out!)
Performing some simple calculations shows that, including my state’s tax, this fantastic sandwich only costs $2.45.
I also like to have a bag of Cheez-Its with my lunch, and by ordering them in bulk from Amazon, each bag costs less than $0.25.
What a wonderful lunch for only $2.70!
In reality, with just a little forethought and the appropriate portion size, there are so many reasonable lunches that you can make for under $3!
When we are prudent enough to do batch cooking on the weekend, my wife and I really enjoy making these larger meals for lunch: