For as long as I’ve been working here — nay, as long as I’ve been working — I’ve taken the easy, lazy way out by buying my lunch every day. Usually it’s from the cafeteria, but a filling and sometimes creative company lunch, even though subsidized, still costs more than six dollars. Eating at the local Blimpie is cheaper, but less “multicultural.”
I finally decided to bite the bullet sandwich and make my own lunches. I spent $30 on a Thermos lunch cooler (red), a freezer ice pack, bread, yogurt, and enough lunch meats to last about a week and a half. For drink, I will simply fill a cup with spring water from the cooler in the office copy room.
Assuming the food will last only a week, I won’t save any money the first five days. However, I won’t have to buy another cooler or ice pack next week, so I foresee a decent amount of saving in the long run.
This whole system hinges on the two unlikely propositions that I continue finding time and motivation to make my lunch ahead of time and I don’t get bored of cheese/salami/bologna meals. Stacey believes her procedure works well: make all the lunches for the week on Sunday and store them in ready-to-go plastic zipper bags so I can easily grab one from the refrigerator each morning.
All this effort makes me wonder if the cost savings is worth it. After all, the cafeteria does come up with some pretty tasty meals, and I often rely on a larger lunch to ensure I’m satisfied with a smaller dinner at home.
By the way, I recognize I never got around to recording that podcast I mentioned. I’ll get back into that at some point, but it isn’t a priority at the moment.
* Real estate price forecasts in 100 major markets to 2006
* Seven creative ways to buy your first house
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published May 16, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.