Eating lunch out has become a daily ritual for a lot of working Kiwis.
An average daily spend on lunch ($10), coffee ($5), soda ($2), and snacks ($5-$10) may seem insignificant, it can add up over time. If you’re a working Kiwi who eats out almost every day, then you could be spending close to $3600 this year just on lunch and coffee! Can you imagine what this amount would add up to over your entire work lifetime?
The good news is there’s a way to break this down NOW. Taking homemade lunch and coffee could save you enough for a new car or a vacation in the near future. Perhaps it won’t be as quick and convenient as a drive through but it would certainly be a lot cheaper and nutritious.
Read more to make homemade lunches a reality:
1. Make food at home
If you don’t know how to cook, start learning now! Homemade lunch is healthy for both your wallet and your body. You will be in control of your calorie, fat and sugar intake. Go on a cooking adventure and play around with different combinations of tasty things.
2. Plan ahead
Pack a delicious lunch you’ll actually want to eat if you don’t want another sandwich or bland salad. Look for last night’s generously prepared leftovers or plan ahead and practice batch cooking to make two or more meals at once and freeze them.
3. Organise things
Use sturdy, good quality washable containers and water bottles to keep you organised for storing your food, fruits and salads. Get a reusable lunch bag large enough to hold your lunch and durable to last.
4. Buy cheap groceries
By buying groceries on special and on weekdays when the prices are cheap, you can have more to spend. Always have simple materials on hand to make quick meals. Buy large bags of snacks and then pack smaller portions of it, instead of taking pre-packed yogurts, spoon a single serving from your large tub of yogurt. You could be saving a few dollars by purchasing generic or own brand products from supermarkets.
Disposable water bottles, soda cans and tetra pack juice with lunch are small expenses but can add up over time. Instead buy reusable durable water bottles to store water, prepare and take soups, juices, and smoothies from home.
6. Take it outside
Socialising with colleagues outside the office builds rapport. Take your workmates along and escape to a nearby park to have lunch. You will feel refreshed and balanced throughout the day.
7. Take a day off
Even the best budget needs a little flexibility. If you spot the reflex to seek refuge in the sushi place next door, take a day off from brown bagging and eat out once in a while.
8. Store in the office
Quit your flat white and breakfast on-the-go. There is no excuse to splurge. If you don’t find much time to prepare and have breakfast at home, you could store everything you need from cereal, milk and fruits in the office. Build a small pantry at work by stowing sauces, salad dressings and spices to kick up the flavour in your homemade food. Also, keep some spoons, dishes and cloth napkins to add elegance to your lunch table! If your office has a dishwasher and utensils like most of them do, then you don’t need to carry your utensils in daily.
9. A little something sweet
A fancy wrapped cake, cookie or a nut bar will do the trick if you are occasionally giving in to after lunch cravings.
By squirrelling away that small amount of daily eat-out money you could easily increase your savings. What are you waiting for? Start saving now.
Feel free to share your favourite easy peasy lunch ideas for work with our readers.