Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

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investingdad
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Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by investingdad » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:02 am

My wife and I pretty much bring lunch from home to eat at the office every day. We've been doing this all of our respective 22 year careers to date.

I've noticed in my office, some people do the same as me. And others go to our cafeteria or get take out every, and I mean EVERY, day.

So I was curious what this could add up to and did some math.

- assume 235 days in the office each year
- we brown bag 95% of the time, so 220 bagged lunches each year
- I think we save about $4 per person, per lunch by doing this
- that's about $1800 savings a year

So that's not a huge amount of money, but wait...there's more.

- we've invested since day 1 of working
- reasonable for me to assume that saved money was invested
- at 6% a year returns, over 22 years, it sums up to $78,000

And...if that money stays in the portfolio and continues to grow another decade at 6% a year until we retire in our fifties, it's about $140,000.

Please pass me the sandwich. :)

thangngo
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by thangngo » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:05 am

:beer Yup. I'm thankful for my wife. She packs lunch for both of us. It's cheaper and healthier. Half of the money we save from eating out is used for traveling, the other half to savings for rainy days.

silverlitegs
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by silverlitegs » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:06 am

Great post on the financial savings. I bring my lunch to work almost everyday. One downside is networking. Do you feel not going out with everyone you are impeding your career?
Last edited by silverlitegs on Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:07 am

Where I live, lunch is currently $10-$12 dollars.

And most if the 20-something's eat out a lot.

investingdad
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by investingdad » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:09 am

silverlitegs wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:06 am
Great post on the financial savings. I bring my work almost everyday. One downside is networking. Do you feel not going out with everyone you are impeding your career?
Nope, networking over lunch is overrated in my opinion.
Last edited by investingdad on Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

John Laurens
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by John Laurens » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:10 am

I guess it depends on your career. Sometimes billion dollar deals are made out at a restaurant...pass me the Courvoisier.

Regards,
John

mak1277
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by mak1277 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:11 am

Not worth it for me. I've never brown bagged a day in my career and I managed to save money (although being in high income positions clearly helped). The $78,000 you quote isn't enough to make me regret what I've done to this point.

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Alexa9
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Alexa9 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:12 am

The cost is not the most important thing. The portion control and choosing what goes in your lunch is important to me.

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mhc
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by mhc » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:12 am

I bring my lunch every day. It is part of my 11 year plan to get to ER.

Lunch out would be more in the $8-12 range at a fast food or sandwich shop.

I do miss out on the networking, but I eat lunch at the park. It gives me a chance to unwind, relax, and recharge for the afternoon.

The savings could enable one to retire 1-2 years earlier.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by juliewongferra » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:13 am

investingdad wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:02 am
My wife and I pretty much bring lunch from home to eat at the office every day. We've been doing this all of our respective 22 year careers to date.

I've noticed in my office, some people do the same as me. And others go to our cafeteria or get take out every, and I mean EVERY, day.

So I was curious what this could add up to and did some math.

- assume 235 days in the office each year
- we brown bag 95% of the time, so 220 bagged lunches each year
- I think we save about $4 per person, per lunch by doing this
- that's about $1800 savings a year

So that's not a huge amount of money, but wait...there's more.

- we've invested since day 1 of working
- reasonable for me to assume that saved money was invested
- at 6% a year returns, over 22 years, it sums up to $78,000

And...if that money stays in the portfolio and continues to grow another decade at 6% a year until we retire in our fifties, it's about $140,000.

Please pass me the sandwich. :)
So I agree with brown bagging your lunch, but let's not forget opportunity cost of having to make/prepare/cook the food and go shopping. (Sure, maybe you'll say that you're eating leftovers and they've been already cooked...but in this case, you're eating food for lunch that you could have had for dinner when you get home, so there is still an opportunity loss built into it.)

Remember, that you're not only buying the food. You're buying the labor, time, and effort it would take you to construct the actual item. This is true for whatever purchase we make: food, clothes, car, home, etc.

So it's not a strictly financial calculation!!

cheers,
jwf

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:16 am

I bring my lunch everyday. I think it is more about food choice than savings. I think I eat better than if I ate out.

Andyrunner
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Andyrunner » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:17 am

I would say 4 dollars savings is probably on the lower end.

My standard lunch consists of:

PP&J or some form of leftovers
apple
granola bar
yogurt
Total cost is about $3

Eating out for lunch to fill me is probably about 8-10 dollars.

I'm 32 and bring lunch 90-95% of the time. When I was 24 and working out 15-20 hours a week, I'd eat my lunch by about 10:30am, go to chipolte, eat and then look for a snack around 3pm. My metabolism has scaled back a bit.

Afty
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Afty » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:18 am

I did this early in my career and did feel it negatively impacted my career. Not so much in the networking sense, but I felt it hurt the team dynamic because I didn't eat with them, and it made me dislike my job more as I didn't make friends at work.

The company I work for now provides free food, and our team eats lunch together every day. I believe this makes us a more effective team and keeps our team members happier.
Last edited by Afty on Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

rbaldini
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by rbaldini » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:19 am

I'm suspicious that saving a few bucks per day in meals might subconsciously encourage me to spend a few extra bucks per day on something else. That being said, on the whole I think it can't hurt. I try to bring lunch at least half the time. Save money, and have greater control over your diet.

On the other hand, sometimes I just have no interest in cooking or preparing food. Can't bring myself to do it, either out of boredom or because I'd rather spend my valuable free time doing something else. In those cases, I'm happy to pay someone else to make my food - it's worth it.

lightheir
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by lightheir » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:20 am

I def think there are real cost savings and health benefits from brown bagging your lunch, but I gotta admit that it's usually presented in a 'holier than thou' matter that gets old quick.

I don't know anyone who got rich from brown bagging their lunch, $78k in savings included, nor have I ever met anyone that rejoiced in a big expenditure that they'd been saving up for thanks to strictly their brown bag lunching.

I have, however, met quite a few people that have preached their frugality in brown bag lunching, and gotta say, I'm not impressed in the slightest.

If someone wants to get all healthy and frugal about lunch, how about you come run with me during my lunch hour for 45 minutes at 6:20 min/mile (and no, I don't have a gym in my workplace or adjacent to my workplace and yes, I only get 60 minutes for lunch not a 2 hr lunch break), and skip lunch entirely - and THEN we can get all holier than thou about what's most frugal and most healthy about lunch. :o

lazydavid
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:21 am

Absolutely. The cost is hard to calculate and varies depending on whether I've cooked for lunches or am simply bringing leftovers. But I'd guess it's somewhere between $4-6. I go out to lunch probably once a month, but it usually costs $25 (not fast food). My wife doesn't go out at all, unless it's a group lunch she can expense. If I went out regularly it'd probably be in the $10-12/day range. So even being relatively conservative, we're saving $8/day, or almost $200/month. Double that because we bring our own coffee in the morning instead of going to Starbucks. :mrgreen:

livesoft
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by livesoft » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:23 am

Where I live, I can go out to lunch for $15 and eat only one-quarter to one-third of it and bring the rest home for dinner or save it for lunch the next day, so that's $4 to $5 a day for lunch when I don't have to make it. Or I can make lunch for about $1 to $1.50. Or I can eat sushi for less than $10.

I do all 3 to a varying degree. Going out though saves me some dinners, too.

And many places have daily specials:
"WEDNESDAY: Half Price “Original” Burgers & Texas Wagyu Burgers All Day" so that would be $6 plus tax/tip for two meals for sitting in a restaurant with a server coming to your table to take an order.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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mega317
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by mega317 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:24 am

Ok but $1800 is less than 1% of your income. If you're maxing 2 401ks and 2 Roths, that's $47,000 a year. 22 years at 6% is 2 million. 10 more years is 3.5 million. If you prefer takeout I think it's fine.

Although I guess if your only savings is the 200k leftover after the retirement accounts then 3.5 million isn't enough for 4% withdrawal in retirement.

N10sive
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by N10sive » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:24 am

juliewongferra wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:13 am
So I agree with brown bagging your lunch, but let's not forget opportunity cost of having to make/prepare/cook the food and go shopping. (Sure, maybe you'll say that you're eating leftovers and they've been already cooked...but in this case, you're eating food for lunch that you could have had for dinner when you get home, so there is still an opportunity loss built into it.)

Remember, that you're not only buying the food. You're buying the labor, time, and effort it would take you to construct the actual item. This is true for whatever purchase we make: food, clothes, car, home, etc.

So it's not a strictly financial calculation!!

cheers,
jwf
I would also agree, take into account the time to prepare the meals, shop for the meals etc. When I first found this website and took a hard look at my finances, eating out for lunch was the biggest way I could reduce cost. Especially since I ate out for dinner most of the time as well. Where I now work there is a cafeteria that offers good food for relatively cheap prices (4-7 depending on what you get) compared to eating out lunch elsewhere at 10-15 after tip.

I've definitely brown bag my lunch a lot more however being single and just having moved, I've incurred a lot of expenses to start making my own lunches to begin with. Of course that will pay for itself over time. The new cafeteria I have access too though Ill have to look again and see how much cost I save in time, money, etc vs just ordering from the cafeteria. Sometimes I only eat half and save the rest for dinner so its getting close to cost of just brown bagging my lunch

I also am now a consultant so my hours are billed where previously I was salaried. So I take quick lunches and don't really mingle with other employees as that doesn't seem like their culture. Previously I ate out with coworkers all the time and brought better moral etc to the company. And the majority of time the boss paid.
Last edited by N10sive on Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

investingdad
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by investingdad » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:25 am

I'm only highlighting what I believe the benefit has been to us over twenty years, your results may vary. :)

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:27 am

investingdad wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:02 am
My wife and I pretty much bring lunch from home to eat at the office every day. We've been doing this all of our respective 22 year careers to date.

I've noticed in my office, some people do the same as me. And others go to our cafeteria or get take out every, and I mean EVERY, day.

So I was curious what this could add up to and did some math.

- assume 235 days in the office each year
- we brown bag 95% of the time, so 220 bagged lunches each year
- I think we save about $4 per person, per lunch by doing this
- that's about $1800 savings a year

So that's not a huge amount of money, but wait...there's more.

- we've invested since day 1 of working
- reasonable for me to assume that saved money was invested
- at 6% a year returns, over 22 years, it sums up to $78,000

And...if that money stays in the portfolio and continues to grow another decade at 6% a year until we retire in our fifties, it's about $140,000.

Please pass me the sandwich. :)
I think you are being way conservative with the $4 savings per meal. On a recent vacation we met my brother and his family at a local burger joint. Keep in mind, we literally never eat out, I believe it was the first time my 2.5yr old had ever been in a restaurant. Burgers and fries for our family of four was a good 25% more than we normally spend on food for our entire family for a week. I don't expect anybody to be as serious about food as my wife and I, but food is the one area where virtually every person I talk to could save hundreds (if not thousands) a month. Being that health/nutrition is my career I may be a little biased, but I think if you crunch the numbers you'll find that regularly eating out is the single worst common personal financial mistake; yes, worse than buying too much house or a new luxury car every few years.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by flamesabers » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:29 am

I think the worth of doing something or the other is typically very subjective.

Money-wise brown bagging it is the more sensible choice. However, in terms of convenience, opportunities to socialize and variability of food to eat, eating out is the winner. If traffic/parking is horrible in your area during the lunch hour, eating out probably isn't worth the headache. On the other hand, if there are a variety of restaurants that are within walking distance of your workplace and the restaurants don't get overcrowded, eating out might be the better deal.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by sfnerd » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:32 am

I rarely brown bag, and where I live in Bangkok the economics make no sense when a high quality sushi lunch is 6-7 bucks, and a decently healthy Thai meal is 1-3 bucks. It's almost impossible to make lunch cheaper than the food courts.

When I lived in the States (most of my career) I rarely brown bagged as well. I usually liked to go out with coworkers, and at 7-12 bucks for a meal, it was cheap fun.

When I did "brown bag", I usually just went to Trader Joe's and bought a salad. Healthy, cheap (3-5 bucks), and forced me to eat sensibly once in a while :happy

If you love cooking/prepping, I think it's worth doing, but I could never justify the time. And when my wife would make lunch for me to bring in, I always would feel guilty if it went to waste (due to a business lunch or other work engagement).

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by sschullo » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:35 am

Yep, I did. and whenever I could, I rode the subway and buses to work.
I also never bought a new car, until I retired and could well afford a 100% electric car.
Nothing complex, just good ole fashion common sense.
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by KlangFool » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:36 am

OP,

1) Most of my "House Poor" peers brown bag their lunches. After overspending on their houses, this won't matters. They save nothing.

2) I eat out for all my lunches when I worked in an office. But, with a modest house, I save 30+% of my gross income.

3) Networking over lunches had been valuable to me. I get to learn the ins and outs of my employer. It probably saves me over a few rounds of laid off.

4) I spend $10 to $20 per lunch.

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Last edited by KlangFool on Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:38 am

- When I was working, I frequently went out for lunch with the colleagues I was friends with. It was a good way to exchange information and strengthen relationships.
- The need to go for lunch with your group and the boss depends on your organizational culture. Sometimes, it's a "cost of doing business" and is cheaper than, say, golfing.
- If you go for lunch in your cafeteria, you can usually bring you home lunch with you.
- In the end, people are "social animals," not "money accumulating animals." We should be clear what gives us pleasure and pay a reasonable price for that pleasure.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by miles monroe » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:41 am

fwiw, i recommended to my sons that they take their lunch 4 days a week to save money, and eat out with co-workers one day a week to facilitate relationships. obviously they can socialize in the cafeteria the days they bring their lunch.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by climber2020 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:42 am

I brown bag my lunch consistently on certain days of the week. It's not to save money; I do it for health purposes. I'm skinny and want to stay that way as I approach my middle age years. I don't want to be one of those guys who turns 40 and gets a pot belly.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:46 am

I'll chime in from "opposite world". I eat out for lunch every day. It's at Subway where I walk for 10 minutes to get there, then walk another half hour afterwards. I mostly do this to force myself to walk. I get either the special or use a coupon. I also use a subway card that I buy in a way where I get points/gas/money rewards. Not going to go into that. In any case, I'm under $5 every time I go in. I know from past experience that if "the office" is all in and heading to get lunch, I'm going with them. 50% of the time, a manager picks up the tab. In any case, I need to get out of the office for an hour in the middle of the day. I'm not in a "job that I love and would do for free". If someone handed me a winning lottery ticket for millions I would simply not show up for work ever again.

How much does it cost me? Not sure. I know back in the day when I brought lunch, if it was one of those days where I'm ending up going out for lunch, the brown bag gets tossed in the trash, so false savings there. I'll guess that I'd save about $8 a week if I brought lunch in.

I will admit that in my first couple years as an engineer, with a new wife and buying a house 60 days after graduating college, I'd bring in a pack of hot dogs and a pack of rolls and use the microwave every day. Likely not the healthiest thing in the world, but one of the cheapest.
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:49 am

investingdad wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:02 am
My wife and I pretty much bring lunch from home to eat at the office every day. We've been doing this all of our respective 22 year careers to date.

I've noticed in my office, some people do the same as me. And others go to our cafeteria or get take out every, and I mean EVERY, day.

So I was curious what this could add up to and did some math.

- assume 235 days in the office each year
- we brown bag 95% of the time, so 220 bagged lunches each year
- I think we save about $4 per person, per lunch by doing this
- that's about $1800 savings a year

So that's not a huge amount of money, but wait...there's more.

- we've invested since day 1 of working
- reasonable for me to assume that saved money was invested
- at 6% a year returns, over 22 years, it sums up to $78,000

And...if that money stays in the portfolio and continues to grow another decade at 6% a year until we retire in our fifties, it's about $140,000.

Please pass me the sandwich. :)
Agreed. My lunch is always a sandwich, some crackers, and a piece of fruit. Less than $1 and takes literally two minutes to assemble. If I went out to eat, I'd have to buy three things off the dollar menu, so I know I'm saving a least a couple bucks. All of us software developers at my place of employment do the same - bring something and eat it at our desks. Much of the sales team goes out to eat. But they also all drive fancier cars than us, so maybe they make more money than us (or, alternatively, they save less). But, then again, they take one hour lunches and we take 15 minutes.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Pajamas » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:52 am

I enjoyed eating out at lunch when working, especially at one employer where there was a cafeteria with excellent food at very reasonable prices. That was a good value and well worth it to me and it was nice to get away from my desk and talk to my coworkers. I wish that I had that same cafeteria downstairs from my apartment now: I would eat practically all my meals there.

I always chuckle at articles that say to stop buying coffee at Starbucks and linking that to retiring with plenty of money. It's not incorrect, but there are more effective methods and you can certainly combine them. It would be much more effective to not have a car, live in a smaller house, get a job that pays more, etc. I think sometimes people focus on the trees instead of the forest.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:54 am

The only healthy way to eat out around here is to get a 6" sub at the cafeteria or the garbage dump known as subway. Otherwise at most local restaurants you'd have to immediately throw half of your order in the trash then eat the rest to stay below 600-700 calories.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:56 am

KlangFool has a good point. In the grand scheme of things you aren't talking a lot of money. You can save far more by owning a home that is more easily affordable to you and by having a non-luxury car that is easily afforded. Everyone I know in my income range live in more expensive houses and drive more expensive cars and some of the them then complain about the $10 they might spend on a lunch out.
I do brown-bag however but without the brown-bag - I walk from my home office over to my refrigerator. When I transitioned to a home-office employee the commuting savings were far greater than the food savings.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by bigred77 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:02 pm

I used to brown bag my lunch 75%+ of the time. Mostly to TRY and eat healthy.

I changed my tune and now just eat at the company cafeteria every day. I eat a grilled chicken salad every day and it costs me about $6-$7 bucks a day depending on the weight. The convenience and the availability (most importantly, I now have no excuses to not eat healthy :happy) are worth the couple of bucks a day I spend over the cost to buy and put together the same lunch myself.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Ruger » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:08 pm

Not only is it cheaper, it's much healthier for you.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by AnonJohn » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:10 pm

Brownbagger here, always have been. For me it was originally about money, but now that I'm more established it's about nutrition and time. On the former, I find it hard to find healthy food with sufficient calories (<yoda> Mmm salad, but lunch make it does not! </yoda>). I'd rather hit the gym or talk to colleagues then head out, get food, etc. It's faster for me to prepare lunches at home then to leave the office and come back with food.

Also, I snack as work and meetings allow. My "lunch" is kind of an all-day affair (today: oatmeal, walnuts, flax, blackberries; sandwich with grilled pork tenderloin, carmelized onions, hummus, baby carrots, apple, clemintine, almonds, 88% dark chocolate; maybe later peanuts).

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by 41Fin » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:12 pm

Afty wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:18 am
I did this early in my career and did feel it negatively impacted my career. Not so much in the networking sense, but I felt it hurt the team dynamic because I didn't eat with them, and it made me dislike my job more as I didn't make friends at work.

The company I work for now provides free food, and our team eats lunch together every day. I believe this makes us a more effective team and keeps our team members happier.
I used to bring my brown bag lunch with me when my team would go out to a quick service restaurant. I got the savings plus the teambuilding experience.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by SurferLife » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:13 pm

As a few others have eluded to, I think one of the more indirect financial costs is that of the health consequences of eating out every day. I bring a lunch to work, but every few months I'll go out to lunch with my colleagues, and it amazes me how much I eat and how full I feel. I simply can't imagine doing that everyday as some of them do. Eventually, that lifestyle catches up with you on the scale, and then you pay again for that meal with the resulting medical costs that come with obesity.

GuyFromGeorgia
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by GuyFromGeorgia » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:24 pm

Tried to replicate your math. The ~$1800 savings is for both you and your wife. If it were just you, it would be $880 by your math (220 days x $4). But that's in today's dollars. If you go back 22 years and you only had a $2 savings then it is a lot less. Assuming a 3% inflation in the savings and after 22 years of taking the saving and investing at 6% you're just shy of $25k in total value. To get to the $78k you must be compounding monthly or daily, I'm just doing annual.

For me, it isn't about just the money. It is about the flexibility and the variety. It is extremely rare that I want to eat what I ate last night, and I'm sure as shoot not going to eat PB&J as a staple. Whether or not you have a cafeteria that is subsidized or not would play a big role of eating in or going out.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by shorvath » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:32 pm

I am ridiculously lucky that my office is above a co-op market. They have an excellent $8/lb salad and hot food bar with rotating themed selections. Takes only a few minutes to pop downstairs and grab a plate.
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:39 pm

thangngo wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:05 am
:beer Yup. I'm thankful for my wife. She packs lunch for both of us. It's cheaper and healthier. Half of the money we save from eating out is used for traveling, the other half to savings for rainy days.

Sigh. I wish I had a wife to domthat for me.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by BanquetBeer » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:39 pm

I eat out every day. Avg lunch cost is maybe $7-8. If I made comparable food, cost is $3-4.

Since I work about 200 days/yr and get free lunch another 10-20 days my cost is roughly $750/yr? Absolutely not worth it financial wise.

I eat a lot of veggies so don't have any problems eating healthy and getting a good amount of calories. Used to be a Korean restaurant that would give me portions for 2 meals for a fixed $10 price! What a deal.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by TerryDMillerMBA » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:42 pm

miles monroe wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:41 am
fwiw, i recommended to my sons that they take their lunch 4 days a week to save money, and eat out with co-workers one day a week to facilitate relationships. obviously they can socialize in the cafeteria the days they bring their lunch.

Excellent recommendation.

It is a balancing act between the areas of money, time, food choice, career dynamics, and social dynamics.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by thangngo » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:59 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:36 am
OP,

1) Most of my "House Poor" peers brown bag their lunches. After overspending on their houses, this won't matters. They save nothing.

2) I eat out for all my lunches when I worked in an office. But, with a modest house, I save 30+% of my gross income.

3) Networking over lunches had been valuable to me. I get to learn the ins and outs of my employer. It probably saves me over a few rounds of laid off.

4) I spend $10 to $20 per lunch.

KlangFool
yeah.. I'm hearing a similar excuse used by "house poor" folks. You still spend more money on lunch than folks bring their own lunch. It adds up every single day. If you packed your lunch, you would probably use that saved money to pay off your modest house. OP's $140,000 figure is conservative. According to my budget, I'd save double that figure.

Most importantly, preparing your own meal is healthier than eating out. You can't put a price on your health. And don't underestimate the medical expense you would have saved in the future.

I have a fair share of business lunch where I get reimbursed. I don't eat out for purpose of socializing. There are many opportunities for socializing: water break, gym, soccer field, volunteer events, conference, social events, etc.
Last edited by thangngo on Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by ladders11 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:00 pm

What is more compelling is trying to half brown bag. Has anyone tried this? Lets say you buy some of those individual potato chip packs. Buy yourself a case of soda, water, or juice. Then, you get a sandwich (only) from a restaurant and eat the chips you have conveniently stored in your trunk. Fries or chips and a drink are probably the most marked-up items at these restaurants, and the easiest to exactly reproduce with like kind and quality.

A can of soda is $0.35 in a case and chips $0.30. Chips and a drink at Subway costs $2.50. So, I'd bet you save $1.85 per day doing this meaning $462.50 at work 50 weeks of the year. How much time spent? Practically none, just get the chips on your normal grocery run and leave them in your trunk, you don't even need to unpack them.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by mak1277 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:01 pm

GuyFromGeorgia wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:24 pm
For me, it isn't about just the money. It is about the flexibility and the variety. It is extremely rare that I want to eat what I ate last night, and I'm sure as shoot not going to eat PB&J as a staple.
I completely agree with this line of thinking too. But I'm also ready for the line of people who say they enjoy their cold PB&J as much as anything they could get at a restaurant :P

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:06 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:56 am
KlangFool has a good point. In the grand scheme of things you aren't talking a lot of money. You can save far more by owning a home that is more easily affordable to you and by having a non-luxury car that is easily afforded. Everyone I know in my income range live in more expensive houses and drive more expensive cars and some of the them then complain about the $10 they might spend on a lunch out.
If you actually crunch the numbers, this statement isn't nearly as true as you think. I know my family's food spending is far from ordinary, but according to the USDA, we spend slightly more than 1/3 of what a normal family four does per month on food...on the "thrifty" plan. The "average" family spends more than 4x what we do on food. I know my brother, with his family of four, spends approximately 10x what we do on food. I could buy a heck of a lot more house or car for the $400-$900+ we are saving per month over the "average" family, not to mention there is at least some resale value of homes and cars.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:08 pm

This is kind of like a car thread. :wink:

We have a good cafeteria with options from $4 to $6. We have free beverages which helps. I eat out 3-4 times per week. I also keep healthy boxes of cereal at my desk and have a couple bowls with free milk 1-2 times a week to balance out the eating out.

Everything is relative. I try to stay to the healthy side of things, but every now and then I have 2 slices of pizza. If I ate pizza or cheeseburgers every lunch, I'd be in trouble.

OTOH if I ate Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches most days, I'm not sure how that falls on the healthy scale. Some days I think peanut butter is very similar to bacon and ham on the "kill you" scale. :shock:

If I value my time at $50/hour and it takes me 10 minutes to make and pack a lunch, that is $8.33 of my time used + the cost of food. No such thing as a free lunch. :annoyed
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by midareff » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:08 pm

I never brown bagged it as I needed that hour to get out, walk around and de-stress. Just figure out how much a soda at lunch runs every day for 30 years and then see how much better you like a free cup of water.

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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:14 pm

I brown bagged it 90% of the time. Once every two weeks I went out on payday with others doing the same thing as a treat. For me, it wasn't about the money savings but the fact that my lunches probably contained a third of the calories and a tiny fraction of the salts and fats that a meal in a restaurant contained. Another reason was the time savings. I could eat at my desk while getting work done and get out of the office quicker at the end of the day. Eating out was always an hour long time sink.

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