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

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
LiterallyIronic
Posts: 849
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:36 am

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

Post by LiterallyIronic » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:24 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:59 am

<< Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000.>>

You do not have to buy a house. You choose to buy a house. You could rent an apartment or something.

<< But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.>>

There is an opportunity cost of 60K. That 60K could earn 6% to 8% for you. It is between $300 to $400 per month.

You choose to increase your housing expense by buying a house. After that, it is very hard to save any money. I hope it is worth it for you.

KlangFool
I see you also think that I could rent an apartment for less than the $800/month I pay for my mortgage and that the $60,000 would go to investments rather than rent? Interesting. I'm choosing to increase my housing expenses temporarily in order to lower them in the long run. Paying rent for the next 50 years is going to be a LOT more expensive than aggressively paying down a mortgage.

It's all about cash flow in retirement. Expenses then have to be rock bottom. If I have an outstanding mortgage, I cannot retire. If I have monthly rent payments, I cannot retire. The only way to retire is to have expenses down to less than $1,000/month, which cannot be done unless you own a house outright.

That's why I waited until I had 30% down. It's all about cash flow. Gotta get the mortgage payments down to what rent would be, without sacrificing our 20% of gross income invested for retirement. So, no, it's not "very hard to save any money". I know this is the part where you're going to brag that you save 30% of gross and live in a shoebox, but that's a lot easier when you earn three times as much as me.

DonutEater
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:09 pm

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

Post by DonutEater » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:36 pm

Two years ago, I began intermittent fasting. This was a conscious decision I made for my health. I eat one meal per day, dinner, which I cook at home. I will normally have two small healthy snacks consisting of nuts, fruit or vegetables prior to and after my dinner. What began as a health decision resulted in unexpected financial savings AND a significant amount of time to get other things done.

When my co-workers go to lunch, I go with and socialize. The waiter asks what I want and I simply tell him or her, "I'm here for the company." My co-workers know me and are competely accepting of the decision I made for my health. No one cares. The fact I took time out of my day to sit and shoot the sh*t with them is what matters most to them.

While my example is extreme to everyday society, I have seen a significant impact to my monthly grocery and an improvement to my health.

KlangFool
Posts: 10647
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

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

Post by KlangFool » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:56 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:24 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:59 am

<< Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000.>>

You do not have to buy a house. You choose to buy a house. You could rent an apartment or something.

<< But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.>>

There is an opportunity cost of 60K. That 60K could earn 6% to 8% for you. It is between $300 to $400 per month.

You choose to increase your housing expense by buying a house. After that, it is very hard to save any money. I hope it is worth it for you.

KlangFool
I see you also think that I could rent an apartment for less than the $800/month I pay for my mortgage and that the $60,000 would go to investments rather than rent? Interesting. I'm choosing to increase my housing expenses temporarily in order to lower them in the long run. Paying rent for the next 50 years is going to be a LOT more expensive than aggressively paying down a mortgage.

It's all about cash flow in retirement. Expenses then have to be rock bottom. If I have an outstanding mortgage, I cannot retire. If I have monthly rent payments, I cannot retire. The only way to retire is to have expenses down to less than $1,000/month, which cannot be done unless you own a house outright.

That's why I waited until I had 30% down. It's all about cash flow. Gotta get the mortgage payments down to what rent would be, without sacrificing our 20% of gross income invested for retirement. So, no, it's not "very hard to save any money". I know this is the part where you're going to brag that you save 30% of gross and live in a shoebox, but that's a lot easier when you earn three times as much as me.
LiterallyIronic,

I disagreed.

<< I know this is the part where you're going to brag that you save 30% of gross and live in a shoebox, but that's a lot easier when you earn three times as much as me.>>

Come on. It is all about ratio.

You make 60K. My income is about 150K.

1) Your house is 209K. It is about 3.48 times your gross income. It about 1,300 square feet

2) My house is 400K. It is about 2.67 times my gross income. It is about 2,000 square feet.

3) I only buy this house when

A) It is 20% to 30% lower than renting the house with 20% down payment and 30 years mortgage

B) My investment is 2.5 to 3 times the price of the house.

I choose to buy less house and buy it later.

<< I'm choosing to increase my housing expenses temporarily in order to lower them in the long run.>>

I decrease my housing expense immediately when I buy the house. I save money when I buy. That is the only condition that I will buy.

<<If I have an outstanding mortgage, I cannot retire.>>

I can retire with my mortgage if I choose to because I buy less house. In my neighborhood, the median house price is around 600K. I do not count my house/home equity as part of my net worth at all.

KlangFool

EddyB
Posts: 562
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 3:43 pm

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

Post by EddyB » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:13 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:59 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:52 am
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:13 pm
My example is very prevalent in the real world. Many folks believe that they should buy a house 3 to 4 times their gross income. After that, nothing else matters.

KlangFool
Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000. There just aren't any in that price range. We did get a 1262 square foot house for $209,000, though, which is 3.5 times my gross income. But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.
LiterallyIronic,

<< Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000.>>

You do not have to buy a house. You choose to buy a house. You could rent an apartment or something.

<< But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.>>

There is an opportunity cost of 60K. That 60K could earn 6% to 8% for you. It is between $300 to $400 per month.

You choose to increase your housing expense by buying a house. After that, it is very hard to save any money. I hope it is worth it for you.

KlangFool
Respectfully, you've assumed that LiterallyIronic increased housing expenses, but with this limited info, I don't see how you've concluded that. I think there are plenty of places where a $209,000 house rents for an amount that is less affordable than buying (the NY Times "buy or rent" calculator tells me that the break-even rent is around $1,000 even assuming the 6% rate of return you suggest above (which is more than many posters here seem to expect)). While I'm sensitive to the issue of buying "more house" than one would rent, without knowing LiterallyIronic's circumstances, I'm not going to presume that a 1,262 s.f. house isn't comparable to a normally appropriate rental.

stoptothink
Posts: 4517
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

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

Post by stoptothink » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:17 pm

EddyB wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:13 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:59 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:52 am
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:13 pm
My example is very prevalent in the real world. Many folks believe that they should buy a house 3 to 4 times their gross income. After that, nothing else matters.

KlangFool
Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000. There just aren't any in that price range. We did get a 1262 square foot house for $209,000, though, which is 3.5 times my gross income. But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.
LiterallyIronic,

<< Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000.>>

You do not have to buy a house. You choose to buy a house. You could rent an apartment or something.

<< But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.>>

There is an opportunity cost of 60K. That 60K could earn 6% to 8% for you. It is between $300 to $400 per month.

You choose to increase your housing expense by buying a house. After that, it is very hard to save any money. I hope it is worth it for you.

KlangFool
Respectfully, you've assumed that LiterallyIronic increased housing expenses, but with this limited info, I don't see how you've concluded that. I think there are plenty of places where a $209,000 house rents for an amount that is less affordable than buying (the NY Times "buy or rent" calculator tells me that the break-even rent is around $1,000 even assuming the 6% rate of return you suggest above (which is more than many posters here seem to expect)). While I'm sensitive to the issue of buying "more house" than one would rent, without knowing LiterallyIronic's circumstances, I'm not going to presume that a 1,262 s.f. house isn't comparable to a normally appropriate rental.
I live in the same area as does LiterallyIronic, and yes, this is the case. His home likely would rent for $1400+/month.

LiterallyIronic
Posts: 849
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:36 am

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

Post by LiterallyIronic » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:13 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:56 pm
You make 60K. My income is about 150K.

1) Your house is 209K. It is about 3.48 times your gross income. It about 1,300 square feet

2) My house is 400K. It is about 2.67 times my gross income. It is about 2,000 square feet.

3) I only buy this house when

A) It is 20% to 30% lower than renting the house with 20% down payment and 30 years mortgage

B) My investment is 2.5 to 3 times the price of the house.

I choose to buy less house and buy it later.

<< I'm choosing to increase my housing expenses temporarily in order to lower them in the long run.>>

I decrease my housing expense immediately when I buy the house. I save money when I buy. That is the only condition that I will buy.

<<If I have an outstanding mortgage, I cannot retire.>>

I can retire with my mortgage if I choose to because I buy less house. In my neighborhood, the median house price is around 600K. I do not count my house/home equity as part of my net worth at all.

KlangFool
Then given your item 3A of "buying the house when it is 20-30% less than renting it", then I am completely within those bounds. Renting our house would probably be at least $1,200 if not $1,400 per month. Our PITI is $800, because we put 30% down. That puts us somewhere in the vicinity of our mortgage being 57% to 66% of the price of renting the house.

I mention that our housing cost increases with this purchase, and it certainly does, because we're not making a lateral movement. We're going from renting a freezing cold Utah basement with very little natural light and no kitchen to a house.

As for your item 3B, I can't buy a house until my investments are 3 times the purchase price? Three times the purchase price of $209,000 is the entire $600,000 I'm planning on retiring on. You didn't wait until you retired to buy a house, but you want me to?

You like ratios and say you have a $400,000 house in an area averaging $600,000. We have a $200,000 house in an area averaging $300,000. Same ratio.

I, too, chose to buy less house and buy it later. A cheap house after saving 30% down. For our next house, if any, I will only buy when I have enough equity in this house that I can switch houses without raising our mortgage past $800 and without moving the mortgage payoff date past 16 years from today. Not 16 years from the purchase of the second house, 16 years from today. I want this house paid off by 2033 and if we upgrade houses, then that one is still restrained to being paid off by 2033.

It is impressive, yes you spend such a low percentage of your income on your housing. But there's a lot more to expenses than that. For example, we spend $170/month on groceries and $0 on TV/Internet, while driving a car from 2001 and using a cellphone from 2012. Everything else is rock bottom, so what if I spend 16% of gross on housing? You say that buying a "big" house makes every other savings pointless. To that, I say that brown bagging my lunch, saving $5/day, times 22 work days, is 12.5% of my mortgage payment. And since my wife also doesn't eat out for lunch, now the savings make up 25% of our mortgage. When the numbers are small, the ratio of small savings make a big difference.

If you can find a family of three living on a $60,000 gross and doing better than us nine months out of college, I'd love to see it.

*Mic drop*

User avatar
Cloudy
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:55 am

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

Post by Cloudy » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:25 pm

It's almost as if some bogleheads find taking a lunch to work worthwhile, whereas others do not.

RRAAYY3
Posts: 926
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:32 pm

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

Post by RRAAYY3 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:28 pm

every day at the office i laugh at people that order everyday ... your spending 200+ a month on food that generally appears mediocre/unappealing to me.

Barefootgirl
Posts: 2226
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:05 pm

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

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:31 pm

Lots to think about here - random thoughts

(1) Eating and food choices have become fetishized and consumerized to the point of ridiculousness in this culture. Seems as if every food item has it's own fans and detractors, yikes, just give it up and gravitate toward foods that come packaged as close to their natural state as possible, see how easy that is? how has something that comes naturally become so difficult? who's controlling your choices?

(2) We are social animals, agreed, either stay home with your celery stalks or go and and pick your way around a menu, most places have healthier choices.

(3) I mostly work from home, my lunch comes from the fridge - yeah! Back when I used to go to an office, I fasted about a third of the time, went out with co-workers a third of the time or begrudgingly packed something, dreaded having to haul dirty containers back home. I'm at the end of a long career, there's very little anyone can do for me now that would make a difference. I'm done, well done :). I am however, developing other *fun* income streams that will put me at occasional events with others...I can always find something nourishing if I try. Oh and I've recently become a mystery shopper for some higher end places, so that makes it fun, free and lucrative.


Has networking played a significant role in your salary, career trajectory or opportunities?

I will admit there were serendipitous events that occurred because I put myself in the right place at the right time. If I'd stayed away..who knows what would not have happened or happened differently.

Overall though? no - my work has almost always spoken for itself - hence, my position now.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

KlangFool
Posts: 10647
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

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

Post by KlangFool » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:53 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:13 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:56 pm
You make 60K. My income is about 150K.

1) Your house is 209K. It is about 3.48 times your gross income. It about 1,300 square feet

2) My house is 400K. It is about 2.67 times my gross income. It is about 2,000 square feet.

3) I only buy this house when

A) It is 20% to 30% lower than renting the house with 20% down payment and 30 years mortgage

B) My investment is 2.5 to 3 times the price of the house.

I choose to buy less house and buy it later.

<< I'm choosing to increase my housing expenses temporarily in order to lower them in the long run.>>

I decrease my housing expense immediately when I buy the house. I save money when I buy. That is the only condition that I will buy.

<<If I have an outstanding mortgage, I cannot retire.>>

I can retire with my mortgage if I choose to because I buy less house. In my neighborhood, the median house price is around 600K. I do not count my house/home equity as part of my net worth at all.

KlangFool
Then given your item 3A of "buying the house when it is 20-30% less than renting it", then I am completely within those bounds. Renting our house would probably be at least $1,200 if not $1,400 per month. Our PITI is $800, because we put 30% down. That puts us somewhere in the vicinity of our mortgage being 57% to 66% of the price of renting the house.

I mention that our housing cost increases with this purchase, and it certainly does, because we're not making a lateral movement. We're going from renting a freezing cold Utah basement with very little natural light and no kitchen to a house.

As for your item 3B, I can't buy a house until my investments are 3 times the purchase price? Three times the purchase price of $209,000 is the entire $600,000 I'm planning on retiring on. You didn't wait until you retired to buy a house, but you want me to?

You like ratios and say you have a $400,000 house in an area averaging $600,000. We have a $200,000 house in an area averaging $300,000. Same ratio.

I, too, chose to buy less house and buy it later. A cheap house after saving 30% down. For our next house, if any, I will only buy when I have enough equity in this house that I can switch houses without raising our mortgage past $800 and without moving the mortgage payoff date past 16 years from today. Not 16 years from the purchase of the second house, 16 years from today. I want this house paid off by 2033 and if we upgrade houses, then that one is still restrained to being paid off by 2033.

It is impressive, yes you spend such a low percentage of your income on your housing. But there's a lot more to expenses than that. For example, we spend $170/month on groceries and $0 on TV/Internet, while driving a car from 2001 and using a cellphone from 2012. Everything else is rock bottom, so what if I spend 16% of gross on housing? You say that buying a "big" house makes every other savings pointless. To that, I say that brown bagging my lunch, saving $5/day, times 22 work days, is 12.5% of my mortgage payment. And since my wife also doesn't eat out for lunch, now the savings make up 25% of our mortgage. When the numbers are small, the ratio of small savings make a big difference.

If you can find a family of three living on a $60,000 gross and doing better than us nine months out of college, I'd love to see it.

*Mic drop*
LiterallyIronic,

<<You didn't wait until you retired to buy a house, but you want me to?>>

Just a correction. I am a few years from FI. So, literally, I waited until I am fully assured that I can retire before I spend that kind of money on my house. I am consistent in my belief.

KlangFool

H-Town
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:08 pm

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

Post by H-Town » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:03 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:13 pm
It is impressive, yes you spend such a low percentage of your income on your housing. But there's a lot more to expenses than that. For example, we spend $170/month on groceries and $0 on TV/Internet, while driving a car from 2001 and using a cellphone from 2012. Everything else is rock bottom, so what if I spend 16% of gross on housing? You say that buying a "big" house makes every other savings pointless. To that, I say that brown bagging my lunch, saving $5/day, times 22 work days, is 12.5% of my mortgage payment. And since my wife also doesn't eat out for lunch, now the savings make up 25% of our mortgage. When the numbers are small, the ratio of small savings make a big difference.

If you can find a family of three living on a $60,000 gross and doing better than us nine months out of college, I'd love to see it.

*Mic drop*
Good job! Keep it up! I think it's very admirable what you're doing. It is easy for Klangfool to say what he said. He lived in LCOL, bought a cheap house comparatively to his income. Then he can "live a little" in areas such as eating out and driving a nice car. Good for him, I say. He could do better though. In greater Houston area, he could rent $800 condo or buy a house under $150,000. He could live frugally as you do and he would have reached FI several years ago. There is no right or wrong answers here. No judgments either. Everyone has goals. Wake up everyday and keep getting at it until you achieve it.

KlangFool
Posts: 10647
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

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

Post by KlangFool » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:45 pm

thangngo wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:03 pm
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:13 pm
It is impressive, yes you spend such a low percentage of your income on your housing. But there's a lot more to expenses than that. For example, we spend $170/month on groceries and $0 on TV/Internet, while driving a car from 2001 and using a cellphone from 2012. Everything else is rock bottom, so what if I spend 16% of gross on housing? You say that buying a "big" house makes every other savings pointless. To that, I say that brown bagging my lunch, saving $5/day, times 22 work days, is 12.5% of my mortgage payment. And since my wife also doesn't eat out for lunch, now the savings make up 25% of our mortgage. When the numbers are small, the ratio of small savings make a big difference.

If you can find a family of three living on a $60,000 gross and doing better than us nine months out of college, I'd love to see it.

*Mic drop*
Good job! Keep it up! I think it's very admirable what you're doing. It is easy for Klangfool to say what he said. He lived in LCOL, bought a cheap house comparatively to his income. Then he can "live a little" in areas such as eating out and driving a nice car. Good for him, I say. He could do better though. In greater Houston area, he could rent $800 condo or buy a house under $150,000. He could live frugally as you do and he would have reached FI several years ago. There is no right or wrong answers here. No judgments either. Everyone has goals. Wake up everyday and keep getting at it until you achieve it.
thangngo,

1) I used to live in Houston.

2) I made a lot less than 60K per year in Houston.

3) I save 30+% of my gross income when I was in Houston too.

4) I did not buy a house in Houston. Thank goodness for that.

<<He could live frugally as you do and he would have reached FI several years ago.>>

5) I could have FI several years ago if I did not gamble on Telecom stock and lost 50% of my asset 10+ years ago.

6) 400K for a 2,000 square feet townhouse = LCOL?

KlangFool

H-Town
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:08 pm

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

Post by H-Town » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:00 pm

Klangfool,

Sorry to hear about the Telecom stock. If you don't mind me asking, where did relocate to? What made you decide to leave Houston? To me, Houston is a good place to accumulate wealth. It also fits my frugal life style.

KlangFool
Posts: 10647
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

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

Post by KlangFool » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:09 pm

EddyB wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:13 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:59 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:52 am
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:13 pm
My example is very prevalent in the real world. Many folks believe that they should buy a house 3 to 4 times their gross income. After that, nothing else matters.

KlangFool
Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000. There just aren't any in that price range. We did get a 1262 square foot house for $209,000, though, which is 3.5 times my gross income. But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.
LiterallyIronic,

<< Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000.>>

You do not have to buy a house. You choose to buy a house. You could rent an apartment or something.

<< But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.>>

There is an opportunity cost of 60K. That 60K could earn 6% to 8% for you. It is between $300 to $400 per month.

You choose to increase your housing expense by buying a house. After that, it is very hard to save any money. I hope it is worth it for you.

KlangFool
Respectfully, you've assumed that LiterallyIronic increased housing expenses, but with this limited info, I don't see how you've concluded that. I think there are plenty of places where a $209,000 house rents for an amount that is less affordable than buying (the NY Times "buy or rent" calculator tells me that the break-even rent is around $1,000 even assuming the 6% rate of return you suggest above (which is more than many posters here seem to expect)). While I'm sensitive to the issue of buying "more house" than one would rent, without knowing LiterallyIronic's circumstances, I'm not going to presume that a 1,262 s.f. house isn't comparable to a normally appropriate rental.
EddyB,

<< I mention that our housing cost increases with this purchase, and it certainly does, because we're not making a lateral movement. We're going from renting a freezing cold Utah basement with very little natural light and no kitchen to a house.>>

My assumption was correct.

KlangFool

EddyB
Posts: 562
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 3:43 pm

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

Post by EddyB » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:14 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:09 pm
EddyB wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:13 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:59 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:52 am
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:13 pm
My example is very prevalent in the real world. Many folks believe that they should buy a house 3 to 4 times their gross income. After that, nothing else matters.

KlangFool
Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000. There just aren't any in that price range. We did get a 1262 square foot house for $209,000, though, which is 3.5 times my gross income. But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.
LiterallyIronic,

<< Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000.>>

You do not have to buy a house. You choose to buy a house. You could rent an apartment or something.

<< But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.>>

There is an opportunity cost of 60K. That 60K could earn 6% to 8% for you. It is between $300 to $400 per month.

You choose to increase your housing expense by buying a house. After that, it is very hard to save any money. I hope it is worth it for you.

KlangFool
Respectfully, you've assumed that LiterallyIronic increased housing expenses, but with this limited info, I don't see how you've concluded that. I think there are plenty of places where a $209,000 house rents for an amount that is less affordable than buying (the NY Times "buy or rent" calculator tells me that the break-even rent is around $1,000 even assuming the 6% rate of return you suggest above (which is more than many posters here seem to expect)). While I'm sensitive to the issue of buying "more house" than one would rent, without knowing LiterallyIronic's circumstances, I'm not going to presume that a 1,262 s.f. house isn't comparable to a normally appropriate rental.
EddyB,

<< I mention that our housing cost increases with this purchase, and it certainly does, because we're not making a lateral movement. We're going from renting a freezing cold Utah basement with very little natural light and no kitchen to a house.>>

My assumption was correct.

KlangFool
Only if you think a freezing cold basement with no kitchen was reasonably sustainable. I don't. And the savings from having a kitchen bring it all back on topic for this thread!

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

Post by KlangFool » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:16 pm

thangngo wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:00 pm
Klangfool,

Sorry to hear about the Telecom stock. If you don't mind me asking, where did relocate to? What made you decide to leave Houston? To me, Houston is a good place to accumulate wealth. It also fits my frugal life style.
thangngo,

If a person is a lifelong 30+% gross income saver, anywhere in the world is a good place to accumulate wealth. Many of my family members save at this level all over the world.

KlangFool

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

Post by KlangFool » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:20 pm

EddyB wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:14 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:09 pm
EddyB wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:13 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:59 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:52 am


Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000. There just aren't any in that price range. We did get a 1262 square foot house for $209,000, though, which is 3.5 times my gross income. But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.
LiterallyIronic,

<< Many of us have to. My gross income is $60,000. You can't get a house in my town for less than $180,000.>>

You do not have to buy a house. You choose to buy a house. You could rent an apartment or something.

<< But we put $60,000 down, so our loan is actually $149,000 or 2.5 times gross income. Sometimes you just gotta do what you can.>>

There is an opportunity cost of 60K. That 60K could earn 6% to 8% for you. It is between $300 to $400 per month.

You choose to increase your housing expense by buying a house. After that, it is very hard to save any money. I hope it is worth it for you.

KlangFool
Respectfully, you've assumed that LiterallyIronic increased housing expenses, but with this limited info, I don't see how you've concluded that. I think there are plenty of places where a $209,000 house rents for an amount that is less affordable than buying (the NY Times "buy or rent" calculator tells me that the break-even rent is around $1,000 even assuming the 6% rate of return you suggest above (which is more than many posters here seem to expect)). While I'm sensitive to the issue of buying "more house" than one would rent, without knowing LiterallyIronic's circumstances, I'm not going to presume that a 1,262 s.f. house isn't comparable to a normally appropriate rental.
EddyB,

<< I mention that our housing cost increases with this purchase, and it certainly does, because we're not making a lateral movement. We're going from renting a freezing cold Utah basement with very little natural light and no kitchen to a house.>>

My assumption was correct.

KlangFool
Only if you think a freezing cold basement with no kitchen was reasonably sustainable. I don't. And the savings from having a kitchen bring it all back on topic for this thread!
EddyB,

1) How much does this person save after buying the house? What is the gross saving rate? Does brown bagging make up for the difference?

2) I had consistently said that the "rent versus buy" comparison is fundamentally flawed. People do not rent what they want to buy. They just use that rental number as justification for buying the house. This is the case again.

KlangFool

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

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:25 pm

DonutEater wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:36 pm
Two years ago, I began intermittent fasting. This was a conscious decision I made for my health. I eat one meal per day, dinner, which I cook at home. I will normally have two small healthy snacks consisting of nuts, fruit or vegetables prior to and after my dinner. What began as a health decision resulted in unexpected financial savings AND a significant amount of time to get other things done.

When my co-workers go to lunch, I go with and socialize. The waiter asks what I want and I simply tell him or her, "I'm here for the company." My co-workers know me and are competely accepting of the decision I made for my health. No one cares. The fact I took time out of my day to sit and shoot the sh*t with them is what matters most to them.

While my example is extreme to everyday society, I have seen a significant impact to my monthly grocery and an improvement to my health.
It sounds good. But I am curious: When you are fasting, go to a restaurant, and are exposed to the sights and smells of food, don't you feel hungry? I think it's easier to fast when you are not tempted.

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

Post by KlangFool » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:39 pm

Folks,

It is very simple.

It only takes one number to know whether you are frugal: gross saving rate. And, whether you are frugal or not, that is none of anybody else business.

Some people buy their lunches. Some people brown bag their lunches. Some folks drive used cars. Some folks buy new cars. But, until and unless you know their gross saving rate, you do not know whether they are frugal or not. But, that is none of our business anyhow.

Our only business is to take care our own personal finance. Make sure that we have enough to reach our own goal.

My only point is to show that just because of some people brown bag their lunches and drives used cars, we cannot assume that they are frugal. Aka, they save money. I know many of my peers are like that. They overspend on their houses and ended save nothing. Brown bag lunches and drive used cars did not help.

KlangFool

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

Post by EddyB » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:41 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:20 pm
EddyB,

1) How much does this person save after buying the house? What is the gross saving rate? Does brown bagging make up for the difference?

2) I had consistently said that the "rent versus buy" comparison is fundamentally flawed. People do not rent what they want to buy. They just use that rental number as justification for buying the house. This is the case again.

KlangFool
I don't know. Not having a kitchen would be a significant expense, or significant, unsustainable negative impact on my quality of life.

I agree that some people make the "rent vs. buy" comparison with incomparable housing, but people are willing to live in relatively short-term rentals that they wouldn't be willing to live in long term, which tells me those rentals aren't the right comparison either. LiterallyIronic seems to have bought a modest home, early in his or her career, and the bigger factor, in my view, will be whether s/he stays in that home as income increases. I am a mid-career professional, and if I bought a home for 3.5X my annual income, my self-assessment would be much less charitable than my view of LiterallyIronic's purchase, even though doing so would fit within the home/net worth rule I've seen you advance in other threads. Your presumptions seem to me to make more sense for people in my (and presumably your) situation than for others'.

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

Post by nm451 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:40 pm

WanderingDoc wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:44 pm
nm451 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:12 pm
WanderingDoc wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:48 pm
nm451 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:24 pm
I live in Hawaii. You can definitely save money if you like cooking and shop reasonably smart. It probably takes me about a hour each day to prep/cook/clean for 2 people. But I enjoy cooking so for me it is equivalent of most people who like watching TV. I don't consider it lost time.

Looking at my grocery costs, it costs me about $10 a day for all my meals. My girlfriend averages about $12 to eat out for lunch and this does not include the cost of her breakfast/dinner. It is hard to figure out exactly how much my lunch costs because most of the time it is leftovers. I would estimate my lunch is about $3 per day so I save roughly $8 per day just for lunch. The money I save just gets spent on my obsession with foodie stuff so it evens out between us.
I have lived in Hawaii for 6 years. My monthly food expenses were roughly $1500-2000 per month. When I wanted to cook, the grocery bill was over $100 to make two courses for 2 people.. so I never found that shopping for groceries was worth it. Soo many good places to eat on King St. and on Kapiolani Rd.. makes me miss it just thinking about it!
My total monthly food budget for just myself is $800 so that is inline with what yours is. If I lived in town also then I would probably have to up my budget because of all the options available. Out of curiosity how were you spending $100 cooking for 2 people? For the first UH game of the year I made Prime Rib, shrimp, scallops, oysters, poke, etc for 7 people and it barely went over $150.
Maybe I was a bad shopper. When I felt like cooking someone, it was usually something Tim Ferriss recommended so $$$$.

During my first year there I was doing the Yelp 365 (write 1 review per day for a year) so my food expenses were closer to $2500/mo. Probably closer to $1500 towards the last couple years. But I was always trying out new restaurants and going back to the places I loved. I don't think I would have spent that much on food if I'd lived in NYC!

I was actually single.. I would say I payed for ~65% of food on dates, and my date payed ~35% in my estimation. Either way, food at the hospital cafeteria was really cheap for lunch so that helped. I lived in Waikiki but I usually ate in town. Do you stay near Aiea?
I pretty much stay out on the Leeward/Central sides most of the time. Now that I don't work Downtown anymore I only go if I have to. I went to the Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani a few weeks ago and that was my first time in Waikiki in over 2 years.

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

Post by tooluser » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:25 pm

Brown paper lunch bags: approx. $0.10 each at Amazon.com
Reusable lunch bags: approx. $5-10 each at Amazon.com

So you're wasting $20-30 a year if you're not using a reusable bag.

Disclaimer: I almost never bring my lunch. Special circumstances only. Otherwise I would eat at my desk too often. I need the break and the exercise.

The potential health benefits are likely the most important cost aspect.
"A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness." -- Albert Einstein, just before he won the Nobel Prize.

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

Post by Go Blue 99 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:53 pm

I brown bag 4 days a week and eat out once. We have a gym at work so this gives me the chance to work out, and then eat lunch at my desk.

I admit I do love the one day I go out to lunch, as we have a lot of great food options near the office. I go with coworkers about 25% of the time.

My wife pretty much eats out every day. But she is a Director, and uses her lunch out to get away from work stress or socialize with coworkers.

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

Post by miamivice » Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:40 am

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:06 am
Folks,

I really do not care whether people choose to brown bag their lunches and/or drive an old used car. But, the problem I have is some folks claimed that they are frugal because they brown bag their lunches and drive an old used car. And, they try to lecture me on how I should save money. The truth is they have a big expensive house and they save close to nothing. I had heard and seen enough of this in my neighborhood from my peers.

It usually goes like this:

My peer: How could you go out lunch every day and buy a new car? Aren't you wasting your money?

Me: I could buy a new car and go out lunch every day because I do not buy an expensive house like you. I save plenty of money. I contribute to the max of my 401K account. How much do you contribute to your 401K?

My peer: I cannot afford to save for retirement. I need to pay my mortgage.

KlangFool
KlangFool, you seem awfully confident that your way of managing money is better than other folks' way. And I think that your axe you grind about expensive houses slightly comes across as being jealous of others. This thread had nothing to do with the size of one's mortgage payment, but you derailed it into that topic to grind your axe over mortgage payments like you frequently do.

Spending money to eat out and drive new cars makes little sense in my book, because a person can save money by brown bagging and driving older cars. And spending money on a mortgage payment makes a whole of sense to me, since houses usually appreciate well, interest rates are low, and we have to live somewhere. But that's my opinion, and I don't try to force that upon everyone else. It's fine if you, and many others, make different choices in life.

As far as your comments on how much you save for retirement versus your coworkers, I certainly don't know what your lunchtime conversations are like. However, at my megacorp, we never discuss how much we save for retirement amongst ourselves. I have never been asked, and I never volunteer. I would be offended if someone quizzed me how much I saved for retirement. Heck, I might even lie and say I don't save anything if I felt that would allow the conversation to turn to a different subject.

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

Post by gd » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:31 am

In my long-ago professional life, I felt there was a loose correlation between people who went out to eat every single day and people who turned white after the surprise appearance of the corporate overlord representative and subsequent "all hands meeting" that ended most of my high-tech jobs. I suspect there was a correlation with body weight as well, but could be my imagination. Argue all you want about chicken/egg, correlation/causation. I go for holistic.

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

Post by stoptothink » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:21 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:25 pm
DonutEater wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:36 pm
Two years ago, I began intermittent fasting. This was a conscious decision I made for my health. I eat one meal per day, dinner, which I cook at home. I will normally have two small healthy snacks consisting of nuts, fruit or vegetables prior to and after my dinner. What began as a health decision resulted in unexpected financial savings AND a significant amount of time to get other things done.

When my co-workers go to lunch, I go with and socialize. The waiter asks what I want and I simply tell him or her, "I'm here for the company." My co-workers know me and are competely accepting of the decision I made for my health. No one cares. The fact I took time out of my day to sit and shoot the sh*t with them is what matters most to them.

While my example is extreme to everyday society, I have seen a significant impact to my monthly grocery and an improvement to my health.
It sounds good. But I am curious: When you are fasting, go to a restaurant, and are exposed to the sights and smells of food, don't you feel hungry? I think it's easier to fast when you are not tempted.

Victoria
FWIW, I do the same thing quite often. I physically am at a restaurant probably once a week (work) and my colleagues know I will come, but not eat. Is it hard? Sure, but we do hard things multiple times a day.

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

Post by db1216 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:03 am

ladders11 wrote:
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.

I just started doing this last month. If I want a burger, I get just the burger. Same for Subway, or wherever else I can make it to. I bought a couple large bags of baked chips and just throw a servings worth on my wrapper of the sandwich. So far, I feel like this is a great compromise. I have a food drawer at my desk to store my things. I wish I would have done it sooner. I feel like I am saving money and calories while still avoiding the need to prepare in the morning. I'm so tired of turkey sandwiches and wraps in an effort to rush before work.

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

Post by Slacker » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:27 am

db1216 wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:03 am
ladders11 wrote:
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.

I just started doing this last month. If I want a burger, I get just the burger. Same for Subway, or wherever else I can make it to. I bought a couple large bags of baked chips and just throw a servings worth on my wrapper of the sandwich. So far, I feel like this is a great compromise. I have a food drawer at my desk to store my things. I wish I would have done it sooner. I feel like I am saving money and calories while still avoiding the need to prepare in the morning. I'm so tired of turkey sandwiches and wraps in an effort to rush before work.
Bonus: Subway locations are typically fairly close to grocery stores as well (sometimes just a few doors down on the same shopping strip).

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

Post by Barefootgirl » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:10 pm

In my long-ago professional life, I felt there was a loose correlation between people who went out to eat every single day and people who turned white after the surprise appearance of the corporate overlord representative and subsequent "all hands meeting" that ended most of my high-tech jobs. I suspect there was a correlation with body weight as well, but could be my imagination. Argue all you want about chicken/egg, correlation/causation. I go for holistic.

I once worked for a corporation that seemed to lay off a larger percentage of workers who smoked than those who did not. We could tell because there was a smoking area just outside the back entrance to the building.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

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

Post by skylar » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:43 pm

tooluser wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:25 pm
Brown paper lunch bags: approx. $0.10 each at Amazon.com
Reusable lunch bags: approx. $5-10 each at Amazon.com

So you're wasting $20-30 a year if you're not using a reusable bag.

Disclaimer: I almost never bring my lunch. Special circumstances only. Otherwise I would eat at my desk too often. I need the break and the exercise.

The potential health benefits are likely the most important cost aspect.
We save plastic containers from grocery shopping (the little tubs meat come in are good) and use them for sandwich containers. Less landfill waste, plus no added cost!

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

Post by IngognitoUSA » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:14 pm

Brown bagging early in career is a 'Career Limiting Move'.
Brown bagging late in career is probably worse until you are on the early retirement list.

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

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:30 pm

Eating at work is worth it for me. It saves a bunch of time, which means I can start work later, and take kid1 to school. The alternative would be before school care, which kid1 probably wouldn't like (too early.)

Brown bagging lunch = happier, healthier family and saves about $5k on lunch and $2k on childcare annually.

Downside = It does make for a long day not leaving office.

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

Post by DonutEater » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:05 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:25 pm
DonutEater wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:36 pm
Two years ago, I began intermittent fasting. This was a conscious decision I made for my health. I eat one meal per day, dinner, which I cook at home. I will normally have two small healthy snacks consisting of nuts, fruit or vegetables prior to and after my dinner. What began as a health decision resulted in unexpected financial savings AND a significant amount of time to get other things done.

When my co-workers go to lunch, I go with and socialize. The waiter asks what I want and I simply tell him or her, "I'm here for the company." My co-workers know me and are competely accepting of the decision I made for my health. No one cares. The fact I took time out of my day to sit and shoot the sh*t with them is what matters most to them.

While my example is extreme to everyday society, I have seen a significant impact to my monthly grocery and an improvement to my health.
It sounds good. But I am curious: When you are fasting, go to a restaurant, and are exposed to the sights and smells of food, don't you feel hungry? I think it's easier to fast when you are not tempted.

Victoria
It is tempting but the hunger is all mental that first 24 hours. When I walk out of a restaurant having not devoured something delicious, my head is held high and I feel great knowing I had the strength to not give in to my temptation.

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

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:31 pm

DonutEater wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:05 am
VictoriaF wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:25 pm
DonutEater wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:36 pm
Two years ago, I began intermittent fasting. This was a conscious decision I made for my health. I eat one meal per day, dinner, which I cook at home. I will normally have two small healthy snacks consisting of nuts, fruit or vegetables prior to and after my dinner. What began as a health decision resulted in unexpected financial savings AND a significant amount of time to get other things done.

When my co-workers go to lunch, I go with and socialize. The waiter asks what I want and I simply tell him or her, "I'm here for the company." My co-workers know me and are competely accepting of the decision I made for my health. No one cares. The fact I took time out of my day to sit and shoot the sh*t with them is what matters most to them.

While my example is extreme to everyday society, I have seen a significant impact to my monthly grocery and an improvement to my health.
It sounds good. But I am curious: When you are fasting, go to a restaurant, and are exposed to the sights and smells of food, don't you feel hungry? I think it's easier to fast when you are not tempted.

Victoria
It is tempting but the hunger is all mental that first 24 hours. When I walk out of a restaurant having not devoured something delicious, my head is held high and I feel great knowing I had the strength to not give in to my temptation.
Maybe you should consider having your username changed.

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

Post by jayars35 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:47 pm

During the 27 years I taught school, I brown bagged and bought. The first school system I taught in, our school had an excellent cafeteria. There were usually five food options and meals were $2.25 for teachers. I usually bought and ate with my friends in the teacher's section of the dining hall.

My last eight years were in a different school system. When I went for my interview, the administrator showing me around told me that the school food was awful and almost no teachers bought school lunches. We ate the school lunch that day and I saw he was telling the truth. Those eight years, I brought lunch from home. We only had 20 minutes for lunch so I had to eat fast anyway. Peanut butter and honey sandwich, cookie plus my water bottle and I was good to go. I know I did save money, but not a huge amount as teacher lunches were $2.75.

Now that I am retired from teaching and my wife and I own a business, I usually go home for lunch. That is still a huge perk for me because for those 27 years, once I got to work, I could not leave.

As to our overall savings, it didn't really matter. My wife and I determined our amount of savings first, then found a way to live on the rest. If we spent more in one area, we would spend less in another.

jayars35

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

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:48 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:38 pm
Crimsontide wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:17 pm
ArmchairArchitect wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:43 am
There's a better way to analyze this.

Figure out your hourly wage, by dividing your salary by number of hours worked in a year. Any services significantly under this hourly rate you should outsource, unless you enjoy the task or don't value your free time/leisure.

By making your own lunch every day you are eating up valuable time you could spend doing something else leisurely. The time it takes to buy extra groceries for lunch materials, and to cook/prepare the lunch just isn't worth the savings, which is why I outsource. Now leftovers from dinner the night before, that's a different story.

However, if you don't live in a city or have a cafeteria, and have to drive to buy lunch rather than walk, it probably makes sense to make your own lunch to save time (and wear on your car) from driving.
This sounds so much better than "I'm just too dang lazy to get out of the armchair and make my lunch" :wink:
I am constantly amazed that people try to make this point. Does the act of traveling to and from a restaurant, being seated, and then waiting for your food (then the bill) not take time? I've discussed ad nauseum how I handle it and I do not suggest that everybody can or should do it like we do BUT the last time I went out to eat, the simple act of waiting for our food and then the bill (not including travel) probably took half as much time as I spend preparing food for an entire week.
Seated? Bill? I guess you haven't heard of fast food.

And yes, there are many fast food places these days with food that is probably even healthier than what you make at home...especially if you live in a major city.

Even if your thing is sandwiches, Jimmy John's can literally make you a sandwich in 60 seconds.

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

Post by Toons » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:52 pm

A few words,
My wife and I applied the same math for decades when working.
Brown bagging lunches,,,rate of reture,,,compounding etc.
We applied that train of thought to many different expenses thru our working years.
You ask is it worth it?
We retired early,completely debt free,,
So for us Yes indeedy .
We go out to eat when we want to now :mrgreen:
Keep on Keepin on
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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

Post by runner540 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:57 pm

IngognitoUSA wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:14 pm
Brown bagging early in career is a 'Career Limiting Move'.
Brown bagging late in career is probably worse until you are on the early retirement list.
This really varies by industry, role, office, and team. In my jobs, being away from
My desk for the time it requires to go out and get lunch everyday would have been career limiting.

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

Post by latesaver » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:14 pm

I've looked through some of the posts and feel lucky that i have a very boring routine that i genuinely enjoy. and i don't feel the need to connect with co-workers, if i do it would not be at lunch but rather a happy hour. hasn't detracted from my career trajectory in the least. probably the opposite.

i've brown bagged for the last 7 years. lately it's been a slice of homemade bread (so much better than store-bought) with peanut butter, chopped vegetables with homemade hummus, and a handful of almonds. sometimes i bring in leftovers for lunch. it used to be a turkey sandwich but then i realized i was spending $10/week on turkey meat alone.

over the same period my breakfast has been oatmeal w/ walnuts, cinnamon etc. at my desk nearly every day, unless i am traveling.

if i wandered from that routine it would bug me. it's just something i do i guess.

we save in other ways as well but aren't crazy. and we do just fine, last year our AGI put us in the top tax bracket.

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

Post by stoptothink » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:35 pm

ArmchairArchitect wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:48 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:38 pm
Crimsontide wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:17 pm
ArmchairArchitect wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:43 am
There's a better way to analyze this.

Figure out your hourly wage, by dividing your salary by number of hours worked in a year. Any services significantly under this hourly rate you should outsource, unless you enjoy the task or don't value your free time/leisure.

By making your own lunch every day you are eating up valuable time you could spend doing something else leisurely. The time it takes to buy extra groceries for lunch materials, and to cook/prepare the lunch just isn't worth the savings, which is why I outsource. Now leftovers from dinner the night before, that's a different story.

However, if you don't live in a city or have a cafeteria, and have to drive to buy lunch rather than walk, it probably makes sense to make your own lunch to save time (and wear on your car) from driving.
This sounds so much better than "I'm just too dang lazy to get out of the armchair and make my lunch" :wink:
I am constantly amazed that people try to make this point. Does the act of traveling to and from a restaurant, being seated, and then waiting for your food (then the bill) not take time? I've discussed ad nauseum how I handle it and I do not suggest that everybody can or should do it like we do BUT the last time I went out to eat, the simple act of waiting for our food and then the bill (not including travel) probably took half as much time as I spend preparing food for an entire week.
Seated? Bill? I guess you haven't heard of fast food.

And yes, there are many fast food places these days with food that is probably even healthier than what you make at home...especially if you live in a major city.

Even if your thing is sandwiches, Jimmy John's can literally make you a sandwich in 60 seconds.
Unless you work in a fast food restaurant and eat at said restaurant, the time involved in eating out is almost certainly more (and usually significantly more) than it would take to prepare your own brown bag. The constant mention that eating out saves time simply isn't the case, except in outlier situations.

I am sure there are healthy options at restaurants, I know for a fact there are, but you don't have the same freedom to truly confirm that when you eat out. Feel free to do a search on other food threads to read about how/what my family eats; "healthy" is subjective, but you are not likely to find options healthy-er. As a health/nutrition professional, regularly published obesity researcher, and competitive athlete, it's something I take more seriously than 99% of the population, hence my very strong opinions in threads on this topic.

Jags4186
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:03 pm

To the original question: it depends.

There are many things which we could look at in our life's and say "hey I could shave $5/day/wk/mo etc." and come up with a number 50 years out thats spectacular. Everyone could have a cheaper cell phone payment, a lower (or no) gym membership, could quit drinking alcohol and only drink water, could have a cheaper or no cable package, could turn the A/C on at a higher temperature, heat on at a lower temperature, etc. etc. etc. It all comes down to what type of life do you want and are you hitting your financial goals.

While I don't really agree with KlangFool's tone or assessment of home equity I do agree with his fundamental argument that your savings rate determines how frugal you are, not whether you brownbag lunch.

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

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:11 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:35 pm
ArmchairArchitect wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:48 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:38 pm
Crimsontide wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:17 pm
ArmchairArchitect wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:43 am
There's a better way to analyze this.

Figure out your hourly wage, by dividing your salary by number of hours worked in a year. Any services significantly under this hourly rate you should outsource, unless you enjoy the task or don't value your free time/leisure.

By making your own lunch every day you are eating up valuable time you could spend doing something else leisurely. The time it takes to buy extra groceries for lunch materials, and to cook/prepare the lunch just isn't worth the savings, which is why I outsource. Now leftovers from dinner the night before, that's a different story.

However, if you don't live in a city or have a cafeteria, and have to drive to buy lunch rather than walk, it probably makes sense to make your own lunch to save time (and wear on your car) from driving.
This sounds so much better than "I'm just too dang lazy to get out of the armchair and make my lunch" :wink:
I am constantly amazed that people try to make this point. Does the act of traveling to and from a restaurant, being seated, and then waiting for your food (then the bill) not take time? I've discussed ad nauseum how I handle it and I do not suggest that everybody can or should do it like we do BUT the last time I went out to eat, the simple act of waiting for our food and then the bill (not including travel) probably took half as much time as I spend preparing food for an entire week.
Seated? Bill? I guess you haven't heard of fast food.

And yes, there are many fast food places these days with food that is probably even healthier than what you make at home...especially if you live in a major city.

Even if your thing is sandwiches, Jimmy John's can literally make you a sandwich in 60 seconds.
Unless you work in a fast food restaurant and eat at said restaurant, the time involved in eating out is almost certainly more (and usually significantly more) than it would take to prepare your own brown bag. The constant mention that eating out saves time simply isn't the case, except in outlier situations.

I am sure there are healthy options at restaurants, I know for a fact there are, but you don't have the same freedom to truly confirm that when you eat out. Feel free to do a search on other food threads to read about how/what my family eats; "healthy" is subjective, but you are not likely to find options healthy-er. As a health/nutrition professional, regularly published obesity researcher, and competitive athlete, it's something I take more seriously than 99% of the population, hence my very strong opinions in threads on this topic.
For people that live in the city with near access to a lot of restaurants - eating out is certainly faster and I don't know if I would call these folks outlier situations since millions of people are in this circumstance. Thinking of the offices I travel to and people I work with in downtown DC, San Francisco, NYC, etc. that do this there are places where you can order online (in just a few minutes) and have the order delivered (a few minutes to pick up at front desk). Or, if you choose to go pick up after ordering (many healthy fast-food spots (SweetGreen, etc.) don't deliver but do have pre-order) you are out for no longer than 5-10 minutes. Compare this to the time it takes to shop for and prepare a healthy meal and its almost a no-brainer. And sometimes these folks group together to do this so only one or two people in a group of 10 are running out to pick up the order.

new2bogle
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by new2bogle » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:12 pm

IngognitoUSA wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:14 pm
Brown bagging early in career is a 'Career Limiting Move'.
Brown bagging late in career is probably worse until you are on the early retirement list.
Completely and utterly incorrect.

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

Post by mak1277 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:19 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:12 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:14 pm
Brown bagging early in career is a 'Career Limiting Move'.
Brown bagging late in career is probably worse until you are on the early retirement list.
Completely and utterly incorrect.
It all depends.

I worked in Big 4 public accounting at the start of my career. I was told on day 1 that "you do not bring your lunch...you go out to eat with your team." This was a long time ago, so maybe it's different today, but anyone who brought their lunch was considered "undesirable" unless they were truly an outstanding performer.

Is that stupid? Yes, no doubt. But that doesn't make it false.

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

Post by Lindrobe » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:25 pm

Wow, I can't believe how many responses this has received!

I am a firm believer that you should splurge on things that you value and be frugal in all other areas. So, if you really value being able to eat out for lunch every day, then do it.

I brown bag it every day. My lunch consists of plain yogurt with either a banana or berries and granola. I would estimate that I spend about $2/day for lunch.

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

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:49 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:19 pm
new2bogle wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:12 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:14 pm
Brown bagging early in career is a 'Career Limiting Move'.
Brown bagging late in career is probably worse until you are on the early retirement list.
Completely and utterly incorrect.
It all depends.

I worked in Big 4 public accounting at the start of my career. I was told on day 1 that "you do not bring your lunch...you go out to eat with your team." This was a long time ago, so maybe it's different today, but anyone who brought their lunch was considered "undesirable" unless they were truly an outstanding performer.

Is that stupid? Yes, no doubt. But that doesn't make it false.
Your right - it depends.
The problem with these threads is that folks that work in a specific area/industry/job seem to jump to the conclusion that what they experience applies broadly to every other area/industry/job. You can neither state broadly that brown bagging is career limiting - nor state broadly the assertion is incorrect. It depends.
Similarly - someone who has never worked in a city with quick/easy access to lot of quick (and healthy) food options has trouble fathoming how eating out can be faster that shopping for and preparing and bringing lunch.

new2bogle
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by new2bogle » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:58 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:49 pm
mak1277 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:19 pm
new2bogle wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:12 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:14 pm
Brown bagging early in career is a 'Career Limiting Move'.
Brown bagging late in career is probably worse until you are on the early retirement list.
Completely and utterly incorrect.
It all depends.

I worked in Big 4 public accounting at the start of my career. I was told on day 1 that "you do not bring your lunch...you go out to eat with your team." This was a long time ago, so maybe it's different today, but anyone who brought their lunch was considered "undesirable" unless they were truly an outstanding performer.

Is that stupid? Yes, no doubt. But that doesn't make it false.
Your right - it depends.
The problem with these threads is that folks that work in a specific area/industry/job seem to jump to the conclusion that what they experience applies broadly to every other area/industry/job. You can neither state broadly that brown bagging is career limiting - nor state broadly the assertion is incorrect. It depends.
Similarly - someone who has never worked in a city with quick/easy access to lot of quick (and healthy) food options has trouble fathoming how eating out can be faster that shopping for and preparing and bringing lunch.
The bolded sentence makes no sense. If one can not "state broadly that brown bagging is career limiting", then by definition, I can broadly say that that assertion is incorrect. And that is exactly what I was doing.

genedios966
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by genedios966 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:02 pm

I think so, cheaper and healthier. Near where I work, it is nice to eat outside in park or read a book over lunch.

Time costs are easily managed to by utilizing leftovers and/or prepping and packing multiple lunches on same day.

Also, can leave lunch for another day if the mod strikes to get a bite with coworkers.
"The shortest route to wealth is the contempt of wealth." ~ Seneca

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

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:10 pm

genedios966 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:02 pm
Also, can leave lunch for another day if the mod strikes to get a bite with coworkers.
I did not know that the moderators were monitoring our lunches! I would not want to be banned from the Forum for a culinary offense.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:13 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:58 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:49 pm
mak1277 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:19 pm
new2bogle wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:12 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:14 pm
Brown bagging early in career is a 'Career Limiting Move'.
Brown bagging late in career is probably worse until you are on the early retirement list.
Completely and utterly incorrect.
It all depends.

I worked in Big 4 public accounting at the start of my career. I was told on day 1 that "you do not bring your lunch...you go out to eat with your team." This was a long time ago, so maybe it's different today, but anyone who brought their lunch was considered "undesirable" unless they were truly an outstanding performer.

Is that stupid? Yes, no doubt. But that doesn't make it false.
Your right - it depends.
The problem with these threads is that folks that work in a specific area/industry/job seem to jump to the conclusion that what they experience applies broadly to every other area/industry/job. You can neither state broadly that brown bagging is career limiting - nor state broadly the assertion is incorrect. It depends.
Similarly - someone who has never worked in a city with quick/easy access to lot of quick (and healthy) food options has trouble fathoming how eating out can be faster that shopping for and preparing and bringing lunch.
The bolded sentence makes no sense. If one can not "state broadly that brown bagging is career limiting", then by definition, I can broadly say that that assertion is incorrect. And that is exactly what I was doing.
Okay - but not "Completely" and "utterly" incorrect :happy
In some cases it is NOT incorrect - so to state "completely incorrect" and "utterly incorrect" seems false - at least to me.
But perhaps your command over the English language is better than mine. It seems it would have been clearer to answer his assertion with "in many cases this is incorrect".

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