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

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:08 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:50 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:08 am
VictoriaF wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:58 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:14 pm
fareastwarriors wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:02 pm
I'm being judgmental but I don't understand how some people eat the Same lunch everyday for like 20/30 years. Routines are good but wow oh wow. I bring my lunch like 3 times a week.
If you can't or are not interested in doing it yourself, great. But, with the possible health and financial benefits, how can you judge someone negatively who can eat the same thing every day? As someone who can and does, it is simply a difference in how you view food (as fuel as opposed to a source of pleasure).
stoptothink,

I agree with you about the differences in viewing food. I am firmly in the camp of those who "eat to live," NOT "live to eat." But I also "eat to socialize" because I am surrounded by a strong culture of socializing around food.

By the way, many posters claim that they bring their own lunch because it's healthy, but the descriptions of their lunches are antitheses of healthy.

Victoria
I am clearly an outlier. I do not eat to socialize. Just an opinion, as an obesity researcher, but that cultural norm is one of the primary factors in our obesogenic environment - again, my opinion. My lack of interest in eating out isn't solely about health, I also derive no pleasure from it. My wife is the same way, possibly slightly less extreme as she'll occasionally (maybe once a month) ride along with co-workers and pick-up a salad. It simply doesn't increase my quality of life at all (totally outside of the financial, health, and time costs). On the other hand, we have people over for dinner at our home all the time, but what we eat in my home is probably not what most people eat when they have people over for dinner.
I agree that the cultural norm to socialize around food is a significant factor in the obesity. I just can't fight it. If I want to socialize with certain people, I'll do it around food if I have to. When I can, I choose the most acceptable to me food. Thus, I prefer to socialize in restaurants that offer choice than at dinner parties. If I am ambivalent about the company, I may skip the event.

Victoria
Something we've noticed, and others may have different experiences, is that our friends/family are aware of our eating habits so instead of using it as an excuse to not invite us, they simply make different plans. We "eat" with my brother's family probably twice a week, often more. They eat out almost every meal, but they have never invited once invited us out to a restaurant; but he invites us over to their home all the time and he grills (and we'll bring a veggie side). Same thing with our circle of friends. Our disdain for restaurants has done nothing to slow down our social activity, but it has changed (albeit slightly) the habits of those in our social circle. I doubt it is just because we are just that fun to be around (well, maybe the wife).

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

Post by tj » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:29 am

Cloudy wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:03 am
I make something in a slow cooker every Sunday to provide 4-5 lunches for the week. I try to limit carbs, so this is usually heavy on meats and vegetables. It runs around 15-20 dollars for the pot.

I enjoy it as much or more than foods out, and it is typically healthier than the places I would go. Some people may not be able to eat the same meal several days in a row, but it works for me.
Do you have any recipes? How does the cooked meat stay good for more than a couple days?

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:35 am

tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:29 am
Cloudy wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:03 am
I make something in a slow cooker every Sunday to provide 4-5 lunches for the week. I try to limit carbs, so this is usually heavy on meats and vegetables. It runs around 15-20 dollars for the pot.

I enjoy it as much or more than foods out, and it is typically healthier than the places I would go. Some people may not be able to eat the same meal several days in a row, but it works for me.
Do you have any recipes? How does the cooked meat stay good for more than a couple days?
We do the exact same thing. Meat stays good as long as 7 days when properly refrigerated. As far as recipes, there are billions of them online. I am a simple cook, to say the least; I throw hot sauce and garlic on everything and call it a day.

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

Post by N10sive » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:36 am

I consider not just brown bagging my lunch, but cooking for most of my other meals. I came from eating out every meal in my mid 20's to eating out only 2-3 times a week with friends. In the grand scheme of things I think this adds up to about 7k a year savings(conservatively) if I make most of my meals. That isn't including a breakfast since I normally buy bulk bars and just have that with my company paid for coffee.

I barely make six figures and with the rent I pay, this is one way for me to pay down debt and work towards retirement. Another thread popped up about taking a shuttle/bus vs commuting by their own vehicle. I do this and estimate savings of around 3k plus countless hours to do things on the bus while otherwise being occupied driving.

So add that up and I save about 10k a year. That's a 10% savings rate for me personally. Its not for everyone and I can say not all brown bagging lunches are healthy. I may not save that 10k a year, but food isn't that big of deal to me and I'd rather spend it on my hobbies or traveling etc. Granted a nice expensive meal is awesome but those are splurges perhaps that can be saved for when you brown bag your lunch :).

Its interesting to see the split especially on a financial forum as frugal as this one. I concur with some of the networking side issues, but its not always a big deal. I feel those positions are more for the sales oriented people than perhaps me as just an engineer.

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

Post by tj » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:40 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:35 am
tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:29 am
Cloudy wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:03 am
I make something in a slow cooker every Sunday to provide 4-5 lunches for the week. I try to limit carbs, so this is usually heavy on meats and vegetables. It runs around 15-20 dollars for the pot.

I enjoy it as much or more than foods out, and it is typically healthier than the places I would go. Some people may not be able to eat the same meal several days in a row, but it works for me.
Do you have any recipes? How does the cooked meat stay good for more than a couple days?
We do the exact same thing. Meat stays good as long as 7 days when properly refrigerated. As far as recipes, there are billions of them online. I am a simple cook, to say the least; I throw hot sauce and garlic on everything and call it a day.
Interesting. My parents always told me 2 to 3 days max on meat in the fridge.

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

Post by peterinjapan » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:45 am

My wife makes me a nice bento lunch every day. Considering we used to go out to eat 4 times a week for lunch (which made us both fat too), we figure we're saving $250 a month at least. It's great. I also eat quickly, then take a nice 4 km brisk walk at lunch with the extra time I have.

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

Post by LiterallyIronic » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:53 am

alfaspider wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:30 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:37 am
alfaspider wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:58 am
If an extra $75k at retirement makes or breaks me, my retirement plans have already gone terribly wrong.
I don't follow. Isn't the $75k the very definition of your retirement plans? For example, I intend to retire when I have $600,000 and a paid off house. Now, if I have $525,000 and a paid off house (taking away that $75k you scoffed at), that means I can't retire yet.

Whatever your number is, you can retire when you get to that number, but you can't retire if you have that number minus $75k. Isn't that the very definition of making or breaking your retirement?
My number is more like $5 million. By the time I am nearing that number, $75k will be within plausible monthly market fluctuations. I also don't have a hard cutoff number for a literal retirement. If things go as planned, my exact date will be determined by personal and professional considerations rather than financial considerations.
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:38 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:37 am
alfaspider wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:58 am
If an extra $75k at retirement makes or breaks me, my retirement plans have already gone terribly wrong.
I don't follow. Isn't the $75k the very definition of your retirement plans? For example, I intend to retire when I have $600,000 and a paid off house. Now, if I have $525,000 and a paid off house (taking away that $75k you scoffed at), that means I can't retire yet.

Whatever your number is, you can retire when you get to that number, but you can't retire if you have that number minus $75k. Isn't that the very definition of making or breaking your retirement?
LiterallyIronic,

I save 30+% of my gross income and about 50+% of my net income. Then, I spend the rest. I eat out regularly. For people in my income level, eat out does not matter. In fact, in many cases, the luxury car (50K) does not matter either. It is the big expensive house that kills the savings. After that, the person could brown bag their lunches and drive an old used car, they still have lower saving rate than I do.

The annual median household income in my area is 150K.

KlangFool
I see what you're saying. It's the percentage. $75k is 12.5% of what I plan to retire on (and represents nearly four years of expenses) and 1.5% of what you plan to retire on. Running the numbers shows that I'd have to invest 100% of my gross income for the next 29 years to reach $5,000,000 (assuming 7% growth).

You're saying that for someone making tons of money that saving $1,800/year on brown-bagging wouldn't dent their retirement funds, because, to them, $150/month is just noise.

Still seems weird to base your retirement on "personal and professional considerations" rather than financial, though. :shock:

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

Post by acanthurus » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:58 am

The food in the company cafeteria seemed to be designed to reduce the company's average employees age. Probably easier to kill them than to risk the lawsuit from laying them off after 40.

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

Post by Cloudy » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:00 am

tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:40 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:35 am
tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:29 am
Cloudy wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:03 am
I make something in a slow cooker every Sunday to provide 4-5 lunches for the week. I try to limit carbs, so this is usually heavy on meats and vegetables. It runs around 15-20 dollars for the pot.

I enjoy it as much or more than foods out, and it is typically healthier than the places I would go. Some people may not be able to eat the same meal several days in a row, but it works for me.
Do you have any recipes? How does the cooked meat stay good for more than a couple days?
We do the exact same thing. Meat stays good as long as 7 days when properly refrigerated. As far as recipes, there are billions of them online. I am a simple cook, to say the least; I throw hot sauce and garlic on everything and call it a day.
Interesting. My parents always told me 2 to 3 days max on meat in the fridge.
I haven't got ill yet and I have been doing this for quite a while, but I should probably research that nonetheless.

stoptothink is right, there are a ton of websites with slow cooker content, such as allrecipes.com. I have tried following them with mixed results. I don't use recipes so much nowadays as they'll often plan serving with significant amounts of potatoes, bread, or rice.

Usually I buy whatever large cut of meat is on sale, or boneless chicken breasts and a smoked turkey kielbasa if there's no sale. Season, garlic, broth. Then a mix of vegetables including spicy peppers for most meals. Cook on low around 10 hrs, and refrigerate in individual meal portions.

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

Post by Abe » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:08 am

It is said that H L Hunt, who at one time was considered the richest man in the world, carried his lunch to work in a brown paper bag.

My wife and I used to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken and get 3 pieces of chicken for $2.49, but the last time I went, they had almost doubled the price. Outrageous. :wink:
Slow and steady wins the race.

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:13 am

Cloudy wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:00 am
tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:40 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:35 am
tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:29 am
Cloudy wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:03 am
I make something in a slow cooker every Sunday to provide 4-5 lunches for the week. I try to limit carbs, so this is usually heavy on meats and vegetables. It runs around 15-20 dollars for the pot.

I enjoy it as much or more than foods out, and it is typically healthier than the places I would go. Some people may not be able to eat the same meal several days in a row, but it works for me.
Do you have any recipes? How does the cooked meat stay good for more than a couple days?
We do the exact same thing. Meat stays good as long as 7 days when properly refrigerated. As far as recipes, there are billions of them online. I am a simple cook, to say the least; I throw hot sauce and garlic on everything and call it a day.
Interesting. My parents always told me 2 to 3 days max on meat in the fridge.
I haven't got ill yet and I have been doing this for quite a while, but I should probably research that nonetheless.

stoptothink is right, there are a ton of websites with slow cooker content, such as allrecipes.com. I have tried following them with mixed results. I don't use recipes so much nowadays as they'll often plan serving with significant amounts of potatoes, bread, or rice.

Usually I buy whatever large cut of meat is on sale, or boneless chicken breasts and a smoked turkey kielbasa if there's no sale. Season, garlic, broth. Then a mix of vegetables including spicy peppers for most meals. Cook on low around 10 hrs, and refrigerate in individual meal portions.
According to the USDA, it is generally acceptable to refrigerate cooked meat up to 5 days. Virtually all our food is cooked on Sundays and it lasts throughout the week, towards the end of the week the meat is usually gone or close to it (time to hard boil some eggs). I know I have eaten refrigerated meat a full week old countless times without issue. Just follow common sense.

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

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:14 am

tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:00 am
I started bringing a soylent 2.0 into work for lunch. They are about $3 per bottle. Beats going out for $8. Save sone wear n tear on my car too.
I've been mulling over doing a 12 bottle subscription of Soylent. There are ~20 lunches in a month. If I did a Soylent drink for 12 of the 20, I'd probably feel much better. I'm not sure I can do the fast through lunch thing.

I've been doing this, but with healthy cereal. I will have 2 bowls of Cheerios 2 or 3 times a week. Eat a regular lunch the other 2 lunches.

I've heard the new flavors of Soylent are pretty good.
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stoptothink
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:27 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:14 am
I've been doing this, but with healthy cereal. I will have 2 bowls of Cheerios 2 or 3 times a week. Eat a regular lunch the other 2 lunches.
Not trying to get this shut down, but would you consider something with this ingredient list healthy?

Whole Grain Oats (includes the oat bran), Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Wheat Starch, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.

That's the ingredient list for original Cheerios. Hey, at least there are only 8 ingredients. There is one kind of "healthy" cereal, it is called oatmeal. The more research I do, the more I realize that nutrition is so simple, yet we have been deluded into thinking it is complex (no different than investing in the stock market).

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

Post by SirToolman » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:35 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:27 am
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:14 am
I've been doing this, but with healthy cereal. I will have 2 bowls of Cheerios 2 or 3 times a week. Eat a regular lunch the other 2 lunches.
Not trying to get this shut down, but would you consider something with this ingredient list healthy?

Whole Grain Oats (includes the oat bran), Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Wheat Starch, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.

That's the ingredient list for original Cheerios. Hey, at least there are only 8 ingredients. There is one kind of "healthy" cereal, it is called oatmeal. The more research I do, the more I realize that nutrition is so simple, yet we have been deluded into thinking it is complex (no different than investing in the stock market).
So what's unhealthy in that list?

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

Post by investingdad » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:38 am

cantos wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:07 am


I find that those that don't hone their networking skills in some way - be it lunch, or, as one of the above posters working out with c-suite folks - they get stuck in their jobs and are unhappy. For me, anyway, lunch out is not just tasty, but totally worth it. I know some folks who make it a point to have lunch with someone everyday - they are very successful.

While lots of Bogleheaders are savers - and we see you all posting here - I think there are also lots on the other hand that find that the so-called lost savings are more than made up for by the investment in career/networking. Saving $75k by brown bagging? Chump change in the long run - if you save by eating lunch at home and drive a Lexus, that's a wash - penny wise and pound foolish, etc. Eating out for lunch is nowhere near the same kind of "savings" as buying a cheaper car, living in an LCOL, or staying in one house and never moving. For those that are poor at social skills, brown bagging it, not exercising, and not having another way to force yourself to network, can be detrimental to your career and cost you millions.

You go ahead and save your $75k, brown baggers. This one would rather make millions in his career and invaluable network built up over years of lunching (and coffee, and dinner, etc) with others.
So if I told you my wife and I are in the top 3.5% for household income despite brown bagging daily and missing the lunch networking thing...?

I think we're doing pretty well.

I'm not picking on you, honest. I guess I've heard "networking" too many times in my career and heard it touted as the end all be all. It's just a pet peeve of mine.

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

Post by ArmchairArchitect » 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.
Last edited by ArmchairArchitect on Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:48 am

SirToolman wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:35 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:27 am
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:14 am
I've been doing this, but with healthy cereal. I will have 2 bowls of Cheerios 2 or 3 times a week. Eat a regular lunch the other 2 lunches.
Not trying to get this shut down, but would you consider something with this ingredient list healthy?

Whole Grain Oats (includes the oat bran), Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Wheat Starch, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.

That's the ingredient list for original Cheerios. Hey, at least there are only 8 ingredients. There is one kind of "healthy" cereal, it is called oatmeal. The more research I do, the more I realize that nutrition is so simple, yet we have been deluded into thinking it is complex (no different than investing in the stock market).
So what's unhealthy in that list?
Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Wheat Starch. Then the milk, which it is pointless getting into a debate about. Health is my world, specifically obesity; it is really hard to induce change when people have been led to believe that cereal is a healthy start to the day, that the "healthy" snacks provided by the company corporate wellness program are "organic" fruit snacks and granola bars...just a rant about the obesogenic we have created.

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

Post by tj » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:50 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:14 am
tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:00 am
I started bringing a soylent 2.0 into work for lunch. They are about $3 per bottle. Beats going out for $8. Save sone wear n tear on my car too.
I've been mulling over doing a 12 bottle subscription of Soylent. There are ~20 lunches in a month. If I did a Soylent drink for 12 of the 20, I'd probably feel much better. I'm not sure I can do the fast through lunch thing.

I've been doing this, but with healthy cereal. I will have 2 bowls of Cheerios 2 or 3 times a week. Eat a regular lunch the other 2 lunches.

I've heard the new flavors of Soylent are pretty good.
I got the cacao flavor. Its tolerable. I think some people get original and flavor their own. I probably could do a bigger breakfast but with 1 bowl of cheerios and a soylent im fairly hangry by 5 pm.

I dont drink milk or put it on cereal.

AZAttorney11
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by AZAttorney11 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:52 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:48 am
Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Wheat Starch. Then the milk, which it is pointless getting into a debate about. Health is my world, specifically obesity; it is really hard to induce change when people have been led to believe that cereal is a healthy start to the day, that the "healthy" snacks provided by the company corporate wellness program are "organic" fruit snacks and granola bars...just a rant about the obesogenic we have created.
We get it...

And I hope you don't think this is solely a U.S. problem. Been to the UK or Western Europe lately?! Perhaps Central or Latin America?

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:12 pm

AZAttorney11 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:52 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:48 am
Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Wheat Starch. Then the milk, which it is pointless getting into a debate about. Health is my world, specifically obesity; it is really hard to induce change when people have been led to believe that cereal is a healthy start to the day, that the "healthy" snacks provided by the company corporate wellness program are "organic" fruit snacks and granola bars...just a rant about the obesogenic we have created.
We get it...

And I hope you don't think this is solely a U.S. problem. Been to the UK or Western Europe lately?! Perhaps Central or Latin America?
In the last several years I've spoken at obesity conferences not just in the U.S., but in Sweden, Norway, and Mexico. Yep, it is a global thing.

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

Post by alfaspider » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:18 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:53 am

Still seems weird to base your retirement on "personal and professional considerations" rather than financial, though. :shock:
How so? There's quite a range of numbers I could retire at. I could probably retire very early if I'm ok with a very basic retirement life. I could retire very old and live in the lap of luxury (but with little time to enjoy). There's a 30+ year range in there. What is likely going to tip the balance on specific timing will be factors like elder care obligations, children, hobbies, and how satisfying my career is at that point. I'm not just going to bolt out the door because my accounts hit some pre-determined balance if I'm very satisfied in my work and don't feel a pressing need for more free time. It's also worth noting that I'm blessed to be in a career field (tax law) where there is often reverse age discrimination- you get more sought after and valuable as you age (to a point). There is at least one centenarian I'm familiar with who is still practicing tax law.

The $5M number is a general target I've set today, but my mind could change in 10 years.

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

Post by lightheir » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:30 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:14 am
tj wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:00 am
I started bringing a soylent 2.0 into work for lunch. They are about $3 per bottle. Beats going out for $8. Save sone wear n tear on my car too.
I've been mulling over doing a 12 bottle subscription of Soylent. There are ~20 lunches in a month. If I did a Soylent drink for 12 of the 20, I'd probably feel much better. I'm not sure I can do the fast through lunch thing.

I've been doing this, but with healthy cereal. I will have 2 bowls of Cheerios 2 or 3 times a week. Eat a regular lunch the other 2 lunches.

I've heard the new flavors of Soylent are pretty good.
I find that idea of buying Soylent not necessary. There are SO many quick and easy light lunch choices for cheaper that you'd get a wide variety of enjoyable light lunch options.

I'm still a fan of fasting through lunch, and I do on every day that I don't exercise during lunch for sure, but I do eat a light lunch 2-3 days of the workweek.

Amongst my easy options (and I do mean easy!)
- Cut carrots and cherry tomatoes with hummus.
- 1-2 slices of bread with PB
- Oatmeal
- Cereal

Pretty much all of these are instant prep, super cheap (wayyyy cheaper than Soylent), and good for you. Unless you're intending to not eat anything else the rest of the day, there's no need for Soylent.

I do also admit that oftentimes, the light high-fiber lunch will let you eat even less at dinner, further reducing weight gain.

I have hereditary genes for obesity (both mom & dad were obese by age 40), but with attention to calories and a very active regimen, I'm at what endurance athletes would call "racing weight", which is pretty lean. And it's not hard at all to do.

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

Post by HomerJ » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:44 pm

I bought a boat and a jetski with all the money I've saved not eating out every day at work.

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

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:53 pm

Yes, but not for financial reasons. I find I tend to eat significantly healthier when I bring my lunch.

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

Post by WanderingDoc » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:02 pm

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. :)
Based on your numbers, you just gave me the validation that I was doing the right thing by going out to eat 1-3 meals every single day. Then again, if you have shopped for groceries in Alaska or Hawaii, you'd know that eating in a cafe is probably cheaper than preparing your own food :twisted: But $78K over a lifetime, think of all the time you spend shopping for groceries, preparing meals, and washing dishes. Paying the $78K is beginning to sound like a bargain!
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VictoriaF
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:04 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:12 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:52 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:48 am
Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Wheat Starch. Then the milk, which it is pointless getting into a debate about. Health is my world, specifically obesity; it is really hard to induce change when people have been led to believe that cereal is a healthy start to the day, that the "healthy" snacks provided by the company corporate wellness program are "organic" fruit snacks and granola bars...just a rant about the obesogenic we have created.
We get it...

And I hope you don't think this is solely a U.S. problem. Been to the UK or Western Europe lately?! Perhaps Central or Latin America?
In the last several years I've spoken at obesity conferences not just in the U.S., but in Sweden, Norway, and Mexico. Yep, it is a global thing.
First, I highly appreciate that you are speaking out. Every time I see posters touting cereal, juice, or peanut butter as healthy food I cringe.

Second, I am spending a fair amount of time in Europe, specifically in Spain, France, and the Czech Republic. I know some overweight people in these countries (local citizens, not tourists). But I also notice that it's much easier to live healthy there. Lifestyle in major centers is centered on public transportation and walking. Grocery stores have a greater variety of produce, at lower prices, and tastier.

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

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:09 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:27 am
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:14 am
I've been doing this, but with healthy cereal. I will have 2 bowls of Cheerios 2 or 3 times a week. Eat a regular lunch the other 2 lunches.
Not trying to get this shut down, but would you consider something with this ingredient list healthy?
Everything you eat is going to kill you. When I use the term "healthy" it is in comparison to pizza, bacon, ham, chips, french fries, cheeseburgers, etc.

Someone who says cheerios are not healthy (I didn't cringe) and corn or green beans or peas are healthy is probably just as wrong. Almost zero nutritional value in many vegetables. Fruits are loaded with sugar. Roughage, filler.

I'm closer to death, and again, and again, and again. Darn seconds.
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cantos
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by cantos » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:16 pm

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

Post by cantos » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:17 pm

deleted - multiple posts
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by cantos » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:17 pm

investingdad wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:38 am
So if I told you my wife and I are in the top 3.5% for household income despite brown bagging daily and missing the lunch networking thing...?

I think we're doing pretty well.

I'm not picking on you, honest. I guess I've heard "networking" too many times in my career and heard it touted as the end all be all. It's just a pet peeve of mine.
One example doesn't make a rule - me boasting about my percentile household income is equally irrelevant. I see several posts above from an engineer who makes less than 6 digits talking about how networking is important for those in sales but not engineers. So wrong. Everyone "networks" with co-workers, people in the same industry, etc., and can increase soft skills tremendously through the act of networking. It isn't just about knowing people and getting info/etc. It's about understanding people and building rapport/etc., and lunch is an easy way to build those skills.

So for example, engineers: you're wondering why that fellow engineer got promoted but he never does anything and is actually bad at what he does? He has an advantage you likely don't: he networked with the right people, got on the right side, got his name out where it counts. These are soft skills that are invaluable to a career and extremely hard to train. As a once-horrible networker/people-person who vastly improved, I can say that forcing yourself to get out there can pay big dividends. To take another example, there are tons of coders out there, but few managers of coders who make even more $$ and across any industry - what separates them? It's not coding skills.

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:17 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:09 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:27 am
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:14 am
I've been doing this, but with healthy cereal. I will have 2 bowls of Cheerios 2 or 3 times a week. Eat a regular lunch the other 2 lunches.
Not trying to get this shut down, but would you consider something with this ingredient list healthy?
Everything you eat is going to kill you. When I use the term "healthy" it is in comparison to pizza, bacon, ham, chips, french fries, cheeseburgers, etc.

Someone who says cheerios are not healthy (I didn't cringe) and corn or green beans or peas are healthy is probably just as wrong. Almost zero nutritional value in many vegetables. Fruits are loaded with sugar. Roughage, filler.

I'm closer to death, and again, and again, and again. Darn seconds.
We'll just agree to disagree.

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

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:24 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:17 pm
We'll just agree to disagree.
As is the result of most any topic. Seems fair.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:39 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 thangngo » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:28 pm

WanderingDoc wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:02 pm
Based on your numbers, you just gave me the validation that I was doing the right thing by going out to eat 1-3 meals every single day. Then again, if you have shopped for groceries in Alaska or Hawaii, you'd know that eating in a cafe is probably cheaper than preparing your own food :twisted: But $78K over a lifetime, think of all the time you spend shopping for groceries, preparing meals, and washing dishes. Paying the $78K is beginning to sound like a bargain!
1) Eating out is a lot more expensive than home cooked meal.

2) It's tough to control nutrition intake and quality of food when you eat out. When it becomes a habit and you don't exercise to stay healthy, you'll pay very expensive medical bills when you are older. Then what's the point of saving when you can't live long enough to withdraw and spend all of it?

3) When eating out, meals are not cooked with love. Bear with me here. If you are single, cooking for yourself shows that you love and care yourself. If you're married and raising a family, don't underestimate the family values you've built when your family sit down and enjoy home cooked meals together. Preparing breakfast and brown bag lunch for your children also make sure that they have wholesome nutrition growing up. It also teaches children some valuable lessons in taking care of themselves properly and living within the means.

Your values might be different.

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

Post by aristotelian » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:38 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:04 pm

First, I highly appreciate that you are speaking out. Every time I see posters touting cereal, juice, or peanut butter as healthy food I cringe.
What is wrong with peanut butter?

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:45 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:38 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:04 pm

First, I highly appreciate that you are speaking out. Every time I see posters touting cereal, juice, or peanut butter as healthy food I cringe.
What is wrong with peanut butter?
1. A toxin aflatoxin in peanuts.
2. Eating a paste rather than chewing raw nuts.

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

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:52 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:45 pm
aristotelian wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:38 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:04 pm

First, I highly appreciate that you are speaking out. Every time I see posters touting cereal, juice, or peanut butter as healthy food I cringe.
What is wrong with peanut butter?
1. A toxin aflatoxin in peanuts.
2. Eating a paste rather than chewing raw nuts.

Victoria
Speaking strictly from a financial standpoint, pound for pound and dollar for dollar you get the most benefits from whole, unprocessed foods.
If I want high fructose corn syrup, sugar or partially hydrogenated oils, I'll just get it from my local grocer. What aisle are they located in? :oops: Right, their not located in any aisle, they are cheap fillers. On the other hand, you can purchase natural peanut butters, but you better have a stirrer or spoon handy as the natural peanut oils congeal at the top and need to be mixed well to avoid unpleasant natural side effects. :twisted:
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LiterallyIronic
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:53 pm

[Removed - wasn't talking to me]
Last edited by LiterallyIronic on Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by aristotelian » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:57 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:45 pm
aristotelian wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:38 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:04 pm

First, I highly appreciate that you are speaking out. Every time I see posters touting cereal, juice, or peanut butter as healthy food I cringe.
What is wrong with peanut butter?
1. A toxin aflatoxin in peanuts.
2. Eating a paste rather than chewing raw nuts.

Victoria
1. Never heard of it. Google tells me it is a problem with spoiled nuts but fresh/good brand peanut butter is OK. Is that wrong?
2. What if I do both?

Of all the things to call unhealthy, I don't see it.

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

Post by MFD » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:57 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:38 pm

What is wrong with peanut butter?
I think it depends on the peanut butter. The jar I have been using to bait rat traps has this for the ingredient list, "Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Soy Protein, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed and Soybean), Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Molasses", and some vitamin supplements. If I was going to peanut butter, I would probably get the stuff that only contains peanuts.

I'm not concerned about aflatoxin, Aflatoxin in Peanuts.

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

Post by corwin » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:59 pm

I have been fasting 2 days per week (not eating until dinner time). The other days I eat a take-out salad for lunch at $10 each. I am flexible about which days I do this and can accommodate lunch with friends or co-workers when necessary. I save about $25 per week over breakfast at home and lunch out.

For a few weeks, earlier in the year, I brought my own salads from home. It meant 2 hours of shopping and prep over the weekend and 10-15 minutes each day packing the ingredients. It also meant eating the same thing each lunch and forgoing avocados since they don't keep well once sliced. With fasting it costs nothing and takes no time. I don't do it to save money but it is a nice side benefit.

To preempt some comments: Limited fasting is not dangerous; it is not that hard once you've adapted; I don't pig-out or eat garbage when I do eat; I don't get light-headed; and I could lose another 25 lbs. without being skinny.

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

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:00 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:44 pm
I bought a boat and a jetski with all the money I've saved not eating out every day at work.
I fully funded my and spouses Roth(s), this and every year past when eligible. It's no real sacrifice to skip $60 a gallon coffee. When I walk past the coffee bar in my building, I see it teeming with young professionals who may be working a very long, long time as they spend $15 a cup on coffee. ($3.45 in present terms, compounded at 5% for 30 years, many of the professionals are younger than that so you can just assume the future value is a lot higher than $15). Ah, yes, the infamous "but we're networking or sizing up a potential date or what have you", but then we aren't even talking about lunch or after-work social mixers........ :oops:
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by mak1277 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:00 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:44 pm
I bought a boat and a jetski with all the money I've saved not eating out every day at work.
you win the thread...shut 'er down!

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:13 pm

thangngo wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:28 pm
WanderingDoc wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:02 pm
Based on your numbers, you just gave me the validation that I was doing the right thing by going out to eat 1-3 meals every single day. Then again, if you have shopped for groceries in Alaska or Hawaii, you'd know that eating in a cafe is probably cheaper than preparing your own food :twisted: But $78K over a lifetime, think of all the time you spend shopping for groceries, preparing meals, and washing dishes. Paying the $78K is beginning to sound like a bargain!
1) Eating out is a lot more expensive than home cooked meal.

2) It's tough to control nutrition intake and quality of food when you eat out. When it becomes a habit and you don't exercise to stay healthy, you'll pay very expensive medical bills when you are older. Then what's the point of saving when you can't live long enough to withdraw and spend all of it?

3) When eating out, meals are not cooked with love. Bear with me here. If you are single, cooking for yourself shows that you love and care yourself. If you're married and raising a family, don't underestimate the family values you've built when your family sit down and enjoy home cooked meals together. Preparing breakfast and brown bag lunch for your children also make sure that they have wholesome nutrition growing up. It also teaches children some valuable lessons in taking care of themselves properly and living within the means.

Your values might be different.
My SIL said the same thing about eating out. My brother died of a heart attack at age 60. I'm sure their meals were cooked with love. Perhaps she could encourage my brother to exercise, that would be real love. I try to balance my life, not to be dogmatic about anything including food. There is a health benefit of not to be too rigid about anything.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:15 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:45 pm
aristotelian wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:38 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:04 pm

First, I highly appreciate that you are speaking out. Every time I see posters touting cereal, juice, or peanut butter as healthy food I cringe.
What is wrong with peanut butter?
1. A toxin aflatoxin in peanuts.
2. Eating a paste rather than chewing raw nuts.

Victoria
I had peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day in high school, that's all my family could afford. In fact, I still love peanut butter today. No health issue yet, except maybe laziness.

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:17 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:00 pm
HomerJ wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:44 pm
I bought a boat and a jetski with all the money I've saved not eating out every day at work.
you win the thread...shut 'er down!
Homer has a way of providing oddly relevant context in these hotly debatable threads.

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

Post by N10sive » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:34 pm

cantos wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:17 pm
One example doesn't make a rule - me boasting about my percentile household income is equally irrelevant. I see several posts above from an engineer who makes less than 6 digits talking about how networking is important for those in sales but not engineers. So wrong. Everyone "networks" with co-workers, people in the same industry, etc., and can increase soft skills tremendously through the act of networking. It isn't just about knowing people and getting info/etc. It's about understanding people and building rapport/etc., and lunch is an easy way to build those skills.

So for example, engineers: you're wondering why that fellow engineer got promoted but he never does anything and is actually bad at what he does? He has an advantage you likely don't: he networked with the right people, got on the right side, got his name out where it counts. These are soft skills that are invaluable to a career and extremely hard to train. As a once-horrible networker/people-person who vastly improved, I can say that forcing yourself to get out there can pay big dividends. To take another example, there are tons of coders out there, but few managers of coders who make even more $$ and across any industry - what separates them? It's not coding skills.
I assume your talking about my post about sales vs engineers networking AT lunch. This thread is specifically about lunch and eating out or bringing food in. At my last company I went to lunch various times with my boss and coworkers. Mostly its talking about politics or complaining about work. I networked with other employees during work hours, asking them questions pertaining to their expertise etc. I got paid to network. And while I hate small talk I'll do it however I know from my skillset any of my previous co-workers etc would hire me based on skill and not because I went to lunch with them. Sales is different, you schedule lunches with customers, clients, potential partners, etc. Your JOB is to network. There are many types of people in this world and some fit better roles than others, pay may change based on those factors but everything in life isn't about money.

And for your comparison of an engineer getting promoted but actually is bad at what he does but its because he knew the right people. Well Ill tell you this in my field if you don't know your stuff you wont last long at least in my company. I hired a candidate with a PHD through a network of friends. He lasted all of 2 months because he couldn't hack it. Other high level staff have been hired and contributed absolutely nothing. You know who was on the chopping block the first time when bad times struck? Those kinds of people. Yes you may get paid more but I'd rather my work be valued, paid decently than to go the route your mentioning. I can also find plenty of examples from co-workers experience of being promoted more based on skills than because they were IN with someone higher.

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

Post by cantos » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:08 pm

N10sive wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:34 pm
And for your comparison of an engineer getting promoted but actually is bad at what he does but its because he knew the right people. Well Ill tell you this in my field if you don't know your stuff you wont last long at least in my company. I hired a candidate with a PHD through a network of friends. He lasted all of 2 months because he couldn't hack it. Other high level staff have been hired and contributed absolutely nothing. You know who was on the chopping block the first time when bad times struck? Those kinds of people. Yes you may get paid more but I'd rather my work be valued, paid decently than to go the route your mentioning. I can also find plenty of examples from co-workers experience of being promoted more based on skills than because they were IN with someone higher.
I should start by saying I wasn't meaning to put any one in particular on the spot, even though my post came off rather strong. My sense from your post is you are rather young in the work force. Am I wrong? As you get older, it gets more tiresome to have to keep up those hard skills. That is why older folks -- the ones that can -- move into management. While from your perspective they are the ones getting fired at the first sign of trouble, the flip side is they have transferrable skills and can get hired anywhere management is needed. In fact, especially in tech-related fields, I hear (from very close friends and family members, but admittedly I have no personal experience whatsoever) that companies when it comes to excellent hard skills, such companies prefer younger over older. Longevity in the field typically means mastering the soft skills and moving up into something more management related. You don't want to be 60 years old and still coding/doing the hard stuff you were doing as a young person...

(as for my example, you'll only buy into if you've seen it. If you've never seen someone pass you by career-wise despite having lesser hard skills, then all the power to you.)

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

Post by Slacker » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:42 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:38 am

LiterallyIronic,

I save 30+% of my gross income and about 50+% of my net income. Then, I spend the rest. I eat out regularly. For people in my income level, eat out does not matter. In fact, in many cases, the luxury car (50K) does not matter either. It is the big expensive house that kills the savings. After that, the person could brown bag their lunches and drive an old used car, they still have lower saving rate than I do.

The annual median household income in my area is 150K.

KlangFool
Those things you mention are not mutually exclusive. You could live in a shack AND drive an old junker AND not eat out.

However, everyone makes their own choices and if I lived in a rundown shack just so I could eat out at lunch, I would quickly be divorced.

We save 41% gross (taxes take up about 26%), median household income in my area is around $50K and we are at more than 4x the median income.

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

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:00 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:53 am


Still seems weird to base your retirement on "personal and professional considerations" rather than financial, though. :shock:
LiterallyIronic,

It is financial. At a median income of 150K, spending 600+K in the house will kill your savings much more than the $10 to $20 lunch.

KlangFool

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

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:04 pm

Slacker wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:42 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:38 am

LiterallyIronic,

I save 30+% of my gross income and about 50+% of my net income. Then, I spend the rest. I eat out regularly. For people in my income level, eat out does not matter. In fact, in many cases, the luxury car (50K) does not matter either. It is the big expensive house that kills the savings. After that, the person could brown bag their lunches and drive an old used car, they still have lower saving rate than I do.

The annual median household income in my area is 150K.

KlangFool
Those things you mention are not mutually exclusive. You could live in a shack AND drive an old junker AND not eat out.
Slacker,

You are correct. But, I live in this affluent neighborhood. The median house price around here is 500K to 600K. Nobody lives in a shack around here. My peers that packed their lunches are those save nothing and live in a big house.

KlangFool

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