Welcome to the new week everyone!
I’ve mentioned before that one way I save on food is by cooking multiple meals at once to take advantage of bulk prices and to use up ingredients before they go bad.
I find that this is especially important when packing lunch.
How convenience saves money
There was a pretty long conversation among a few Twitter friends this weekend that came about when someone asked whether cooking at home actually saves money over eating inexpensive fast food (Link: https://twitter.com/RedDebted/status/394138812340633600).
My answer is yes, but it has to start with convenience.
Bulk packing might seem on the surface more about convenience than saving money, but when it comes to packing lunch, convenience is the most important step in saving money.
Between the cook time the night before and having to tote a lunch bag on crowded subways, it’s easy to talk myself out of the money I would save by packing lunch in favor of doing the easy thing and heading out to one of dozens of restaurants near my office.
My way around this is packing all four lunches when I’ve got a little more time on Sunday, before the stresses of the work week have worn me down. Then, on Monday morning, I bring all four to the office and leave them in my fridge.
That way, when I’m tempted to go out to eat, I have to feel like a clown knowing I’ve got perfectly good food ready to eat in the fridge.
My actual savings
So how much am I saving this week? You’re looking at my chili made with green chilies, chicken, and beer. It’s nothing fancy and I made the call to go with this for the week because there was a pretty ridiculous sale on ground chicken at my local grocery store. All told, it cost me about $7 for six servings.
There are multiple restaurants within walking distance of my office that offer dishes in excess of $100 with comparably priced wine pairings, meaning I could easily have spent $1,000 if I ate at the most expensive restaurants possible every day. Thus, by packing lunch rather than eating out, I will save $1,000.
What is everyone else doing to save money on lunch this week?