You’re at work. Lunch time approaches and your stomach growls. You’ve been working diligently and crossing off items on your task list all morning long. You need a break. A co-worker approaches and asks, “lunch plans?”
“Sure,” you reply. “I need to get out of here.”
What happens next can make or break your financial goal of retiring early or at least on time. Going out to lunch on a regular basis will quickly eat up your disposable income that could be redirected into an income-producing vehicle that will grow over time and allow you the freedom to exit the daily grind of selling your time for money.
What do you do?
- Have a lunch plan each week. Before your work week begins, plan your dinners and lunches so that you have left overs or a sandwich or salad to take to work.
- Allow yourself the occasional lunch out but find those restaurants that offer inexpensive lunch options so that you get the treat of eating out without the budget-breaking expense.
- Enlist the cooperation of your co-workers or friends who you enjoy spending your lunch break with. Come up with a plan for when you will eat in and when you will eat out, so that you both bring lunches on the same days.
- Even when you bring lunch, you can eat outside or eat indoors then go for a walk outside with the remaining time.
- If you and your co-workers typically eat lunches together, start up a co-op so that you all contribute ingredients or dishes for a potluck and everyone will save on lunches.
- Keep a few basic lunch supplies at work such as bread, peanut butter and cans of soup for a meal in a pinch.
It isn’t easy to re-train yourself and your friends when you decide to stop going out for lunch and start planning ahead to save money. But, you can do it. Start with one lunch a week and work up to more each week if you need to start slowly. Every dollar adds up. Make sure that when you save money, you set it aside to invest.