That brown bag seems like too much of a chore but if you are currently tight in cash, you may want to reconsider. When you eat out, you do not only spend more, you are also usually rushed as you compress the actual meal time and the travel to and from the dining spot. You should also consider that all office workers in the area have the same lunch hour so you can expect that restaurants are usually full. If you describe those lunch out excursions this way, it seems quite stressful don’t you think?

If you compare it to packing your brown bag, you get to save money. Eating out usually costs $10 while a brown bag costs $3 or less. That means you save $35 a week and around $130 a month. Apart from that you don’t feel rushed to finish your meal because you eliminate the travel time. You may even have enough time to take a nap or finish that report instead of working overtime later in the afternoon. Think of the savings and the hassle free lunch that you just enjoyed. Sure the fun conversations may have been missed but you can always hang out after work or talk in the hallway while on your way to work related errands. Or you can convince your friends to bring their own brown bag and join you for lunch.

If your only reason not to bring your lunch from home is the effort that it takes to prepare it, then here are some tips to help make it easier.

First is to refrain from cooking separately for your brown bag. Include your lunch ration when you estimate for dinner. That way, you don’t have to wake up early to prepare your lunch before going to work.

When you plan your weekly meals before going to the grocery or market, include what you will have for lunch. Pick out fruits that you will include in your meals. If you like chips, buy the bigger bag and repack them in smaller plastic bags over the weekend. That costs cheaper than buying the smaller packed chips. You can also buy the canned meals (e.g. soup) and heat it in the office pantry.

Make your meals exciting. Since it is relatively cheaper than eating out, you can afford to add your favorite dessert. You can include cookies and chocolate bars for dessert. Feel free to bring your own drink as well. If you buy it in bulk from the grocery, you get to save a lot.

The great thing about packing your lunch from home is you know how it was prepared. It is definitely more healthy that those that you buy from the food carts outside the office or fast food restaurants.

Since eating usually takes 15 to 30 minutes, you have a lot of time to spare in your lunch break. You can choose to read a book, take a nap, work on an urgent report or have a quiet conversation with office friends.

With the saved money, you can choose to buy something that you’ve always wanted to buy. Or you can build up your debt payment fund. Anything is possible with the money you just saved - just be sure to make wise decisions about it and practice proper financial management.

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