Are you someone who eats out every day? If you are, I’m sure you’ve seen the guys who bring their lunches every day. They walk in the door carrying their little cooler bags or even brown paper sacks. How boring. They look worse than boring. They look like dorky, little boys whose mommies have packed their “wittle wunches”. Even though they’ve been teased about it, cajoled and snickered at, these guys relentlessly continue to bring their sandwiches and leftovers. Maybe they know something you don’t. Maybe… just maybe…there’s a secret here.
How much do you spend when you go out for lunch? For the sake of argument, let’s say $5. So let’s do some math:
$5 x 5 (days per week) x 52 (weeks per year) = $1,300
That’s a lot of dough, amigo. But, let’s be honest, shall we? I’m guessing you spend more than $5 when you go out, considering the meal, the tip and even your gas. In fact, it’s probably more than $2,000 per year. What could you do with an extra twenty $100 bills? (The mentor in me is screaming “Emergency Fund! Emergency Fund!”…but, we’ll save that for another article.)
Let’s look at the typical outing for lunch. Since you only have a limited amount of time, as soon as your lunch break begins, you have to get a move on. And since everyone else’s lunch is at the same time, you get the opportunity to fight the lunch time traffic. Once you’ve arrived at the restaurant, you have to wait to be seated because, it’s lunch time and they’re busy. The waitress is hustling around trying to get your order, along with the other 80 people. By the time your food arrives, you realize time is running short so you suck it down like a stray dog that hasn’t eaten in a week. You rush to your car only to fight the lunch traffic back to your workplace and then jog into your shop so that you can clock in with two minutes to spare. Whew! That was fun… NOT.
What are you eating when you go out for lunch? Are you eating a healthy salad? Are you taking time to read the menu for the light options? We all know the answers to those questions.
In my previous job, I took my lunch every day. When I left the corporate world to work in the family business, I found myself next door to a pizza buffet, two doors down from a Chinese buffet, across the street from two fast food restaurants and one block away from the best hamburgers in the city. I put on 20 pounds in six weeks. Seriously, 20 pounds! By taking your lunch, you can take time to plan healthier meals.
So, maybe those brown bag nerds are on to something. I’m not saying you can’t go out once in a while, but give the sack lunch a try. Relax. Eat a healthy meal and eat it slowly. Possibly even read a book. But most of all, enjoy your lunch. Your wallet will thank you. Your scales will thank you. And, since you won’t be stressed, you will even thank you.