Lunch is the time you get to take a break from work, go out with co-workers, and enjoy a meal. It’s a time to mingle, socialize, and be part of the many people waiting in line to get food. It feels good seeing other people in a loud restaurant or food hall. In my 20’s and 30’s I used to go out to lunch all the time. Even if my co-workers didn’t want to go out, I’d still go out by myself. The days I did bring lunch, my food was just boring. Lunch was more exciting going out.
Needless to say, I didn’t know what the long term effect it had on my wallet and my lifestyle. Yes, I had a good career and was making decent money so I could afford it. I remember I was working on a Navy contract and I was in my 20’s. I asked my co-worker to go out to lunch. Most of the time he would say no and there are times he would say yes. He said something that I couldn’t relate at the time. He said he can’t go out to lunch because he has to watch his spending so he can pay his mortgage and support his family. I was single, no family, so I couldn’t relate but I clearly remember our conversation.
Many years later, guess what? I have a family. I have a house. I have cars. I have mouths to feed. I have bills! I now know exactly what my old co-worker was saying. I can’t afford to go out to lunch regularly. Lunch is expensive! Lunch is easily $10-$15 or more. Now, I pack my lunch majority of the week. It’s a pain to prepare but it saves money. I do, however, do go out for lunch maybe once a week. I do miss seeing crowds of people. I do miss taking time to get of the office.
I wonder what my early retirement portfolio would look like if I didn’t eat out for lunch as often in my early career days. Oh, and another thing. Eating out was not the greatest thing for my health. I gained weight. My blood pressure spiked, cholesterol levels went up, and I need to buy new wardrobe. So, not only is it costly to go out all the time, some of the long term effects cost me with health issues and needing to buy new clothes.
I do treat myself once a week if I can but that’s probably the most. And when I do go out, it does feel like a treat. I’m now putting my lunch money into my early retirement portfolio. If you estimate $10 for lunch per day and go out 3-4 times a week, that’s $30-$40 you’re saving. I am seeing financial and health benefits from this. If you are interested in following my journey, email subscribe to get alerts of latest posts or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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