Today’s lunch menu consisted of Costco Rotisserie Chicken ($4.99) and Sweet Kale Salad Mix ($5.49). I can usually get more than 4 servings out of the chicken and bag of salad which nets out to about $2.62 per lunch. Prep time takes me less than 10 minutes and it helps me with my other goals of staying healthy.
A typical sandwich or salad in NYC will run you about $8-$11, which means I save about $5 - $8 dollars a day if I pack lunch. If I pack lunch 4 times a week, that’s a savings of a little more than $20 - $32 dollars a week. If I’m consistent, that’s a total savings of about $80 - $128 a month. In a year, I can potentially save $960 - $1,536!
Does eating the same thing for lunch everyday get boring? HELL YES (I try to change it up).
Do I really pack lunch 4 times a week, every week? HELL NO.
I try very hard to stick to this routine. At times I do really well for weeks and sometimes I’ll pick up lunch everyday because of a busy schedule, late nights at work, and a lot of other reasons (or excuses - let’s call it what it is). But that’s okay. It’s a marathon. Just reset and get back at it.
For a lot of people, the toughest part of saving money seems to come down to emotions and discipline. Just like the path to financial independence, it is a grind! It’s not sexy, it doesn't happen overnight, and you need to put in the work. If you keep at it, the results will show. There are lots of ways to save besides packing your lunch.
Some benefits I’ve experienced when packing my lunch.
- I’m more healthy - The lunches I pack are far more healthy than what I would eat if I were to buy my lunch.
- Less decisions to make which equals more time to spend on other things - I work in NYC and there are a lot of really good places to eat. I can sometimes spend 10+ minutes yelping or thinking about what I’m in the mood to eat.
- I plan ahead. As Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.
It took a lot of trial and error to get into a groove and to find what worked for me. I used to spend hours on Sunday cooking and prepping meals, only to end up throwing away half of the food I prepped and essentially wasting more money. (I don't care what you say, re-heated chicken breast tastes gross). The Costco Rotisserie has been a game changer for me. Keep grinding!