Sunday, February 11, 2007

Eating lunch out would kill my budget

$12.14 was the grand total and I was taken aback. My wife and I were at an all day seminar yesterday (Saturday) and we stopped in at Arby’s for lunch. Perhaps it was because we just don’t eat out often for lunch that the dollar amount got my full attention. We had a couple of sandwich deals that included sodas and those tasty curly fries. This was a treat, normally during the work week we both take our lunch to work. By the time we were in the middle of lunch the place was full.

The question: If that was a “normal” lunch cost for eating out ($6 a piece) how are people affording to eat lunch out everyday or even 3 times a week? Maybe I should stopping being such a cheap skate and allocate more of our budget to us eating out?

My lunch: I usually take a cold cut sandwich on white bread, some fruit (apples, oranges, grapes), chips, and some cookies that we bake at home. (Ok… my wife bakes at home every few days from store bought dough.) It is pretty much a variation of that everyday. A normal week with no coupons the week’s total cost less than $10.

The Math: If eating out is an average of $6 a day times five work days that equals out to $30 a week. Taking my lunch averages out to less than $10. That is a hypothetical savings of $20 a week. $20 a week amounts to $80 a month or about $1,000 a year in savings.

The point: If you are trying to stack money for an emergency fund or find additional dollars to put toward the credit cards or you are short on fully funding your ROTH then cutting back on eating out maybe a place to start. Take a look at how many of YOUR dollars are being spent on lunches during your week.

How much of your monthly budget do you allocate for eating out?

That’s it for today. Here’s a tip of the hat to all those “brown baggers” out there. Remember to keep an eye on your EveryDay Money.


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