Thursday, March 20, 2008

How Much Could You Save by Packing Your Lunch?

I've discovered a fun new website about saving called (as in feed your piggy bank). The goal of the campaign behind this site is to encourage the 40 million Americans age 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and The Advertising Council sponsor/run the campaign as a part of their 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program.

At, they have a lunch savings calculator. If you need some inspiration to bring your lunch to work, this could help! The numbers are amazing. A personal finance blogger called "Clever Dude" has a great article on his site that his nutritionist wife wrote about bringing your lunch to work. It will give you even more inspiration...and ideas on healthy, cheap lunch food.

This article and the calculator made me wonder: How much have I potentially saved during my adult working years by brown-bagging versus eating out? Let's do the math.

I've worked for my current employer for nearly 6 years, and I've brought my lunch nearly every day. (My previous employer had a free employee cafeteria, so there was no cost there. Hugh savings, but I'm not going to look at that right now.)

I've never calculated how much it costs for me to pack my lunch. I eat foods similar to what Clever Dude's wife suggests. So, I'm going to use her average of $2.20/day. I'm also going to use her estimate of $6.00/day for eating out. And I work roughly 20 days per month. I'll also use the default of 6% expected rate of return on the Feed the Pig lunch savings calculator.

Grand total of savings for 6 years: $6566!


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