Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Packing your lunch

(Two lunches I recently packed. One has cucumber slices, grapes, carrot sticks
and a turkey sandwich. They other has hummus, carrot sticks, Babybel cheese,
pickle spears, a banana and roast beef lunch meat.)

As new homeowners Flannel Man and I have quickly realized that there are many unexpected costs that come with owning a home. A big one of those is outdoor upkeep. We have a big yard, which means we need a big mower. This was a purchase that we wanted to be able to make without sticking another big toe into the pool of debt that student loans created.

Hence, packing your lunch. We both work full-time outside of our home and so spending money on eating out becomes a common occurrence. There are many reasons for this. Packing your lunch takes time. Also, I hate sitting in the office all day with no break. Going out to lunch makes the day feel a bit shorter.

So being frugal about lunch becomes a bit trickier. I watch my co-workers occasionally dump the lunches their wives packed them because they don't want to sit in the office, but they know they have to take the empty containers home. I know, ridiculous, now they are paying for 2 lunches!

(My lunchbox)

The trick is to make sure taking your lunch isn't a chore. For me it's important to have a wide variety of foods for lunches. I don't want to eat the same thing every day. I also allow myself 2 days during the week when I can eat lunch out with co-workers. This is a big improvement from 4 to 5 lunches out and it gives you something to look forward to. It's also a lot healthier.

I use my lunch break to run errands to the post office, bank, library, etc. and eat my lunch on the go. This gives me a chance to still get out of the office and to make me feel like I'm accomplishing something that I would have had to do after work. It's a win-win for everyone.

So, if you want to start packing your lunch more frequently, know the reasons why it has been hard in the past and find ways to accommodate those hindrances. Also, it doesn't hurt to pack a special treat in your lunch so that you have something to look forward to, like a special kind of cheese or almonds, etc.

Containers from here and here.

Photos by moi.

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