I decided to go to the Veggie Grill near Manhattan Beach since I wanted something healthy for lunch. I knew that while I wanted to save money, ultimately I didn’t want to compromise eating healthy for buying cheap, unhealthy fast food. I ordered what I thought was the most basic lunch: a grilled veggie bowl with curried brown rice. So how much did this foray into eating out cost me? With tax and tip, it came out to just over $11.00! Urgh…
While I was very disappointed in myself for forgetting my lunch that day, my little mishap did put our dedication to bringing a packed lunch into perspective.
I realized that if Carlos and I each decided to eat out for lunch every day and spent a very realistic $10 each, that would be $20 per day and $100 per week for the both of us. Now, take that $100 per week and multiply it by 48 work weeks in a year (52 weeks minus our vacation days and holidays off) and we would be spending about $4,800 on lunch alone! How crazy is that number?
Now let’s suppose that instead of going out to lunch every day, Carlos and I were extra diligent, packed our lunch every day, and invested our “lunch money” into our Roth IRAs. For the sake of simplifying the math, let’s assume that we’re investing $2,000 each, for a total of $4,000 every year until we retire at the ripe old age of 60 (Note: You’re eligible to take money out of your Roth IRA/IRA accounts penalty-free by age 59 1/2½.) When we plug in these numbers in a simple investment calculator and factored in a very conservative 6% average return, we would be saving a whopping $145,000 each! That’s a combined $290,000 towards our retirement fund! Amaze-balls!
While saving $10 here and there isn’t as exciting to me, looking at the long-term savings implication of doing just one thing consistently can absolutely pay off big time! Now, we absolutely advocate maxing out your yearly Roth IRA contributions to $5,500 per person every year – but if you were trying to figure out a way to carve out an extra $2,000 in order to max out your Roth IRA this year, cutting out your lunch expenses is a very easy way to do it.
As for me, $290,000 is plenty motivation to make sure that I never leave home without my lunch ever again.
Do you pack your lunch to save extra money? What are some of the ways you’re easily cutting out unnecessary expenses in your budget?