Packing a lunch can really save you

2
2

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — Packing, rather than buying lunch can be well worth the effort.

Computing the weekly, monthly — or annual — savings may be all that it takes to decide to dine in, said Linda Beech, a Kansas State University Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agent based in Finney County, Kan., and a frequent teacher of money management.

Calculator

Calculating the savings also can be fun, said Beech, who happened across a Lunch Savings Calculator (http://aarp.org/money/toolkit/articles/lunch_savings_calculator.html) while doing some financial management homework prior to launching Extension’s Kansas Saves campaign earlier this year.

To compute the lunch savings, type in the average price currently paid for a purchased lunch, number of lunches per month, number of years (for savings estimate), expected rate of return and estimated cost of packing a lunch.

If, for example, the average cost of eating out is \$6 a day five days a week (20 meals a month), while the average cost of packing a lunch costs \$3 per day for the same period, the monthly savings could be \$60, and yearly savings (with 3 percent interest) could be \$732.

Savings over a three-year period (also at 3 percent interest) could add up to \$2,261, and over a five-year period, \$3,884.

During a 40-year career, depositing the lunch savings of \$3 a day in an interest bearing account (at 3 percent interest) could yield \$55,167.

Saving

To increase savings, Beech suggested cooking at home, rather than buying convenience items for lunches. Examples include cooking a chicken, ham or beef roast for sandwich meats rather than buying more expensive prepared luncheon meats, or portioning homemade pudding, gelatin or mixed fruit rather than buying prepackaged single-serve cups. Incorporating leftovers into lunches also can save time, she said.

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Next step: Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.
SHARE