The Let's Do Lunch Valuation
- the high cost of non-business lunch

You may be surprised by how much money you spend on food while at the office.

Very few companies provide free lunch as a benefit to their employees, so the expense falls on you. Same for snacks items.

And if you don't pay attention, it can wind up costing you a pretty penny.

Maybe you like to go out for lunch everyday, because of the ease and convenience. So here are some typical lunch options.

lunch options while working
Option Min Cost Max Cost
sit down restaurant $10 $15
fast food restaurant $4 $8
company cafeteria $4 $8
bring lunch $2 $4
skip lunch
(not recommended)
$0 $0

Going out for lunch everyday can easily add up to $35 per week, or a whopping $1,700 per year ! And except for the cafeteria, don't forget to add around $2 for fuel, or another $300 yearly. Bet you didn't think about the fuel cost.

And we haven't even gotten to snacks yet. Don't worry, we'll get back to them.

By taking a balanced approach to lunch, you can squeeze out savings. For example, by bringing your lunch 3 times per week, you can save around $500 over the year.

balanced lunch approach
Option Days Cost
sit down restaurant 1 $12
fast food or cafeteria 1 $6
bring lunch 3 $8
TOTAL 5 $26
yearly savings about $500

Bringing your lunch daily would generate maximum savings, around $1,000 per year.

Ok, let's get back to the snacks, because this is one area where a lot of money somehow manages to disappear.

Vending machines are like black holes to your money. If you get a morning snack and drink, that will cost you at least $2. If you return in the afternoon, now you're at $4 daily, or a staggering $1,000 yearly ! Snacks from the company cafeteria won't be any cheaper.

The reason snacks are so expensive is because of the small package size. It's sort of the opposite effect of super-size or buying in bulk.

But bringing in your own snacks can save a ton of money. Buy the large package, break it up into small snack servings, and bring it with you to the office.

While it may not be as convenient to bring your own lunch and snacks, it won't be long before the extra effort seems negligible. But more importantly, your bank account will be quite a bit heavier.