This series is going to be all about real, easy-to-follow ideas to help you can save piles of cash. Because the philosophy behind it is nice, but worthless without some concrete steps to follow.
When I got a real-person job that also included a one-hour lunch break, I suddenly found that my lunch break was basically an excuse for me to throw away tens of dollars a week. Umm, no thanks – I’m not working to pay for things to entertain me because I have an awkward hour to kill in the middle of work.
Going out to eat is super tempting, because no one wants to spend that lovely hour sitting at their desk, or even in the employee break room. But going out to eat is also really expensive, even if you just buy cheap to-go sandwiches (which I find usually run around $8 – that’s $45 a week or nearly $200 a month).
My solution is very simple: don’t actually eat on your lunch break. I bring food from home, and eat it while working either before or after my break. Then, I pull on my gym shoes and go for a walk for an hour, usually listening to a podcast. Podcasts are free, my friends! I’m spoiled since my work is near a river, so I have a very nice walk. However, you can take advantage of this just about anywhere that you work.
There are all sorts of benefits to this habit. It gets you outside walking around nearly every day. You’ll learn all sorts of cool stuff with your new podcast habit (audiobooks work too, or just plain music). You’ll save money since you won’t go out to eat just for something to do – I now go out about twice a month, when I have someone to eat with.
Do you get a lunch break? How do you spend it?