Brown Bagging It: The Struggle Continues

27 Jan

Doesn’t it look so boring?  When I see one, I immediately think of some smashed mediocre sandwich cut down the middle, a Washington Red, and a bag of baby carrots.

While so many people plan to diet and lose weight every year, I unsuccessfully go on a spending diet.  But I’m never discouraged to take a stab it every year.  Without a doubt, my plan is thwarted by food, wine and spirit infused fun times and escapades.  So here I am, once again, making plans to brown bag it in 2012.  Here is what my lunch week looks like most times:

Monday

Tuesday[1]

Wednesday

Thursday[2]

Friday

Total

10.00

4.00

10.00

5.00

15.00

$44.00

10.00

4.00

10.00

5.00

15.00

$44.00

Grand Total

$88.00

[1]

Taco Tuesday at Café Rio

[2]

Costco food (Cheap!)

How much I spend on lunch every week fluctuates.  This is lighter than what I used to spend weekly, minimum $50.

Let’s say you make $40,000 a year.  This means you make $19.23 an hour [(40,000/52(weeks)=$769.23, $769.23/40(hours/week)] before taxes, benefits, and retirement.   I am going to go ahead and take 25% for those miscellaneous items.  So every hour you’re making about $14.42, which is $576.80 per week.  At this rate, you’re spending 8% (44/576.80) of your weekly earnings in one hour; you’ve almost spent what you make in an hour after taxes on lunch.  I know this is extreme with the numbers, but it is what I do.

On a higher level, think about what you make every week, two weeks or a month and know that you’ve spent $50 in a week, $100 in two weeks, or $200 in a month alone on lunch.  Now, I am not going to lie.  It’s so difficult for me to bring my lunch to work.  Really difficult, so this is what I have done this week.

Monday [1]

Tuesday[2]

Wednesday [3]

Thursday

Friday

Total

5.99

7.83

2.16

4.99

4.99

$25.96

Grand Total

$25.96

[1]

Fresh & Easy lunch

[2]

In & Out

[3]

Costco food (Cheap!)

Although cutting the expense completely would be most beneficial, I have found a way to reduce how much I spend.  I spent $18.04 (44-25.96) less than what I normally spend a week.  Woohooooo!!!

By purchasing my lunch from the grocery store daily, I get to enjoy the great outdoors and choose my lunch.  I have commitment issues and hate the lunch room and eating at my desk; my lunch needs to be different EVERYday.

Grocery stores are the best places to buy lunches; they don’t charge tax on food!  Fresh & Easy sell little meals you can just pop in the microwave and they are BAMB.  Monday, I had the Butternut Squash Risotto (s/o @sooelite), Tuesday, In & Out, Wednesday, Pepperoni pizza, Thursday, Southwest Salad and lentil soup, and tomorrow, I will have a Baby Spinach Salad with lentil soup (I didn’t say I am a healthy eater). Never buy a drink for lunch, unless it’s Veggie Grill’s Strawberry Lemonade and iced tea.  You don’t need the sugar and sodium anyhow.  Next time you’re out, look at how much a drink costs, it’s practically half the cost of your meal.  No gracias.  Water, please.

I hope those calculations above help you figure out how much you are being paid per hour.  It’s helpful in negotiating and changing jobs.  When going from hourly to salary, people get confused because a job will throw a seemingly large figure at you, but when you reduce it to the hour, it’s not much.  Don’t get bamboozled.  Know how to calculate your salary to the hour and PTO.

You’d be surprised how often companies cheat their employees on their PTO because people do not don’t take the time to monitor it.  First, you need to speak with your HR department to figure out the accrual rate for PTO.  My job accrues PTO at a rate of 4.62 hours per pay period, so every pay period I should see my PTO account increase 4.62 hours, unless I’ve used some off it.  Then, I have to net what I’ve used with what I earned.  Don’t you hate looking at it?  For every 80 hours I work, I only get 4.62 hours of PTO.  Such is life!

I hope something in this post can be of use to you.

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