## Brown Bag Savings Calculator

This calculator will show you how much you could save if you brought your own lunch to work instead of eating out. Plus, it will also show you how much your brown-bag savings would grow if you invested the difference. And remember, this does not include money that will be saved from not having to throw out leftovers from meals cooked at home.

 Cost per lunch brought from home (\$): Average cost of eating lunch out per workday (\$): Number of workdays you eat out per week (#): Number of years you would like to calculate the savings for (#): Interest rate you could earn if you invest the savings (%): Total brown bag savings: Total Interest earned on savings: Balance of future brown-bag savings account:

## Brown Bagging Means More Money

It is a matter of fact that in just about every resource or book on how to save money or stick to a budget, one of the classic pieces of advice to follow is to cut down on buying your morning coffee out at Starbucks for \$4 a day and make it at home instead. While this action in itself can indeed end up saving you quite a significant chunk every year on coffee alone, let us take this piece of wisdom one step further and apply it to lunch instead of breakfast. Why not pack your own lunch – brown bag style – for work each day instead of eating out at an overpriced deli or eatery? This may seem like too much work, too much of an extreme shift in your daily habits, or too much effort just for what seems like a paltry amount of savings.

But let us take it just one step further. What if you not only packed your own lunch, but what if you kicked the plan up a notch and actually invested the money that you would be spending on lunch into a high interest savings account instead? Now the savings and potential future gain becomes a truly sweet deal that any amount of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will make worth their weight in gold in the end.

Just consider the enormous amount of savings calculated in the case of someone who brings their lunch from home five days a week. While a bought lunch might cost \$5, a lunch from home might cost only \$1.50. Over ten years and with just a 2% interest rate, the total interest earned by investing that money instead of spending it on lunch each day would be a whopping \$10,064.57 (the interest including the original savings).

### But I Don't Want To Give Up the Best Part of My Day

If the potential savings still do not succeed in outweighing the annoyance or hassle of bringing your own lunch to work in your mind, try an experiment. Make a bargain with yourself that you will try bringing a brown bag lunch for a specific period of time, a month, for example, and in return you will take the savings from just that month and spend it on a treat for yourself that you have desired for quite a while but never yet splurged on (a spa day, for example). This reward incentive scheme should be enough to get you used to the practice of packing a lunch, and get you into the routine of saving \$5-\$10 a day that would be better used elsewhere.

And remember that brown bag lunches do not have to be your standard slightly soggy ham and mayonnaise sandwiches. Try experimenting in this arena, too, by reinventing dinner leftovers to be exciting new lunches or preparing one large dish on the weekend that makes enough food for you to bring to work each day. A brown bag lunch does not have to be disappointing, and in fact can be every bit as much of a treat as eating out, as long as you put a little thought, effort, and dessert into it.