I recently read an article about a survey done by Visa Canada about how often Canadians buy their lunch out and what it costs them. Here are some of the highlights:
- 60 per cent of Canadians eat out once or more a week
- The national average cost of buying your lunch is $8.80.
- Sixty-one per cent spend between $7 and $13, while nine per cent sometimes go as high as $25.
- Ontarians eat out the most (I can certainly attest to the fact it’s very common in Toronto!), whereas the virtuous folks in Quebec, Alberta, and B.C, brown bag it more.
- Those meals add up over time. After tax, eating out three times a week at $8.80 each time can add up to about $20,000 after 10 years.
20,000 dollars? That’s crazy!! I have a co-worker who buys his breakfast and lunch every day (although he tries to spend no more than 4 dollars on lunch). That still really adds up though.
There’s also the nutritional impact – a lot of what’s out there is deep fried, greasy, or covered in sugar laden sauces.
I’ll freely admit that when I first started working downtown, after being out in the “boonies” for almost 10 years, I bought lunch almost every day. Being me though, I wanted to be cheap – so it was often McDonalds, or a bagel with peanut butter and jam. It didn’t do my wallet or my waistline any favours! It took a move out of town, and a big increase in my transportation budget to make me realize I had to cut back somewhere, and lunch was one place I could do it. I still do buy my lunch sometimes (like the day I got a filling, so I had to find something very soft to eat!), but I try to make it a once a week thing, or a special occasion thing.
If you’d like to start bringing your lunch more, but just don’t seem to be able to do it, here are some tips:
- Pack up leftovers immediately into lunch sized containers
- Make something up (like sandwiches) on the weekend and put them in the freezer. Take one out each morning.
- Buy stuff to eat at work – cans of soups, crackers, peanut butter etc.
- If you’re lucky like me, you have a grocery store nearby – I would buy lunch meat and cheese for the week, then a fresh roll each day, and make a sandwich!
Do you buy lunch a lot or know people who do? Are you surprised by how much buying your lunch out can cost you?