Eating out is awesome! I live about three blocks away from burger joints, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Korean, and not one but TWO Thai food restaurants. It’s no wonder I loved going out for lunch every day. That was until I realized how much money I was actually spending.
For a while, I was going out to lunch every day and in doing so, I would spend an average of $11 per meal. So every week, I would spend $77 on lunch. Not too bad, right?
This is where it really hit me in the gut: monthly, I was spending about $300 a month on lunch! So between my partner and I, we were spending a total of over $600 a month just on lunch alone.
How were we letting ourselves get away with that kind of spending? Sure, eating lunch is somewhat of a physiological necessity, but still, $600?! If we are trying to save up some funds to pay off our student debt, bills, security deposits, and rent for future housing -- we were clearly doing it all wrong.
That’s a savings of over $500 a month!
Following this revelation we went grocery shopping. Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.
We bought a pound of low-fat ground turkey for $5. We bought a couple cans of black beans and cannellini beans for $3. Three cans of tomato paste for $3. An onion and a couple bell peppers for $4, and a 15 pound bag of jasmine rice for $11.
Once we got back home, we busted out our old slow cooker that had been sitting in storage for as long as we’ve lived at our current apartment. We opened it up (cleaned it first), and literally threw in the turkey, beans, tomato paste and veggies we bought at the grocery store along with some chili powder, hot sauce, and other spices we already had in the house. We put on the lid, turned it on, and let it sit overnight.
The next morning, we had a slow cooker full of the best chili we’ve ever made. The best part of it all? We had enough chili and rice to feed us for an entire week!
So let’s do some math. For the $15 we spent on the turkey, beans, tomato paste and veggies (the bag of rice was enough to last us a couple months, by the way), we were able to take the $600 we were spending a month and turned it into a measly $60 dollars a month on lunch between the two of us!
Cash. Money. That’s a savings of over $500 a month!
Whether you’re replacing your lunch or dinner meals, slow cooking is amazing, and if you’re trying to save some money, try it yourself!
Persistence is key, but when you grow tired of chili and rice, check out my favorite subreddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/slowcooking) for an endless stream of new recipes to try out!