Where is the time?

I can’t cook!

Restaurant food tastes better!

These are the usual reasons given by people on-the-go. With work and life in general getting hectic in the metros, people have hardly any time.

Perhaps you also might prefer to eat outside than pack your own food from home.

## The math

Some statistics might, however, make you reconsider.

We spend about 240 days in office in a year. And in a typical five-day-a week office schedule, many tend to eat breakfast, lunch and evening snacks at restaurants or nearby food joints.

Starting a day with a latte and a light breakfast can set you back by about Rs 200.

Going out for a lunch and later for evening refreshments might cost you another Rs 300. If your office is away from the eating joints, you spend on travel as well. On an average, one spends about Rs 500 a day on food which in a month snowballs to Rs 10,000. This is going to double in a decade to about Rs 1000 per day if one considers inflation at about 7%.

Of course, these costs could vary substantially based on your preferences and city under consideration.

Based on above calculations, you are likely to save Rs 5,000 a month or Rs 60,000 in a year. It can help you knock-off a home EMI and save on interest. Or perhaps pad up your emergency fund and fast track your retirement goals. If you invest your monthly savings into equity funds, it will become a crore of rupees in about 25-26 years – thanks to the power of compounding (@12 percent per annum).

## Wealth creator

By packing your own food, you save at least 50 percent of the eating costs. A tomato soup that costs Rs 100 at a restaurant can be packed from home by whipping a few tomatoes, which in turn can serve you six times over for the same cost.

Based on above calculations, you are likely to save Rs 5,000 a month or Rs 60,000 in a year. It can help you knock-off a home EMI and save on interest. Or perhaps pad up your emergency fund and fast track your retirement goals. If you invest your monthly savings into equity funds, it will become a crore of rupees in about 25-26 years – thanks to the power of compounding (@12 percent per annum).

## Health is wealth

Not the least, by packing your lunches, you also build wealth of a different lot.

A homemade midday meal with a good balance of nutrients can help you dodge unwanted calories and power through your afternoon at work.

How do we go about it?

## Get the essentials

First of all, stock up your pantry with groceries for the week ahead. Prepare the menu in advance and buy stuff in bulk from Super mart for a bargain. From breads, cut-vegetables, fruits, lettuces, herbs, tea sachets, granola bars and yoghurt – get it all.

It will ensure you don’t make last minute plans that hurt.

Invest in good containers that can warm up your food back to life at office.

## Make it simple

Make meals that are easy to make. With less time at your disposal, it’s time to get ingenious. You could make extra vegetables for dinner, which could be used the day after for lunch.

If you are all about greens for lunch, zip-lock fresh produce sourced from supermarket and layer your own salads at office. Stock-up salted almonds, peanuts, dry fruits and cereal bars at office cabinets for those hunger pangs.

Keep organic tea sachets handy for daily doses of anti-oxidants.

## Make a goal

Take baby steps. You can start by packing lunch for two days a week and later scale it up.

It’s easier to accomplish a goal when it’s a group effort. Try and convince your coworkers to jump the bandwagon and share meals.

Set a goal and stick to it. Of course, allow for some cheat days when some celebratory occasions crop up at office.

## Balance it out

Probably keep Fridays for lunch-outs and don’t miss out on the fun by always passing on lunch invitations.

## Takeaway

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Pack your food from home for some days and socialize on the others. Make a savings plan and hit a crore.