A couple of months ago Wesabe moved from a free office in Berkeley (above my wife’s clothing store) to a much nicer office in San Francisco. We did it because we were busting out of the seams of the free space, and still hiring like crazy. I was especially happy because I hadn’t been able to spend much time working in the tiny Berkeley office with our engineering team. Understandably, they didn’t want to listen to me talk on the phone most of the day, so I usually worked from home.
After the first week at the new office, I started thinking about the fact that I had purchased my lunch every day. I also noticed a surge in my transportation spending:
$6.00 a day for lunch ($1500/year)
$6.30 a day for BART ($1575/year)
$84 a month for a parking pass, since some days I need my car for meetings ($1008/year)
Total: $4083 a year
Wow! That is a big swing in the budget. There isn’t a lot I can do about transportation costs, but I do have control over how much I spend on lunch (we have an espresso machine at work…so fortunately I’m not also dealing with the latte factor). Over the weekend I bought some meal storage containers at Target, and last night packed up leftovers for my wife and I to take to work.
I just created a new group on Wesabe called “Pack a lunch”…you are welcome to join. My goal is to spend an average of $2 a day on a packed lunch – that should save me about $1000 a year. If I can make the lunches tasty enough that my wife will also eat them, I can double our savings.
The thing I’ve noticed about making money stretch is that it involves choices. When our circumstances change…the way we live often changes as well. It was easy enough to adjust my habit of eating a sandwich at home to eating out, but it sure cost a lot more money.