Five Minute Finances #9: Make a Sandwich (or Something Else)

Five Minute FinancesFive Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar.

This is a “five minute” trick I do twice a week or so: I assemble a big, delicious sandwich and put it in a brown paper sack to take to work with me. It just takes a few minutes in the morning (or in the evening before) to have something delicious at work the next day – and if you go out for lunch regularly, this will save you a lot of money. Just take five minutes, make yourself a sandwich, and put it in a brown paper sack. Don’t like sandwiches? Package up

some leftovers.

Here are a few complaints I had with the “brown bag” club – and how I address them.

I don’t want to mess up the kitchen for this! I’ve found that for me the best time to do this is during clean-up time from supper. The kitchen is already a mess, so I just make my food for the next day and stow it away in the refrigerator.

I’ll lose out on valuable networking time if I do this. Unless you work in a tiny office, there are probably some people who don’t eat out. If you just take your lunch half the time, you can actually improve your networking by eating with the brown bag club sometimes and the regular crew other days.

Brown bag lunches taste like my mom’s old bologna. Brown bag lunches can be tasty if you do it right. For example, there are several slick tricks for making leftovers a lot better, and getting high quality condiments can make a boring sandwich great (I love my French mustard).

I use eating out for lunch as an excuse to get out of this miserable office. Take your sack lunch outside and eat in the fresh air. You can even take it to your car and drive to a park or something. Brown bagging it doesn’t require you to eat at work.

I don’t think I can miss out on kvetching with my friends. Try to convince a bunch of them to start a brown bag day once a week – it will be good for all of your wallets.

Trent Hamm

Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.