ABSA blog tax season [oct] v1

Save your lunch money without losing any joy

07 March 2016

Most of us know that packing a lunch to work is an effective way to save cash. We don’t need anyone to tell us that those extra rands spent in the canteen or the local takeaway are adding up and could be spent on something more memorable.

However, even armed with this knowledge we still do it. Why? Because taking lunch to work isn’t a practical decision, but an emotional one. Here are some of the main reasons why you’re neglecting your lunchbox, and some ideas to fix it.

Issue: Bringing lunch from home is unappealing.
Nobody wants to be that guy nursing a soggy sarmie or that girl picking spilt leftover cous cous from her keyboard. It saps your working day of all its joy.

Fix: Up your game.
Spend a few minutes on a Sunday planning your work lunch menu. Buy ingredients that you enjoy for epic sarmies or delicious salads. Play around with packaging. For example, stacking a salad in a mason jar gives you the same lunch, but with extra wow factor. How can you be sad if you have a salad in a jar for lunch? You can’t.

Issue: There’s no time.
We all live hectic lives, juggling children, school runs, gym and traffic, usually all before 8am. In the fight for our attention, a packed lunch can easily be last on the list.

Fix: Pack the night before.
Too simple, yet really that simple. Get your lunch sorted the night before so you can grab it on your way out. Does the thought of cold sarmies fill you with despair? Keep some bread at the office and just pack your toppings in advance.

Issue: It’s a small ray of sunshine in a bleak day.
By the time lunch comes around, you’re rushing for the door, desperate for some space and a break from the daily grind.

Fix: Find other ways to get away from your desk
Try taking a walk instead, eating your lunch away from your desk or visiting a colleague. That way, you get the distance, without the expense. You don’t have to do yourself out of treats entirely either. You could choose one day of the week and go out for lunch then.

Issue: It’s a way to socialise
Everyone heads to the burger joint around the corner at 1pm, or you like this one girl in the office and grabbing lunch with her is the perfect excuse to hang out.

Fix: Find other ways to connect
You don’t have to isolate yourself when you bring lunch from home. You could simply cut back on your social lunches to one a week. Or, if you’re using your lunches to flirt, have the guts to ask her out.

All in all, the key to a fun packed lunch is planning, changing your mindset and recognising when you are using a lunch outing to fulfill another need. If you can do this successfully, you will feel the rewards quickly, and free up your money to spend on something that counts.

Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.