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The Brown Bag Challenge.

by:
Roxanne Ramedani

Living on your own means budgeting, and budgeting means figuring out what your necessities are; and lately I’m finding myself constantly looking for ways to save. As I was complaining to a girlfriend about how expensive eating out has become for me she suggested I take on 'the brown bag challenge'. What is 'the brown bag challenge' you ask? Well, 'the brown bag challenge' is a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out.

Every morning I get up, get ready and go to work and every day I also buy a large coffee, a breakfast sandwich; and at lunch time I buy something from the mall as well. On average I find myself spending about $12 a day on food. That’s $60 a week, $240 a month! As the cost of living rises I can’t help but think that $240 could really be going into something else, i.e. an emergency savings account or even a vacation fund. I accepted the challenge.

I decided I’d brown bag my breakfast and lunches for a month to see how much I’d save and how much it would cost me. I went to the grocery store and purchased a bag of bagels, some herb cream cheese, some cold cuts, lettuce, tomatoes, some cans of soup and a bag of white bread. For lunch I decided that for most of the days I’d just pack left overs from last night’s dinner (most of which are always packed up and never eaten anyways) or make myself a sandwich and take a can of soup to work.

Fortunately for me, I have access to a microwave at work, if you don’t have access; you may want to invest in a thermal container. The end result? AMAZING! Every week I was spending about $15  on groceries for my brown bag challenge. Some of the stuff I’d buy would last two weeks. At the end of the month I have spent around $60 maintaining the challenge. I saved $180 in a month. And the best part about this challenge is you will never want to stop. Once you see the results and the amount of money you save, why would you ever eat out again?

I mean, of course it’s nice to have someone else whip something up for you but is it really worth all that money? I don’t think so. I challenge all our readers to try at least a week of brown bagging. Tell us how much you saved and if you’ll ever go back to eating out?

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