I'm holding on to my money...

I spent a little under thirty dollars this week on non-debt related purchases. I've taken my lunch to work everyday, popped into one of my piggy banks to pay for my gas for the week, and stayed in. I'm pleased with the results and if I can do this once or twice a month, I think my spending habits that I haven't been able to purge, will be curbed more frequently than not.

How to take your food to work:
Step one: Go to your local dollar store. Pick up the best quality tupperware they have. Buy one of each size (sandwhich, rectangle and bowl). Dollar Tree has the containers with the snappy sides to ensure a secure seal. Its better to spend money once for an equivalently priced item as saran wrap or tinfoil than to continue replenishing after its been used.
Total for step one: $3.00 (+ tax)

Step two: Create a menu. Nobody wants to eat Cup A Noodles everyday of the week (or any day of the week). So sit down and think about what you're currently eating at the office ( Bean burritoes, veggie burgers, salads, soups, pasta, etc.) and mimic your fastfood/takeout tastes. Unsure how to make a pesto? Research, get your recipe, create your shopping list and proceed.
Total for step two: free

Step three: Shop for your lunch. If you're priority is to save money and get everything in one stop, well WalMart is the logical choice. If you're priority is to "stick it to the man" or "support local markets" well you already know where to go and what to expect. For savings purposes, I'll stick to what I know... WalMart. Not only does WalMart accept nearly every coupon known to man, they also to price challenging if you bring in a competitors add. Your research from step two should have provided you a list with everything you'll need to buy today. Before you step into the store, google your items on the internet ("bocca patties" AND "coupon") and see if you can't pull up any internet deals. Open up the paper and see if you find any specials or coupons for your item on sale at a different store in town. Armed to the teeth to spend as little as money as possible you're ready to shop. Use your good judgement when knowing how much to spend. A veggie burger costs $2.59 at Burger King. A pack of four veggie patties costs $2.98 at WalMart. We have a loaf of bread and condiments at the office, so in terms of fastfood standards, thats a buy one get three free deal.
Total for step three: The amount your used to spend on fast food a week each day times five divided by two... spend less than that. (I spent sixteen dollars last week on fast food at the office, my goal would be to spend less than eight dollars at the store.)

Step four: Prepare your lunch before you go to bed, or grab it in the morning and microwave it at lunch if its a simple meal.


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