Ask Todd About … saving money on lunch

Q: I eat lunch out everyday and I want to know of a way I can use this expense to save money. A: Huh? What a conundrum. So I’m guessing you’re not looking for something as simple as stop eating lunch out everyday.

Q: I eat lunch out everyday and I want to know of a way I can use this expense to save money.
A:
Huh? What a conundrum. So I’m guessing you’re not looking for something as simple as stop eating lunch out everyday.

Let’s assume that isn’t an option. You enjoy eating lunch out. Let’s say you intend to spend $10 a day eating lunch, including tip. I’m going to assume you get four weeks of vacation and another week of holiday/paid time off. And let’s say another five days during the year, food is provided for you through an office party.

That’s 46 weeks worth of lunches, or $2,300 spent dining out over the course of one year. Now then, I’m going to assume that if you are willing to lay down that kind of money, that another two bucks a day isn’t going to cripple your wallet. Take an extra two dollars for each day and set it aside in savings. That’s $460 a year you will have squirreled away. And as you add to that pot year over year, you could even think about investing the balance to grow your money.

Let’s say you’re serious about saving money with your lunch habit. Instead of eating out five days a week for 46 weeks, you eat out three, and pack your lunch the other two days. That’s a savings of $920 a year, but you have to buy food for those lunches. You save about 65 percent packing your lunch than buying it, so you’d sock away another $600 bucks.

The short answer is you can’t save money by eating lunches out, but you can invest more and ultimately make the habit of eating out more worthy.

ask_todd_tulipQ: Todd, my neighbor has a beautiful patch of tulips every spring. I want the same thing in my mulch bed this spring, can I do it?
A:
Yes you can, just not for this spring.

Tulip bulbs must be planted in the fall to bloom in the spring. Actually, I like the way tulips look outside, but they last for less than a month. Frankly, any flower that can’t make it to July 4th is too much work for so little bang, in my opinion.

Now, I suppose you’ll want to know why these bulbs have to be planted in the fall. Tulips and daffodils must be planted in the fall, or at the latest early winter, because they require long periods of cool temperatures to trigger the biochemical process that causes them to flower.

If you want to one-up your neighbor, plant chrysanthemums this spring, and watch the colors explode in the fall.

Q: What are two life-changing inventions you’ve recently come across?
A:
Life changing is a matter of perspective. For example, if I had a newborn baby in the home—and I do not, nor will I because that train left the station—the new baby shampoo showering cap would be a must have. I remember when my kids were babies, and bath time was a battle because of the water in the eyes.

This fixes that problem, and you can find it for less than $5.

The app that I find myself using more and more is PaperKarma. It reminds me of Seinfeld, when Kramer took all of his catalogues back to Pottery Barn. If he had PaperKarma, he wouldn’t have needed to do that. Simply use your smart phone to take a picture of the unwanted mail. PaperKarma will scan the mail and inform the sender to remove you from its mailing list.

If you have a question you want answered in Ask Todd, send it to asktodd@cantonrep.com, via Twitter @AskToddAbout, or call 330-580-8340.