Simple Way to Save $3,000 a Year: Brown Bag It

Every Tuesday is Finance & Family Day at Zen Habits.

Every day at work, my co-workers go out to lunch at various restaurants in our area, while I stay in the office and eat my brown-bagged lunch. I man the office, answering the phones and any visitors that come in, while they go and have a good time at lunch.

Why do I do it? Several reasons:

I submit that I save at least $3,000 a year (and possibly more). How? Well, my co-workers often spend $10-15 per meal on lunch. A brown-bagged lunch costs between $1-3. If you save $11-12 every weekday, for 52 weeks of the year, you get about $3,000. Now, if you also eat out a lot for dinner, eating in for dinner would save you just as much. And if you eat out on weekends, your total amount saved by cooking for yourself could reach $7,500 or more.

As always, here are my suggestions for brown-baggin’ it to work:

Here’s the clincher: Put that $3,000 a year into an index fund and continue to contribute to it every month for 25 years … and you’ve saved $500,000! Make one other similar change in your spending habits, and you’ve found the easy way to a million dollars.
Good articles on this topic elsewhere:

See also: