My coworker lives the opposite lifestyle detailed in the Frugal Lunch article. He knows about the article. He knows I try to bring my lunch to the office. But it’s “just not a lifestyle for him”. He makes it harder for me to just sit in the office and eat my PB&J sandwiches when he’s out getting Chinese food and Greek gyros.
Let’s look at the cost of his habit:
- Morning: $1.50 for a 32 oz Coke
- Lunch: $8 for lunch. He buys what he wants, not always the best value on the menu. For example, he’ll get a deli sandwich (no chips) and a Coke for $8. What a waste! I never get soda with lunch (only tap water), so I save $1.50 each time.
- Afternoon Snack: $2.50 for another 32 oz Coke and a bag of chips or Reese’s Pieces.
Total Daily Cost: $12
Total Yearly Cost: $3,000
That’s based on a 2,080 hour year (260 days) minus 2 weeks for vacation. Wow, $3,000. That’s the same amount we’ll be sending to pay down our credit card debt next month.
Profiling my coworker
Why does my coworker spend so much? Is it because he grew up in a somewhat priveleged household? Is it because he’s single, 35, and makes a decent amount of cash? Or does he just not care?
It’s a mix of all of those (I asked him). He’d rather just spend his money to get what he wants rather than spend his time and save his money. Can I blame him? No. He shares the cost of a condo with his brother, has no debt and has a decent bit of disposable income. He also doesn’t make dinner at home most days, so tack on another $10-15 per day for dinner.
I will say, though, that my coworker has a decent amount already saved up towards retirement. However, a large majority is in our company’s stock, which is doing well, but he knows he needs to diversify. Unfortunately, it’s mostly stock options, and he can only divest 25% each year. He could be very stuck if something bad happens.
An extra $1,500 in yearly savings (by bringing his lunch) wouldn’t seem like much for his retirement compared to what he already has, but it wouldn’t hurt. I don’t rag on him about buying lunch because he has already expressed his opinion and reasons. I spend money on things rather than doing the more frugal option as well.
I guess we all have our own priorities.