Finance Fridays… The parallels of time and money.

This week was a challenge, financially for me.  Trying to bring a lunch every day is hard!  You know what makes it even harder?  Trying to put a lunch together at 7:28am, somewhere between gagging down morning sickness and trying to get out the door.  For some reason, there is a barrier to improvement, and I am learning that

our relationship with money is intimately interwoven though our relationship with time…  

when we act like we have unlimited amounts of either, chaos ensues. 

So, lunch-wise, the week wasn’t a great success.  Starbucks-wise, i’m sticking to the once a week plan, but lunch – what am I going to do about lunch?  I always end up rushing out the door, with half a slice of partially-eaten toast in one hand, my cell phone in the other, thinking, “tomorrow – i’ll start tomorrow”,  And every day I end up back at Tim Horton’s ordering soup and a bagel.  (let’s be honest, neither the soup, nor the bagel are anything to get super-excited about).  I need to carve out that time the night before to put a lunch together, create a routine, prioritize that.  What has stopped me up until now is a packed schedule of evenings out…  a non-stop wheel of after 5pm entertainment that has been non-stop since I was, well, about 3 years old.  My mum always said that I never liked to sit still – I schedule myself to the limit, and don’t allow myself time to focus on things like taking care of our home, or making lunches.  That seems “boring”, I suppose – or like something we can always find time to do later, but later never comes, and I end up back at Tim Horton’s, eating really thick soup.

The theory I am evolving is that when I create a schedule with balance, that prioritizes the values that are important to me, if being fiscally responsible is truly important to me, it will naturally follow.  But if I don’t plan for it, it won’t happen naturally.  As I mentioned earlier, we need a routine.

So I will try again this week: lunches brought to work from home.  We can do this.  I’m definitely open to any tips, ideas, fun lunch recipes, anything that you think might help – thanks in advance!

13 thoughts on “Finance Fridays… The parallels of time and money.

  1. This one has always been really difficult for me too. I buy lunch at the work cafes 95% of the time. The thing that really bugs me is not only the cost (which is significant), but the lack of variety. Most of the time I don’t actually want anything on offer, but go there due to convenience. My only deviation from this routine is when I have leftovers from dinner I or my partner made/bought out the night before. So, I guess I have no useful tips for you…my officemate brings his lunch in every day. Every day he brings in the same thing: a plain sandwich of bread, turkey, and mustard; a banana; and a granola bar. I want to cry when I see his lunch. If it’s a choice between that, every day, and the drab office cafe offerings, I’m choosing the latter – at least there’s some variety. But if you don’t mind eating the exact same thing every single day, you could try adopting his method – it’s certainly cheap and efficient!

    • it’s helpful to know I’m not alone in this effort! And you are so right, it’s frustrating to think that I am perfectly capable of making better tasting, fresher food at home for a fraction of the price, but I just don’t (or, I just haven’t up until now). Why do we settle for spending so much of our hard-earned cash on mediocre junk? (this is me, trying to psyche myself up for a week of making lunches… )

      • I don’t know, it’s just ridiculous. I go as far as buying apples at the work cafe, which I’m sure would be much more cost-effective if I brought apples in from home.

      • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that was another thing we had in common – though I’m craving red, very crispy apples. It’s weird because I’ve never really eaten red apples before, only Granny Smith!

    • it’s a fine line: if we make something for dinner that’s no good, that’s not fun – but if we make something that’s TOO good, my husband will go back for 2nds, 3rds, and there’s no leftovers!! Maybe if I wrap up leftovers before we even eat? hmm…

  2. I have managed to start doing this about 90% of the time. The key for me has been: make it the night before. If that doesn’t work, I pull the preggo card and my husband packs it while I flat iron my hair / put on makeup. Of course he wakes up with me but leaves 30 minutes after me, so I don’t know if that’s an option for you.

    Definitely the night before packing though.

      • In all fairness– my hair is above my chin and naturally straight, so it takes about 3 minutes to flat iron into style. As far as the makeup thing goes…I work retail so these days if I haven’t put on makeup by the time work rolls around,I don’t care. But as a military wife, I’ve moved so much I’m still working on my college degree. I go full time to a university an hourand a half from home (yes, I drive that every day) and I’m a decade older than 95% of the students. I already feel self concious being older, pregnant, and looking younger (I get asked frequently if I got married cause I got knocked up)…so facing it without makeup is something I can’t do.

    • Oh and some fun variety ideas:

      Sandwiches of course.
      Salads. To do without them getting gross, I have a compartment salad container. You put greens in bottom, then there’s a tray that sits on top with compartments for toppings and dressings. I like spinach with pecans, cranberries, feta, apples, and sunflower seeds. I personally make my own vinegarettes for dressings. Another tasty salad is romaine lettuce,tomatoes egg, grilled or baked chicken (I save a small part from dinner), cheddar, and croutons or seeds.
      Wraps. I like a wrap spread with hummus, sprinkled with feta, tomatoes, spinach, and avocados. Another good one is a wrap with salsa, sour cream, and refried beans. Of course any standard sandwich filling does fine in a wrap.
      Stuff like chicken salad with crackers, tuna salad with crackers and tomatoes, fruit salad.
      Sides like chips: buy a bag and portion it into ziplocs the day you get home so they’re easy to grab. Same is true for trail mix, nuts, cookies, and any other side like tis.
      Yogurts. Fruit cups. Fresh fruit. Dried fruit. Veggies and hummus.

      Okay enough lunch ideas, I’m hungry now! Midnight snack time for me!

  3. I love those supercute little reusable containers (can’t remember which brand- I think Rubbermaid?) that have a separate little “pocket” for salad dressing or dip. That way you can have salad that isn’t soggy by lunch or fresh veggies with hummus… mmm… With these containers, you could feasibly fill 5 of them over the weekend and just grab one each morning. Fresh salad or veggies every day, and prep only one day a week!

    The “make-it-in-bulk” idea also applies to snack containers/baggies filled with healthy go-to snacks for pregnancy, like almonds, granola bars, raisins, M&Ms…. 🙂 You can keep a basket of snacks in your pantry and refill on weekends. These can serve as in-between-meals snacks or as sides for your main dish.

    Prepackaged Greek yogurt is easy to grab. Apples, as you mentioned, are by far the simplest thing. Just wash them all on one day and leave them in a bowl on the counter or in the fridge!

    If you’re all about warm lunches, then leftovers is a great way to go, or you could just set aside one day a month to make a few healthy/tasty dishes like lasagna, some kind of protein-filled bean soup, etc. Then portion them out and freeze them. You can make as many meals as you want at a time, as long as you have the space in your freezer. Not the best option if a MAJOR variety is what you’re looking for, but it’s efficient as far as time goes. Also, you can control all your ingredients here and can make sure to limit sodium while focusing on protein, calcium, and iron.

  4. I would also suggest preparing it the night before. I used to do that a few years ago. Now I just take a granola bar and/or grapes, clementines, strawberries, apples with me. Things that can be quickly prepared or just grabbed 🙂 Or I prepare a slice of raisin bread with some Philadelphia spread. You could also bring a yogurt and a spoon – no preparation and nice and healthy.

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