When I first started working in an office full-time, my favorite part of the day was walking around Midtown Manhattan and marveling at the food choices available to me. Within a three-block radius, there were more than 20 eateries from which I could buy breakfast, lunch, or coffee – and for my first few weeks on the job, that’s precisely what I did.
I’d start each day with a pit stop at the nearby Starbucks for a morning latte. At lunchtime, I’d wander into a different deli or to-go cafe and buy whatever tempted me – sometimes soup, sometimes salad, and sometimes both.
After about a month of treating myself to store-bought coffee and prepared lunches, I got my first credit card bill since starting my job, and it was a real eye-opener. I discovered that over the course of just three to four weeks, I’d managed to spend nearly $200 on food and beverages alone.
From that moment on, I changed my ways. Instead of buying lunch every day, I packed my own soup or sandwich and brought it with me to work four days per week. I allowed myself one treat day a week, where I’d purchase something fresh or go out to lunch with coworkers to socialize and commiserate. Read more...