Monday, September 22, 2014

Frugalitip: Bring Your Own Baon!

My breakfast baon, PBJ and free office coffee. Skip the Starbucks to maximize savings!

The typical conversation at work when the clock hits 11AM goes something like this:

"Whats for lunch?" or "hey Chris, we are buying at Panda Express or In n' Out or Chipotle, do you want something?"

Of course my response will be like: 

"No thanks, I brought my own baon" (pronounced as bah-on in Tagalog, baon is the food that you bring for school or work)

Sometimes my co-workers won't ask me anymore because they already know me.

Now lets analyze mathematically how much does lunch cost us if we work the typical five days a week.
Panda Express cost around $8, moms and pops chinese food around $6. In n' Out around $5. Chipotle around $8, typical mexican food around $6 as well. So the average lunch I'll say is around $7 plus if we buy soda is going to be around $8.50. Lets be conservative and put it at $8 average lunch ticket on a daily basis.

                 $8 x 5 days x 4(weeks in a month)= $160 monthly lunch budget allowance.
                 *if we invest it in 10 years in the stock market with the annual return of 7%,
                   we would have saved $28,000 according to this calculator. If we will eliminate                        the Starbucks latte for twice a week the total savings increases to $34,000!

And not only that, typically this food that they sell has 1,000 calories per meal. My baon is around 500 kcal's per meal, and I bike to work.

Lets calculate the intangible. What about the happiness factor while eating the food that they just bought. They will say "I work hard, I deserve to reward myself". Happiness is a subjective data, it depends on the person you are asking. If you are going to ask me how my happiness factor I'll say Im happy- "I work hard for my money and I deserve to reward myself by investing it first". And it shows with the size of my waist, with the size of my pocket right now and more importantly in the near future. I love bringing leftover foods to work, it has more flavor to it. Im the kind of guy that can eat the same food for one week and won't get tired of it. Mrs dG is the opposite, she can't stand leftover although she is improving. I know someone who won't even touch leftover foods. Me and my lil ms dG (who is 8) shares the same traits when it comes to food. Sometimes I will pick my daughter  from school and I just want to spend time with her eating out, I'll ask her what she wants to eat out, she will ask me whats there to eat at home, 99% of the time she will pick to eat at home! She brings her own baon too! She never spends any money in school (except for a fund raising like pizza). I trained her well I guess or maybe its just the way we are.  I know a kid (17) who in his entire life never brought baon  in school. If he doesn't like her mom's cooking she'll buy him his dinner out even when there is an abundance of food at home.

So yes Im happy bringing my baon, Im happy because I know I will have an extra $34,000 in 10 years just by cutting out on few expenses. My tummy is happy, my wallet is happy, my daughter is happy! 
Its just customary for Filipinos to invite you to eat when we are eating. Tara kain tayo! (Let's eat!)

Lunch baon, skip the soda!


  1. Your lunch looks good to me and your caloric and financial analysis makes perfect sense to me. Of course, in this respect you are preaching to the choir as I too eat lunch from home about 4 days a week at least. This article just highlights that small changes can have big impacts over the long term. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Keith,
    The wife prepares the lunch, kudos to her :)
    And you are right, small changes can have big impacts in the future. Most investors I follow shares common traits with us, being frugal. Thanks for stopping by!