Always the Planner and Broke Grad Student recently posted about bringing your own lunch vs buying it.
I bring my lunch every single day. Occasionally I allocate myself $10 for one lunch out (while I worked fulltime over the summer I did that once every couple of weeks, and I usually went to Revive and used one of their vouchers which they send out in their weekly e-newsletter). I usually have something like pasta, sandwiches, salad, leftovers, fried rice or soup, along with fruit, a muesli bar and crackers/cookies/my own baking. Yeah, it gets repetitive, but for as long as I can remember I’ve never really had exciting lunches. For most of primary school I had tuna sandwiches (I don’t know how I did it) and after I first moved out and was living on a shoestring, I ate jam sandwiches for months on end (can’t stand the stuff now!) So as long as I rotate the main component every so often, it works for me.
It doesn’t take me that long to make my lunch – just a few minutes the previous night most of the time. Eating out takes time. You have to leave the building, decide what you want, walk there, order and wait for your food. THEN you get to eat it. Places like Subway and restaurants with ready made food, that’s not an issue, but if you go to a food court or something you could be waiting for a good 15 minutes. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of time! I only have a half hour for lunch, although nobody is too strict about that. By the time I get my food and walk back to the office, my lunch break’s pretty much over. And sometimes work is just too busy to take any time to go out. What then?
Luckily, most of my coworkers bring their lunch. A few gather everyday at noon in the lunchroom, without fail. Others eat at their desks. (I’m a desk eater!) Like ATP, most people at work socialise in passing – in the hallways, in the lift, while making tea or by the water cooler. So I don’t feel ostracised for bringing in food.
I’m also a person who gets kind of paralysed by choice. I’ve gotten even worse of late, because eating out used to be a big treat when I was little. We rarely ever ate Wendys, Subway, BK, KFC, or imitation butter chicken/chow mein, etc. It’s not that I’ve overloaded on any of those things – they’re still expensive, after all! – but now I’ve eaten all of them enough to no longer be impressed. Very little appeals to me anymore; in fact when BF and I are looking for a quick dinner, it inevitably turns into a marathon quest because nothing looks or sounds especially good to us. It’s the same with lunches in town – they’re incredibly overpriced, and too often don’t even taste good.