Do you think I lost weight? Felt better for eating healthier foods? Well, I did see both of those when I decided to stop eating out every day for lucn, but it wasn’t the change I was looking for. Nope.
I brought my lunch to work every day for four years and did so until the last day on the job (I’m self-employed now). Why? Packing my lunch helped me pay off my debt. That’s right, bringing my lunch each and every day to work helped me pay off nearly $75,000 in consumer debt, $50,000 of which was all credit cards.
You’re probably asking yourself why bringing your lunch helped me pay off my debt and in a nutshell, it helped me shave off years of payments and saved thousands in interest alone. I break it down more below, but I was able to save over $10,000 in interest payments by bringing my lunch to work. That’s awesome!!
Why Bringing My Lunch to Work Helped Me
If you’ve ever been in debt, then you know you have to take drastic measures to get out. It’s only you that can help. You can’t rely on anyone else and you really should not. Nine times out of ten, it’s typically our mindset that gets us into debt. It certainly was the case for me.
One of the easiest things to do when in debt is to save on your lunches. So many people head off to work each day and then go out for lunch. That’s five lunches per week. When I was working through my debt, you could still get a lunch at a fast food place for around $6. That pricing has gone up quite a bit. You can probably get a good meal for around $8 now. This does not include any tips if you go to a sit down restaurant.
Now, let’s break down the simple math here. If you’re eating out five days a week for lunch, you are spending $40 a week ($8 x 5 days). We can say you are probably spending around $140 – $160 a month just for lunch! When you’re looking at thousands of dollars worth of debt, then you might think this is small and won’t make a difference. Well, let me show you how it makes a difference.
A Simple Extra Payment Example
Luckily for this little experiment, there are hundreds of simple-to-use calculators out there (use this one to see what extra payments can do). Today, I’m going to show you what that extra money does for you. Now, since we need to take into account the extra money you will spend at the grocery store (need to bring your lunch), we can say that you are netting $125 by not going to lunch each day of the week for a month.
If you have a $50,000 debt balance and the average interest rate you’re paying is 12.99%, then you need every bit of help you can get. Let’s say your monthly payments to those loans is $750. You might think that is high, but my payments were almost over my mortgage payment. That’s when I knew I had a problem.
In the graph to the right, you can see that if we take the $125 a month and add it to our debt repayments, we can shave over two years off the loan balance. Two years and five months to be exact. The real powerful number in this equation is how much you can save on interest.
If you’d be diligent and put that money toward your debt, you can save $10,753 over the course of your payments. That’s freaking huge!!
Who wouldn’t want to keep nearly $11,000 of their hard earned money? Who?
Paying Off Debt Takes Sacrifices
I’m not going to sugarcoat this here people. If you want to get out of debt, then you need to make changes now. You need to make huge sacrifices in how you live, how you use your money, and your general attitude toward money. Debt doesn’t pay off itself. If you want to make a change, you need to make the change.
Making huge sacrifices is the only way to get there. I’m never afraid to make a sacrifice to get what I want. Yes, I’ve been brown-bagging my lunch since 2008 and I’m not afraid of it. I don’t need a fancy lunch to make me happy. That $160 I save a month goes right into my investments (usually my Betterment account) and it earns me money. That’s what I’m talking about.
I can sacrifice a lunch out to have a better future. I’d rather eat the same sandwich every day for years than go back into debt. Trust me, I did pretty much eat the same sandwich every day. Did it suck after a while? Hells yes it did. That being said, I’m on the other side of debt. I’m watching other people walk through the debt payoff tunnel. It’s the reason I work hard to share my story.
This is me encouraging you to make the change. I will help you get through the tunnel. I will shine the light as bright as I can through said tunnel. I want you to get through it and I will do my best to show you how you can.
You still need to meet me halfway though. If you’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary, then I nor anyone else can help you. Just remember that!
If you want to learn more about paying off debt, check out our fighting debt articles. They can be very helpful!
This Free Tool Helped Me Pay Off $75,000
Sometimes all you need is free! I opened a free Personal Capital account back when I was in debt and it helped me get control of my financial lifestyle. Since paying off $75,000, I’ve been able to save over $180,000 and I couldn’t have done it without Personal Capital.