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The True Cost of Lunch
December 4

People who complain about not having enough money to enjoy life are often guilty of spending their money on things that aren't important to them but which make them feel good for a few brief moments. The classic example of this is money spent on takeaway food and drink, especially lunches and coffee breaks at work.

If you spend $10 a day on lunch, that's $50 a week. If you 'brown bag' your lunch and instead invest $50 a week for a return of 3% per annum compounded, here's what you can do:

  • After one year, you will have around $2,638; enough for a holiday in Australia
  • After five years, you will have around $14,021; enough for a trip to Europe
  • After ten years, you will have around $30,310, which would go a long way towards a deposit on a house or your children's education costs
  • After twenty years, you will have around $71,222; enough to buy a brand new luxury car
  • After thirty years, you will have around $126,443, which might allow you to retire much earlier than age 65
  • After forty five years, you will have around $247,513 which, combined with your KiwiSaver funds, could allow you to live a very comfortable life in retirement.
    I am reliably informed by several 'brown baggers' that the best way to take care of work lunches is to cook extra for your evening meal and serve it into a container that you can freeze or refrigerate for the next day or later. If you don't have a microwave at work, stock up on easy to prepare cold food that won't go soggy if prepared the night before. Do a quick internet search for ideas for lunches that taste good and help you save to enjoy life.

    Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847. For free eBooks, go to and

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