DIY Your Lunch

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Disclaimer-Captain DIY and DIYtoFI.blog highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

I probably didn’t need to paste the disclaimer at the top of this article, but it has been ingrained into me as a start to any post on this blog, and I’m sticking to it.

Admittedly, this is an odd topic for a DIY blog. But I don’t really think of this blog as just fixing your house and maintaining your vehicle. This is about more than that. It’s about making your life progress in an optimal fashion to further the goal of Financial Independence while growing your skill set and mind set, all while focusing on allowing yourself to be happy, even if that point is more subliminal.

In my place of employment, I am surrounded by culinary temptations produced by cafes, dining commons, and convenience stores. Some of them are very good, while others are merely decent, but all of them smell amazing when I walk by. Not that long ago I frequented some of these establishments for my lunch, resulting in additional food expenditures of anywhere between $10 and $50 per week on top of our grocery expenses.

While the cafe nearest my main employment station makes some pretty tasty sandwiches, they are $3.75 for one half, which means I’m shelling out $7.50 for a sandwich. Usually some accoutrements are needed for optimal enjoyment, so tack on another $1.50 for a small bag of chips, and you have yourself a nice $9 lunch not including a beverage. I have always been a proponent of water, so that was never an issue.

If I were to do that for my lunch everyday, I would be spending $45 per week on lunch. That is $180 per month, which is about 40% of my current food expenditure for my entire family. All so I can hire someone else to make me a sandwich and add a bag of nitrogen and saturated fat on the side. What a deal!

For the last year or so, I have exclusively made a lunch at home to bring in, and more recently I have discovered a delicious meal choice that holds minimal cost while delivering a highly nutritious kick to my day. Instant meal packets that can be microwaved in one minute, but are made with organic ingredients such as lentils, chickpeas, cashews, and spices. These are meals made for flavor, while underhandedly packing in a massive amount of protein and nutrients, and I find them at my local “scratch and dent” discount grocer for around $2 per packet.

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The packet in the picture, a delicious Vegetable Tikka Masala, gives me 264 calories with 12 grams of dietary fiber and 8 grams of protein, and when I add to it the six or seven spoonfuls of quinoa from the bucket in my fridge I get even more out of it.

Quinoa, according to Wikipedia, is closely related to beetroot, spinach, and amaranth, provides a complete source of protein, and is a good source of all nine essential amino acids. It can be bought in bulk for cheap, and it can be cooked in large batches and reheated when needed. Basically, in my opinion it is a superior form of rice.

I toss my packet of Masala in the microwave, add my container of quinoa from the fridge, and nuke them both for a couple of minutes. I mix them together when they come out, and I have a delicious lunch that will keep me feeling full for several hours while giving my body everything that it needs and almost nothing it doesn’t, all for well under $3. Not only do I get to eat more healthfully, I save around $120 per month doing so!

So before you poo-poo the idea of a DIY lunch in favor of the lunch special at Applebees, check out what other options there are and how bringing your own lunch can help you reach your financial goals faster. Your body and your wallet will thank you.

Note: the meal featured here, and the company that make it, are not affiliated in any way with DIYtoFI.blog or Captain DIY. I just really like them.

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