Why you should start bringing your breakfast and lunch to work

Yes, we all know that bringing your own breakfast and lunch to work is better financially (and for your health) than getting Dunking Donuts for breakfast and Subway for lunch.  If that is the case then why do so many people stroll into work with a Starbucks coffee & breakfast sandwich, and at lunch buy a sandwich, chips, cookie & a diet coke?

It took me 2.5 years of going out for breakfast and lunch to realize that it wasn’t smart for my finances.  How much money was I wasting for a lousy breakfast sandwich and a sandwich that contains god-knows-what.  It was time to make a change…

I started by bringing my breakfast and lunch 1 day a week for the first couple weeks.  Then it went to 2 days a week, until it was 3 days a week, and now I am bringing my lunch at least 4 days a week!

Not only is it healthier but my finances are looking a lot better.  Just how much better you ask? If I bring my own breakfast and lunch 4 days a week for one year then I will have over $2,500 ready to pay down debt or invest.

Here’s my breakdown:

Eating out for breakfast and lunch:

  • Dunkin Donuts breakfast combo (breakfast sandwich & coffee) = $5.99
  • Subway lunch combo (Sandwich, side, drink) = $10.50

Eating out total: $16.49

Bringing my own breakfast:

  • 2 eggs = $0.67
  • 1 greek yogurt = $1.00
  • 1 protein bar = $1.00
  • Total = $2.67

Bringing my own lunch:

  • Peanut butter & banana sandwich = $0.77 (breakdown below)
    • Bread = $0.33
    • Banana = $0.19
    • Peanut Butter = $0.25
  • Chips or a side of fruit = $0.43
  • Water = free
  • Total = $1.20

Breakfast & lunch total: $3.87

Daily savings: $12.62

Yearly savings (assuming 4 days a week and 52 weeks in a year): $2,624.96

That is over $2,600 in yearly savings and that includes a pretty expensive bring your-own breakfast!  Imagine what you could do with an extra $2,624.96 in the bank.

So, let’s start being proactive, healthier, and financially smarter by going to the grocery store & preparing our own meals for the week.

What hacks do you recommend with regards to breakfast and lunch at the workplace?


The CUT 3 FOR 3 Challenge – How I saved over $925 per month


If you’re like me, finding ways to manage your money has always been a challenge.  Have you ever asked yourself one of the following questions:

  • Where does all my hard-earned money go?
  • I want to start saving or investing my money but where can I find the excess cash?
  • How in the world will I pay off my student loans?
  • How in the world will I pay off my credit card debt?

This is exactly why I created the CUT 3 FOR 3 CHALLENEGE, to take control of my finances and take control of my life.

What is the CUT 3 FOR 3 CHALLENGE?

The CUT 3 FOR 3 CHALLENGE is a simple way to CUT 3 monthly expenses each month for 3 months.  

The money you cut goes towards the below financial activities to better your financial well-being:

  • Starting an emergency fund
  • Paying off debt
  • Investing for your future

Everything in life seems like it is a necessity, but let me tell you..it is NOT!  By cutting expenses and using your money to pay off debt or invest for your future can lead to a happier, healthier life.

After starting the CUT 3 FOR 3 CHALLENGE I have obviously noticed a difference in my finances, but I have also noticed:

  • My time is better spent doing more productive activities
  • I’m living a happier, healthier life
  • My stress levels have lowered substantially

So, let me ask you…

What are the first three items you will cut from your monthly expenses?

After 3 months I have cut out the below expenses and now save over $925 per month.  It might sound impossible but once you look at your monthly expenses and where your hard-earned money is actually being spent, you won’t believe what is possible!

Here is the breakdown of my month-by-month eliminated expenses, and I’ll also share with you how you can better spend your time and money!

Month 1:

  • Spotify – $9.99 / month
  • Amazon Services:
    • Amazon Prime – $8.25 / month
    • Audible – $14.95 / month
  • Bottled Water – $12 / month

Month 1 Total Saved: $45.19

Easy expenses.  For month 1 I recommend easy expenses to train the mind that this is not that difficult.  I simply went to Spotify and Amazon and cancelled my subscriptions.  Next time I was at the grocery store, I opted out of the bottled water:

  • Spotify – 9.99 / month
    • Cancelling Spotify was quick and easy.  There’s a quick $10/month
    • What I do instead: Pandora, Podcasts, 8tracks
  • Amazon Prime – $8.25 / month
    • $8.25 / month for 2 day shipping? C’mon
    • What I do instead: Plan ahead.
  • Amazon Audible
    • One audio book for almost $15 / month is not that great of deal
    • What I do instead: Podcasts have plenty of free knowledge!
  • Bottled water – $12
    • 24 packs are about $4.  So when you buy 3 packs a month it starts to add up.
    • What I do instead: Tap water.  It is simple and free.  If you need filtered water then buy a filter for $10

Month 2:

  • Dry Cleaning – $20 / month
  • Gym Membership – $50 / month
  • Buying Coffee – $60 / month

Month 1 & 2 Total Saved: $175.19

Intermediate expenses. Now that your brain has developed the habit of cutting expenses, let’s start to remove more challenging expenses:

  • Dry cleaning – $20
    • 10 shirts, twice a month, for a dollar each.  It adds up.
    • What I do instead: I will buy shirts that are non-iron and simply wash and dry at my apartment.
  • Gym membership – $50
    • Gym memberships generally range from $40-$80 so I played it safe on the lower side of this range
    • What I do instead: There are plenty of no-weight workouts.  I enjoy going for runs, biking, and doing push ups & sit ups to get my weekly exercise.
  • Buying Coffee – $60
    • Coffee at your local coffee shop will be around $2.
    • What I do instead: Most employers offer free coffee at the office.  I will either drink the free coffee or go for a walk to give me energy.

Month 3:

  • Cable – $150 / month
  • Limited Dining Out – $420 / month
  • Limited Bars/Alcohol – $180 / month

Most challenging expenses. You have made it this far.  For me, these expenses were the hardest for me to cut out of my life.

  • Cable -$150
    • My last cable bill was just over $170.  On average, it is closer to $150 per month.  I have two cable boxes and two DVRs.  This is Comcast literally taking $170 out of my wallet
    • What I do instead: I like to spend my old TV time hanging out with friends & family, enhancing my financial literacy, reading, or watching Netflix if I really need to watch something!
  • Eating Out – $420

This number will extremely vary depending on how often you go out to eat.

    • Breakfast & Lunch:
      • I used to buy a breakfast sandwich (about $5) and lunch (about $10) at work about 3-4x a week
      • Total savings = $15 per day x 3 days a week x 4 weeks in a month = $180
    • Dinner:
      • My girlfriend and I used to eat out twice a week and spend about $30 each time.
        • Total savings: $30 x 2 days a week x 4 weeks in a month = $240
    • What I do instead:
      • Breakfast: I will make eggs and have a greek yogurt
      • Lunch: I will generally make a turkey and cheese sandwich or eat leftovers from the night before
      • Dinner: My girlfriend and I will go to Trader Joe’s, buy $10 worth of ingredients and prepare a meal.
  • Go to the bars one night a week – $180
    • Each evening out is different depending on what you do.  A typical Friday or Saturday night for me is the below:
      • Casual craft beers before going out – $10
      • Cab to the bar – $15 (to and from)
        • This is a general average but could be much more if you think worst case scenario:
          • Cab to friends house: $8
          • Cab to bar: $8
          • Cab home: $8
    • 3 drinks – $20
      • Again, this could be a lot worst as well but I took a general average.  3 drinks at $6 a piece plus a couple bucks for a tip
    • What I do instead:
      • Movie nights
      • Game night
      • Potlucks
      • Read a book
      • Biking
      • Running

Month 1, 2, & 3 Total Saved: $925.19 per month

That is over $11,100 per year of unnecessary expenses!

I was spending every month on luxuries. Now, this extra $925.19 per month will go towards paying down debt and investing to provide a better financial future!  In three months you can take control of your money and start living a happier, healthier life.  All while planning for your financial future!  I hope this helps you understand that there are clever ways for you to trim your expenses and start saving some serious cash!

I would like for you to start thinking about the CUT 3 FOR 3 CHALLENGE and what 9 items your will cut from your monthly expenses.  Please feel free to add yours in the comment section below!

Keep hackin’,


photo by: TaxRebate.org.uk

Take control of your finances RIGHT NOW!

Being a millennial you have the choice to start being smart about your money and create a plan to lead a better life, or you be like millions of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck until retirement.

I don’t know about you but I would much rather go with the first option.  But, how do we get there?

It is not easy in today’s world.  We are continuously presented with the latest and greatest products that will make us feel better about ourselves if we buy.  From clothes to electronics to cars, etc…all of these products only provide a small stint of happiness but never a lasting effect.  What if we passed on these so called needs and decided to start an emergency fund? pay off our debt? or even invest?

You have the power to take control of our financial life.  I promise you if you decide to grab ahold of your finances, you will be able to retire younger and happier than you thought.  Think about what you could do with that free time?

This doesn’t mean that you have to cut fun out of your life.  But, you will have to understand how to be smart with your money and have fun at the same time.

I hope you all take this journey with me.  A journey that hacks the way to build wealth and leads to a better, more fulfilling life.  Sometimes all you really need is an ounce of inspiration to make something happen.  There is no better time than now.

For the first blog, I want you to understand the 4 basic phases of the money hack system.  I want to give the credit to Dave Ramsey, and if you haven’t already, please do yourself a favor and pick up his book, “The Total Money Makeover”.

I want you to write these four phases on a piece of paper and put somewhere in your home where you can see often.

  1. Phase 1 – The Most Important Step
  2. Phase 2 – Pay Off Your Debt
  3. Phase 3 – The Emergency Fund
  4. Phase 4 – Invest

Phase 1: The Most Important Step

Accidents happen in life. A broken leg, a lost job, unforeseen bills all of these things can happen in a split second.  We need to do what we can to prepare.

So how do we prepare?

Set two very important (and very easy to remember) goals:

  • Save $500 in month #1.
  • Save $500 in month #2.  

There you go! You just saved $1,000 in two months.  Keep in mind, this is a marathon, not a race!

This money should ONLY be touched in emergency situations (and no, needing a pedicure or the new Halo video game are not emergencies).

If you are not able to save $500 in two months then you need to make it your duty to bring in additional income.  Get a part-time job, become an uber driver, freelance your talents, mow lawns, do whatever you can to save $1,000 in two months.

Phase 2: Pay Off Your Debt

I want you to list out all of your debts from smallest to largest.  Include the minimum payment and the interest rate.  Now, in order to get the momentum of paying off all of your debt going you need to start paying off your smallest debts first until you get to the largest ones.

You must completely pay off one debt before you move to the next.  Soon, you’ll start to see this list of your debts getting smaller and smaller, while your smile gets larger and larger.

Let me remind you that any income that remains after all expenses (and no expenses do not include the 50’’ flat screen or the new fashion designer jeans..expenses are necessities) should be going towards your debt!  We need this paid off!

If you want to accelerate your debt repayment (and I would always advise you should) then, like mentioned above, get a secondary source of income until your debt is paid off.  Trust me, it is worth it.

Phase 3: Emergency Fund Time

You’ll hear most people say your emergency (or rainy day) fund should be 3-6 months of your necessary expenses (sorry, no designer jeans).  I always recommend 6 months.  As you know with our economy, you have no idea when you might be laid off and how long it will take to find a new job.  Always better to be safe than sorry.

Phase 4: Invest

You have your two sets of $500, your debt paid off, and your emergency fund.  Now it is time to start investing your money to let your money work for you.  This includes your own business, the stock market, or real estate.

If you have made it this far, I thank you.  Are you ready to take the journey? Not every person’s financial cards are dealt the same in life, but we can all take the right actions to make our lives better.

Please take a couple days to think if you are really ready to make a life transformation.  Together, we can become financially secure and live better lives.  I hope to have you all back for the next blog on Millennial Money Hack.  

Please leave any questions or feedback in the comments below.

photo by: mathews. anderson