Dinner money?

Forgive any repetition in tonight's blog.
I can't remember if I've written about this before and I'm managing a pretty low mood.

Where I work there is a very nice canteen.
They sell meals, snacks, and cold and hot drinks.
Much of what is sold is made on the premises.
The staff are all polite and friendly and the food is of a good quality.

I eat there when my employer provides food that is complimentary; on a training day or when there is an event.

Every 'normal' work day (deliberate inverted commas) I take my own packed lunch, and have tea bags, decaf coffee and long-life soya milk in a central place near the communal kettle.

Recently a colleague asked me advice about saving money.
They'd got into a situation where they needed to think seriously about their finances: too much was going out each month and they'd been bashing the plastic.
My advice was to cut up the plastic or at the very least cut up all but one and put the last one in a tub of water in the freezer: so it was there for a dire emergency but would need defrosting before use...
Then, to live within a very small budget that covered the absolute essentials: fuel to and from work; value food to top up what was in the cupboards at home only, and to eat from just that source; nothing 'new' bought; all utility bills paid; all non-essentials paused or cancelled; emergency fund begun and built up.
We had a very frank chat.
They talked through some very sensible plans to get out of the mess they'd got into.

So why do I see them every morning buying a takeout coffee from the works canteen @£1.85 a cup?
And each lunch time with either a polystyrene container holding a hot takeout meal @£2.10 or a baguette sealed in plastic @£1.95?

That's approx:
£3.87 a day
£19.35 a week
£754.65 a working year (term time only)

To contrast, my costs approx:
£1.04 a day
£5.20 a week
£202.80 a working year
(Tea bag 2p
Soya milk 1.5p
Half tin tuna in oil 50p
Third bag salad 30p
Half pepper 15p
Carrot and onion 5p) ** although mostly I eat leftovers from dinner the night before.


  1. it does make you wonder doesnt it ? i dont know how the young folk afford life these days...for example;
    nails done....i buy nail polish from the £ shop
    phone bill...i use the landline dont have a mobile
    take away coffee...i dont like coffee but drink sainsbobs cheapo tea bags
    take away food...i cook
    teeth whitening...i jog on with toothpaste
    named brand clothes
    gadgets galore

    life is so very expensive for some folk they must all be pennyless

    take care tessa

  2. I've started to buy my lunch at work as I can get a very generous bowl of freshly made soup for £1, but I used to make my own lunch when it was cheaper than canteen food.

  3. It seems your colleague was quite good and "talking the talk" but useless at "walking the walk."

    I saw the same thing where I worked. I always packed my lunch, took in my own soft drink etc. and it was always the same people who purchased lunch, fed the snack machine and the soft drink machine every day. These same people often kept moaning how they had no funds left a couple of days before we got paid and how many bills they had to pay etc.

    You tried your best and what your colleague does now is up to them.

  4. Sorry you're feeling low right now.
    Using the canteen might be very convenient but it's a money waster if it is a regular habit, I think. That's an awful lot of money down the drain.
    J x

  5. Sorry to hear you're feeling low, Tracey. Your words here are very wise...I too take my lunch whenever I can. It makes me feel particularly smug if I have a sandwich on home made bread! xx

  6. Clearly they didn't really want to listen!!

  7. i do hope you are ok and havent been swept away on the tidal wave of self congratulation at ones own financial genius that we are all being treated to presently

    take care


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