How a Crockpot and Oven Saved Me $2400 per Year

Finally, the clock strikes 12. It is here folks, the highlight of the workday. You jump on Seamless and start browsing the endless possibilities. For the next 15 minutes you sift through hundreds of lunch options…

Delicious pork and pineapple burrito
The Daily 12:00 PM Day Dream

“What should I tickle my taste buds with today. Sushi? Burrito?Gyro?” It all sounds magnificent. Eventually you stop daydreaming and settle with the salad because your “trying to be healthier” (which really means you just remembered downing a full pie of Domino’s Pizza last Saturday night, but that’s neither here nor there).

measuring belly fat while looking at a salad
Was it really necessary to polish off that cold leftover pizza slice on Sunday morning? The answer is ALWAYS yes.

We all love the idea of trying new food and expanding our culinary palette, but in reality, we often settle for the same 3 or 4 lunch options. Unlimited choices combined with the convenience of zero food preparation is certainly nice, but you pay a HEAVY premium for that convenience:

infographic showing the cost of buying lunch

So everyday you bring lunch instead of buying it, you save yourself $10. If you repeat this feat for all 240 work days, then you have just saved yourself $2400! That is an extra $2400 in your bank account, which you can use however you please. Not too bad right?

Counter Argument #1: But Preparing Food at Home Takes Time…

Yes it does, but probably not as much time as you think. Enter the two heroes of our story: 

We all want to eat healthy during the week, aka we don’t want to feel as guilty when we inevitably binge on the weekend. Using the two heroes above, this becomes quick and easy.

Crockpot is king when it comes to meat.

Toss some meat and spices in there and you are done. Crockpots are mature for their age and require no adult supervision – no need to stay home all day while that meat is slowly cooked to perfection.

Prep Time: 5 min, Cook Time: 4-10 hours depending on recipe, Dishwashing Time: 5 min

Ol’ Reliable Oven has been roasting veggies since the Stone Age, so let him do what he does best.  

When it comes to veggies, there is a bit more prep work. You have to wash them, chop them and then toss them in some olive oil. Wow big whoop.  

Prep Time: 10 min, Cook Time: 30-40 min, Dishwashing Time: 5 min

Roasted carrots and onions
A Beautiful Medley

So to summarize, preparing a week of lunches takes about one hour.

Total Prep Time: 15 min, Total Supervised Cook Time: 30-40 min, Total Dishwashing Time: 10 min

I personally made this a staple of my Sunday routine, but since it only takes an hour, it can really be done any day of the week.

Counter Argument #2: But I Don’t Know How to Cook…

You are not a Michelin Star Chef trying to impress a snobby food critic. You are cooking for yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect nor look pretty, it just has to be edible.

You will be surprised how easy it is to reach this standard when someone gives you step-by-step directions. This is called a recipe. Now that we got the basics out of the way and you’re on your way to becoming the next Gordon Ramsey, lets talk about where to find these recipes…

Google logo
Google to the rescue!

For meat: “simple slowcooker (insert meat type here) recipes”

For veggies: “simple roasted vegetable recipes”

Look for recipes with only a few ingredients (less ingredients means less chances of you f’ing it up). Once you’ve mastered the art of slow cooked meat and roasted vegetables, you may want to move onto more exciting recipes…

…Google to the rescue again!

“easy meal prep lunch recipes” will provide you with millions of recipes that you can effortlessly make at home.

As you become better and better at cooking you may even gain enough confidence to let another human try your master pieces!

Counter Argument #3: I Don’t Want to Eat the Same Thing Everyday…

Simple answer: Then don’t. Top your cooked meat with different sauces. Roast several different vegetables at the same time. Layer your vegetables with different types of cheese. Yada. Yada. Yada.

There are thousands of ways to change the flavor profile from day-to-day so you don’t feel like your eating the same chicken and broccoli 5x a week.

If your still not sold, then try meal prepping twice per week. After all it only takes an hour…

Counter Argument #4: Me and my Work BFFL Always Have Lunch Together on Friday…

Two friends having lunch
Best . Friends. For. Life. (Monday-Friday)

No sweat, you don’t need to bring lunch EVERY day. After all we are all human, and sometimes that Chipotle Burrito date is just too good to pass up.  No need to flip your world upside down, start with small changes. Bring lunch twice per week. Once you get you get better and more efficient at meal preparation, bump it up to 3-4 times per week.  

So to summarize, by preparing lunch for the workweek you can:

  1. Save a sh*t ton of money
  2. Eat healthier
  3. Learn how to cook and impress your friends/family/lovers
infographic of annual savings from bringing lunch

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