Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 day 1 hour ago.

As part of Frugal Bento Month, I've posted a simple challenge: Keep track of what you're saving by bringing bentos for lunch instead of buying lunch. I thought it might be fun to total up everyone's savings. So, use this thread to let us know how much you've saved (weekly or at the end of the month), and I'll total it up at the end of April!

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Torrilin
Bento-ing from: Madison › Wisconsin › USA
Joined: 20 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 29 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

In an average week, my partner would spend $40 on lunches out. In a worst case scenario bento spending week, his lunches cost $17 ($9 for a large bag of shredded cheese, $3 for tortillas, $1 for a can of refried beans, $4 for salsa) and we end the week with leftovers that can be used for next week's lunches. Most weeks, he has some mix of homemade soup and the quickie quesadillas, which works out much cheaper... when he's not eating homemade soups for lunch, it's easy for a batch to go off.

TiaLD77
Bento-ing from: › Pennsylvania › USA
Joined: 2 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 20 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

6$ isnt low Maki by a long shot..at least not for around my part of the country, the usual places I hit during the lunch hour are usually 6-7$ Unless I splurge & hit the Stirfry bar & its 10$

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maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 day 1 hour ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

I have to confess, the first week isn't going to go too well for me. We were going to rent an apartment in Strasbourg, but something about a NATO summit there has made that impossible (you had to be registered 2 months beforehand...like, WTF) so we're going to be hotels in Paris and Zürich. But, I'll try! At least for the rest of this week while I have a kitchen I'm gonna bring lunch on our trips and resist the call of the crêpes ^_^;

moonshae
Bento-ing from: Melbourne › Australia
Joined: 9 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

I save tonnes with bentos. At least $10 a day (3 sushi rolls and a drink minimum). And I find that if I'm eating lunch out I'm more likely to buy a drink and/or snacks during the day as well. With a bento in my bag, I know I'm sorted and don't have to think about food.
And as The Boy works from home mostly, I'm saving as well by making him a bento. Even if it's main ingredients are leftover from dinner, those leftovers now last three days instead of one. AND it stops him just ducking down to the local cafe for lunch instead. Saving him/us ~$20 at a time (sandwich, multiple coffees).
So on what would have been an eating out day? We save $30 minimum. Wow. Now where did I put all of my savings??!?

MitarashiDango
Bento-ing from: Melbourne › Australia
Joined: 28 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 19 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

I don't really know how much I've saved from bentos because I only bento 3x a week (I have full-day class on tue, thur and fri). Other times, I always try to have lunch/dinner at home. On average, I spend about $40 per week on groceries - which include non-perishable food items and snacks ^^;

The cost of a proper lunch here varies. Here's a rough idea of common lunches here starting from the cheapest.

$3 for fried snacks (chips, calamari, nuggets and the others in the party); muffins; cake slices; reg coffee
$5 for sushi (handroll type) or pizza slices; fresh juices; smoothies; subway
$8 for food court rice and pasta take-aways; sandwiches; and set nigiri sushis
$10 for full-wraps; set meals

Then, you can get yourself a bottle of water or soda for about $3.

Thus, making your proper, healthy, full meal cost at least $8.

If I were to not cook for myself everyday, I'd spend minimum $140 per week on food. With bentos and eating at home, I'll save a whopping $100 per week and even more. It's definitely good news, but the money goes to my art materials *cries*. Well, I don't buy new art materials everyweek, but I'm still new in my course and I do not have many things. Considering that, it's better than spending $250 per week on all these..

.. and yes, I'm cheapskate and very frugal.

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[black]magic from Dango-kun's kitchen

clarissa
Bento-ing from: Berlin › Germany
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 1 week ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

Mh... Uni is starting again in april, so making bentos will start up again this month. I will see and try to keep track of my savings. I guess all should be in dollar? As all is in euro here I will have to convert all into dollar. Which exchange rate should we use?

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eilismaura
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

I am a SAHM but because of health problems I need to manage what I eat - packing bento's has helped with that alot and cut out all kinds of nasty eating out I used to do.

The cost savings I have noted really come from getting my son to bring lunch to school several times a week (we call them bento's because that is what I use). I am also working with him to cut things out - or at least cut down on - like going to the icecream truck that waits outside the school. He is 13 and so far it is working.

Eilish

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my blog - http://honeysheistwisted.blogspot.com/

mosaica
Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 40 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

My circumstances are such that I always have frugality as the starting point for my food, but I've found so many virtues result from this necessity! Thrift is why I garden, why I forage for wild mushrooms and other wild edibles (wild garlic season is almost here!), and why I've developed serious bargain-hunting skills. All of these activities (well, maybe not the shopping) enhance my life, get me outdoors and engaged in nature, and give me so much pleasure. In addition, I thrive when I can cook really beautiful food from interesting and (relatively) uncommon foods. So I catch trout and striped bass, I grow things which I can't find in any of the markets. I keep an eye out for opportunities to shuttle friends down to Boston --my gas is paid and I can do major staple-shopping at my favorite Chinese markets there.

I am susceptible to getting take-out from the one or two excellent restaurants around here, and I enjoy those as special treats, but making bento lunches is a complete win when I'm just hungry and on the road.

I won't be tracking my dollars/euros/kroner, but I'll know that I'm doing okay if I can make my tiny fixed income last until the end of the month :-) But I really support this awareness-raising monthly challenge.

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http://mosaica.wordpress.com

anon.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

i save a lot of money, but i do find i spend a lot of time making them - not complaining though, makes for excellent stress release :D

MitarashiDango
Bento-ing from: Melbourne › Australia
Joined: 28 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 19 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

I think it should be fine to put them in euros.. as long as we all will know how much you've saved!

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 31 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

Or we could use Big Mac equivalents! That's supposed to be a reasonable indicator of a currency's buying power.

Just in case you don't know what I mean, you divide the amount of money saved by the price of a Big Mac where you live, in your own currency (have to go and find out what one costs, of course).

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Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 day 1 hour ago.
Currency

Just say what your local currency is, and I'll figure it out! I'm not actually sure about the Big Mac thing...the price of one in France is about the same as it is in Switzerland, but overall food prices are quite a bit more expensive in Switzerland, just to give one example.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

I had never really worked out the numbers before, but it is kind of amazing, to see what we could be spending and not saving by packing bentos. I put my husband and my lunches eating out at $7 and $8 (we work in pricey areas), which would be $75 per week. Versus an entire month of bentoing costing a grand total of $60 (I allotted $1 for my lunch and two for husband, since he has meat in there).

I think that the cost of the bentos will probably go down even more during the warmer months. Since I planted a garden for my mother, I will be getting a fair amount of vegetables for free. But I am looking forward to being able to have my own vegetable garden and fruit trees once my husband and I get a house, I hope that some summer foods will still be in season (to plant) by the time we find a house.

dorayaki
Bento-ing from: Wellington › New Zealand
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 10 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

The first day of the month was our anniversary, so we spent $50 on kaiten zushi. Every weekday lunch since has been bento, although I ate a Big Mac Combo yesterday for my 'job' as a mystery shopper, it cost $NZ7.70 but I get paid back for it, so I wouldn't count that. Otherwise, if I ate lunch in town or on campus I would probably spend at least $8.

I find with bento-ing I'm much more likely to put leftovers away quickly and save them instead of eating an extra portion at dinner just because it's there. So I don't think I buy much extra food for bentos.

I love Japanese food so I tend to have a good stock in the house, that way when Maki posts a new recipe I can usually make it without a trip to the store, which saves more money.

____________________________________

My Japanese/bento blog:
http://undefeatedbykanji.blogspot.com/

rosie
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

At my school at lunch and snacks may cost as much as $20 in a day. On a 'cheap' day it is at least $6. I usually pack a yogurt, fruit, a bento, and evening snack it all costs >$4 max from home. I should mention some of my school days are about 13 hrs long. o.O I also like my own food better, but sometimes it's very tricky to add variety, and pack things that travel well.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 31 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

If I bought my lunches they would be in the vicinity of NZ$7-8 a day. I haven't actually bought a lunch on a work day since the beginning of the Five Week Challenge though - pretty good eh?

It's difficult to know how much I spend on bentos, but I'd guess that they'd average $2-3 a day. There may be a lot of leftovers, but you do have to pay for the food in the first place. My leftovers are deliberate leftovers - I make more so I'll have them.

I shall be in Adelaide (Australia) visiting my grandkids and their parents for the last two weeks of this month though, so it won't be a very frugal month at all. Somehow or other Grandma always ends up paying for lunches and dinners out.

scwkitty
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

Honestly, I had always thought that I was spending more money to bento. I tend to stick with fish as my protein, and good quality sushi rice is available but at a high price. Still, I love the traditional bento, so I was willing to pay more to have a satisfying and enjoyable lunch. In the past few weeks I've looked at what bentoing costs me versus traditional lunch and what I found was not what I expected.

Once a month I head to Tensuke Market, it's a local Japanese market about a half-hour away from my home. They are always well stoked and have really big bags of sushi rice. By buying the large bags it helps me keep the cost down compared to buying a small bag every week at the local grocery store. While there I also pick up a big takuan, daikon sprouts, miso paste, and anything I may have run out of from my "bento pantry." This includes things like mirin, furikake, and fishcakes. My total usually runs about $50, barring any impulse buys.

My other main bento purchase is of course the fish. This I pick up at my local grocery store when buying my weekly groceries, and I try to stick to salmon and tuna unless there's a sale. I've made good friends with the workers at the seafood counter and they usually let me know when they see me if there's a value they think I'd like. Usually the meat total from the grocery is around $40 and another $10 of my regular grocery bill contributes to bento (carrots, spices and such) so that brings my bento expenditure to about $100 a month.

I'm a full-time physics student, so if I didn't bento lunch would most likely come from the cafeteria. There, an average main dish with one side is about $8. The only other options around the campus are vending carts where hot dogs and gyros are sold, and they would have about the same average cost. Add in a drink and the total for a lunch is about $10. This is by no means healthy or good-tasting food either.

So, that leaves me at about $5 a day for bento and $10 a day for a purchased meal at school! I never thought that something I enjoyed so much would really be so benifical to my pocketbook as well ^_^

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Frugal Bento Month: How much have you saved?

I think that this week and the past couple of weeks I have been doing really well on my savings. I think that the thing that has really helped is the amount of free food I have gotten for free, here is a good reason not to turn down free things from your parents... While I did eat the same thing every day the total was low even by my standards.

Lettuce = Free
Tomato = Free
Dressing = Free
Dried Kidney Beans = 1.69 per bag/4 = .42
Bell Pepper = 3.49 for 6/6 = .58
Mushrooms = 2.00 per bag/3 = .67
Cucumber = .69 each = .69

Coming to a grand total of 2.56 after tax, for five days. So each lunch was roughly .51. Although I must say I think I splurge on canned beans for salads in the future, the rehydrated beans just are not the most attractive addition to a salad imo.

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