With my series of 7 financial challenges well underway with my ‘groovy gift’ of hand drawn illustrations for my mom’s 60th (read all about that here), it was time to set my mind to my second monumental task: Lunch Deloaded.

The instructions are as follows: Eat packed lunches for a week instead of buying them. Compare that with what you normally spend on food.

This challenge would have been easier back in the carefree days when all I did during the day was wake up at 11am and watch television in my underwear – otherwise known as the life of a professional comedian. Back then, lunch was a solo affair.

However, I have since begun going into the office space rented by my wife in Linden, in the hopes that I might become some kind of productive member of society. I sit there all day helping her run her startup web development agency, J is for Genius, running Deep Fried Man’s career and occasionally writing blog posts like this one.

For three days a week we have a junior employee and an intern working with us as well. And early on I set the rather expensive precedent of buying everyone lunch. This is not a very healthy state of affairs either, especially that day I ordered from Burger King. We usually order from the Red Pepper Canteen, though, and depending on what we have it costs about R130 to about R200 a day. So I leapt at the opportunity of saving some cash by bringing in packed lunches instead.

And what better form of packed lunch is there than the humble sandwich? Whatever Tim Noakes might tell you, this is simply the easisest and best home-made lunch option. My ingredients were as follows: A loaf of sourdough rye from ‘Not Bread Alone’ bakery – NOTE: one of the healthier carb options available – (R25); a block of cheddar cheese (R34); assorted cold meats – roast beef, smoked chicken and salami (possibly not kosher – don’t tell my rabbi) – (R67); assorted vegetables (R65). Total: R191. So far, I could potentially spend more than that on one day’s lunch for ‘the office’ (as I like to call the four of us).

The only addition is that I had to buy an extra loaf of bread, taking the total up to a monumental R216. Still, a huge saving.

$ I got together deloading lunch:
Homemade lunch for a working week: R216
Ordering lunch per day: R130 – R200
Ordering lunch for a working week: R650 – 1000
Savings in one week: R434 – R784

Is it a significant saving? Hell yeah!

The minor annoyances, such as remembering to make the sandwiches in the morning and getting started late as a result, and the day I forgot the sandwiches and had to go home and make them, were worth it. We probably lost a bit of weight too, since our usual lunches often involved evil additions such as chips. And everyone agrees I make a great sandwich.

The reviews are unanimous:

“I loved the sprouts on top.” – Janine, wife.

“Tasty. The different flavours complemented each other.” – Lebo, junior web developer.

“It was awesome.” – Emmanuel, intern.

My sandwiches give me the energy I need to get started on my next challenge. Stay tuned and you can read all about it…