There are few things I love more than lunch. With its infinite number of yummy choices, the much-needed break in the middle of the day, and the chance to bond with my coworkers, lunch is the best. And because I love flexibility (and those infinite choices), I buy my lunch every day. Then the other day, I was reading about how making my own lunch will save me money and make me happier, so I thought I’d give that a try. I just had to figure out what to do with all the money I’d save. I fetched some inspiration from one of the few things I love more than lunch: dogs.
Meet my doggo, Nola. She’s a Shiba Inu rescue, about a million years old, blind and deaf, and the most perfect little girl there ever was.
But I couldn’t just give the money I usually spent on lunches directly to Nola. She’d just end up blowing it all on new beds, fish skin treats, and headshots. So with her as my muse (and with the knowledge that giving to charity make you happier), I decided to give the money to my local pet rescue organization, Perfect Pet Rescue. (If you live in LA or just like looking at good dogs, check out their pups.) Now I can finally end the debate of whether or not I’m some sort of monster who loves lunches more that helping pooches in need.
What I did
I stopped buying lunches for a week, took the money I would have spent, and donated it to my local pet rescue instead.
How I did it
I made the same thing for lunch — a turkey, ham, and cheese sandwich, with pretzels, baby carrots, and whatever free fruit we had in the office — every day. (Weekly cost: $26.82.) I don’t like to cook, and wanted to keep things simple, even if it was a little boring.
For comparison, the week before, I’d spent $57.59 on a variety of lunches: burritos, fancy hotdogs, poke, and a sandwich or two.
Surprisingly, I didn’t really miss the variety. There was one moment before lunch on Wednesday when I was craving a taco or nine, but then I snacked on my carrots and it faded. After all, it was just a week.
But that doesn’t mean it was easy. On the very first day of the experiment, I completely forgot to make my lunch and didn’t even realize it until I was 10 minutes into my hour-long commute. I turned around and when I got home, discovered that my girlfriend, who is amazing, had made a lunch for me. After that, we started putting a sticky note on the doorknob that said, “Don’t forget your lunch, dummy.” And I didn’t!
Bringing lunch didn’t mean I had to miss out on coworker bonding. Our office has a kitchen/cafeteria-style dining area, so I left my desk each day and ate my lunches there.
I did, however, miss out on some sunshine. As I left the office on Thursday, I realized I hadn’t gone outside all day! Or any other day this week! The next day, I made a conscious effort to get outdoors.
Giving the money was the easy part. Perfect Pet Rescue takes PayPal from their website. What should I give, though? The money I saved by making my lunch, $30.77, or the full amount I’d spent last week, $57.59? I was just going to give what I saved, but then I saw Nola’s face and my wallet melted like my heart does every time she gives me a snuggle. So I logged in, typed $57.59, entered my account info and hit submit, and it was done.
Did it make me happier?
I can’t for sure say if giving my lunch money to help dogs has improved my overall happiness, but the moment I donated felt amazing. And when I think back on it, I still smile. Because I think of the dogs. And that makes me think of Nola and how perfect she is. And I get another hit of happiness every time I see any other dog. I think to myself, I helped one or more of your brethren get adopted. You’re welcome, you majestic ray of sunshine.
Will I keep doing it?
Not every week. Halfway through this week, I was jonesing for a taco. Even writing the word taco has made me want to eat some tacos. But I think I can manage to make my lunch for one week a month. I also work from home on Fridays, and Perfect Pet Rescue is looking for extra dog walkers. I could combine lunch and dogs(!) and use my lunch breaks to take some pups around the block.
But was it worth it?
Of course. It was 100% worth it. I’m not a monster! I got to help some dogs find homes! And all it cost me was my lunch money and the time it takes to make a sandwich in the morning. That’s a trade I’ll definitely make again.