Lunch Money Arbitrage

November 14, 2006

Gen X Finance wrote today about his “Brown Bag Experiment“, and how much money he could save a year by brown bagging it. I’m all for saving money but sometimes you need to get out, whether it’s to network or maybe to get away from your “favorite person” at work.

If you’re the type that feels guilty indulging on lunch once in a while, try this strategy, it may make the food go down a little easier. Usually when I do go out for lunch it’s with a big group of people. The bigger the group when practicing lunch money arbitrage, the better. I put the whole bill on my cash back credit card and everyone gives me the money, make sure they include the tip.

As an example, at a work lunch a few weeks ago, I put my $6 sandwich and the rest of the group’s $135 tab on my American Express Blue Cash card. I collected the cash from everyone and deposited it in my ING Direct account a few days later. I’ll pay the credit card bill in a few weeks.

I figure the cash back plus the small amount of interest I earned will pay for about half of my portion of the lunch bill. Not a lot of money but like I said, it made the food go down a little easier knowing the first half of the sandwich was free.

I could probably fine tune the details with a better credit card reward and better savings account rate, any suggestions welcome, but the concept is what’s important. If we can learn to spot opportunities similar to this, of course with bigger payouts, then we’re on the road to a money smart life.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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