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Desk Groceries

One of the simplest ways by which I save money is refraining from going out to lunch very often. I bring leftovers, sandwiches, cans of soup, frozen dinners, and things of that nature. I also make sure I have a few desk groceries.

Desk groceries is the term I use to refer to the small stash of food I keep in my desk drawer at work. This stash comes in handy if I forget my lunch, burn my lunch, or don’t feel like eating what I brought. It’s also nice to have such a stash if I miss breakfast for any reason like I did this morning. I was awfully happy to see that packet of instant oatmeal today.

I once worked with a woman who kept a drawer in her filing cabinet full of snacks. She had good ones, too. She kept potato chips, cookies, crackers, candy, granola bars, and other items that offered instant gratification. While I don’t want to dedicate an entire drawer in my filing cabinet to desk groceries, I admired her dedication. My coworkers and I really missed her snack drawer when she left.

I typically keep a couple envelopes of instant oatmeal, a can of soup, a box of instant noodles, a jar of peanut butter, and a can of ravioli in my drawer. I also keep a few boxes of herbal tea tucked away for afternoon hydration. This is a good variety of items that keeps me from going hungry or dreading lunch.

I was inspired to create my desk groceries stash by a former boss many years ago. She had suffered some physical trauma and was not able to drive. She enjoyed eating out with coworkers, but she felt bad going around the office and inquiring who was eating out on a given day. She solved the problem by creating what she called her office pantry.

She kept a case of canned goods and macaroni & cheese under her desk and a few frozen dinners in the company freezer. I remember walking into her office early one morning when she was sitting in the floor with her cans spread around her. I asked if I could help her with something and she replied, “Yes. Should I have chicken noodle soup or canned spaghetti for breakfast?”

While this might strike some folks as odd, her question inspired me. I realized I could save a great deal of money if I stopped eating at a fast food place five days a week. Since I’m all about not wasting money, I bought some desk groceries and ate lunch at the office with my boss most days.

I really miss that lady. We were laid off by our company many years ago. We slowly lost touch once she moved to another state. It’s been fifteen years since we worked together. I don’t think I have seen her in at least ten years. She taught me a great deal about life, careers, and budgeting. Her lessons resonated with me, and I’ve remembered her wisdom for all these years.

I would be lost without my desk groceries. Many of my coworkers think I’m crazy for keeping my stash, but I won’t be the one lamenting bad weather and a rumbling belly at noon on cold icy days this winter. Perhaps they will see the light and invest in a small stash of desk groceries, too. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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