Returning to the office? Brace yourself for lunchflation: the rising cost of lunch


Working at home lets you hide out from inflation.

No commuting means less exposure to gasoline prices that have on average jumped 45 per cent across the country in the past 12 months. Not buying your lunch means you’ve missed out on steep price increases for soup, sandwiches, wraps and other office worker lunchtime staples.

The rising cost of going out for lunch has been tallied by Square, a technology and payments company that compared current fast food costs in cities across the country to March, 2020. First, some good news. The cost of tacos has somehow fallen 16 per cent in the past two years.

Elsewhere in dining, lunchflation is very much on the menu. Square reports that:

  • Hamburger prices are up 26 per cent over the past two years, to $10.86 from $8.61
  • Salads are up 25 per cent, to $12.63 from $10.11
  • Soup is up 24 per cent, to $7.60 from $6.13
  • Sandwiches are up 20 per cent, to $10.03 from $8.38
  • Wraps are up 15 per cent, to $10.26 from $8.90

Returning to the office is very much a work-life balance issue, but there’s a huge financial dimension as well. There’s the cost of commuting, whether in your own vehicle or public transportation, dressing for success in an office environment and keeping yourself fed while at the office.

Lunchtime costs are the easiest to avoid – just bring your lunch. Inflation has taken over in the grocery store, but you can still feed yourself at a much lower cost than the local fast food spot. To keep things interesting, maybe buy your lunch once a week. Tacos sound good.


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Rob’s personal finance reading list

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What are your travel plans?

A long list of apps that are related to travel – booking flights, finding cheap gas, managing money and more. Now for some information on how you can donate Aeroplan travel reward points for Air Canada’s Ukraine relief fund.

How to file your taxes if you’re self-employed

A detailed guide to managing and filing your taxes if you’re self-employed. Read it for help with your 2021 return, and looking ahead for 2022.

Are you feeling NFT FOMO?

Non-fungible tokens are one of the hot investing trends of the past couple of years. Here, a veteran investing writer digs into what they are, and whether they are an investment you need to consider. Sneak peak: “NFTs are an interesting, versatile, and useful tool. Not an investment.”


Q&A

Q: How long a term should you take in renewing or buying GIC?

A: The standard advice for buying guaranteed investment certificates is to ladder them, or invest equal amounts of GICs with terms of one through five years. When a GIC matures, you reinvest in a new five-year term. Consider a three-year ladder right now. The reward for locking in for five years over three is minimal at many banks. Also, make sure you’re getting top rates.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.


Attention parents

Are you a working parent of a kid aged six to 12 who needs child care in the summer? How do summer camps affect your family finances? We’d love to hear about your experience, your frustrations, as well as any tips to save up for the expense or keep costs under control. E-mail Globe personal finance reporter Erica Alini at ealini@globeandmail.com to share your story.


Today’s financial tool

Housing-related tax reminders for people who bought, sold or renovated a home last year.


The Money-Free Zone

A funky gospel tune from the excellently named Swan Silvertones – If You Think Your God is Dead, Try Mine.


Who I’m following on Twitter

Frances Donald, global chief economist and strategist at Manulife Investment Management. Plays in a higher league of economic commentary.


In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

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Divyansh Singh

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