Monday, August 23, 2010

A. Make a lunch B. Take said lunch to work C. Profit

Generally speaking, one of the best places to save money in your budget is on food expenses. Have you ever wondered how much money you would save if you took a sandwich with you to work instead of grabbing fast food? I didn't think so; but, I don't care. Here's the answer:

Let's say you spend an average of $7 per work day on lunch. Not bad. That equals $1,750 per year on lunch (250 work days per year X $7 per lunch).

Below are the current costs of various sandwiches. "Generic" is Great Value brand (Walmart) and "Name Brand" represents the following brands: Mrs. Baird's (100% Whole Wheat bread), Peter Pan (peanut butter), Smucker's (jelly), Burleson's (honey), French's (mustard), Sargento (cheese), Kraft (mayonaise), and Sara Lee (turkey). How did I determine the quantity of each item on a sandwich? I may or may not have utilized my office postal scale during an extended lunch break. Don't judge me. Obviously these values aren't exact-because prices change...and because some of you people put way more lard mayo on your sandwich than you should. This will, however, give you a decent idea of the percentage cost differences for these various sandwiches.

Generic White PB & J: 18.39 cents
Generic Wheat PB & J: 19.78 cents
Name Brand Wheat PB & J: 35.44 cents
Generic White PB & H: 25.59 cents
Generic Wheat PB & H: 26.98 cents
Name Brand Wheat PB & H: 41.14 cents
Generic White Turkey, Cheese, & Mustard: 53 cents
Generic Wheat Turkey, Cheese, & Mustard: 54.39 cents
Name Brand Wheat Turkey, Cheese, & Mustard: 89.66 cents
Generic White Turkey, Cheese, & Mayo: 53.22 cents
Generic Wheat Turkey, Cheese, & Mayo: 54.60 cents
Name Brand Wheat Turkey, Cheese, & Mayo: 90.08 cents
Generic White Turkey, Cheese, Mayo, Lettuce, & Tomato: 61.94 cents
Generic Wheat Turkey, Cheese, Mayo, Lettuce, & Tomato: 63.32 cents
Name Brand Wheat Turkey, Cheese, Mayo, Lettuce, & Tomato: $1.0755

So...let's say that, rather than grabbing fast food, you eat a healthy (albeit odd) lunch consisting of 3 generic PB & Js each work day. Your savings over one year would be $1,612.07. Let's also say that you decide to be healthy and add an apple a day to your lunch. Your savings is still huge...still over $100/ that you could more wisely spend on the wife or kids or debt or a new iPhone 4.


  1. I can't remember where I found it, but the USDA determined that the most cost-effective meal that would still give you a good balance of nurtrients is a peanut butter sandwhich on wheat with a glass of low-fat milk. Your blog entry reminded me of that study.

  2. Another way of saving money is stop using a car and go everywhere on foot. Well, maybe sometimes we could use our cars, but not as often as we use them today. If we combine these two saving methods we could have a large sum at the end of the year.
    Thanks for the article. And try to keep thing in order... I am also trying to follow the same order. Very often I fail...

  3. I love this! I have to watch my pennies so I have also found that there is a HUGE difference in prices between United and Walmart. Yes, I hate grocery shopping at Walmart. But if you compare the cost for the same item, you will realize a huge savings! Some items are as much as .80 cents different for ONE item! So think about getting 50 items at the United compared to Walmart. Wow-- that's savings, too!