Frugal Brown Bag Lunch Ideas + Cost Breakdown: Sandwiches Edition

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I am trying to gain more control over my diet, while also compiling more easy (preferably really easy) yet tasty recipes. First up is making my own lunch. I think it’s important when brown-bagging to make it tasty and attractive, so you don’t actually feel like your depriving yourself. Don’t just slap a sliver of cheap meat on some Wonderbread. Instead, you should take advantage that you are making the meal yourself. Put anchovies on the thing if you want.

In order to minimize the overall prep time, I bought all the ingredients at our usual grocery store (Safeway) during our usual shopping trip. Prices are actual prices, I bought regardless of if it was on sale or not. I also took into account the inevitable bit of extra waste from perishable ingredients like wilted lettuce or moldy bread, by including total package costs.

Shopping List

Sandwich
$2.50 for 1 loaf of 12-grain Oroweat bread (18 slices)
$5.25 for 3/4 lb of Black Forest Ham, thinly shaved from deli*
$1.75 for 1/4 pound of pepper jack cheese, thinly sliced
$1.75 for 1 large tomato, cut into 10 thin slices
$1.49 for 1 head of iceberg lettuce
$0.25 (est.) for pantry item Honey Mustard (1 bottle is $2.25)
—————-
$12.99 total, $2.60 per day

* You could buy smaller amounts of different meats like turkey breast, if you wanted to mix it up. When I feel like eating vegetarian, I buy a tub of hummus instead of meat.

** If you bought things on sale, or actually shopped around, you can probably reduce these prices by 20-40%.

Snack
This is estimated at $.30 cents per day. You could make it less by buying in bulk and packaging yourself, but the savings started getting small so I just went for simplicity. Examples:

$0.27 for single-serving assorted potato/tortilla chips ($6.49/24 bags)
$0.30 for baby carrots (split a 1 pound bag 5 ways, $1.50/lb)
$0.42 for a 100-calorie-pack of crackers. ($2.50/6 bag box)

Drink
Tap water is free, but I like drinking a Diet Coke for both leaving a sweet aftertaste and the extra bit of caffeine. If I didn’t already buy it previously on sale, this would have cost $.50 per can.

Preparation and Time Spent
Not much prep for the sandwiches. I just had to cut the tomato, peel off the lettuce, and then portion everything out into 10 reusable plastic containers (2 per weekday). I have one container for the bread, and one container for all the wet ingredients. I put a dab of mustard in between the ham and cheese. The separation keeps the bread from being soggy before eating. If I’m not lazy I toast the bread.

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Packing all the materials for the entire week took less than half an hour. Actual photo of final product at the top of this post. Doesn’t it look like something worth eating for lunch?

Total Cost
The sandwich and snack combo costs a little under $3. This is actually more than I thought it would cost, although I think it’s relatively healthy when I eat it with carrot sticks (which I usually do with a dab of fat-free salad dressing). If eating out for lunch would have cost $6 per day, then that half hour on Sunday saved me $3 x 5 days = $15. $30 an hour post-tax is like earning $60 an hour pre-tax, so that’s pretty good. On top of that, I have the power to eat healthier and control what I consume.

Sure, if I consciously chose to work an extra 2 hours a month to “pay” for eating out, I could use my time that way instead. But if I’m honest with myself, lunch-making just takes a half hour that would have been spent goofing around on the internet before bed.

Clever Dudette has more frugal lunch ideas. Do you have your own tasty buy convenient lunch routines? For next week, I am thinking of making it the Fried Rice edition.

Comments

  1. looks yummy

  2. Hey Jonathan;

    This brings back memories. I actually ran the “sandwich” program at my last office. We were a bunch of 20-somethings and the $5 foods that could actually be purchased for lunch were all high-fat, high-preservative convenience store “crap”. (the double double cheeseburger at 600 calories EACH).

    After a few months of watching guys rotating between those and costco burritos, I cracked and offered to start the “lunch program”. Everyone pitched in $10 / week and I would do a cost-co run every 2 weeks which included meats, breads, sliced pickles, sliced cheeses and condiments. We’d also throw in the occasional tomato. Between 5 or 6 guys we made about 8 sandwiches / day and all of the prep time was during lunch hour. Note that this was in Canada where cheese and meat are more expensive, you could likely do 10-12 sandwiches / day at US prices.

    Net savings were huge. But we also dropped a bunch of calories and increased intake of good fresh foods.

    The program ran for about six months before its eventual demise. The reason: boredom, even at four days / week, our test group of 26-year old males couldn’t stand eating the same thing every day for weeks at a time. And honestly, some variety is also good for the system.

    My personal takeaway is to rotate the bagged lunch setup. Try picking two of soup (chili), sandwich and salad each week. These can all be adequately prepped on Sunday night and you’ll get the necessary variety of quality foods without the usual food boredom.

    I’ve done this “prep in advance” setup right down to the snacks: 5 containers of fruit, 5 salads and it definitely saves both money and stress. In fact prepping meals was an essential part of my weight loss success.

  3. While that looks like a good sandwich, I don’t think your cost comparison is fair. I am estimating that your sandwich has about 400 calories. A fast food meal for $6 has probably around 1000 calories. At least for me, a lunch of 400 calories would be insufficient, and I’d still be hungry afterwards.

    A fairer comparison would be a sandwich at Subway. You can get a similar ham sandwich to yours for about $3 (cheaper if you buy a footlong and count it as 2). So I don’t think you are really saving much money. Although the convenience of not having to go anywhere is perhaps worth it.

  4. One suggestion: diet coke contains phosphoric acid, the same as what dentists use in acid etch(surface preparation) prior to performing composite filling. I recommend citric acid based soda like 7up/sprite. Healthy teeth will save you more down the road.

  5. Gates VP pretty much summed up my concern as well. I tried going all sandwich lunch for a few weeks before, and no matter the variety I put to my sandwiches, it got pretty rough as I started getting sick of the sandwiches. Adding in some variety in the form of different lunch definitely helps.

    Andy also makes a point with calorie intake, but that’s something a bit subjective as not everyone needs a 500-1,000 calorie lunch.

  6. Personally, I find packing sandwiches for lunch is terribly boring. The thought of eating them five days a week is actually down right depressing. Please don’t get me wrong, I do not dislike sandwiches (and love your blog), and I do pack lunch regularly. My lunch packing method is even simpler. I just make extra for dinner and pack those for lunch. If I don’t feel like eating them the next day, I’ll stuff them in the fridge/freezer and enjoy them another time.

    Things that are great as left-over are pasta, rice with some stir-fry (lots of sauce), fajitas, stews of different kinds. These actually come out costing less than purchasing items for sandwiches. I found that I can make a pasta dinner for 2 (with salad) for less then $12-$14 with enough leftovers for 2 lunches. $12 to feed 2 for dinner is pretty cheap already so the lunches are practically free. And they taste much better than cold sandwiches.

    My favorites are stews. I can make a pot of delicious chicken curry or coq-au-vin for less than $15 and they provide many nourishing meals. After one or two days of eating the stew, I would divide the rest in small one-meal size containers, stuff them in the freezer and consume them gradually over the next few weeks. My lunches are often the subject of inquiry at our lunch table.

  7. Interesting, I actually prefer something different over leftovers from dinner, I don’t like eating the same thing for consecutive meals. I should mix in some more different foods, though. During winter, soups would work well.

    I’m personally trying to keep calories down instead of up as well, I am not liking how my metabolism keeps getting slower and slower. :)

  8. I’m actually a bit the other way. I like eating sandwiches for lunch, and the fact that they are fewer calories has been something of a plus (although I have to take care to get enough calories or I suffer by late afternoon).

    At University, I can eat on campus for approximately $3/day. I suspected that sandwiches are a bit cheaper (and they are because I buy less expensive ingredients than Jonathan), but I’m probably only splurging by about $1.50/day.

    My big thing is that I like to keep lunch to 10g of fat or less. That’s pretty easy if I eat on campus because all of the foods are labeled for nutritional content. Obviously I can control that if I prepare my own foods too. If I keep the fat out of lunch, I don’t have to worry so much about whatever my wife wants for dinner, I can enjoy it.

  9. I prefer to bring Lean Cuisines for lunch each day because of the variety. I usually buy them for 2.50 each. That plus some grapes, granola bar and a couple of diet sodas (.25 each at work) make for a decent lunch and set of snacks.

  10. They key to frugal lunches is the sandwich, as Jonathan mentions. However, Gates VP hits it… after a long time, sandwiches are BORING!

    The true way to get variety while still being frugal is… LEFTOVERS! Last night’s leftovers mixed in with sandwhiches keeps the variety and keeps costs down!

  11. chrisMR says:

    Leftover dinners are great, if you have Monday’s dinner for lunch on Weds or Thurs – I too hate Monday Dinner/Tues Lunch combo.
    I dont mind a sandwich 4 days a week – really good bread, lettuce, tomato, and a variety of meats and cheeses… ham, rb, turkey… swiss, provolone, cheddar, pepper jack…
    The only real downside to lunch meat is the sodium… same with Lean Cuisine, you will be thin, but your heart is working triple time… but its still probably less than when eating out… sketchy health violations, tons of fat, tendency to eat WAY too much…

  12. I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, and saving $ is always a good thing!!

    If I purchased everything you mentioned in the above post, as a NYC dweller, I’d spend about $20/week for the same ingredients you’ve mentioned. In Manhattan, lunches go for about $8 at the very least.

    I like to boil some whole wheat pasta with a simple sauce made of garlic + olive oil and fresh ground pepper. Then I mix it together with broccoli/frozen peas and chicken. I can usually eat two whole lunches by doing that.

    Another thing I love is eating tofu over organic lettuce with sliced almonds for a very easy and inexpensive salad.

  13. Don’t forget the good ole peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not only is it extremely cheap, it is also good for you. I can’t eat one of these every day, but adding it into a packed lunch schedule can help to change the monotony. I also rotate in the turkey sandwich and dinner leftovers.

  14. I think your sandwiches look divine but I also would recommend rotating Smart Ones for a week into your schedule. They are actually pretty delicious — I’m usually against tv dinners, but they have some pretty good ones that really taste good. And if you ever follow Weight Watchers, a point system, it is easy to understand. Most Smart Ones are 6 points and a man on a diet usually gets about 25 a day, so they are a good choice for lunch. My husband loves them and always reminds me to get his usual 4 or 5 at Target, where they run between 2.19 and 2.49 usually. They really helped him lose weight too, like 20 pounds in 3 months.

  15. I brown bag to work now. I like cooking casseroles and then packaging it in a plastic container. I don’t snack however, as this increases my belly..

  16. "Mo" Money says:

    I would not reccommend drinking Diet anything that contains aspertame ( which is a poison)

  17. Tried sandwiches for a while, too, but I got so sick of them I could hardly finish one. Now I bake five chicken breasts each weekend and mix up the seasoning. This also takes about 30 minutes, is healthier (not full of sodium like deli meats), and tastes better to me.

  18. Leftover dinner? Sandwich? Lean Cuisine?

    You guys forget Campbell Chunky! It only costs around $1.5 in WalMart ($2.5 or more in grocery stores).

  19. EBounding says:

    Hey thanks for doing this! I’ve been meaning to do something like that for awhile, but you did the work for me.

    I can get enough food at Wendy’s for about $3.15 every day, but I still prefer to bring my own.

  20. heather says:

    It is nice to see a discussion of soda! I recently started making my own with leftover herbs and citrus zest. Make a simple syrup and take it off the boil, then add herbs (or spices) and zest, then sit 30 min. Add fizzy water and you are good to go. You can also buy soda concentrate for less at beer brewing supply stores.

  21. I would suggest using you lunch hour as an opportunity to get some exercise. If you work in a downtown area. there are probably a multitude of eating locations. Do some exploring for those good lunch deals and burn some calories in the process. Bringing lunch may save you a few bucks, but it encourages you to stay in your office and eat at your desk. You can usually find great deals for 5 bucks or less. In Seattle (where I used to work before I became a stay at home dad) the variety was outstanding. Phad Thai one day, a Greek Pita the next, Pizza, etc. Many places have loyalty cards as well. Buy 10 lunches, get one free. Plus I had the added bonus of exploring the city. Pioneer square, Pike Place market (where they throw the fish). I think it’s just as important for your mental health to get out of the office for a little while each day.

  22. My Hubby and I always brown bag. I would sometimes make sandwiches for us, just like what you did. Of course leftovers from dinner are also our lunch the next day. I tend to get bored easily with sandwiches. Before getting married, I would always tend to go out of lunch during work… now with lots of bills and stuff. Brownbag! Can’t wait to read your next edition of Frugal Brown Bag.

  23. Problem is, I never know what I want for lunch until lunchtime. Am I in the mood for chinese? Maybe mexican?

    Eating out can be cheap if you want it to be. I buy an entertainment book and that saves a lot of money. I am always looking out for coupons as well.

    Heck, I’m going to get a footlong at Subway right now for $5. The ingredients will be fresh, they don’t take up space in my fridge, and I’m not going to watch my lettuce wilt or my avacados go bad. That foot long is probably good for two meals or $2.50/meal.

    Or I can have chinese…

  24. I buy stouffer’s paninis and flatbread pizzas. Usually they’re 4 for $11, which is only $2.75 a piece. Add to that a bag of chips which usually lasts a couple weeks, and it’s pretty similar to the sandwich cost, but less time and I think a better taste. Just need a microwave handy I guess.

  25. Oh don’t buy those 100 calorie packs! They are a total ripoff!

    Get the big box and portion out your own 100 calories. Put them in tin foil or a sandwich bag.

    You’ll save at least half!

  26. Definitely alternate with Turkey, as ham has sodium nitrate, unless of course you get nitrate free ham. Everything in moderation. I would much rather eat a ham sandwich that I prepared with clean hands over a sandwich I’d get at a deli- who knows what is on the counters, if they are sick, etc…this germaphobe would rather pack my own lunch. :)

  27. You may also chose to buy a package of tuna at costco.

  28. Your post is all about eating healthy and saving money, and then you say that you drink Diet Coke!?!? Ack, you just threw everything else in your post down the drain! A smart investor like you should know that not only eating, but also drinking real food will save you a bunch of money down the road. Getting sick is expensive, being healthy is smart.

    Diet Coke is poison. I know it doesn’t work because I only ever see overweight people drinking it. Stupid people drink this garbage, and you’re not stupid, so please stop.

    Purified water is what your body wants you to drink. We’re mostly made of the stuff.

  29. Anthony says:

    I used to make sandwiches too. Got tired of it. I make my own lunches instead of buying it and my lunches average somewhere between $2-$3.

    Some of my lunch combos:
    white rice, frozen mesquite bbq chicken breast, pour jack daniel’s bbq over it.

    cup o noodles or ramen and peanut butter and jelly sandwich. probably the cheapest i think.

    white rice, half a can of campbell’s soup(beef, chicken, etc) poured over it.

    i also bring salad sometimes. Sams club this big tub of spring mix organic prewashed salad for $3.25. It’s about the size of 3-4 store bought prewashed salad bags.

    Sometimes I just get lazy and eat Fresh n Easy teriyaki chicken bowls. they’re $1.99 each but with the $5 off $20 coupon, it’s 25% off. I only get $20-$21 worth of groceries to get the best use of the coupon.

  30. Too expensive! :) We get Trader Joe’s Tuna curries for $1.49 a package. Make some rice (I could figure this out but it’s 11 cents max) and that’s a $1.60 lunch made with fresh ingredients.

    I switch it up with $1.99 Trader Joe’s indian curries.

  31. My wife and I are pretty good cooks, so we prefer to cook than eating out. We usually cook extra for dinner and bring for lunch the next day. Since we both like to drink latte, I bought an expresso machine, after a few month of use, I consider my latte better than those at Star Dust. I can make a latte at home as little as .90cent

  32. I just eat other people’s lunches out of the fridge. Total cost: $0.00 for the whole week. I WIN!

  33. 16 cans of light tuna: $10 at Costco
    bucket o’ spring mix: $4-6
    bottle o’ dressing (the luxury kind, not freaking Wishbone goo): $3-4

    cheep! boring, but cheep!

  34. chrisMR says:

    100 calorie pack – over priced, over packaged – BTW – love your reuseable containers – good tree hugging!

    campbells chunky = cheep. coronary = not cheap.

    do like the 5 baked chicken breasts idea – sounds tasty, and healthy.

    glad us chris’s are so smart! free lunch = good lunch.

  35. I usually pick up a subway foot long for $5 and make 2 meals out of it. I also pack a few soups.

  36. Safeway offers 2 free movie tickets when spending $40 of participating products in a single transaction with Safeway club card.

    A pretty good deal. check safeway.com

  37. Good comparison, but I would also include the time spent shopping, as opposed to just the time spent preparing the food when determining the hourly rate (which might add 1-2 hours per month depending how long it takes you to shop), but thats not really the point. If you want to get really nit-picky, you could also factor in gas/mileage to/from the store vs. how much you would use eating out.

    Eating your own food usually results in higher quality meals for less money. I make my own meals but would be willing to spend the same amount of money as eating out just for the higher quality food. Saving money by doing it yourself is just an added bonus for me.

  38. Just finished a dinner-leftover lunch: chicken apple sausage pasta with shitake mushroom, sweat peas and shallots. Yum! Cost? About $2 if I divide up the total cost by the number of portions I got. Why was my cost so low? I bought Aidells sausages at Costco ($13 for 2 packs, so $6.50/pack), shitake mushrooms from Asian markets (it’s MUCH cheaper than mainstream markets) and sweat peas from farmer market. I think this is very cheap for a good lunch. Any cheaper, I will have to eat other people’s lunches from the fridge.

    You can eat well without spending a lot money if you’re willing to put a little work into it. Unless you’re disabled or are children and cannot take care of yourself, I find that it’s pretty hard to go hungry in this country.

  39. I just finished a dinner-leftover lunch: chicken apple sausage pasta with shiitake mushrooms, sweat peas and shallots. Yum! Cost? About $2 if I divide the cost by the number of portions. Why was my cost so low? I bought Aidell’s sausages from Costco ($13 for 2 packs so $6.50/pack), shiitake mushrooms from Asian markets (it’s much cheaper than conventional markets), and sweet peas from farmers’ market.

    This is very cheap. Any cheaper I will have to steal other people’s lunches from the fridge. I think you can eat well without spending a lot of money if you’re willing to put thoughts and a little work into it. Unless you’re disabled or are a child and cannot take care of yourself, it’s pretty hard to go hungry in this country.

  40. My wife and I find that leftovers are the way to go, which cuts down on preparation time, saves money and eliminates waste. We enjoy cooking and have become pretty good at it. We try to pick recipes during the week that will make good leftovers and make sure that we have enough for the next day’s lunches. A lot of times you can give a twist to your leftovers, such as making a sandwich out of meatloaf or adding steak or chicken to a salad or a wrap.

  41. that’s some hefty savings! if only i could fill myself up on that though :( I have been eating pb&j’s at work (two sandwiches + chips +string cheese + yogurt) and i’m STILL hungry after an hour…

  42. It helps to eat high fiber foods too. I usually have hi fiber breakfast like oatmeal (2 min in the microwave) or grape nuts.

    For lunch, salad with chicken at the office cafetaria $4.25 or tuna sandwich $3.75.

    I bring fruit like banana, grapes, apples or oranges for an afternoon snack. Sometimes yogurt.

    This lasts through 6pm when I’m home to eat dinner. No hunger issues :)

    Great lunch ideas guys. Now if only I can get un-lazy …

  43. I always cook some extra food for dinner like arroz con pollo (rice w/chicken), spaghetti, chicken salad (to make cold wraps), make my own chinese rice (white rice, soy sauce, egg, onion and ham), pop chicken wings in the oven till they get crunchy and call it a day. A full week of yummy variety. Works for me

  44. Andrea says:

    I do all of my cooking on Sunday (because I know I’m too lazy to do it during the week after working 12-14 hour days) – I cook specifically for lunch because I hate eating the same thing for dinner as I do for lunch. I typically make 1-2 casseroles (which when made with whole wheat pasta, ground turkey, etc can be relatively low on calories and filling) or a pot of soup (case in point would be this week’s choice of barley-mushroom soup loaded with fresh veggies and herbs), which my husband and I pack for lunch. Pair it wtih a yogurt, a bag of carrots, and water and you have a decently filling meal, which doesn’t cost very much. I estimate the casseroles typically cost around $10/batch and by the time you’re sick of eating it, it’s gone. It gives you a little more variety from week to week, they’re easy to make, and it doesn’t take a gourmet chef to make something decent.

  45. Seriously, that’s all you eat while at work? I’m pretty diligent about my daily food consuption and keep it basically the same. The only thing that might change on a daily basis is the main portion if I have left overs, which I plan on having two or three days a week. I buy a 27oz container of yogurt, which I portion out over three days. I eat this with a banana, and granola. I also take one medium apple, three carrots (bunch carrots with the greens still on top, best flavor, certainly NOT the cheapest) and depending on the time of year, another piece or two of fruit. An orange, a few Satsuma tangerines, peach, apricots, or cherries, etc. I live in the SF/BA, great fruit. Then the main portion is, as previously mentioned, is either left overs or two peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Twice a week I treat myself to a decadent brownie.

  46. ooh i never thought about packing everything into 10 containers. i usually end up buying sandwich supplies and making the sandwich the night before and usually i get lazy and end up not doing it at all. if i take care of it all at the beginning, it’ll be easier to just grab and go. i like!! thanks…i hope you’ll do more posts like these. food seems to be the last expense that i am having a hard time cutting back on.

  47. Diet Coke is definitely my vice. It used to be regular soda and/or coffee, but I don’t drink those much anymore. I’ve already cut down to 1 per day, I am trying to switch to gum instead after meals.

    I love yogurt + granola as breakfast or a snack. I should try comparing prices on the big tubs and see if that saves a significant amount of money, since I usually stick to the berry flavors.

    I hate 100-calorie packs mainly because they taste like the real thing mixed with sawdust!

  48. I only just started packing my lunch a few weeks ago. Prior to that I disliked it but I’z running out of money & my girlfriend suggested it. This post should help a bit.

  49. I agree with several of the other commentors. My problem was that I would put together a frugal lunch like this, but get bored of it after three days. And since things like lettuce, tomatoes, and meat don’t last that long, I always ended up throwing away some, leaving me with one expensive sandwich.

    Instead, I do a mix of leftovers, Smart Ones (I get those on sale for $2 each. Yes, they have a lot of sodium, but the ones I get have 120 calories for an entire meal!), and going out once a week.

  50. Hi clark,

    Citric acid is used by dentists to “condition/etch” the roots of the teeth prior to bone grafting. Bottom line is tap water is the best with neutral ph. I don’t drink soda anymore, I drink either water or tea which has high antioxidants…

  51. FeedTheFam_Gretchen says:

    This sandwich post is a lot like one of my posts from the other day! Now we have a break down on how much sandwiches cost us, and, if you add that to my break-down on how much salads cost us, we have a nice lunch: sandwich and salad. Sounds good! I like to front-load my calories so I eat a big breakfast and lunch and skimp on dinner, so sandwich and salad would be a good combo for me.

  52. The price difference isn’t that great on the large yogurts vs. the small ones(maybe a nickel/pkg saving over small containers, so 4*8oz=0.40 saved), but you win on the less waste end and more useful empty container end. Try different granola and different yogurts. I’m partial to Wallaby Nonfat Vanilla Bean. So vanilla-y.

  53. I bake muffins at about 18 at a time and wrap them individually and freeze them, I make coffee in the AM and bring it in a thermos, this is my morning snack, lunch is salad or left overs or diner my husband brings home from the restaurant he works at. Tupperware has some good containers for reheating so the pasta doesn’t dry out. I do get my lunch together the previous evening (while making dinner) or in the morning. I doesn’t take much time. Oh and I LOVE lime seltzer in a can. I get the convience of a can and a healthy calorie free drink.

  54. I usually get veggie footlong at Subway for $4.60 and make two meals out of it. It costs less than $2.50 per lunch and saves me time from having to buy groceries and preparing it. Other days I just bring left over or fruits.

  55. Stephen Waits, I am not overweight and I drink Diet. Of course we should all drink water instead, but that’s just not realistic for most people. If you stick to one can a day, you can choose to get the 150 calories and tooth decay, or just tooth decay… Either way, moderation is the key.

  56. Jonathan Bright says:

    Call me hardcore, but… I have been doing this for about 4 years (my entire career since college). I buy 1 loaf of bread for about $2.00, 1 lb. of packaged ham for about $3.50, and 1 large bag of potato chips for about $2.00. This is comes to a total of $7.50 and gives me at least a week’s worth of lunches. Actually the ham lasts for at least a couple of weeks and the bread lasts for a week and a half, so the cost per week is more along the lines of $4.75! Yep, less than a buck per day!

    For those who are wondering, no I don’t eat anything but ham and bread on the sandwich. It did get old at first, but then I got used to it and looking at how much money this is saving me over the long run… I’m sold on continuing it.

  57. Too me, I just think about the money and calories I am saving. I eat a peanut butter/jelly sandwich & some baked chips every weekday and have been doing this for years. Does it get old, yes but I keep in mind all the money I am saving. I have other frugality tips as well. I fired my dry cleaner and bought $1.29 cans of starch which a can lasts 3 weeks so I am saving a yearly fortune of $460 year on dry cleaning bill. It costs me a half hour of time a week, big deal. Saving is a self sacrificing but rewarding endeavor. Keep going!

  58. Why just sandwiches? Rice is very cheap if you buy the large 10kg sacks and lasts months. I make fried rice, add leftover meat or can of tuna, an egg, veggies and it ends up costing less than a dollar for the entire meal. Sandwiches too can be made on cheap especially using leftovers. I buy the rotisserie chicken when they go on sale (usually $4.99 at superstore), cut slices for sandwiches, wrap and freeze later on and use some for the week. Very cheap and easy to make really good lunches.

  59. I’m a big fan of Eating Right frozen lunches, $2 at Safeway and Safeway Corp stores (ie, Vons). Here’s a review of the Chicken Enchilada: http://urbzen.com/2008/10/30/f.....enchilada/

    I also like the vegetarian masala and the ravioli.

  60. Why not just get frozen pizza and heat it up and eat it up..

  61. Ham is pork. Pork is red meat (not the “other” white meat). Red meat 5x a week is not good for your health, guys. Saving money now may result in health issues down the road. Switch it up with some chicken or go vegetarian with PB&J or hummus. My personal fave? PB and sliced tomato (no jam). Holy cow, that is good!

  62. “Ack, you just threw everything else in your post down the drain… Diet Coke is poison. I know it doesn’t work because I only ever see overweight people drinking it. Stupid people drink this garbage, and you’re not stupid, so please stop.”

    Smart people know that correlation isn’t causation, and that anecdotal evidence means shit-all thanks to the effects of confirmation bias. Given that the hardcore anti-aspartame crowd tends to take on the same tone as the “9/11 truth” crowd, and the FDA reviewed it a few years ago and declared it was (still) safe for use as a sweetener, I’m going to have to call your bluff. Anything at a sufficient dosage is “poison”, including water, which we all drink every day. Alcohol is a much stronger poison, but most people in the country drink it in moderation with no serious lasting effects (though maybe you’d label them all stupid too). Somehow I doubt you have the scientific training to read an anti-aspartame study and actually understand it. Someone else told you that aspartame was a poison and it sounded right to you, so you just went with it. Stupid people indeed.

  63. Haha some of this stuff is hilarity to read.. No offense everyone!! I mean no insult by that.. But anyway, these are all great great meal ideas, I am impressed toughly at some of the meal ideas.. Truly I am its some great ideas overall, except the whole diet thing, I mean seriously you being all smart and healthy drinking a diet soda?? Wholly crap man, have you not seen and or heard the reports on that stuff and how bad it could be on you.. Its sooooo not worth the risk to you trust me man I am on the recovery of having brain surgery for a ruptured brain aneurysm.. And it ain’t cool at all!! Brain surgery is no joke it messed me up bad, I have a hard time thinking and or remembering stuff and some stuff is just gone and may not ever return.. That’s not easy to deal with.. At alll plus I still have one that needs to be coiled so it can’t rupture on me…. So I have one more brain surgery to come in my future!!!!

Trackbacks

  1. Making Money Journal » Friday Link Love says:

    [...] at MyMoneyBlog writes Frugal Brown Bag Lunch Ideas + Cost Breakdown: Sandwiches Edition: Just a reminder to brown bag it vs eating out.  My favorite method is Soup cans, esp when I can [...]

  2. Four (or Five!) Reasons Why says:

    …You Should Take Your Lunch To Work

    1. Taking your lunch to work can save you money. Assuming that there are about 250 working days in a year and the average lunch costs between $5 (on the low end) and $10 (on the higher-side), midday meals can account for between $1,250 and 2,500 per ye…

  3. [...] on how to put together simple peanut butter sandwiches, or compiled detailed cost analyses of the ham and cheese brown bag lunch making process. I think these simple and frugal lunch plans are excellent [...]

  4. [...] keep food costs down, so here’s another brown bag lunch idea that I use. Previously I did my Simple Custom Sandwich Edition, which probably could have been cheaper but I tried to price things at [...]

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