# How Cheaply Can You Brown Bag Your Lunch?

Today’s Wall Street Journal had an article (\$) comparing the cost of taking your lunch to work or eating out. Here’s their comparison:

1/4 pound of turkey – \$1.99
1/8 pound of swiss cheese – \$1.00
2 slices of whole-wheat bread – \$0.28
Tomato – \$0.38
Lettuce – \$0.20
Chips – \$0.30
20 oz. Soda – \$1.09
TOTAL – \$5.24

Lunch from an Upscale Deli:

Sandwich – \$7.95
Chips – \$0.99
20 oz. Soda – \$1.75
TOTAL – \$10.69

I think their homemade lunch is too expensive. Here’s how I’d do it:

For one, I would bring tea or water in place of the soda. I have no idea how much I would save but I have to think it would cost me less than \$1.09 to make my own tea. Estimated savings: \$.50

The example in the paper shows one of those small bags of chips that typically comes in the multipack. We all know those are a lot more expensive than buying a large bag of chips and making your own smaller serving. Of course that means that you can’t eat the chips during other parts of the day! LOL! Estimated savings: \$.15

There’s nothing worse than a soggy tomato on a lunch that’s been packed for several hours. So, I would cut out the tomato. Of course, that’s just my opinion. Estimated savings: \$.38

An eighth of a pound of cheese? Is it just me, or does that seem like a lot of cheese? Based on my numbers, that’s like 3 slices of cheese. I usually use one slice. Estimated savings: \$0.66

Finally, 1/4 pound of turkey seems a bit much to me. I usually just throw two or three slices of meat on a sandwhich. I’m almost certain it’s less than 1/4 pound. If I had to guess I would say my sandwiches usually have 1/8 pound of meat on them. Estimated savings: \$1.00

JLP’s Total Homemade Lunch Cost: \$2.55
JLP’s Total Savings: \$2.69 per day
JLP’s Estimated Annual Savings: \$645 (48 5-day weeks per year)

What about you? How cheaply can you take your lunch to work?

## 58 thoughts on “How Cheaply Can You Brown Bag Your Lunch?”

1. 2 or 3 of my husband’s weekly meals are dinner leftovers which beats buying the lunch fixing. Otherwise his lunch is under \$4 a day with tuna or meat sandwiches, yogurt, carrot sticks and homemade cookies (the bread is sometimes homemade too.

2. Mara says:

I get my bread from the bread outlet stores. It’s always cheaper and I just double bag and freeze it. I watch the sales and get store brand deli meats and cheeses only when they are on sale.
I take chips and fruit whatever is on sale.
Frugal shopping is the key to frugal meals. Also, it’s a not a bargain if you wind up throwing things away.

3. Shymom says:

Sam #24 was (in jest) taking about rummaging through the fridge at work to eat out of other peoples lunches.

I knew a guy who did that and then would complain about the type of cheese I brought in. — Some people ðŸ˜Ž

4. I love tomato, but I put it in a separate bag so it doesn’t make my sandwich soggy.

5. erick says:

You guys got nothin on me.
11 oz can pork & beans, 3 for \$1
2 esskay beef franks, 8 for \$1
free work coffee

beans and franks for \$.58

yeah, i had to look to find those prices, but then i bought a mess of them.

you got nothin’ on me. sweet potatoes go for 50 cents/lb, microwave a big one, another lunch for under a buck.

6. erick says:

seriously, have any of you guys ever been poor? chicken bologna sandwiches, ramen, kool aid, pasta, chicken dogs

7. Ashley says:

I make large pots of coup/chili on the weekends and then put them into individual serving containers to freeze for use whenever I don’t have left overs for lunch. 6 servings of chili only costs about \$7.50 to make (3 cans of beans, 2 lbs potatoes, 1 can tomatoes, corn and veggie stock) Then I buy a loaf of bakery WW bread and a bowl of soup and 1/6 a loaf of bread only costs about \$1.50 a day. Its also very healthy and filling.

8. I have a job where I need to take clients to lunch 4 days a week (of course paid by the company). Since I get bored of restaurant stuff, it’s a delight to eat my own stuff. Here’s what I usually have:

– 1 cup of brown basmati rice (.25\$)
– spinach (.15\$)
– onions (.15\$)
– soy (.15\$)
– chicken breast (1.50\$)
– naan (.25\$)
– sour cream (.25\$)

For a little less than 3\$.