How eating baked beans saves me over 1500 dollars a year

Just thought I would share my experiences with brown baggin’ it today since I was having this discussion with a co-worker today.

When I worked in Dallas I used to eat out every day for lunch, sometimes fast food which would usually cost about 6-10 dollars depending on the place or at a sit down restaurant for 10-15 dollars.

When we moved to Kansas and I wanted to save money I started brown bagging it more so because there are no restaurants close to work, so I don’t have time to drive across town to get some grub. This worked well since I usually ate some frozen meal like a Stouffers or Hungry man dinner or something at a cost of about 3-4 dollars each.

In the last couple months since really getting serious about every dime I have found some really cheap alternatives. There are probably even cheaper meals, but I like these ones and sometimes that counts for a lot. LOL.

Anyway, here lately I have been taking either baked beans or bologna sammies and a ziploc of peanuts or trailmix for snacking.

Here are the details:

Lunch option 1: Bush’s baked beans.
I buy this in the big bulk can at wally mart, I think it’s a 5# can or something. The cost is $5.62 and I split it into tupperware when I get home for the week. One can will provide me with 7 lunches for a per meal cost of 80 cents. This is a pretty cheap meal, each serving has plenty of fiber and keeps you full all afternoon so there is no going hungry. Plus I love cold beans, so it’s just grab and go. *NOTE* You can also sometimes find good deals on these at Amazon

Lunch option 2: Bologna Sammies.
I buy bread at the wonder bakery outlet nearby and stock up and keep it in the freezer. I get bread for usually 1.50 a loaf for wonderbread or mills pride (good stuff), sometimes I luck out and get the bread that is in the discount section at $0.25 a loaf. Anyway, I also get bologna at wally mart for 1.50 a pack. A loaf of bread is about 24 slices or 12 sammies and bologna gets me about he same. Since I usually chow on 2 sammies for a meal it breaks down to $0.25 per sammie or for a per meal cost of 50 cents.

Snack: roasted peanuts or trail mix.
I buy a bulk tin of roasted peanuts (about 5 dollars) or a baggie of bulk trail mix (about 5 dollars) of which I usually get 7 snacks out of them (I fill a snack size zip lock full). This gives me a fairly healthy protien boost to keep me going during the day if I need a snack and keeps me away from the vending machines. This averages out to a snack cost of about 71 cents per snack. I can buy trail mix from the vending machine for 50 cents a baggie, but my baggies are about 4 times the amount of those so it works out WAYYYY cheaper.

Anyway, the point is this has really helped our bottom line. In Dallas I would spend 50-80 dollars a week on lunches. When we moved here I would spend about 30 a week on lunches plus about 10 a week on snacks from the vending machine. Now I spend around 5 a week on lunches and 5 a week on snacks.

While I often get wierd looks from people at work for eating cold baked beans 5 days a week, I don’t feel bothered because I know that it’s just my way of putting that extra 30 dollars a week towards debt. 30 dollars a week is 1560 dollars a year… it all adds up.

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Comments {11}

{11} Comments

  • 08.25.08 Dave

    Fruits? Veggies?

  • 08.25.08 The Engineer

    Yeah, it’s not for everyone.

    I do it because I LOVE baked beans, always have. This last weekend I also got a big bulk tin of ravioli for something different since it was the same price and will divide up the same.

    I get plenty of fruits and veggies at supper time and through snacks.

    I like the beans because I can eat them anywhere (usually just eat lunch while I am working on programming or something).

    The price of fruits and veggies have sure gone up now too.

  • 08.25.08 Debbie B

    I don’t like baked beans THAT much! :0D But I have started taking my lunch to work and it saves a ton. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • 08.26.08 Anonymous

    umm, don’t you have a problem with gas from eating all those bakes beans? I would not want to inflict that on my co-workers!

  • 08.26.08 The Engineer

    Beans, beans, the magical fruit…
    The more you eat…
    The more you TOOT!

    LOL, a saying my mom had growing up.

    Gas the first couple days, then after that your system gets used to that much fiber and it’s not a problem. Keeps you regular though.LOL.

    The point of the post isn’t just about eating beans, you could substitute any cost effective food bought in bulk and broken up. I just bought some ravioli that was cheap too and will try that for some variety.

    What it all boils down to is the bottom line. Dave Ramsey says live like no one else so that you can live like no one else. I am the only one at my workplace eating beans 5 days a week, but in another year or two I will probably be the only person at my workplace who worked hard enough at it and was frugal enough to be debt free.

    I love the comments so far, glad to hear I got people thinking…

    Or laughing, whatever. LOL.

  • 09.03.08 Jennifer

    I think it is great that you are willing to sacrifice to payoff debt. Although from reading your post, it doesn’t seem that you are sacrificing, you seem perfectly happy eating like this. Personally I would find some other cheap alternatives, but the point is a really good one. Sometimes I eat ramen noodles to keep our lunch costs down. I mix it up with other more expensive lunch items that I always eat at home (I am a SAHM) and it averages out that lunch is a pretty cheap meal for me. Great post!

  • 10.16.09 Anonymous

    I would like to add that beans can also be made very easily in a slow cooker. Dry beans can be bought for about .50 cents bulk. Place beans in slow cooker, cover with water, and turn on. Keep an eye on the beans, adding water as needed. Cook for about 3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low. Once tender, drain water and season with whatever you choose. You can also make refried beans (remember to reserve some of the liquid they were cooked in). This is a healthy, cheap way to eat–and an added bonus, no added ingredients or preservatives. 🙂

  • 02.12.10 niki

    Hey, ya gotta do what you gotta do!


    Kudos to you!

  • 03.04.11 Andis

    Great article… love the cost saving method.

    I too, love Baked Beans. I eat them right out of the can and at room temp. I do not get gas or anything that would effect any coworkers… just the family every now and then when I get home. 😉 j/k

    Anywhoo, it looks like you have a tiny/small can in that picture? Here in MASS, we get a 28OZ can (double the size as yours) priced at 2 for $4.00 at the local MarketBasket; maybe buying a supply online for you would help even lower your “Bean Cost” down more??

    Good Luck Saver!

  • 08.28.12 Sarah P

    good info., thanks! stay smart!! 🙂

  • 09.16.12 Martin

    I used to pickup a fried breakfast for £4.50 in the morning and take out a subway sandwich for lunch £4 thats 8.50 a day! £59.50 a week.. Now I eat 2 poached eggs on toast for breakfast which costs about £0.50 and baked beans on toast costing around about the same. I feel much fuller and healthier during the day, and now breakfast and lunch only costs me around £7 a week saving me £52.50 a week!

    Great Post!