I am 26 years old, have a master’s degree and Roth IRA, and I still eat a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich almost every day for lunch.
To most, this sandwich is probably a relic of the past. Something you ate between the ages of 6 and 12. Something your mom would lovingly make and pack in a brown paper bag before school each morning. Most people stop eating these sandwiches when bringing your lunch stops being cool. Usually around high school. Or maybe it morphed from a delicious and cheap lunch, to something you’d make around midnight after smoking a joint.
Either way, the PB&J fab usually dies for in your teen years, or after college. Then, you start earning “real money” and can afford more luxurious lunches — aka Subway and Chipotle. The lines at nearly everywhere fast casual eatery are never-ending between the hours of 12 and 2 pm on weekdays. White collared professionals line up to spend $15+ on a bowl of leafy greens. But that’s just what people do. Because they can afford to. Or so they think.
Spending $10–15 per lunch during the week quickly adds up. My math suggests it’s over $50 a week on lunch alone — and that’s with the cheap lunches. That’s $2500 a year (calculating 50 work weeks per year). Yikes. Frugal people know what a trap this truly is. Bringing your own lunch is a financial, and often a healthy win for your wallet and your body. This isn’t new advice though. Many financial blogs and sites have touted bringing your lunch as a simple way to save money for years and years.
Yet, many of those same blogs advocate for weekly meal prep, elaborate curries, and pastas that one has to spend hours on the weekend making. I hate that idea. As my boyfriend always says, “The weekend is for everything but cooking.” And I couldn’t agree more.
And that’s why I’ve stuck with PB&J for my go-to lunch for years. I have worked in hospitality, government, and entertainment, but the lunch is always the same. Two slices of pre-sliced wheat bread, crunchy peanut butter, and strawberry jelly. Simple, easy, and cheap. It comes to less than one dollar a sandwich. I’ll usually…