(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox: Cheap Eats

(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox: Cheap Eats

I love a good deal.

Any sale, whether it’s “Buy One Get One,” “50 percent off,” or  “two for _____,” puts a smile on my face, especially when it involves my favorite foods and products.

Publix, my favorite southeastern grocer, is notorious for featuring awesome BOGO sales on bread, snacks, hummus, cereal and salad dressing. In fact, this week’s BOGO deal involved my beloved Emerald oven roasted almonds. I bought two 11-ounce canisters, one cinnamon roast and one cocoa roast, for six bucks! Talk about a steal!

Last week’s grocery bill was pretty low due to my stash of coupons. I saved about seven dollars between my deals and Publix’s deals. However, few sales boosted my money saving to the max. I love sales, but they’re never a guarantee. That’s when always inexpensive foods come in handy.

My favorite deli meats were the same old prices, so I only bought 1/3 of a pound of EverRoast Oven Roasted Chicken Breast. Then, I headed straight to the can aisle with this lunch in mind…

Mexicali Black Bean and Corn Salad

You already saw Tuesday’s lunch on this week’s WIAW post, but this cheap meal is a newbie.

I filled my handy dandy Ziploc container with broccoli slaw; 1/4 cup canned black beans (lightly rinsed); 1/4 cup canned, no-salt-added corn; diced green pepper; diced yellow onion; and the usual cast of spices, including cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and black pepper. When it came time to eat Thursday afternoon, I spooned ranch yogurt dressing mixed with a teaspoon of sriracha on top of the mixture.

Two tablespoons Publix lemon hummus; baby carrots; one ounce Trader Joe’s Baby Swiss Cheese; two Wasa Light Rye crackers; and a large red delicious apple provided snacks for my long day on campus.

I’m no mathematician, but this meal definitely gave me some good nutritional bang for my buck, which is good because I’m a typical broke college student.

I won’t do a full cost analysis of this meal, but I can tell you that the can of black beans and the can of corn cost 77 cents each. Both cans provide about three and a half 1/2-cup servings. Thus, my 1/4-cup servings cost a mere 11 cents each!

To give you a better idea of the savings, my EverRoast chicken costs $8.49 per pound. That means my usual two-ounce serving of meat, which provides the same number of calories as 1/4 cup black beans costs $1.06!

So, what should you takeaway from this math lesson? Meat is expensive. Beans are cheap. When you’re feeling frugal, and there’s no sale, buy beans.

Have a good week everyone!


  1. What are your go-to cheap foods?
  2. What grocery store has the best deals?


Related HGG Posts:


(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox 2013: Hello, Creativity



(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox Series: Goodbye D.C. 




(Almost) Grownup Lunchbox Series: Italian Inspiration

Of Possible Interest:

Lunch Box Recipes – Allrecipes.com
Cheap Lunch Box Ideas That Don’t Involve Sandwiches – The Digerati Life 
25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas – Wise Bread 
Printable Grocery Coupons – Coupons.com


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