Mom Says I Should Bring My Lunch to Save $ But I Don’t Think I Would

TO: Logan
FROM: Jane
SUBJECT: Settle this money debate?????

I just started a big fancy corporate job, and there’s a subsidized cafeteria! Since discovering this magical land, I am easily eating 2 meals a day here — $3 for breakfast, $5–8 dollars for lunch. I’m rejoicing in this happy thing that will cost at most $11, for two meals a day. Mom says that “that adds up, Jane!” and thinks I could save by bringing my lunch or breakfast a couple times a week.

I think this is just a common misconception that ‘cooking at home really is cheaper.’ Groceries are expensive! Making lunch costs money. It’s New York City! Tupperware costs money. I think I am probably spending around what I’d spend to bring these two meals to work.

Mike Dang probably has a casserole that would debunk my theory, but: I think subsidized cafeterias costs the same as cooking meals at home! (OK, not the same amount of money as eating rice and beans two meals a day for eternity.) For most of us, those of us who are not culinary or financial geniuses, is it cheaper to eat in the cafeteria?

Is this a thing? Does anyone else out there think subsidized cafeterias are the holy grail? Is my Mom (as usual) really still right?


TO: Jane
FROM: Logan
Subject: Re: Settle this money debate?????

Your mom is right that $11/day adds up. (Math.)

She is also right that you could save money by bringing your lunch to work. You could make a big pot of stew and eat it for a week. That is something that you could do. You could also only eat saltines, ever. You could buy a pack of saltines and have that be your food for the week and you would spend $5/week on food. You would also be hungry. And have dry mouth. Scurvy.


My belief is that you are not just spending $11/day on bagels and salads. You are paying for foodstuffs, yes, but what you are actually paying for is to not have to think about breakfast and lunch.

Because you are buying breakfast and lunch at the cafeteria every day, you never have worry about what you’re going to eat.

You don’t have to make lunch, or worry about making lunch, or forget to make lunch, or feel bad about not making lunch. You don’t have to decide which grocery store to go to get things to make your lunch and then you also don’t have to the grocery to get those things to make your lunch. You don’t have to stare at the bread and wonder if you should get the kind with the little nut things or the other kind without the little nut things? Which will last longer? Which has more soluble dietary fiber? Which will taste best with either sweet OR savory toppings? And speaking of, should you get real Nutella or the fake Nutella? And should you get natural peanut butter or regular? Creamy or crunchy? Deli cuts or tuna? Organic or not organic?

You’re paying $11/day to not make hundreds of decisions AND you get food. Tell your mom that you’re getting a deal.