How Much Did You Pay for Breakfast Today?

Photo credit: Krista, CC BY 2.0.

Today in “Billfold memories,” I learned that our former intern Jonathan Blumberg is writing for CNBC, and he recently wrote an article that references one of The Billfold’s favorite topics: the cost of breakfast.

Yoni’s article, “The weirdest ways these 6 super-rich celebrities save money,” discusses Warren Buffett’s habit of eating breakfast at McDonald’s every day. If this were anyone else, we’d call that wasting money—it’s literally the Latte Factor, but with McDonald’s—but since Buffett is super-rich, spending a few bucks per day on breakfast counts as saving!

Buffett famously chooses his McDonald’s breakfast based on whether the stock market is up or down; if it’s up, he splurges on the $3.17 bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit.

Of course, since this is The Billfold, we have to do the math. If Warren Buffett skipped his McDonald’s breakfast and saved the money for an entire year, he’d have as much as $1,157.05 depending on how well the stock market did. If he invested that money, he’d have even more… depending on how well the stock market did.

But Warren Buffett still needs to eat, so let’s subtract the cost of an equivalent breakfast before we start getting too excited about the McMuffin Factor.

Safeway is currently selling Pillsbury biscuits at $2.49 for eight biscuits, Kraft American cheese singles at $5.39 for 24 slices, Lucerne eggs for $1.59 a dozen, and Oscar Mayer bacon at $8.49 for 18 slices, which means… a comparable sandwich would cost $1.02 per day, or $372.30 per year. (We’ll let Buffett have two slices of bacon per sandwich.)

So Warren Buffett’s actual savings, assuming he ate an equivalent non-McDonald’s breakfast, would be more like $784.75. Less than that, if he pays someone to make his sandwich for him.

To call back to a former Billfold series: how much did you pay for breakfast today? I drank $1.84 worth of Huel and $0.24 worth of coffee, which means I saved more money than Warren Buffett did.