Whether you’re stressed and busied with work, school, or something in between, it helps to have some quick, healthy options for breakfast. Before I became a hardcore frugaling nut, I was lazy about prioritizing food (Read about “Eating On The Go“). It didn’t mean starvation or malnutrition; instead, it meant fast food runs (arguably more unhealthy than going hungry, at times) and convenience stores. I frequented the Starbucks across the street for a tall coffee (~$1.75) and breakfast sandwich (~$4). Not only would I be pressed for time on these days, but I would also be spending about $5.75 for breakfast alone.
That lifestyle didn’t fit my budget. It was terribly stress-inducing, expensive, and cholesterol-laden. By waking up a bit earlier and going to bed at a more sane hour, I’ve been able to cook breakfast and pack a lunch every morning. If I wake up at 7:15 AM, I can make my traditional breakfast. If I’m beat and need to sleep in, I wakeup at 8:30 AM. The latter leaves me with 30 minutes to get ready and hop on my bus. Thankfully, I have another option for that scenario.
The goal is to circumvent convenience and prioritize healthy, frugal nutrition. Julia Childs would be rolling in her grave if she saw these “recipes.” Nonetheless, these are aimed for those with little time to prepare. Hopefully, these bargain breakfasts can help you save money, keep you healthy, and regain your time.
Option 1: “The Standard” Eggs and Turkey Bacon (10 minutes)
This has been my stalwart meal for about three years. Eggs are a nutritious, wholesome start to your day. One egg has about 70 calories and over 6 grams of protein. Most of all, eggs are incredibly affordable. The one downside is the heightened cholesterol levels. To minimize this arterial risk, I supplement with egg whites, which are free from cholesterol. Turkey bacon is far cheaper than traditional bacon, and much healthier, too. In fact, the cholesterol levels pale in comparison to pig-bacon. All in all, the meal costs about $0.97 and 10 minutes of my time.
One dozen eggs: $1.50/12 = $0.125 per egg
Turkey bacon (21 strips): $3/21 = $0.143 per strip x 2 = $0.286 for 2 strips
Egg whites (about 20+ eggs per carton): $3.75/20 = $0.188 x 3 = $0.563 for 3 egg whites
Total cost: $0.97
Option 2: Banana Nut Oatmeal (3 minutes)
As a runner, I crave a balanced diet of carbs, protein, and vitamins. The Banana Nut Oatmeal has all three. This is stupid simple, too: grab some instant oats and microwave with water, chop up a banana and throw it on top, and then grab a handful of mixed nuts. In the span of 3 minutes and about $0.64, you’ve got a healthy, no-excuses breakfast.
Oatmeal: $1.99 (for carton) = ~$0.15 in bowl
Mixed Nuts: $0.25
Total cost: $0.64
These are two simple breakfasts that will get your day started off right. Psychologically, I was convinced that there wasn’t enough time to cook and eat. When I compare $5.75 a day at Starbucks to my “standard” breakfast, I save $4.78 each time. The time and money saved pads my wallet and makes me more efficient. I’m no longer cramped for time and scarfing down a Pop-Tart.
What bargain breakfasts do you make?