There is such thing as a free breakfast

I started 9-to-5 freelancing on Monday (well, 9:30 to 6:30, really, but who’s counting?). As a result, I’m getting back in the habit of buying breakfast on the way to work.

When it comes to the morning meal, I’m something of a spendthrift. At lunchtime, where one can find differences in quantity and quality, I’m not as miserly. But breakfast—a buttered roll and a 16-oz. carton of Tropicana orange juice—is basically commoditized. I know how little each item can cost, and I refuse to overpay. Why spend two bucks on OJ when I can pay $1.50?

Nickel-and-diming myself at 9 a.m. has direct results. Compare the cost of my basic breakfast at Speedy’s, a handsome takeout place on the south side of Herald Square, with a breakfast cart and a bagel shop a block down Sixth Avenue.

Speedy's OJ      $1.90   OJ, corner deli    $1.50

 " Buttered roll   .75   Roll, 15th St cart   .50

 " Tax             .17   No tax

                 -----                      -----

Total/morning     2.82                       2.00

Over one week    x   5                      x   5

                 -----                      -----

Grand total      14.10                      10.00

By going the inexpensive route, I save enough money in four days ($8.00 vs $11.28) that the fifth day pays for itself, with a dollar to spare. Do this over a 47-week work year and I save—ready?—$192.70. For two hundred bucks, I’ll walk 50 feet for that Tropicana.

Now, if only I could find a good deli around here with $3.99 turkey sandwiches.