If you like oatmeal, you're going to love this: You can eat breakfast for less than 16 cents every day. Yes, 16 cents. So, if you're stopping for oatmeal at, say, McDonald's a few times a week and paying $1.99 a pop (national average) -- or at Starbucks, where you're shelling out $3.45 for your oats (suggested retail price, and you know you're also buying coffee) that's an annual savings of somewhere between $285.48 and $513.24 on oatmeal alone.
You can find the full recipe for 16-cent oatmeal here. Below is the breakdown for the cost of oats three times a week (156 days a year):
- $24.96: Oatmeal at home (oats at 12 cents, milk at 3 cents, sugar at less than 1 cent)
- $310.44: Oatmeal at McDonald's
- $538.20: Oatmeal at Starbucks
Increase those oats to five days a week (260 days), and the savings start looking like an extra car payment (or two), a sweet new barbecue grill or a weekend getaway -- between $475.80 and $855.40.
- $41.60: Oatmeal at home
- $517.40: Oatmeal at McDonald's
- $897.00: Oatmeal at Starbucks
Beyond the financial factor, oatmeal at home is just healthier for you. McDonald's fruit and maple oatmeal has 290 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 32 grams of sugar, while Starbucks blueberry oatmeal has 220 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 13 grams of sugar.
If you make your oatmeal at home, you can closely control how much fat and sugar are in it, but you can expect that a single serving of oatmeal with blueberries will have roughly 161 calories, 1.6 grams of fat and 14 grams of sugar. (The blueberries are going to tack on additional cost per serving, but you're still looking at huge savings.)
You have time to make breakfast. Here's how:
Don't think you have time to make oatmeal every morning? Make it ahead. Get bored eating the same thing every day? Mix it up a bit with different fruits and nuts. Try some bircher muesli. It's delicious, and you can store it in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go breakfast that's especially good in warmer months.
There are plenty of ways to save tons of money on food, especially if you're willing to cook a little. You'll find that planning ahead is key, as is using some smart shopping techniques.
Your credit score is also a huge deal when it comes to saving money over your lifetime. If you'd like to see how, check out Credit.com's lifetime cost of debt calculator. You can also check your free credit scores, updated monthly, to see where you can make improvements on your credit report.