How A Peanut Butter Sandwich Saves Me 2.5 Workdays Every Year

It’s important to understand the power of small amounts over time.

Just the other day I had a chance to teach one of the young guys at work a lesson on this.

He came into my office to ask about something and he noticed that I had some bread out. I had been just about to make my morning peanut butter sandwich. He commented on the bread saying “Are you going to just eat plain bread?”

I said no, and pulled out a jar of peanut butter from my desk cupboard and began to spread it on one slice. He asked if I do this often, I said I did.

Watching, he said “I just make my breakfast at home and bring it in, it only takes 5 minutes.”

Only 5 minutes.

I sensed an opportunity to pass on some wisdom.

I said, “Sure, 5 minutes ONE time isn’t much. But consider that I normally go to work 5 days per week and there are 4 weeks per month. Twelve months in a year.”

5 minutes X 5 days = 25 minutes

25 minutes X 4 weeks = 100 minutes

100 minutes per month X 12 months = 1200 minutes

1200 minutes is 20 hours.

Certainly 20 hours of time per year spent making breakfast is better spent during work time than personal time (if your work is ok with this, as mine is).

In one year I claw back 2 ½ days worth of time from just 5 minutes per workday.

Maybe that still doesn’t impress you. How about realizing that if I did this simple action for 20 years it equates to 50 DAYS worth of work time spent on breakfast preparation.

Amazing, isn’t it? All from just 5 minutes per workday.

And people wonder why I hesitate to show up 15 minutes early to work every day. It’s because I can do simple math like this.



It’s important to realize that the effect of small amounts is even more important in your finances due to the ability of money to compound when invested.

To maximize my savings by decreasing my spending I have adopted the frugality mindset.

By finding deals and saving where I can in my normal daily, weekly, or monthly transactions I am harnessing the power of small amounts. These small amounts are accumulated and eventually become large amounts.

Most people only think about the big things and when it comes to the smaller expenses, like $10 on lunch everyday, they think it doesn’t matter.

Little do they know that it only takes $10 per day invested at 8% for 40 years to equal a million dollars due to the compounding nature of investments!

I realize that a one time cost of $10 doesn’t change your future, but when that cost is continuous it is important to understand the long-term results.

Something as simple as saving $10/week on groceries will save you $520 per year. You can easily save that much by using coupons (paper or store app), buying deals, or using the store brand items instead of the more expensive name brand.

If you invested that $520 at 8% for 40 years you will have saved up $145,486.14!

Now imagine if you can find multiple areas to save just $10/week? If you can find 10 places in your life to save $10 every week, then you will have almost $1.5 MILLION dollars from this simple act (using the above math)!



These simple savings can quickly add up. In a recent survey, it was found that 36% of Americans would have to go into debt to pay for a $1,000 unexpected expense.

Another survey found that 44% couldn’t cover an unexpected bill of just $400 without using debt.

Whichever survey is closer to the truth doesn’t really matter. What matters is that somewhere near 1/3rd to 2/5ths of Americans have basically zero financial-security.

I don’t know about you, but unexpected expenses seem to pop up every once in a while. I also don’t like to live on the edge of the financial blade. It doesn’t make for a nice, carefree sleep at night.

Yet those people do nothing about it. They do nothing to break the cycle. They can’t control their impulses.

And that’s what saving all these small things really come down to – being in charge of your own mind.

I mean I am not talking about a lot of ‘sacrifice’. I am sure that nearly all of those people can save $10 per day if they chose to actually do the small effort of stopping and thinking about how they spend their money.

That daily $10 being spent on things that don’t matter to make their lives seem less shitty IS NOT WORKING.


What Works

Do you want to know how to start on the journey towards a better financial future?

Have an intense desire for something that requires you to save and invest money instead of spend it.

When you have that desire, you can more easily shed the things that don’t matter.

I’m not saying you can’t spend money. We all have things that do bring us real, if temporary, joy. I like to buy a PC game on Steam every now and then. You might want to go out every other weekend. Someone else might have a list of countries that they want to visit.

You can do what you want when you aren’t spending money on things that don’t matter. You just can’t do EVERYTHING.

You have to chose what is or is not important.

Then what is important you find a frugal way to accomplish it. For me, it is to wait until the game I want is on sale.

Someone that wants to visit many different countries might learn how to travel hack. You can get everything cheaper if you think about it.

So don’t just save that $10 to save $10. You save that $10 to, first, get you off that financial edge with a decent emergency savings account. Then you use that money to work towards your goal.

Your life will become A LOT less stressful once you have a laid out a path towards the future you desire.


So how does all this money talk translate back into time? Well, I did some thinking years ago and figured that if I could save MORE than $10 per day I could speed up that time until I had enough.

Once I had enough invested and passive income coming to me every month I no longer have to go work.

Say instead of saving just 5 minutes per workday by making that peanut butter sandwich I saved 8 hours every weekday from not being at work because I achieved financial independence after 20 years on the job.

  • 8hrs X 5 days per week = 40hrs
  • 40hrs X 52 weeks = 2,080hrs
  • 2,080hrs X 20 years = 41,600hrs
  • 41,600hrs is 1,733.33 days

That’s a lot more than the 50 days I would get back from making a sandwich.


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  1. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Yup yup! Small things are definitely powerful when done repeatedly. We started making breakfast at home and have had nearly ZERO need to grab breakfast on the way to work. We aren’t perfect, but focusing on homemade meals really helps out. It does take more time right now, but it lets us save enough money (among other smart decisions) so we eventually won’t have to spend time at our jobs. 😉

    1. MrDD

      That effort in food preparation now is allowing you to compound the savings for the rest of your life – easy (and great) choice to me! 😀

  2. Mr. Robot

    Its always the small things. Like that Latte at Starbucks every day or that ordering dinner twice a week.

    Calculate them on a yearly / 20 year period and you’ll see the real costs. Thanks for reminding me of that!
    Mr. Robot recently posted…This is my buy for April 2018 (PG)My Profile

    1. MrDD

      Ouch! Don’t remind me – I do like to go out to dinner once a month or so. 🙂

  3. Dave

    If you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. For me, this was especially true when I first started working and saving money. I had to cut costs to be able to save a little money. I did not earn much, so saving a few bucks on little purchases made a big impact.

    1. MrDD

      Very true. The less you earn, the more the small things matter.

  4. Mr Defined Sight

    Happy Rockstar day buddy! Congrats. And you are so right, the small things add up over the course of time.

    1. MrDD

      Much thanks, MrDS!

  5. Robert

    Is this like the debt snowball of time savings?

    The engineer in me thinks that you should always optimize for the common case, the bigger impact. The psychologist in me thinks that it’s a lot easier to build discipline by making pb&j for a couple months and then tackling something bigger than it would be to stop watching 3 hours of TV a day or give up the biggest financial mistake you make each week.

    Start small, do it every day, and look back in a couple years at how much you have won.

    1. MrDD

      That’s an excellent way of thinking about this. Discipline in the small things means discipline in all things.

  6. Rohan

    Totally agree, making breakfast and lunch for work saves thousands over the entire year! I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it. It doesn’t take that much time.

    1. MrDD

      And even better when you spend that time making it at work 🙂

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