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When I see sandwiches, I think dollar signs.

As much as I hate to admit it, when I factor out what’s left of my paycheck after taxes, rent, energy bills and my addiction to every product Apple makes, much of what’s left goes toward paying for sandwiches. I eat them five days a week for lunch (don’t tell my doctor) and sometimes, I’ll even eat them again for dinner when I’m feeling lazy (really, don’t tell him).

That’s why I was incredibly interested to see a recent study on MSN Money. Len Penzo, a writer, analyzed the average cost per serving of 18 of the most popular products people put between two slices of bread, including roast beef, peanut butter and cheese, as well as the cost of condiments like mustard and mayo. The results were surprising.

Contrary to what you’d expect, peanut butter and jelly did not top the list, and neither did American cheese sandwiches, despite their reputation as a staple for frugal moms and college students. Penzo found the average PB&J sandwich costs 31 cents to make and an American cheese sandwich costs 44 cents, earning them the third and fourth spots, respectively.

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The most cost-efficient sandwich on the list was salami. Penzo says the average cost of making your own salami sandwich with mustard works out to be 25 cents. It’s worth mentioning that this is based on the assumption that you have only one single slice of salami on your sandwich, which might be enough for some people, but for uber-carnivores like myself, you might want to add one or two slices more (at 15 cents extra apiece).

You can check out the full breakdown of the 10 most frugal sandwiches on MSN.  If for some inexplicable reason, you are not a sandwich person, there are plenty of other lunches that you can make for less than $5, including pizza pockets and macaroni and cheese. Take a minute to figure out which is right for you. Despite what they say about breakfast, when you’re working, lunch really is the most important meal of the day.

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