The Miso Solution

One of the great many chains that tie people to working 9-to-5 jobs for decades, is convenience food.  Yes, convenience food!  Many individuals eat lunch outside their workplace every single day — either at a restaurant or picking up take-out from a nearby restaurant.

At $5 – $20 for every lunch, this is an extremely expensive way to attain calories for your mid-day meal.  Over time, those yuppie food coupons really add up — If you average $10 daily for your work lunches, this adds up to $2600 per year.

It’s also a pretty unhealthy way to live.  If you work a sedentary office job, you simply don’t need all those extra calories…. unless you actually happen to like being fat, poor, and chained to a desk for 40+ years.


Junk Food Lunches

The problem is, once you’ve started avoiding lunches at restaurants or take-out places, you actually have to pack a lunch.

Instead of eating last night’s delicious home cooked leftovers (like a sane person), many people start buying this garbage “instant food” from their local big box store.

angus burgers
Junk food lunch: At $2 per burger, these cheeseburgers (found at Costco) provide an easy (but unhealthy) microwavable lunch.

Junk food lunches take many forms:  burritos, instant ramen, taquitos, pizza pockets, microwave burgers, and Philly cheesesteaks.  I’ve walked the aisles of my local Costco, and I’ve seen the mountains of overpriced convenience food.  There’s literally MOUNTAINS of it.

It might taste delicious, but those are individually packaged portions of poverty and body fat.  All for the sake of convenience.

If you’ve ever read the Nutrition Facts on the back of those microwavable lunches, you’ll know it reads like the inventory of a chemical warehouse.  It would be a stretch to call regular lunches of this stuff “healthy”.

hot pocket ingredients
Actual ingredients from the back of a Hot Pocket package.

I get it though — people are busy.  You might not have leftovers in the fridge.  Maybe you don’t have the time in the evenings to make a delicious homemade sandwich (or even something fancier).  DIY lunches have to be incredibly easy.

Thankfully, as an individual intent on building incredible wealth, you don’t need to feed yourself any of that expensive crap.  Instead, you can make your own “instant” food for the cost of few pennies.


Mr. Tako’s Super Cheap Instant Miso Soup

Back when I was working, I usually tried to bring leftovers to work.  If we didn’t have any leftovers, my go-to quick lunch was instant miso soup.  Mind you — this is NOT the instant miso soup you’ve probably seen in stores:

instant miso soup

The instant stuff supplied by those crazy Amazons costs on the order of $1 per serving, which is better than eating-out…  Usually I need two of those instant soup packets to properly fill me up.  This would cost around $2.00 for lunch.

We can definitely do better than that!

My method of making instant miso soup costs far less — mere pennies to make!  Over time this adds up to serious savings.

miso soup
Mr. Tako’s Super Cheap Instant Miso Soup:  My lunch today.  I might have gone a little crazy on the green onions for this batch… but that’s just how I roll.

So how do I make it?  Did I spend countless hours in the kitchen brewing this fantastic soup?  Nope!  Three minutes of prep is all it takes.  Really, just three minutes!

It’s extremely simple:

instant miso soup ingredients

Servings: 1 person — 2 cups (which is a healthy sized bowl of soup).

Prep time: 2-3 minutes.

Cook time: 4 minutes in the microwave.


Miso Paste2 tbs$0.20
Soft Tofu (cubed)1/10 of block cubed$0.15
Dashi1/2 tsp$0.05
Green Onion (chopped)~1 tbsFree (from my economic garden)
Total Cost:$0.40


Cooking Steps:

Step 1.  Add ingredients (in listed amounts) to your bowl.  Keep ingredients refrigerated until eating.

Step 2.  When it’s lunch time, add 2 cups of water and heat in the microwave (4 minutes in my microwave).

Step 3.  Mix the miso paste into the hot water thoroughly.

Step 4.  Eat!


Get Real

OK, so technically this isn’t the “proper” way to make miso soup.  I consider this kind of a “hack” recipe.

I’m aiming for convenience and cost savings here, not thousands of years of miso soup making tradition.  Japanese food purists might burn me at the stake for it, but this recipe actually works!

If you ask me, it tastes just as delicious as miso soup made over a stovetop, and yet only costs 40 cents!!

Feel free to alter the amounts, or add additional ingredients to your preference.  I like a lot of green onions and miso paste in mine.  [Note: Softboiled eggs are also fantastic in miso soup.  They’re cheap, and add plenty of protein.]

If your workplace lacks refrigeration, that’s not a problem — Just top off your soup container with ice cubes to keep the ingredients cold.  When they melt, there’s just less water to add.


Final Thoughts

Any time you can make lunch for under $1/day, you’ll make fantastic progress towards financial independence.  It’s like hitting the “Turbo” button on the game controller of life.  You’ll just get to financial independence that much faster when “Turbo” is on.

Whether you’re saving for financial independence (or just trying to eat healthier lunches), making your own lunches is a fantastic way to save money.   This recipe was one of my favorite cheap lunches when I worked an office job.

It’s healthy, filling, quick, and most of all cheap — exactly what I needed to get through another day of wage slavery.

Give it a try, and you might find yourself a little richer.

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