February 28, 2011 | By: Colin Dodge

My ham sandwich gave me financial freedom.

Being a student at one of Toronto’s finest Universities, I find myself very broke. I also find myself spending more time there then at home. I also don’t have the same class hours each day. Some days I start very early and I’m home mid afternoon. Other days I start in the afternoon and I’m home very late. This leads to a major problem. Being able to eat properly throughout the day without spending the little money I have on the plethora of “restaurants” in downtown Toronto.

I remember when fast food used to be cheap. Not just in food quality but in price as well. It’s hard to resist that hunger pang in between classes when you can throw a rock and hit a sub shop, a coffee shop, a pizza place, or even a mall food court.

 These days any type of meal deal usually ends up costing $7 - $13. If I have a 10 hour day at school (classes + using school equipment/labs) that could mean I’m spending $26 that day on food. That’s a lot for a part-time employee who goes to school full time.

So what is a broke, hungry, student to do? Make 2 ham sandwiches. That easy. Sort of. Depending on the day, I have to change my eating habits. I have to change what meals I have at home, and what I bring with me on the road. Now, the days I start really early, I admit, my breakfast is a large double-double and a muffin. Yes, not what our Canadian Olympians likely eat, but I’m cool with not having a gold medal. On the days I begin later, I have a good hearty breakfast, around 9am – 10 am and pack 2 ham sandwiches for the rest of the day. When the inevitable hunger pang hits as all my classmates surround me with their purchased fast food, I whip out my ham sandwich and I’m good.

What that amounts too at the end of the week, is a good $30 still in my account that I can now throw at my credit card which is filled with text book costs. Now is my ham sandwich as appetizing as a foot long chicken and bacon ranch sub? Hell no! However, when the cost of that ham sandwich comes out of my grocery money and not the flaming hole in my wallet, it's still less  appetizing but much more appealing than throwing down $13 for a sub/chips/pop and feeling lazy and wasteful.


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