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$9 (Nine Dollar) Dinners - Subway Sandwiches

Updated on December 3, 2014

The Rules

Let's revisit the rules again:

  1. I will be able to use $9 pre-tax so that the total does not exceed $10
  2. I will not include a drink unless it's part of the meal. Drink water. It's free.
  3. I will start with restaurants or other eating establishments. Frankly it's too easy to create a $9 dinner at home.

  4. I will take advantage of regular promos or coupons, but not something rare or limited time. For example, if I can normally get a Tuesday deal at Popeyes for $4.99 then that's okay. But I cannot include a limited time BOGO deal from Domino's in the $9 dinner challenge.
  5. I will only eat things that I consider delicious. It's my money and I'm not going to throw it away so I have something negative to write.
  6. The ultimate gauge of this will include how many meals will I get for my $9, and will it have any nutritional value?

What is $9 Dinners?

Here's a recap of the birth of $9 dinners. If you've already read this, please skip ahead:


On the face of it, a $9 dinner is quite a luxury! After all, every now and again you hear about CEOs and famous people taking the SNAP challenge for a week or two. To remind you, the SNAP challenge is when you live on $4.50/day equivalent to what a lower-income SNAP participant has to work with. $4.50/day!! It's incredibly challenging and any time you read what the CEO of Panera or a state senator experience, it's clear that the stress of having not enough money to buy what you want or need to eat is huge and overwhelming.

So back to the question, what is a $9 dinner? My hope as someone who thinks about personal finance a lot is to explore answers that 90% of people can use to get more satisfaction out of life, or to maximize life. For me, when I worked in an office environment, the question of what to eat for lunch came up a lot. While I would brown bag it more often than not, I had a couple of colleagues that would literally debate for 15 or 20 minutes what to eat for lunch that day. And when they came back from lunch, they'd say how disappointing it was, and that they should be able to get more for $10. $10! A whole Alexander Hamilton! I could find a lunch or dinner that's satisfying, tasty, and plentiful for only $9, or so I thought.

Subway $9 Dinner

Subway $9 Dinner
Subway $9 Dinner | Source

$9 at Subway

3 stars for $9 at Subway

$9 at Subway

Wow, thinking about what to order at Subway has been the happy cunundrum I've experienced many times over the past decade. I've always been a big fan of Subway as I lived less than a mile from a very clean franchise location, and the sandwiches were filling at $5 at the time. Aside from their Febru-any promotion in February, you can no longer walk in with $5 and walk out with a footlong sub like Jared (except for a veggie sandwich or the equally unappetizing egg and cheese).

While this hurts the value of Subway, there's still some headroom because I've got $9 in my pocket and I am looking for the most filling options that there are, so let's look over the menu:

  1. Applewood Smoked Pork
  2. BBQ Oven Roasted Chicken Melt**
  3. BBQ Steak and Bacon Melt
  4. BLT
  5. Buffalo Chicken
  6. Chicken Bacon Ranch
  7. Cold Cut
  8. BMT
  9. Ham
  10. Roasted Chicken
  11. Meatball
  12. Roast Beef
  13. Spicy Italian
  14. Steak and cheese
  15. Subway Club
  16. Subway Melt
  17. Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki
  18. Tuna
  19. Turkey
  20. Veggie
  21. Egg and Cheese


Subway Footlong

Subway Footlong
Subway Footlong | Source

Subway's Trump Card

Before jumping right in to the $9 challenge, I want to take a step back and shower some praise on Subway. When I thought about the first handful of restaurants or casual dining establishments where I could flex my $9, I thought about personal favorites that offer something unique.

Panda Express offer massive quantities of food at good prices and some variety.

Pizza Hut offers thoroughly satisfying pizza and wings at competitive pricing.

And Subway has the health pedigree and variety of sandwiches and veggies.


Think about it, if you're not opposed to sandwiches as a whole, Subway makes a strong appeal to your variety needs. There are over 20 basic sandwich options, 5 or 6 types of bread including flatbread, and then you get to the cheese, veggies, and sauces. It's the trump card that allowed people all over the world to be like Jared and eat Subway twice a day, every day in the attempt to lose or manage weight.

And while that won't come into too much consideration here with the $9 dinner, it's a worthwhile reminder as to why we love Subway so much, even though there are tastier sandwiches elsewhere.

Subway Variety Platter

Subway Variety Platter
Subway Variety Platter | Source

Your Best Bet

So, after looking over the menu, I had an instant conflict. For $5 I could get their Veggie Delight or Egg and Cheese sandwich. Or for $6, I could get the sub of the month, the BBQ Oven Roasted Chicken Melt. As I've had both $5 options, and remembered both being unmemorable, I decided that the chicken breast patties would be more filling and worth the extra dollar.

$6 BBQ Oven Roasted Chicken Melt

Now, according to the rules of the challenge, I can't go with a special promo offer, unless it's something that I can regularly get (like a common coupon or deal directly from the merchant). Luckily, the sub of the month rotates so I'm in the clear here.

Taste/Flavor - How do I put this? It's good, but not great like a movie that's on the Hallmark channel or Lifetime. If you make up your mind to watch it, and stick around until the end, then you won't forsake the time you invested. This sandwich was a little off-putting with the BBQ sauce but I basically had every vegetable added in spades so it all balanced out. The chicken patty is mushy, but the flatbread is decent and the veggies were fresh so I can't complain.

Health - If you're eating at Subway, then the health aspect has probably crossed your mind. While I don't think that Jalapeno Cheddar bread is healthy, if you cared about health, then between wheat bread and extra veggies, then it's tough to eat something healthier at this price point and this conveniently purchased.

Filling - I ended up with about a quarter of my sandwich left, which I was pleasantly surprised by... and it may just be the idea of eating all that healthy fiber, but I sure felt full for a while there. It has more staying power than Chinese food, but lacks the deep heavy bloating feeling of pizza.

Subway Jared

Subway Jared
Subway Jared | Source

Free Subway Footlong?

Value for $9

Okay, let's do some math. My goal was to find delicious meals that are less than $9. Ideally I can get more than 1 meal for $9 because then I'm getting more bang for the buck. So, based on that, how does Subway rate out?

$6 for a Subway footlong

1.25 meals worth for $6

That means I'm getting 1.875 meals for my $9 and less than 1 meal per day based on the $4.50/day for SNAP. This is the lowest score yet, and clearly, not the best use of money if you need to get full. BUT it's going to be the healthiest meal you can get at that price point, and if that matters to you, don't let a 1.875 stop you.

DealForALiving

DealForALiving
DealForALiving | Source

About DealForALiving

I believe that being frugal and making smart money choices is like any other exercise. As we continue to practice good habits in saving money where possible, finding deals for what we want, and having a good time at it, then we become better at dealing for a living.

I'm committed to sharing my experiences with getting the most out of using credit cards, saving and spending tips, and I might even add a slice of perspective without trying to be a psychoanalyst like some other personal finance folks out there.

Please let me know what you think and if you'd like to hear my take on a specific topic.

Most Sincerely,

DealForALiving

PS. I've also started writing on my own site: dealforaliving.com.

Comments

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    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Au fait, thank you for stopping by and for leaving such a thoughtful comment! I too was a vegetarian for a while and did my best to enjoy the veggie delite sandwich but it just never struck a cord with me. I ended up feeling empty compared to when I would get falafel or eggplant at another sandwich spot.

      I will say though that having the option of topping off a toasted sandwich with as many vegetables as possible beats most options out there for vegetarians in need of a quick meal on the run.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      I've been to Subway Sandwiches many times and never been disappointed despite purchasing what you describe here as an "unappetizing" veggie sandwich 99.9% of the time. I love Subway's veggie sandwiches and avoid meat for the most part. Vegetarians, and there are getting to be more of them all the time, would love Subway's veggie sandwiches made to their specifications.

      When I first went to Subway I did order sandwiches that included meat, but after the first few months I stopped ordering with meat and found the sandwiches much more to my liking. I stopped having meat added at least 12 years ago. Foods that do not include meat will last MUCH longer in one's frig also, if you can't finish that huge sandwich in one meal. There is only one of me (no family to buy for) and I can never eat a whole foot long in one session.

      I get a sandwich that begins with toasting the bun and cheese, and then I get the server to stack as many of the different veggies on as possible. Pickles on the side. I know it's a salad on a bun, but it's so good especially on the toasted bun.

      Definitely a good deal and a yummy way to get one's veggies even if meat is included.

      Well done, DealForALiving!

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for dropping by!

    • VioletteRose profile image

      VioletteRose 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Interesting, I love subway food!

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      You're making me hungry.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thank you so much for the praise Writer Fox! More $9 dinners on the way!

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Wow, this blew my mind! You should be on TV with all this great information. Voted up and pinned a pic!

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      There are some good options here. I tend to prefer Potbelly's or Jimmy John's for my money, but if I'm hungry and I see Subway then I'm a happy person.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts! I hate to say that the at home method is against the rules, because it's really the best answer overall. But for people that are looking for quick and easy fixes, this is probably a start.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 

      4 years ago from Kansas

      Even though I don't eat there often, I really do like their sandwiches.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Subway is a good choice for economy and food at a reasonable price. The foot long option (shared with a friend) would be a great deal, too. I prefer the at home method of saving bucks, although, I know it's against the rules here. When I first came to Dallas and was making very little money as a temporary, I would eat at Luby's cafeteria to get a nice hot meal with dessert for a bargain price.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      I'm learning a lot here - never thought to have the sandwich cut in 4 parts. Absolute genius!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      Believe me you could if your sub was loaded with black olives. You can only eat so many at one sitting :) The trick is that I have them cut it in 4 sections and wrap them individually. I put half in the frig and that about does it.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      I'm so envious of you! I could never stretch out a sandwich for 2 days, but if I could, that would make all the difference.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      I have to admit that about once a week I get the $5 Veggie Delight or Egg and Cheese sandwich. It's usually when I have a really long work day. The great thing is that the sub takes me 2 days to eat it.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thank you for stopping by, Frank. I appreciate the recognition of the name, and will be adding some other $9 dinners so stay tuned.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      you do really provide dealforaliving..:) Not a Subway fan, but if I were this would be IDEAL...:) great share my friend :)

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      I know! The oven roasted chicken melt is solid and filling. Thanks for stopping by~

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Sheetz is a great option when you have one nearby. I believe they're a regional franchise so unfortunately not everyone is so lucky.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love subway sandwiches, esp. the roasted chicken melt...

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Lately, I've been ordering my subs at Sheetz. It's easy to order on the touch screens that they have, and the foot has been tasty. There is also a whole grain choice for the bread, and a pico topping which means extra veggies. It is also pretty reasonable in price.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thank you for sharing! Please stay tuned as I plan on tackling one $9 dinner a week until i run out of options.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      I love these!! I am a Subway fan. They are relish! Sharing!!

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