BOSTON (CBS) – This is America Saves Week. All week we will be looking at small changes you can make to save big. Nothing dramatic but you will need to have discipline to be consistent over time.
Packing lunches. We have talked about this before. I usually pack my lunch when I come into the studio. It is quicker than stopping somewhere and a lot less expensive. Buying your lunch, unless you work for a company that subsides your lunch because they don’t want you leaving the premises, easily costs about $8.
Even the drive-thru costs that much, and if you stop at a grocery store that has prepared food they sell that by the pound. Lunch could cost as much $10. It’s perhaps better for you than the drive-thru, but pricier.
Pack your lunch as often as you can. It’s a great way to use up those leftovers. I do know if it’s doable every day, but as often as you can will have a big impact on the food budget. That goes for the kids’ lunches as well.
Doing it just four days a week could save on average $25 a week. That’s $1,250 annually. If we include your spouse’s lunch and maybe one or two kids, you could have over $2,000 in savings a year. Tuck that into the kids’ college fund and assuming a 7% return in 20 years it could accumulate as much as $82,000.
How about those mid-afternoon snacks. You head to the vending machine or up to the cafeteria for coffee and a pastry or a coke and chips. Instead, head to your desk drawer. Stock your desk with whatever it takes to get you over that afternoon hump. Fruit, candy, granola bars. Cans of juice or soda you buy in quantity and bring into work as needed.
By doing some planning, this could amount to an additional savings of $10 a week. Added to the college fund it’s an additional $20,000 for over $100,000.