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.

Earlier this week we discussed saving money by eating breakfast at home and packing lunches. How about the biggest meal of the day? Dinner. I often say the best thing I make for dinner is reservations and that is very true for I do like to eat out. It’s easy, fun, and no clean up. But if you are doing it several times a week, or again hitting that drive-thru on your way home from work, it really adds up.

Saving money does mean you will be spending your time and you will need to get the whole family on board to make this work.

Again, let’s look at the drive-thru. You have two kids who need to be picked up after band practice and you are running late so you pull in to pick up some supper. As long as you are there, why not get supper for everyone. Two kids’ meals and supper for two adults could easily be $25 or more.

You are doing this every Monday and Wednesday on nights there is band practice. $50 a week.

Friday nights the kids play basketball after school and it’s so easy to go out to supper afterward or if the restaurant is busy, you order Chinese take-out. It’s $50, but you do have leftovers for lunch on Saturday.

Saturday is busy with chores and running errands so it’s definitely a take-out night. A couple of pizzas, a salad, and sodas cost $35.

$135 a week for take-out dinners. You can eat at home for half that or less. That’s a savings of over $3,000 (3,375) a year. Now let’s put that money in the college fund earning 7% and it amounts to $138,000 in 20 years.


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