Curbing Discretionary Items In Your Budget

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Spring Water, Water Bottles

(credit: JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/Getty Images)

420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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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.

We have been discussing saving on what we eat. Eating out really is discretionary spending. It’s more difficult to save on your rent or mortgage payments.

Let’s quickly look at a few more discretionary items in your budget -

Dry Cleaners:  Dropping off your shirts and your suits each week. Can you launder your shirts yourself? Learn to iron or do as my kids did for their big interviews, just iron only the front of the shirt and hope you never need to take off your suit jacket. Can you clean minor stains from your suits or slacks and press them yourself? You could save over $500 annually.

Bottled Water:  If you don’t want to pick up a filtering system and a water bottle try buying the bottles in bulk. At the discount pharmacies, you can get 24 bottles of spring water for $3.88, that’s sixteen cents each. And don’t forget to recycle those bottles.

Even if you only pay $1 in the vending machine, you are still saving 84 cents a bottle. That’s a saving of close to $500 a year. So there is an extra $1,000 you can put in your retirement plan each year. At 9% in 20 years, you will have $51,000 and in 40 years, you could easily have $340,000.

We saved lots of money this week but it does mean changing your lifestyle a bit and spending your time. Can you do it? Lots of folks do. And you will reap the rewards. No one I know has ever saved too much money for retirement or for their kids’ college education.

I know things cost more money but review your budget and find the sinkholes, you know the ones where your money disappears.

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