America Saves Week: Pack Your Lunch

BOSTON (CBS) – America Saves Week. This week we will be looking at small changes you can make to save big. Nothing really dramatic here but you will need to have discipline to be consistent over time. And when you do save those dollars you don’t want to spend them on something else, be sure they get into the savings account.

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. I often have a peanut butter and Fluff sandwich and an apple. Cost under $1.50 and does not need refrigeration.

Buying your lunch easily costs $7 to $10.

Even the drive-thrus cost that much and if you stop at a grocery store that has prepared food they sell by the pound, lunch could cost $10. It’s better for you than the drive-thru but still pricey.

Pack your lunch as often as you can. I do know it’s not always doable every day, but as often as you can will have a big impact on your budget. That goes for the kids’ lunches as well.

Doing it just four days a week could save on average $25. 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 an 8% return in 15 years it could accumulate as much as $55,000.

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.

Head instead to your desk drawer. Stock your desk with whatever it takes to get you over that afternoon hump. Fruit, nuts, candy, granola bars, raisins, bottles of water, 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 or more. Added to the college fund it’s an additional $15,000.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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