America Saves Week: Save On Dinner

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.

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 we do like to eat out. It’s easy, fun and no clean up. But if you are doing it several times a week or doing take out 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.

You are on your way home from work and the kids need picked up after basketball practice and you are running late so you pull in to pick up some supper. The kids have long ago outgrew the kid’s meals so you are picking up 4 Big Mac meals which costs about $30.

You are doing this every Monday and Wednesday because practice runs late.

Friday nights the kids have a game and it’s so easy to go out to supper afterward or if the restaurant is busy, you order take out Chinese. It’s $50 on average, 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 $40.

$150 a week for take-out dinners. You can eat at home for about a third of that. But we can’t take away all of your dinners out so let’s do just one a week. That’s still a savings of about $2,500 a year. Now let’s put that money in your retirement fund earning 8% and it could amount to close $125,000 in 20 years.

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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.

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