America Saves Week: Save On Discretionary Items

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.

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, iron only the front of the shirt and hope you never need to take off your suit jacket.

Can you send your suits to the cleaners less often? Can you clean minor stains from your suits or uniforms and press or steam them yourself? Use Febreze when necessary. My niece is in the Navy and she uses Febreze and Shout on her whites all summer! You could possibly save over $1000 annually.

Bottled water; if you don’t want to use 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 $3.99 or less, that’s seventeen cents each.

Even if you only pay $1 in the vending machine, you are still saving 83 cents a bottle. That’s a saving of over $200 a year. Just remember to recycle those bottles.

So there is an additional $1,200 you can put in your retirement plan each year. At 8% in 20 years, you will have $59,000 and in 40 years, you could easily have over $300,000.

We saved lots of money this week but it does mean changing your life style 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 just disappears.

One more thing:  How to Save $10,000 a Year from AARP.

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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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