BOSTON (CBS ) – This is America Saves Week. All 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.

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. Buying your lunch, unless you work for a company that subsidizes your lunch because they don’t want you leaving the premises, easily costs $7 to $10.

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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 perhaps better for you than the drive-thru but pricy.

Pack your lunch as often as you can. It’s a great way to use up those leftovers. I do know it’s not always doable every day, but as often as you can will have a big impact on the food budget. That goes for the kids’ lunches as well.

Doing it just four days a week could save on average $25 a week. 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 a 7% return in 20 years it could accumulate as much as $82,000.

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, candy, granola bars. 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. Added to the college fund it’s an additional $20,000 for over $100,000.

Military Saves week

Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office will be co-sponsoring an all-day free seminar for the military.

A FREE financial empowerment conference open to veterans, service members and their families.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Mass Bay Community College
McKenzie Auditorium
50 Oakland Street, Wellesley MA

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If you are a service member, veteran, or are related to one, join us to sharpen your financial skills and better understand your military benefits at the Operation Money Wise conference! This FREE, first-ever event is geared toward military and their families and will feature dynamic keynote speaker, Dick Power, CFP and retired Army Colonel.

The day will also include over a dozen other expert speakers on a variety of diverse financial topics, as well as an interactive learning lunch with local celebrity radio personality Dee Lee, CFP. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a Certified Financial Planner, Credit Counselor and/or Career Counselor.

Breakout sessions provide lessons and materials in:

– Budgeting & Setting Financial Goals
– Dealing with Debt
– Retirement Readiness
– Money & Disability
– Basics of Investing
– Home Ownership 101
– Using Your Education Benefits
– Bridging The Financial Gap to College

Complimentary continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

We hope to see you there!

A Joint project of:

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Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office
Massachusetts National Guard and Reserve
Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services
Massachusetts Financial Literacy Trust Fund
Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee