BOSTON (CBS) – Saving money does not mean you have to deprive yourself of the things you like to do. If you deprive yourself of all of the fun stuff in life you will never stick to a savings plan.

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Let’s start with looking at the ways you spend your money. This will mean you will need to set up a budget. Where does your money go each month? Write down your income. Then spend some time finding all of your expenses. If you go to the ATM and take out $100 and at the end of the day there is only $8 left, where did it go?

What happens to the discretionary money in your budget?  This is money left over after you have paid your necessities like the mortgage, rent, utilities, health insurance and you have bought your groceries.

Look at your credit card bill. What are you spending your money on? Meals out? Entertainment? Clothes? Gifts?

A big budget buster is eating out or doing take out. Especially dual income families when both mom and dad walk thru the door at night and they have to feed the kids. It’s so easy to just bring home take out!

So where are the holes in your budget? Lunches out every day? That’s easily $50 a week. Packing your lunch could save you $2,000 a year. If you both bring lunches from home that is a savings of $4,000.

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This is not a hardship. I did not ask you to skip lunch just bring it from home. Use up those leftovers. And yes, there might be some days when you eat peanut butter and Fluff. I like peanut butter and Fluff on unhealthy squishy white bread!

Pack your lunch for 20 years and invest the money in your retirement accounts and we assume the money earns 8% you could have close to $200,000 in your nest egg. Do it for 30 years over your working career and it amounts to $500,000. A half million!

Packing your lunch is just the beginning. Try other small ways to do things differently so you can save big.

And be sure to budget in some fun things and the occasional dinner out.


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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