Have you documented your 2012 goals? If not, fear not: Statistics show that only 2% of Americans actually document their goals. They do not realize that goals not written down are just dreams! If your goal is to remodel your kitchen in the New Year, here are some easy tips to cut spending so you can reallocate saved dollars and build the kitchen of your dreams. These are just a few of many money-saving secrets I’ll reveal over the next few weeks:
Brown Bag It
You can cut your food budget by taking your lunch to work. Instead, pack leftovers or buy pre-packaged meals in bulk at your warehouse club of choice. The same goes for snacks: prepare them at home for as little as $.25 a serving instead of wasting a full dollar or more in the vending machine at your place of employment.
BONUS- You’ll cut calories too by selecting healthier ingredients when preparing your lunches. If you choose to buy pre-packaged or prepared foods, you can easily see the nutritional information to select the healthiest option. You’ll also save money by staying onsite, especially since gasoline prices are higher than ever.
If you truly value the socialization aspects of dining out for lunch with friends, colleagues, etc. consider a food-prepare and share program. I’ve done this in the past and found that it’s best to:
- Select four friends or colleagues you enjoying catching up with.
- Once they’ve agreed to the program, determine each person’s preferred day to bring lunch each week.
- Set a date, preferably a Monday, on which to kick-start the new program.
- Gather at a community area at work or dine al fresco at a park convenient to everyone.
- Bon appetito!
You’ll save at least $3,000 annually- more than likely even more! Here’s how: the average cost of a lunch meal is $10 - $15 including tax and tip while a brown-bagged lunch costs a couple of dollars. By saving $12 every weekday for 52 weeks each year, you’ll save $3,120 per year! Save even more with the food-prepare and share program since you’ll save by buying larger quantities only once per week.
Note: As long as none of the participating people have dietary restrictions- for health or religious reasons, this is a great way to save money and time because you’ll only have to prepare one large meal, one night, per week.
The same logic applies to your children’s lunches unless you receive assistance and/or the school’s cafeteria meals are subsidized.
Extra BONUS- If you deposit the average monthly savings of $240 for twelve months into an interest bearing account (assuming a 6.5% interest rate compounded daily), you’ll have almost $10,000 by the end of three years!