Eating and dining out all the time can drain our money and potential retirement savings without us even being aware of it. We get asked from friends to go to lunch, coffee or we find ourselves skipping breakfast and getting in the line at the coffee shop for a scone and latte. Before we know it, we’re left asking, “Where did the money go?” Or worse, “I can’t afford to save for retirement.” What’s happened is we’ve fallen into the trap – a habit really, but it can be broken and we can relearn. Here’s how:
The first thing you can do is to pass on that latte or scone all together. Instead, make yourself breakfast at home. Invest in a coffee maker if you don’t have one, and make your own coffee. Then make a nice meal of scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast, a cup of cottage cheese with fruit, or one of my favorites – a thick, mixed berry protein smoothie. It’s quick, easy and cheap – much better than the latte and scone. And trust me, if you work at a sit-down job, the protein in place of the simple carbohydrates will keep your energy level sustained, and your metabolism going fast. That’s very important if you’re stuck in a chair all day long.
Next, pocket the $2-$3 that you would have spent on the latte and scone. Put it in a jar, put it in the bank, put it anywhere you can save it. There’s a great start! Think about it. $2-$3 per day times an average of 30 days is an extra $60-$90 in your pocket every month!
Now, if you eat fast food at lunch or find yourself eating out a lot, make a commitment to pack your lunch. Resist the temptation to go to lunch with your office. If you go to lunch on a daily basis, that will average $5-$10 per lunch, at least. That’s an extra $100-$200 saved! Put them together and you’ve saved $160-$290 – in one month!
I’m not saying never go out to lunch. I have friends of mine that I meet for lunch every now and again. The point being that I don’t make a habit of it. On the other hand, once you have made a habit out of saving this extra money and have learned to discipline yourself to save, then it’s not going to hurt you to go out every once in a while.