School just started where I live. I think we’re among the latest back to schoolers, and the collective sigh among local parents is audible – even over the groans of the kids.
It’s a difficult and stressful time for everyone. New schedules, new teachers…and new things. I don’t know about you, but I find this whole time of year EXPENSIVE. I just dropped a significant amount of money without even blinking. School supplies like notebooks, pencils & pens, binders, paper, textbooks all sound inexpensive – a few dollars each, but boy do they add up! Especially if you have more than one child.
Then there’s the new clothes - because if your kids are like mine, either nothing fits anymore, or they all have holes at the knees and jelly stains down the front (that is jelly, right? Well, that’s what I’m going with, jelly stains). And last year was the stretch year when we thought we could get away with those things just a little longer – and so now, they’ve all gotta go. So we spent all last week replacing what can no longer be worn - again, Expensive!
And that got me thinking. I need a way to save money! And so do you.
Visa released a study that found that the average American spends $53 each week eating lunch out. That’s $106 each week, for a family with two parents. Put another way, that’s $5,300 a year! And that’s not counting the intermittent cups of coffee, doughnut, croissant, or yogurt. The Denver Post found that the average person spends another $1100 annually on coffee and snacks. That’s $6,400 a year – wow.
Studies also show that the average price of buying lunch at school varies from around $2.18 to $3.50 depending on where you live – and that’s not counting snacks or extra drinks, plated meals only. In our school, those are sold at an additional cost a la carte.
Families today, on average, have 2 -3 children (2.4 to be exact, but I don’t know where they hide that half a child, creepy). So that brings the total expenditure for a family of four to $141 weekly (lunch only) or $7,050. Add to that coffee, snacks and drinks, and you’re easily looking at $8,250 yearly. Or put another way, over a 12 year school career, that’s nearly $100,000! On eating out! Holy Cow.
And so, forgive me for asking but – What could you do with that money, had you saved it instead? I don’t know about you, but to me that’s enough for a heck of a vacation! Hello Disney Land. Or, better yet, Hello college tuition! Bet you didn’t know saving for college could be so easy - just bring a Healthy Hot lunch from home. Even if you only saved some of that each week - at $20 per week, that’s $80 per month. Invested into a Roth IRA each month for 30 years at 8%, that adds up to nearly $110,000.
It's so simple, all you have to do is make one small change - bring a healthy Hot lunch from home -- and save big.
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