Recently my family went to a diner and noticed that the menu had changed. Previously they had offered dinner specials that included an entrée, soup, salad, and dessert all for one price. But that day, the menu indicated that you had to pay an extra $3 for the soup, salad, and dessert. My theory is that too many people were buying the dinner combos and splitting them to save money, so the diner decided to charge more to make up for lost sales.
Whatever the reason for the price increase, it’s just another example of how food costs have gone through the roof this year. That’s why many people are cutting down on eating out or dining at less expensive restaurants. About 43% of those polled by Booz & Co. said they are eating out less because of the economy, and 35% said they are packing their lunch to take to work.
Cutting back on dining out will definitely help you keep more money in your pocket. Consider this: If you normally spend an average of $6 on lunch every day but decide to pack your lunch 3 times a week, you’ll save about $18. Over the course of one year that will add up to $936. Making just that one small change will give you almost $1,000 that can be used to pay down debt, make a mortgage or rent payment, or pay for a host of other things.
Chris Rocks is the Regional Director of the National Credit Federation (NCF). NCF is a nationwide membership-based organization that assists consumers recovering from a financial difficulty and those who need a significant increase in their credit score.
Chris began his financial services career as a Financial Advisor helping young families with risk management and asset accumulation strategies. It was during that time that Chris realized that many of these young families also needed someone to guide their choices with regards to debt management.
He made the transition into the mortgage industry where he first worked as a loan originator and later the Vice President of a small mortgage company. As Chris came across clients who had suffered through financial challenges and saw the difficulty they had in re-entering our credit driven economy, he discovered there was a real opportunity to leverage his unique background and help others.
He can be contacted by visiting his personal site, GoodCreditLiving.com.
Francine L. Huff is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Super Savvy Publishing, LLC, which provides editorial and publishing services. She is a gifted author, freelance journalist, and motivational speaker who has entertained and motivated a variety of audiences through workshops, panels and keynote addresses. Francine is the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women, which has inspired and motivated many readers to rein in poor financial habits, become good stewards over their money and work toward a debt-free life. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows. Francine previously worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she was the spot news bureau chief, a news editor and a copy editor. She has interviewed a variety of financial professionals about financial issues and strives to present information about managing money in an easy-to-understand format that is accessible to people of all backgrounds and income levels.
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience working in mortgage banking and loan servicing. She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. She enjoys writing informative articles about debt management and personal finance.