Cut fast food, save money

Cut the fast-food lunches or late-night junk food

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Cut the fast-food lunches or late-night junk food

Nibbling in front of the TV at night packs on pounds and drains the wallet. If you go through a pint of ice cream or a bag of chips every evening, you’re spending about $90 a month or almost $1,100 annually on junk food.

Pop your own popcorn, says dietitian Laura Cipullo, who has a private practice in New York. Switching to a high-quality, pop-it-yourself variety can trim the cost to as little as $140 a year. That can save $960 annually — enough to buy a laptop, 13 months of unlimited smartphone service or more than eight months’ worth of power bills (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration).

Are fast-food lunches your vice? Packing a lunch saves calories and money. Eating out averages about $9 a day, Cipullo says. Pack your own turkey sandwich on whole grain with baked chips and a seltzer for about $4 a day, she says. The savings over a 50-week working year: around $1,250.

That money can buy six orchestra seats at a Broadway show, two round-trip tickets to London on British Airways (January through May), or 10 weeks of groceries for the average household (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Written by
Dana Dratch
Personal Finance Writer
Dana Dratch is a personal finance and lifestyle writer who enjoys talking all things money and credit. With a degree in English and writing, she likes asking the questions everyone would ask if they could and sharing the answers — along with smart money management tips from the experts.