When it comes to eating and drinking, there are many ways to save money -- and most of them do not involve starvation. Obviously, opting for canned tuna now and then instead of Chilean sea bass will save you a few pennies. But there are other possibilities, too:
- Take your own water to work instead of buying bottled water regularly. Better yet, encourage your employer to look into providing filtered water for everyone. These kinds of tips might seem silly and make you roll your eyes, but if you spend an average of a dollar a day on bottled water, this tip alone could save you $250 per year -- in 10 years, a quite substantial $2,500.
- Take your own coffee to work, in a thermos. Again, if the alternative is a $3.50 cup of java at Starbucks
(NASDAQ:SBUX), brown-cupping it just three times a week will net you nearly $10 a week, or about $500 per year.
- When you're hungry for a snack, consider drinking a glass of water first. That should decrease or even eliminate your hunger. It's win-win -- saves you money and perhaps keeps a few pounds off, too!
- Take brown-bag lunches to work. Leftovers from dinner the night before make great lunches. Brown-bag it just twice a week, forgoing spending $5 per lunch, and you'll save $10 per week or $500 or so per year. Brown-bag it every day, and you can save more than $1,000 per year. (Unless your brown bag contains truffle-and-caviar sandwiches, of course.)
- Have friends over for dinner instead of going out to a restaurant. Play some board games, while you're at it. (Here's a great website that offers little-known but much-acclaimed games -- their all-time best-sellers. They even offer a Motley Fool board game -- check it out!)
- Host potlucks -- and picnics. Your friends might love you for it, since you're saving them money they might have spent dining out.
- Use restaurant coupons. And supermarket coupons. Fifty cents here and a half-priced entree there can really add up.
You'll find many more handy tips where most of these came from -- on our Living Below Your Means discussion board. The board's directory of tips is especially handy (free trial required). Once you've saved some money, put it to work for you -- learn more in our Savings Center (which features some good interest-rate deals).