Lent follows Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, where people around the world decide what to give up for 40 days. A Christian tradition, Lent is symbolic of the time when Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert to resist being tempted by the devil.
This year it seemed like a great idea to give up something, which would also save money in the process. Some of these suggestions may be easier than others.
Why not give up chocolate?
Chocolate is something most of us love, although might not eat every day. A bar of chocolate on average these days costs around 60p, so if you are one of the naughty ones who eats a bar a day, then you are looking at saving £18.60 this month. That might not sound a large amount, but over the course of the year, not reaching for that cheeky bar of chocolate to get you through the day, will save you around £200.
Give up drinking:
If you are not one of those people who gave up drinking in January – who wants to give up a vice in the most depressing month of the year? – then why not give up drinking for Lent instead.
Those cheeky tipples do add up. It will make you feel good not drinking for a while. It will also be good for your bank balance.
When you think that a bottle of wine costs around a fiver these days (at a bargain price), and also that much for a glass of wine when you go out (if you are lucky), then you really are looking at a cost saving of over £100 a month (ahem). Ok, let’s look at this again. We could also be looking at a cost saving of £400 for the month unless you are lucky enough to have a work expense account to hide the damage.
Give up eating out:
Stop wasting money on lunches
It might sound boring, but take a packed lunch with you for the rest of the month. It’s amazing how much you can spend on lunches; anything from £5-10 a day when you work in the city. Over a month, that can equate to £135-270! Start looking at cheap, fun lunches to take to work with you instead of queuing up for yet another Pret sandwich. Buy in bulk at the supermarket at the weekend and you can even start eating more healthily too!
Ditch the eating out instead of cooking
We have all done it. Decided to eat out with friends after work instead of going home, especially when it’s only a meal for one. However, try not to eat out for the rest of the month, unless of course, it is someone’s birthday or a special celebration. Even then, you can meet everyone for drinks instead and ask politely to join after the meal. It’s always a nightmare when you end up paying more at the end of the meal for stuff you haven’t eaten and to compensate for somehow there never being enough to pay the full amount for the meal despite everyone insisting they paid their fair share. If a meal costs around £25 (if you are economising), you will be saving around £100 a month at the very least by not eating out this month.
Absolutely no takeaways
In all fairness, I don’t tend to order takeaways unless of course I am on the way home after a couple of drinks or are with a significant other. Why do boys like to order takeaways so much? Ditch the takeaways this month. Unless of course, he’s paying…
Give up smoking
What a better time to give up smoking than now. It costs so much these days for a start. This is the perfect time as you don’t have the pressure of Christmas parties to get through with everyone drinking and it’s not yet the summer when everyone is out drinking after work and smoking outside. Download an app like this one, by David Crane, which not only helps you with your cravings but shows how much you save each day just to spur you on! Saving on the smokes could save you around £160 a month! It’s also bad for you. So just stop. Now.
Or simply give up your morning lattes…
When you haven’t time to make a drink of the caffeine variety in the morning and work is a half hour commute away (at least), treating yourself to a latte in the morning doesn’t seem like a treat. It seems mandatory. However, having used a spending app for a couple of months, those cheeky lattes in the morning do add up. Not as much as a cheeky wine on the way home of course.
Ditch those daily lattes and you could save yourself £66.15 this month! You can pay off a credit card bill or even buy yourself something nice at the end of the month instead. Again, if you look at how much you could save during the year, it is worth getting up just 5mins earlier just to have a coffee before you head out of the door.
Let us know if you have any top tips in the comments below.