When we think of giving something up for Lent, we usually think of preserving our waistlines and our health. Of course these are important, but remember that Lent is also the perfect opportunity to save money. Research last year found that giving bad habits up for Lent could save you over £18,000 over your working life. Think of the things that make a real dent in your budget every month, and have a good go at giving them up for 40 days.
Here are some ideas to start you off:
When you shop on the internet, it’s much easier to get carried away and to put the price tags out of your mind. If you stay away from your favourite online retail outlets, you’re guaranteed to save pounds over Lent. You’ll also realise that the temptation to spend is far less strong if you can’t just log on and buy.
Most of us are in the habit of coming home from work on occasion and realising there’s nothing in the fridge, or that we simply can’t be bothered to cook an evening meal. This is when we dip into the drawer of takeaway leaflets and tuck into a Chinese or a curry. Takeaways can really add up (both in terms of money and calories!), especially if they are a regular occurrence. If you can stay on top of your grocery shopping by planning out your meals every week, you’re more likely to avoid the temptation to call up and order food in.
If you’re a member of a gym, have a good honest think about how often you really go. It might be that you’re shelling out money every month for no real reason. There are plenty of free ways to exercise: take long walks, go for a run, or get into the habit of cycling to work. After 40 gym-free days, you’ll realise that you can keep up an active lifestyle for absolutely no money at all.
Are you too reliant on your four wheels to transport you from A to B? Is there a better, cheaper way that will still allow you to go everywhere you need to go? Work out how much you spend on petrol every month, and research whether the bus or train would be cheaper. And there’s always cycling, which is free! Give the gas-guzzler up for Lent and you’ll realise that you don’t need to spend quite so much on getting around.
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