There are many things you could give up for Lent. We take a look at little luxuries to avoid that will also boost your wallet.
Traditionally, people give up something for 40 days during Lent to test their willpower. It is also seen by Christians as a mark of respect for Jesus who fasted for 40 days in the desert.
But you don’t have to be religious to get involved. Setting yourself a challenge to give up one small indulgence for 40 days will not only test your willpower, but it could also save you some cash along the way.
This year, Lent starts on Wednesday 26th February (Ash Wednesday) and ends on 9th April. So if you’re looking to get on board, it’s a good time to think about things to kick to the curb, including:
One of the most straightforward ways to save money over Lent is to give up on extra spending. This might mean pressing pause on any shopping sprees you had planned, making your own packed lunches or walking to work instead of taking the car.
You could even give up spending on your credit card for 40 days. That way you can focus on reducing the balance with the money you have saved.
Or why not set your self a challenge to quit online shopping for 40 days? Anything you were thinking of buying can go into a virtual shopping basket and you can always come back to it at a later date. In the meantime, you can gain interest on your money in a savings account. This tactic should prevent any impulse purchases that you don’t actually need.
Chocolate, cake and sweets have to be up there with some of the most common things people give up over Lent. Sacrificing these treats will involve a degree of self-discipline, but it’s also a good way to get healthy and save cash - before the onslaught of Easter eggs starts on 12th April.
And it’s not just limited to snacks. There are other types of food you could consider giving up too, like meat, takeaways or eating out. Meat is notoriously expensive compared to veggie alternatives. One survey of 2,000 British adults found that cutting down on meat saved them £209 a year on average.
If you are planning on doing this, make sure think about the health pros and cons of cutting out meat before you go ahead, as there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to food.
Cutting back on takeaways could also save you money. Fast food has been gaining in popularity over the years, especially with the introduction of food delivery companies like Deliveroo making it more accessible than ever. As a result, British households now spend around £5 a week on takeaways on average. Based on these figures, families could potentially save around £25 on takeaways over Lent alone.
Fizzy drinks, alcohol or caffeine
Depending on how much alcohol and fizzy drinks you consume, you could save a bit of cash by ditching them for Lent. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, you could try and give up caffeine. Or simply make your own drinks instead of buying them from a cafe.
One survey has found that the average Brit spends around £303 on coffee each year. See how much you could save on your favourite tipple, using this quick cash finder tool. It’s not just limited to drinks either. You can use this calculator to do some number-crunching of your own to find savings in other areas.
Perhaps you’re a healthy eater but you’ve got a bad habit that you’ve been meaning to break? Lent is your perfect excuse.
This can include anything from quitting smoking to not leaving the lights on. It could also include other habits like procrastinating, using social media, being late or using the snooze button. On the face of it, these things don’t appear to cost you money. But if you dig a bit deeper, you could find they have a knock-on effect on your wallet.
For example, pressing the snooze button could lead to you missing the bus and having to take an expensive taxi. Or you could see an advert on social media that leads to you making an impulse purchase. So even small changes can make a difference to your pocket in unexpected ways.