Personal Finance: Lent Begins Today

As part of Lent, I am reflecting on my previous writings a little more, and this little chestnut was from 5 years ago, however, I have done some judicious editing  as well.

Mardi Gras was on Tuesday, so that means that Lent begins today and this is a perfect opportunity for folks to start something new with their Personal Finances (and their spiritual life, if they wish as well). Easter is a time for new beginnings or restarting something you need to resume, however, most people view Lent as a time to “find something to give up”. That is one way of viewing your Lenten journey, but another way is to look for something to Enrich your life for the 40 days of Lent (leading up to Good Friday and Easter).

Financial Lenten Journey

What areas of your personal finances could use either Enrichment or Better still a sacrifice that might help your financial well being? There are some very simple ones that I think about every year (and have done a few of them):

  • The Latte withdrawal penance. Cut out buying coffee for the 40 days of Lent and put that money aside, to either save, give to charity or pay down your debt. Keep track of this and see how much money you might be saving here, it’s worthwhile finding out where this discretionary money is going.
  • Read 4 Personal Finance books over the 40 days to enrich your understanding of your personal finances or your investing adventures. Building up your expertise over Lent is a good thing.
  • Brown bag it for 40 days, give up buying lunch at work, and bring your lunch instead. Another way to find out where your discretionary spending is going.
  • Take the bus to work for Lent. Leave the car at home, buy a bus pass and take the Bus to work. Yes gas is cheaper right now, but not driving might have other benefits for you (less stress, more exercise, etc.,).
  • Live on cash for 40 days and get rid of your credit cards. Freeze them in your freezer, lock them in your safety deposit box, or cut them up, but live on CASH only (no debit either) and see if you can do it, does it change your spending habits?

Think about these or suggest others, I am open to suggestions myself.

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Bazaar: Where Clutter Goes

If you aren’t a regular Church goer you are missing an amazing opportunity to unclutter your house, the Church Bazaar (and maybe the Spring Garage Sale).

A minister once said to me, “Many folks think that the middle step between your house and the curb, for junk, is the Church”, which is very true. People constantly drop the oddest things at the Church thinking that we might be able to use it:

Truly Xmas Crap

Hopefully not this crap

  • Tractor feed printers and paper
  • Computers from the 1980’s
  • Old lamps and chairs
  • Old coffee makers
  • etc., etc.,

The one time the Church does want your junk is for the Bazaar (if your Church Bazaar has a White Elephant or Kids section). Mrs. C8j diligently cleaned out the garage (so I could use her Do You Store Your Tires) and we found a few useful bicycles that the Church would love to try to sell for some extra money.

The danger of the Church Bazaar is that if you attend it, you could end up buying more stuff and re-cluttering your house, so the Bazaar does have a dark side to it as well. For those of you who keep saying things like, “I could make money selling that on Kajiji or Ebay”, dream on, very few do, and more end up with basements full of junk. Besides, why would I buy your junk on-line when I could go to a Church Bazaar and get it cheap?

The funniest thing is when I have worked at a White Elephant table, and folks show up and want to haggle over prices. The conversation goes something like, “I’ll give you $2 for it”, and my response of “OK”, seems to upset them a great deal.

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Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, a very important day in the Christian Religion, so I will be at Church, preparing for Easter Sunday.

Easter is a great time to start new things, sometimes it is a good time to reflect on the good things in your life as well.

Use this time of contemplation to think about what you might want to start or renew in your life.

Good Friday

My Weekly Recap

My Writings for Week Ending March 29th

Holy Week Concludes and It All Begins Anew

Use Your Calendar

What’s in it for me?

Dad, will you ever retire?

Let’s start that plan, eh?

Dear Market Gurus: How do I get 7% growth?

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Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, a fairly important day in the Christian Religion, so I will be taking today off, and will be at Church, preparing for Easter Sunday.

Easter is a great time to start new things, or think of renewing things that you have stopped doing like:

  • Savings Plans you used to do
  • Weight control plans you had in place
  • Continued education plans you might have stopped, but want to restart

Use this time of contemplation to think about what you might want to start or renew in your life.

Good Friday

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Lent in Finances

Today is the beginning of Lent (in the Christian religion) a time of atonement for sins, a time of penance, and a time of reflection (spiritually). Last year I put out a Lenten financial Challenge, and a few folks joined in with my attempts to fix my financial ship.

This year I won’t call you folks out, you can do what you wish for your Lenten Financial penance, but I will attempt a few things to see if I can make my financial world a little easier to live with.

Do you need some ideas for what you might want to try? Remember Lent is a short(er) period of time, so you can experiment during this time, knowing that it will end in about 1.5 months or so. Some of my traditional suggestions are:

Lent

Lent

  • Use cash instead of Debit and Credit cards. Making Cash King, means you are limiting how much spending you can do at any one time, and you might just realize how much you are spending by doing this. Say you take out $100 from the bank for the week, and suddenly realize you are out by Wednesday you are more likely to look back on what you are spending your money.
  • Cut out buying lunch or coffee for the time (or cut out eating out in general). It could be another interesting exercise to give you a better feeling about how much you are actually spending in these areas.
  • Look at your monthly bills (especially your utilities, Internet, telephone and cable), can you lower them by less usage? Can you lower them by calling and asking for a discount? If this makes you uncomfortable, fight your tendency to back down and go ask for a discount.
  • Do you really need these services? Do you need a smart phone? Do you need full cable? Maybe turn them off for Lent and see if you can live without them? If you can now is a good time to try it.

Any other good ideas for Lenten savings, or financial exercises?

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