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 and growth. A few years ago I put out a Lenten financial Challenge, and a few folks joined in with my attempts to fix my financial ship, but every year we should think about Lent in finances, and how we can use this time to better our life.
This year I won’t call you folks out, you can do what you wish for Lent in finances, but I will try a few things to see if I can make my financial world better.
Lent in Finances Ideas
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:
- 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. If 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 need a smart phone? Must you have 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?
For me, using cash does not work for me. When I use cash, I tend to “forget” how much I spend because I won’t receive a bill that has a list of item I purchased. I won’t see the whopping number that scares me and encourage me to spend less. Not to mention the 5% cash back from groceries and gas.
I think stop all the auto payment would be a good start. If you pay your own bill, for example phone bill, you will see how much you overuse and adjust accordingly next month. With auto payment, for most people, they won’t even notice they over used.