When I got the idea for my last post, Financial Lent: A Frugal Fast to See What You Can Live Without, Madoline and I wracked our brains for what our financial fast could be. And to be honest, it was really difficult, because we have been economizing so much lately and cut out almost all extra money-costing things.
Things we already don’t do:
- Smoke or drink
- Go to or rent movies
- Shop recreationally
- Eat out
- Drive a lot (I drive 2-3 times a month to run errands, which I can’t do without a car because we’re somewhat isolated
Things we considered cutting:
- Watching DVDs or TV online, but considering it’s one of the few activities we enjoy together and we don’t go out for entertainment, I wasn’t quite willing to give that up.
- Tying to cut our electric bill by not using lights for a week. This would entail getting up and going to bed with the sun, which we will be trying in a while once we get our sleep schedule synced for this.
- Computer use, but as most of our computer use is for income purposes, I decided that this wouldn’t be a practical one at this time.
- Eating less, but as we average 2 meals a day, it didn’t seem a wise idea.
Chocolate and Ice cream
Then today, I thought of one – chocolate and ice cream. We don’t buy chocolate and ice cream on a regular basis year-round, but we do go through phases where we do, and the past month has been one of them.
Within the last 30 days, I bought:
- (Easter) M&M’s twice on sale BOGO at $3.59 (total $7.18 for 4 bags)
- Dreyers ice cream on sale once at $2.99
- Thrifty brand ice cream once at $3.49
That’s a total of $13.66 we spent on chocolate and ice cream in the last month (food items in California are exempt from sales tax).
So we decided that for our first Frugal Lent, we will be abstaining from chocolate and ice cream for the next month. Although we didn’t buy any for a long time prior to last month, it is likely that by having started it up, we might have kept up the habit for at least another month. By abstaining from chocolate and ice cream in the coming month, we estimate that we will save approximately $14.00.
How far $14 can go
That’s enough to buy a DVD, our main source of entertainment, or 70 packs of ramen noodles with which we could make 140 servings of yakisoba, one of our favorite frugal meals. (With vegetables added to the ramen, we each only need 1/2 pack per person per meal.)
Now that I’ve counted this out, I will definitely think twice, or thrice, before buying another pack of chocolate or tub of ice cream. Not that I will never buy those things again, because life is not life if you can’t ever have anything that you enjoy, but I will think more about what other, more important things could be done with that money before I take another order from my sweet tooth.