Our Financial Lent: Giving up Chocolate and Ice Cream for a Month to Save $14

Financial Chocolate Lent by Madoline Hatter

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.

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4 thoughts on “Our Financial Lent: Giving up Chocolate and Ice Cream for a Month to Save $14”

  1. Thanks for this post. I gave up buying all coffee out and ended up saving quite a bit of money. When Lent is over, I will treat myself to one cup a week but no more than that. I hope that I will remember this post next year when Lent rolls around. Keep up the good work, I enjoy your site.

  2. Hi Denise,

    Thanks for reading our blog and for your comments. We have recently discussed changing our coffee habit, too. For years, we didn’t drink coffee, so when we started buying coffee, we purchased instant, which we’ve been doing for about a year now.

    We just discussed changing over to using grounds and buying a coffee maker, because it seems we could save a lot that way. I still don’t drink a lot of coffee, but I do mostly drink decaf, and instant decaf is quite pricey.

    Just to clarify, we’re not actually Catholic and don’t observe Lent religiously; I just got the idea for a “financial lent/fast” from reading blog posts by others who’ve talked about how Lent has saved them money.

    And the thing about the “financial fast” is that you could do it any time you want as a way of discovering and testing your ability to go without certain things to help save money.

    Thanks again for reading and have a good Lent,

  3. I continue to struggle with giving up Starbucks coffee from the retail store. This past week has been tempting as our local Target has a Starbucks inside. I still brew my coffee each morning at home and it saves us hundreds if not thousands a month. I’m a big fan of pastries as well, but have managed to stay clear.

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