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I'm sure you know that Lent starts today, hence the Mardi Gras celebrations yesterday.  But I don't particularly think you need to be religious to embrace giving up a bad habit or sticking to a good one for the next 40 days.  It can be like any other 40 day time frame, you just happen to have a lot of other people doing it at the same time.  Like me.

I'm not particularly religious.  Well... I'm not religious at all actually.  I think my parents' idea of sending me to Catholic school for 7 years backfired on them.  Regardless, I still embrace the secular side of Christian holidays like Christmas, so I think I'll do the same for Lent.  Abstain from something for 40 days that I might find particularly difficult, in order to be enlightened and do some good in the world.

So, what I am giving up for the next 40 days?  My full grocery budget.  In fact, I plan on cutting it in half.  I normally budget $100 a month for my food, and I don't usually include household goods in that since we get them at Costco.  I'm just focusing on my food for this 40 days, not John's, which is fine since we eat a lot of separate meals since I don't eat meat.  So for the next 40 days, I will only be spending $50 on food.  Technically it should be $50 for 30 days to really be cutting that budget in half but I'm stretching it to the full 40 so I don't have to do math.  I'd like to make it much less than that even, by starting this with a pantry challenge because dear lord why and how do I still have 6 giant cans of black beans?!

This isn't simple a 'see if I can do it' challenge, like a lot of my random goals.  I mean, it is, but it's not the only reason.  I plan on taking everything I would have normally budgeted for groceries and household goods but didn't spend and donating it to the local food pantry.  I'll be back after Easter to report on how I did (or how I failed), share some insights I already know (like how buying bulk and having various kitchen tools to make meals are a privilege and already put me in an easier position than anyone who actually lives at the poverty level and has that much to spend on food every month), and hopefully some insights that are totally new to me.  And of course I'll have some resources to share if you're ever inclined to make your own donations.

My plan for how to accomplish this?  Super cheap foods, discount store shopping (Aldi), and my typical fasting schedule.  And obviously, no eating out.  I think $50 would get wiped out in two instances of eating out here in Chicago, so it's just not feasible.  I'll be tracking every purchase I make and only buying items which are in the budget, which means a lot of beans and rice in-season produce.  And copying a lot of meals from other bloggers/vloggers who have participated in various live below the line challenges.

I'll be back in April to check in after this is all over to report how I did.  If you have any tips for me, let me know.  And also let me know if you've ever done this yourself or plan to, even for a shorter time frame.

I've also got 40 more ideas to share of things you might want to consider giving up for the next 40 days:

  • Cable TV
  • Instagram filters
  • Added sugar
  • Complaining
  • Shopping
  • Eating out
  • Food waste
  • Pop
  • Chocolate
  • Mindless scrolling
  • Salt
  • Texting and driving
  • Hot showers
  • Starbucks
  • Makeup
  • Quick fixes
  • Video games
  • Being late
  • Borrowing money
  • That 3rd cup of coffee
  • Meat
  • Facebook
  • Comparison
  • Drama and gossip
  • Notifications
  • The word 'like'
  • Toxic beauty products
  • Gambling
  • Fast food
  • The snooze button
  • Amazon
  • Nagging
  • Clutter
  • Fast fashion
  • Driving
  • Living in yoga pants
  • Text speak
  • Wine
  • Nail biting
  • Plastic
Do you give up anything for Lent, or add in any good habits?  What will you be doing this year?


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