If you haven’t already noticed, this Wednesday is the start of Lent.
Lent (which means lengthen by the way) is the 40-day period which comes before Easter and therefore quite an important event in the Christian calendar.
In olden times people used to be really strict about observing Lent. Some would even fast for the whole 40 days, aiming to replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert before his crucifiction.
Some people still do fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday – the days which start and end Lent.
Giving up food is a big deal, instead nowadays people use Lent as a time of reflection, and instead deprive themselves surrender of something they like such as favourite foods, drinks or smoking.
I know a lot of non Christians who give up stuff during Lent. Now I don’t get smoke – but I do like the odd chocolate or cup of coffee, and have even been known to down a glass of wine or three.
But I was wondering how much money I could save during Lent, so I’ve done some sums I’d like to share with you (by the way all prices have been taken this morning from www.mysupermarket.co.uk)
I have only ever met one person who spent more than £5 on chocolate a day. A small bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk (49grams) costs 58p. Giving up just one of those a day will save you £23.
I’ve already stocked up on caffeine free tea and coffee – and it’s just as expensive, if not more than the caffeinated stuff. Far better to avoid any kind of tea or coffee and instead stick to water. Nescafe coffee is £4 for 200grams, assuming you get through one of these jars a week, you would save £22 over the 40 days . If you drink tea as well, say Tetley 40 tea bags priced at £1.15 (and assuming 5 cups a day you would save around £6.
Now we are talking bigger bucks. Assuming you drink a couple of bottle of wine a week (Jacobs Creek shiraz wine 750ml) at £7.48 and beer (Fosters, four cans for £3.98) then that’s £18.93 a week saved or £108 during lent.
Another bigger bucks saving. The average pack of 20 cigarettes of over £6. Even smoking cessation patches work out at around £3 a day.
Saving (if you smoke between 10 and 20 a day) a whopping £120.
If you are looking at giving up smoking you might want to read my new year resolutions article which appeared in the Independent last month.