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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Giving Up Groceries for Lent

giving up groceries

A few weeks ago, shortly after Lent began, I made a spur of the moment decision to feed my family on $25 a week for each week of Lent, and then donate the money that we saved to someone in need.
I have to admit, it feels a little crazy to me because:
a) I’ve never given up anything for Lent.  Never.
b) $25 is a very, very small amount of money.
c) since I made the decision so quickly, the pantry was not stocked beyond it’s “normal” state, so there was no preparatory hoarding of dried goods or anything like that.

How it started
I read the introduction to 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.  It is so. incredibly. powerful.  Please go read it.  Read the whole book.
I was already leaning towards the idea of reducing excess with my Love Your Little House series and posts on purging.  And last year, I joined my friend Amy from All Things Home in a Pantry Challenge where we spent only $100 for a month, and instead tried to use up the things in our pantry. It was actually pretty easy. Bart doesn’t even remember that we did it, so I must have done okay!
So when I read that intro, the $25 Idea popped into my head immediately.  I thought about it for about 3 minutes and decided to do it.

The Rules:
Isaac’s special “baby” foods don’t count. I make most of his baby food, and he eats a lot of table foods anyway, but there are certain things we buy JUST for him, and they don’t count. As the weeks have gone by, I’ve had to buy a few things JUST for Adam, too. A bad virus had us all down and out for a few days and I struggled to get him to drink enough liquids, so I had to make a few exceptions to the rules.
Paper products do not count. Cleaning supplies do not count.
We will not eat out, unless someone invites us and they’re paying. That’s a hard one for us – we like to go to Pizza Ranch and/or Subway at least once a week.
Bart can have Subway when he wants. I didn’t exactly get his permission before embarking on this crazy train, so I decided to give him that.
But beyond that, it’s $25, which is probably 1/8th of our normal weekly food budget.
My goal is to feel a bit uncomfortable in order to make others feel more comfortable.
I want to experience the feeling of not being able to buy what I want at the grocery store, eat what I want for dinner, or buy my children the “extras” that they want.
I am pretending to be poor in order to have more empathy for those who really are.
Beyond the spiritual goals:
  • It’s teaching me to take a closer look at the nutritional value of the groceries I buy.
  • I’m being more creative and branching out with our meals, in order to use up pantry supplies.
  • We are wasting much, MUCH less food.  I refuse to throw anything away – we have to figure out a way to use it!

What do you think?  Could your family eat nutritiously on that amount?  Could you “give up groceries” for Lent? 

I’ve got a couple more posts started with some of my reflections from the past few weeks, inexpensive meals and snacks, and money saving tips.  Be sure to follow Squaw Creek using one of the methods on my sidebar so you don’t miss a post.

Shared at Serenity Now.