On Tuesday, people all over America threw a massive party for Mardi Gras. Even at my office, people brought in king cake, jambalaya and colorful beads. It’s the all-out celebration that happens before Lent begins the next day, which involves choosing something to sacrifice or abstain from for the next 40 days until Easter arrives.
I was raised Jewish, so I’ve never had to do anything like this. The concept seems a little foreign to me — 40 days is a long time to give something up! But it also seems like a great opportunity to exercise some discipline and avoid a frequent negative behavior. I have one friend who is giving up smoking. Another friend is quitting Diet Coke. In the past, I’ve had friends who gave up chocolate, television, alcohol and other habits that weren’t bringing much to the table.
I’ve also heard of people using Lent as a time to give up accumulating debt with credit cards, unnecessary spending or expensive habits like eating out. I’m tempted to try giving up something for Lent, as I know plenty of people who aren’t very religious but do it anyway. I would fare well from giving up online shopping — since I signed up for Amazon Prime membership (which involves shopping perks for an annual fee), it’s made it almost too easy to buy things. But since I don’t have a religious connection to Lent, the point would be about wanting to make an improvement in my life.
Have you ever given up something for Lent? How did it go? If you’re sacrificing spending for Lent or just want to have better money habits, read on for my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week.
1. Dinks Finance helps readers identify their spending personality and what they can do when it becomes problematic.
2. Married w/ Debt introduces his second rule in his debt-elimination series: Spend less than you earn.
3. Give Me Back My Five Bucks explains why you shouldn’t be afraid to make outrageous personal finance goals for yourself.
4. Finance For Youth shares some cool games that can help teach your kids about money management and debt in a fun way.
5. Wise Bread lists five money truths that may not seem obvious.
6. Generation X Finance suggests some ways you can spend your tax refund. Hint: It might be prudent to use it to pay off high-interest debt!
7. I love having a gym membership, but if you really need to cut costs, Debt Free Adventure explains how you can stay fit without a gym and without major expense.
8. Careful Cents features a guest post that discusses whether you should ever sell your assets to pay off your debt.
9. The Digerati Life features a thorough guideline on money 101, helping those first starting out learn the personal finance basics and how to create a smart plan.