Yesterday was the first day of Lent, which means it was the first day of mine and Tag’s Lenten sacrifice.

There are about a billion things I could do to make myself a better person, but Tag is almost perfect so it was hard to find something we could do together. However, after a little discussion we decided that we wouldn’t eat out for the next 40 days.

Stop Eating Out to Save Money

One of the best reasons to stop eating out is simply because it will save money. I have no idea exactly how much money you can save by saving money, but I do know it’s pretty substantial. A meal at a fast food restaurant is always around $5-10 and is usually terribly unhealthy.

healthy dinner

photo credit: anneheathen

A loaf of bread and a pound of deli meat is also around $10. Add a few bucks for chips and fruit and you can eat lunch all week for less than what it costs to eat lunch out for two days.

For dinner we can save even more money. We typically spend more money on something a bit nicer when we get dinner, so let’s call it $10 a person. That’s a lot of money for just one meal. I’m sure I can at least cut that in half and still have a great meal at home.

It looks like we are talking about over $100 a month just by cooking food at home. That’s not bad.

Stop Eating Out to Stop Getting Fat

Full disclosure: I’m surprised I’m not dead from all the chicken nuggets and french fries I’ve eaten in the course of my life.

Just try to find someplace that serves a healthy vegetable at a restaurant. If you find that, you’re probably at a crazy fancy place that is going to run you $20+ per meal.

By eating at home we are going to be able to control our portions better, include more fruits and vegetables, and stop giving our hard earned money to Mr. McDonald and Mrs. Wendy.

Give Up Something for Lent!

Whether you are a christian or not, now is as good a time as any to spend the next 40 days (not including Sundays) giving up a bad habit or committing to a good habit.

Try to pick something that’s easy to keep track of. “Work out more” or “eat healthier” are bad examples because there’s not a good way to measure them. Something like “don’t eat out” or “go to the gym 5 times a week” are much better because either you did it or you didn’t.

Finally, remember that it’s only 40 days and you get to cheat on Sundays. If you count the number of days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday there are 46 days; remove the Sundays (because they are for celebration, not fasting) and you get the 40 days of Lent.

I think New Year’s resolutions fail so often because there’s no end in sight. With this, you get 40 days and you’re done.

If you want to keep going after 40 days, tell someone to give you a high five. If you get to 40 and go back to normal, then at least you saved money or got healthier for 40 days, right?

Readers: Share your Lenten sacrifices or resolutions.