Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 2 and these are the things to give up that could save you money including wine and takeaway food
Alongside New Year’s resolutions, Lent is the prime time for giving up something you enjoy.
In a test of self-discipline it means going without something you'll really miss or making a pledge to do or not do something for 40 days in the run up to Easter Sunday.
Chocolate, caffeine, snacking or maybe even social media - there are plenty of things that may be at the top of the list for likely Lent sacrifices but with the cost of living rising substantially could you abstain from something that will save you some pennies too?
With help from the financial experts at Barclays here are some money-saving suggestions you could adopt for Lent.
For wine enthusiasts, 40 days without sipping might sound quite a challenge. But Barclays have worked out you could save £12 a week, with a total saving of £68 across Lent.
This figure was calculated based on a person drinking two bottles a week, and buying the UK’s favourite type of wine – pinot grigio – which comes in at £6 a bottle at the UK’s leading supermarket. If you tend to drink more in your household or splash out more per bottle, there will of course be extra savings.
2. Chocolates and sweets
If you have a sweet tooth, this Lent pledge takes a lot of willpower but it is often one of the most popular and the pennies saved might spur you on even more this year.
Abandoning one chocolate bar a day and bag of sweets a week, costing £1 per chocolate bar (based on the price of Cadbury Dairy Milk at the UK’s largest supermarket) and 79p for a bag of sweets (based on the price of Haribo there), and you’ll be £7.79 a week better off, with a total saving of £44.50.
3. Clothing and footwear
You don’t have to be a shopaholic to appreciate those little end of week fashion fixes or pay day treats. Whether it’s a denim shirt or new pair of high street trainers, it is estimated that you could be putting £10.97 a week or £63 aside for a rainy day, or better still, a summer break if you can stem the shopping for 40 days.
These prices were based on ONS research showing this is the average amount spent on clothing and footwear each week in the UK.
This really hits where it hurts. How much did we love our takeaways during lockdown and how much of a relief is it to take the night off cooking?
But based on statistics from KPMG showing Brits spent on average £12.34 a week on takeaways, which works out at £70.50 across Lent, this could really motivate you to think more about meal planning or classic comfort food and perhaps a Sunday roast - with any leftovers going towards a budget-friendly, midweek meal.
5. Shop-bought sandwiches
Getting up that little bit earlier to make a regular sandwich with often only the standard meat / cheese / salad options that you find in your fridge is both an effort when you're in a rush and often uninspiring. But with large triple sandwich costing £3.79 from a major supermarket, if you buy three a week, that’s more than £11 swallowed up. And that's without being tempted to purchase other food items, magazines or snacks each lunch time because you're tempted by what's on the shelves. Could you be better off with a loaf and a tin of tuna - the experts at Barclays think it might save you over £60 by April.
6. Coffee shops
Prices vary by location but chances are you’re paying quite a lot for a latte or cappuccino. Top that with a croissant or muffin and you’ll likely have little change from a fiver.
If you can pass on that coffee break treat with a snack on the side three times a week for Lent you stand to save yourself around £85.
7. Going out out
With lockdown restrictions coming to an end in England and so many social occasions missed over the last two years, we're all enjoying meeting up with friends and family again. And with pubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, festivals… all vying for our business there are plenty of reasons to be tempted out of an evening.
However, with a pint of lager costing £3.79 on average according to the British Beer And Pub Association’s website, getting a round in comes at a price. And that’s before you buy the tickets for that show, the cinema screening or the meal on top.
We’re not suggesting giving up seeing friends for Lent – but for 40 days could you be more cost conscious on nights out? Perhaps try a BYO restaurant so you’re not being hit with a huge bar bill, look out for special Monday night restaurant deals, and when booking tickets online, watch out for hidden extras such as booking fees.
And check out sites such as Groupon (for deals on cinema tickets, attractions, clothing, makeup and even toilet paper), Lastminute.com and todaytix for cut price entertainment tickets and more.