Friday, February 15, 2008

Lenten Disciplines - Spending

One of the disciplines I've decided to follow this lent is to not buy anything I don't need.  If you think about that though, that could mean a lot of different things.  It could be modified to fit whatever situation.

Say that I realize my car gets 17 miles per gallon of gas.  Then my reservation comes up for the smart ForTwo which gets 40 to 50 miles per gallon.  Seems like the money I'd save and impact on the environment is worth the purchase right?  Ok, maybe not, but say there's a major repair needed on my car, let's just take for example the fact that one front headlight is burnt out.  Now, is it worth spending all that money on the repair, or do I buy the car with a warranty?  Obviously, at this point, I need the car.

Where this reasoning did lead me was just how fungible needs are.  We need food, so we have to spend money going to the grocery store.  When we're there though, how do we decide what we need for food?  Do we need yogurt, or can we survive on cereal?  Do we need cereal or can we go with a banana?  Do we need steak, or can we get by with bread and cheese?  It's so easy for us to confuse wants and needs.  I can't even remember when I lived off of Ramen noodles and $5 for gas in college.

I wonder if it's possible to spend absolutely nothing for Lent.

It'd take some planning.  You'd have to save and prepay your mortgage for a month, not to mention all your other utilities.  You'd have to significantly curtail your driving so that you don't have to buy gas.  You'd have to buy nonperishable food before Lent or survive off of gifts from others.

Just thinking about a spend-free Lent sounds so exciting to me.  To have to plan ahead and live off what you've budgeted, knowing that when you run out, you go without.

Anyone interested in giving it a try with me next year?  I tend to think my wife isn't interested, and I wonder how I could explain it to Rachel.


1 comment:

Missa said...

Nice thought, hope it works for you! But I hope you get a full tank of gas when you drive up, no driving on fumes alloed in NJ, LOL!!
p.s. I guess I'm cooking that whole weekend, aren't I, no wait, Erin and I can go out to eat, hehe!