Since this is America Saves Challenge Week, I thought I would share my Lenten Food Challenge. I feel a little weird sharing this challenge since I was raised to have a secret Lent challenge that only you and God know about. You don’t tell people, you secretly pray, fast and give but I’m going out on a limb and sharing mine.
One of the main sacrifices in Lent is about eating. Either you fast on certain days and you don’t eat meat on others but the basic sacrifice is around eating. You may give up your favorite foods, don’t eat out and give the money you save to charity. Others take part in Operation Rice Bowl. ORB has recipes of third world country meals that are generally vegetarian, definitely not Western diet, and sometimes a little challenging to eat. It is a great opportunity to experience what families in poorer countries eat on a daily basis.
I love to cook. I admit it. I love food and probably, no definitely, overbuy. I am in a continual process improvement mode to prevent overbuying and impulse buying and feel I am making excellent progress. Some of my 12 Laws of Dynamic Domestic Administration are designed on the premises of practicing self-control, being good stewards and sharing and caring.
My husband challenged me this year to use up everything in the freezer and pantry during Lent. The rules are not to buy anything except perishables and paper goods. The goals are to reduce waste, decrease freezer clutter (actually see the back of the freezer), save money, being OK with less, and, at some point, have some idea of what it may be like not to have food in the pantry or little in the freezer.
I don’t think we will starve and we are probably eating healthier. Last night I used up some old whole wheat couscous, a can of garbanzo beans, leftover salad mix and a chicken breast.
Why am I linking this to America Saves? Because in many households we overspend on food. We waste food. Studies report US households waste between 14-25% of the food that is purchased. That may not sound like much but it can add up to $1000 or more year. For Lent, these savings could add up to $100 or more and that is savings in an emergency fund, new car fund, insurance premiums (remember to take care of yourself so you can care for others) or your share and care fund.
What are some of your favorite ways to use up food?