The good news: I'm old enough now that not even the Catholic church requires me to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (scroll to Canon 1252).
But I want to do something meaningful for Lent, and I'd like it to be more significant than just giving up something (sugar? wine? whining?) or adding something (daily Mass? optimistic blog posts?).
So here's my idea. I think I'd like to try limiting our food budget to the amount we'd get if we got the maximum amount of food stamps in Illinois. For a family of two, that would be $323 a month, or about $74 a week.
Mr Neff suggests that we be more generous and allow ourselves the amount the USDA thinks is sufficient for a couple aged 51 - 70. The most recent figures (November 2008) suggest $79.80. So say we split the difference and make it $77 a week, or $11 a day.
This would cover home-cooked food only--no other grocery store purchases like detergent, no restaurant meals, no alcoholic beverages. Which is not to say we couldn't buy those things, though it would seem like cheating to say we were getting by on $75 - $80 a week if we were actually eating half of our meals downtown.
So, how hard could this be? Well, that means maybe $1.25 for breakfast, $1.25 for lunch, and $3.00 for dinner for each of us. Lots of dried beans, onions, potatoes. Not a whole lot of goat cheese and arugula.
Do we want to do this? If we do, will our diet be balanced and our meals tasty? Can we invite friends over? Would you consider doing it with us? (Then we could get together for amazing potlucks...)