Did I spend any money that did not comply with my Lenten resolution  (only food, housing, and gas) during the last two weeks? I’m not sure.

  1. $5 – Fish Fry: I justified this as both simple food (which is allowed) and a donation since it supports an inner city school
  2. $10 – Donation: Since construction prevented my usual donation to the sidewalk panhandler, I gambled the money at the Fish Fry’s “Split the Pot.” If I had won, I planned to donate the winnings back to the school.
  3. $50 – Donation to my professional association which needed extra money
  4. $250 – Professional expense: Registration for World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September. I would lose the early bird discount if I had waited.
  5. $65 – Professional expense: Dues to another professional organization.
  6. $15 – 3 Fish Fry meals. (See #1. We had 2 guests that I treated.)
  7. $4 – Contra dance admission: I could have stayed late and cleaned up thus getting a free admission but Jim didn’t go this week and I knew he would appreciate me coming home earlier. Does marital harmony count as a justification?
  8. $10 – Postage: An out-of-town friend left some belongings here. I mailed them back. He said he would reimburse me. Does that make it a non-payment? If I were really poor, waiting for reimbursement may be a bigger deal.
  9. Days 365+94 Whoopie cushion$6.81 – Whoopee Cushion: Now don’t laugh. A friend is in the hospital with a bowel obstruction. Without going into the gory details, suffice it to say that she needs to poop or fart before she will be released from the hospital. In addition to prayer I thought a little humor might lighten her spirit. It makes me feel good to be thoughtful like this but would a really poor person feel that a gag gift was too much of a luxury.

Total non-allowed expenditures for 2 weeks: $415. 81.  ($80 could be justified as donations and $315 as professional expenses. BUT $4 for marital harmony?  $6.81 to humor a friend? I keep measuring myself against what a very low income person would be able to do. My decisions these 2 weeks show that I have a choice. They might not.  What do you think is justifiable? Fair?

In addition to my expenditures I noticed that I received the equivalent of 5 free meals because of eating with others who provided the food. I wasn’t going to a soup kitchen, but I was the beneficiary of other’s cooking.

How do you feel about taking charity? About being able to treat other people?