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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 28th Dec 16, 4:54 PM
    • 5,823Posts
    • 50,015Thanks
    2017 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Dec 16, 4:54 PM
    2017 Frugal Living Challenge 28th Dec 16 at 4:54 PM
    Join us here for year 10 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

    The Frugal Living Challenge 2017

    It's that time of year again, the time when we all need to start thinking ahead into the new year and how we are going to tackle any debts, generate extra income and squirrel away some savings.

    Please take the time to read this post in full and check out the HANDY LINKS section. If you have any questions, feel free to message me.

    This is an adaptation of the NYK/Frugaldom 'Living on £4,000 for a Year' challenge. It has been running here on MSE for several years, although these particular money challenges began back in the 90's, elsewhere. We have seen many changes over the years, so this version is a catalogue of diaries charting the progress of 'debt free wannabe' money savers.

    Your budget is personal to you, it should fit with your personal financial situation.

    Some have already achieved their debt free status and now follow frugal lifestyles in order to stay debt free. Others are still tackling their debts and living a frugal life in an attempt to teach their debt-free and/or mortgage-free day. Whichever stage you are at, feel free to join us and share your journey.

    The following links will take you to previous MSE versions of this challenge:

    The 2016 Challenge

    The 2015 Challenge

    The 2014 Challenge

    The 2013 Challenge

    The 2012 Challenge

    Part 1 - January to March 2011
    Part 2 - April to June 2011
    Part 3 - July to December 2011

    Introduction to the 2010 Challenge
    Part 1 - January to March 2010
    Part 2 - April to June 2010
    Part 3 - July to September 2010
    Part 4 - October to December 2010

    Part 1 - January to March 2009
    Part 2 - April to June 2009
    Part 3 - July to September 2009
    Part 4 - October to December 2009

    Part 1 - January to March 2008
    Part 2 - April to June 2008
    Part 3 - July to September 2008
    Part 4 - October to December 2008

    Please respect others' lifestyles and beliefs. We are not here to judge, we are here to support. Thank you

    This challenge is about living a frugal lifestyle - establishing your true cost of living, sticking to your budget, clearing any debts and making savings wherever and however you can to enable you to live the life you really want.

    Frugal living isn't for everyone, but everyone is welcome to join us. Methods employed by our merry band of frugalers include batch cooking, stockpiling, preserving, foraging, mending, shopping in charity shops, reducing, reusing, recycling, Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS), Vegetable and fruit growing, allotments, keeping hens, using cash back sites and earning whatever it takes to become self sufficient in managing the cost of living without incurring debt.

    For some it is initially about clearing debt, for others it's about increasing savings, buying property, becoming stay at home mums or paying off the mortgage early. Some choose the lifestyle on ethical grounds. Above all, this is a fun and supportive way to manage your budget so you have control of your own cost of living. It's about NEEDS and not WANTS.

    Living on a budget = living within our means.
    Frugal = thrifty, living without waste

    Ideas to help you achieve and/or maintain debt free living
    Recognise the differences between needs from wants

    Spend within your means
    Set a proper budget
    Quit expensive habits
    Get a lodger
    Shop via cash-back sites and always price compare
    Buy reduced items in stores only if you need them
    Stockpile & bulk buy bargains
    Batch cooking
    Make the most of charity shops
    Join freebie or waste awareness and recycling associations
    LETS trading - become active members of trading & exchange groups
    Grow your own herbs, fruit & veg
    Preserving & winemaking
    Breadmaking & home baking
    Card & gift making
    Order splitting for better discounts & shared postal costs
    Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
    Online trading - auctions, stores, social media pages
    etc, etc, etc...

    Monitoring and revising the budget is part of frugal living plan. Gifts & cards could all to be homemade, livestock needs to pay its own keep, anything else needs to be cash neutral.

    The bits we need to include to make this work

    Please read the MSE forum rules and help us to keep this challenge on track, thank you.
    If you have any questions about this challenge, feel free to PM me.
    The following is taken from the official MSE forum rules section:


    Please try not to take threads off-topic. This can be confusing for new users and makes it especially difficult for people ... Where requests from Board Guides for threads to be brought back on track have not been followed off-topic posts may be removed. We encourage community, but not thread derailment.

    Please bear in mind the main purpose of the site is to save money. The forum team has therefore been instructed to prioritise its time on the MoneySaving forums.


    There are two boards provided for off-topic chat and discussion. The MoneySavers Arms has been set up for fun, more lighter-hearted chat (although do still remember this is a family forum – keep it clean please). Discussion Time is for discussion of current issues (read Martin’s description).

    If you post a topic that does not relate to the board it’s posted on it will be moved to a more relevant MoneySaving board or to Discussion Time/The MoneySavers Arms.

    This challenge is about paying for needs so we can afford to live debt free and save for/afford wants. It runs from 1st January to 31st December. The links will give you an idea of how previous challenges have gone and these will be updated accordingly.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 28-12-2016 at 5:02 PM. Reason: Updating
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Frugal Living Rocks!
Page 13
    • allie23
    • By allie23 9th Jul 17, 3:04 PM
    • 1,246 Posts
    • 13,604 Thanks
    Haven't been as active on the forum over the past wee while. I really need to get back on here regularly as it does help keep me focussed.

    Kerry, well done on getting 2 pairs of glasses for that price! I went back to the opticians as my distance glasses I got about a year ago weren't doing the job anymore. My eyes have got worse so I needed new distance glasses and now I also need reading glasses. I reused old frames but it still cost me £100 for the lenses. It is a relief though to be seeing clearly again!!

    On the frugal front I haven't been very good. Now that I am back working again the spending has crept up so I need to keep a check on this. July is main holiday month for me so spending is pretty high this month. I will look to reign it in again from August onwards.

    Yesterday OH and I spend a while clearing out the loft (only partially done, still got lots left to do) and I discovered some old journals and some books so I will spend some time today going through them. Already went through some of the old journals and it is really interesting to reflect back on things and see how much I have changed in terms of my priorities and values in the past 10 years.

    Frugal plans today are:
    1. Today will be a NSD
    2. Finish off food from the fridge/freezer in food plan for next few days.

    Have a great day everyone.
    Save £12k in 2017 - Challenger 11 - £14,920/£24,000
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 9th Jul 17, 3:09 PM
    • 1,945 Posts
    • 18,346 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    allie23 - Have amended my post. Both frames total cost £138. Lens should have cost £45 per frames. Sorry for the confusion. But still happy with the money I have saved. It is amazing how expensive they cost if you need glasses for both distant and reading.
    Last edited by Kerry Woman; 09-07-2017 at 3:53 PM.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2017
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NSK September SFD 11/18 Food/Household £105.90/£150 Exercise 14
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 10th Jul 17, 5:53 PM
    • 1,945 Posts
    • 18,346 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    I had to get new trousers for work recently. Managed to get 2 M&S ones in a charity shop for £3 each. They still need to be turned up and they are just slightly too long. I was planning to buy a tub of coconut oil to try. Went to a show in Olympia on Friday and there was a tub in a free goody bag(a good size one as well). I was just talking to my Mum during the week about getting a tub and see if it will be any good for her nails. She has psoriasis and it has affected her nails as some have come off. I read it is good for strengthening nails. Might help with the skin as well.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2017
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NSK September SFD 11/18 Food/Household £105.90/£150 Exercise 14
    • allie23
    • By allie23 21st Jul 17, 5:39 PM
    • 1,246 Posts
    • 13,604 Thanks
    Afternoon everyone. Been having a think about how to get myself motivated again. I am planning a spending freeze next month which I think me and OH will find quite hard. We have got into some bad habits, particularly takeaways and nipping down to the local corner shop for bits here and there which all add up.

    I did my first 'womble' today in a long time at Asda. I just haven't had time to do this regularly since going back to wok full time. But today was good going. In total the 4 receipts were worth £7.66. I have set myself a wee goal to try and get roughly £20 - £30 to put towards a bottle of whisky which will form part of a gift for my Dad's 70th birthday this year.

    Plans for out spending freeze next month still have to be agreed with OH but my main ideas for now are:
    1. No takeaways
    2. Bake treats at home regularly rather than nipping to the shop for a packet of biscuits (and the rest).
    3. Packed lunches for work. I go back to work on 21 August and before we finished up for hols I was really tired and had lost the will to think what I could have for lunch, so ended up going to the canteen each day. The food there is not great plus it's expensive, so I want to focus on lunches and snacks from home. OH will also take HM lunches to work.
    4. Womble at least 2 - 3 time a week.
    5. Go through the budget and reduce our personal spends category to £30 each (for dire emergency only)!!
    6. We have 3 birthdays coming up in August. I already have one gift bought so just need to wrap it. The other will need to be a voucher for various reasons so I might try zeek (never used it before though) - done, National Book Token Face value £20 bought for £18, happy with that - and the other is OHs so we will agree on something cheap or free for that.
    7. Attempt to buy nothing from Amazon for the entire month!
    Last edited by allie23; 21-07-2017 at 8:18 PM.
    Save £12k in 2017 - Challenger 11 - £14,920/£24,000
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 26th Jul 17, 6:46 AM
    • 6,428 Posts
    • 36,618 Thanks
    determined new ms
    As I knew I would I have lost the thread of keeping up with all my spends over the year. I know I'm over budget in some areas and under in others. I'm still incredibly frugal in my day to day life though

    recent frugal activities include a lot of processing allotment produce to make the most of it Due to my chaotic way in life and being busier at times I didn't get all of my seeds sown at the beginning of the season which fortunately has meant we have a glut of one or two things, they start to slow down and then not long after another comes into harvest

    I've getting around £50+ of hg organic veg each week.

    I've picked up some tricks from an old hand at the allotment which have all turned out well when my broadbeans were finished he advised to cut them back rather than pulling and they might sprout again and I'll have a second lot. I did this last week and about 1/3 have started to resprout

    He also suggested when I was thinning swedes and beetroot to plant the thinnings somewhere else and they have come back to life

    I've made 4 jars of courgette chutney, 3 of chilli jam, 1 of blackcurrant, & 3 of blackberry. all I paid for was sugar, vinegar & got 10 red peppers from a friends work for £2 (instead of £5 I would have spent in a sm )

    groceries took a nig hit last month - after 2 months of being so busy and madam's birthday party but most months - and was £100 over but most months have been well under and as a result I have skimmed £60 into a savings account for xmas should also be able to skim over £20 this month as well

    I managed to get a perfect dress for a wedding I am going to at a bootfair last week for £3 I just need to take it up.

    I have many mixed feelings about working part time. I love the time off and freedom, and have a very demanding job so often feel like I need the time off otherwise I'd be so stressed. Actually it hasn't been so bad having so little spare cash, although at times I miss the freedom of not having to think too much about spending money if I want something. It's swings and roundabouts!

    Anyway I hope you're all keeping the faith x
    Last edited by determined new ms; 26-07-2017 at 7:07 AM.
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling '16 £2874.33 Roadkill £28.25
    Wombling YTD £2839.06/Roadkill £8.58
    SFDs Sept 6/18 CC saved £2372.50 Veg grown £376.20
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 1st Aug 17, 9:31 AM
    • 1,945 Posts
    • 18,346 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Just added up the total for each category for July. Overall total for general spends was high in July. Had to get reading and distant glasses, also had to put my desktop in to get repaired - waiting for that to be sorted out.

    Still managed to get some NDS' s during July. Still decluttering as took bag of things to charity shop, some things to recycling centre, general recycling and had to bin some things. Did use up another cream.

    Had some temp work last month. Still have to sort out something's for me to start in bank staff for an organisation. Have to keep a close eye on all spending. Did meet up with some people who I used to work with. Planning another meet up for March next year and hopefully more people can attend as some could not come for various reasons
    Frugal Living Challenge 2017
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NSK September SFD 11/18 Food/Household £105.90/£150 Exercise 14
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 8th Aug 17, 2:45 PM
    • 6,428 Posts
    • 36,618 Thanks
    determined new ms
    I was given 2kgs of plums yesterday so have set about making 3 regular & 3 small size jars of Jam I will test it out when it cools but I think 2 of the small jars will be gifts for people. Grand total less than £1 (not including energy to cook)

    Also just made a batch of roasted tomato sauce to use up a glut of tomatoes - 1.5kgs of toms not wasted mmmmm
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling '16 £2874.33 Roadkill £28.25
    Wombling YTD £2839.06/Roadkill £8.58
    SFDs Sept 6/18 CC saved £2372.50 Veg grown £376.20
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 31st Aug 17, 9:29 AM
    • 1,945 Posts
    • 18,346 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Have added up the total for spends in August. No plans to spend today as no plans to go out or buy anything on the internet. General spending as yet again gone up. It is more also on this time last year. Have managed to do some NSD's. Had to get a new laptop as the shop I put my desktop could not fix it, but got back the £60. Used money from savings for laptop. My brother in law managed to get me a refurbished laptop and so far so good. Did manage to do more decluttering this month. 2 black bags of textiles and the old computer and parts to the recycling centre. A carrier bag of things to the charity shop. General bits in recycling bin in communal bin area. Some things were binned. Did save some money on a few items. Do need to seriously cut back again. Did submit a meter reading today. Luckily I did as if I did not they would have taken the standard quarterly direct debit of £129 instead of £80.37. My mobile phone bill has been lower for the last few months as they have taken off an extra £5 off for loyalty. So happy about that.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2017
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NSK September SFD 11/18 Food/Household £105.90/£150 Exercise 14
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 31st Aug 17, 10:00 AM
    • 1,945 Posts
    • 18,346 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Also done some volunteering during August. Have been doing this volunteering during the summer since 2012, only missed 1 year. They have given us a prepaid card which they put money on so we can put money on our oyster to cover travel expenses and £5 per shift to cover refreshments. So had to go to M&S to get the refreshments. Any excuse to go there and enjoyed the refreshments.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2017
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NSK September SFD 11/18 Food/Household £105.90/£150 Exercise 14
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 2nd Sep 17, 4:38 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 391 Thanks
    I have totally lost the plot and have no idea where I am now this year - however, I am going to be spending the rest of it back on the frugal living track and make up for my absolute loss of control and at most times, sense!!
    MFW £3031.96/£22968.96
    • foxyloxy11
    • By foxyloxy11 3rd Sep 17, 7:40 PM
    • 220 Posts
    • 1,198 Thanks
    Pleased that routine is back after the holidays and that I can get back to saving instead of spending. Cupboard checked and meals planned. tomato glut turned into soup and sauces in freezer and have lots of lovely food in there so helping to keep shopping costs down. Feel like I have regained my frugal mojo now the routine has returned.
    loved the holidays but need a bit of order to stay focused
    365 day penny challenge - £126.00/£667.95
    £1000 Emergency fund challenge #225 - £120.00/£1000 Stage 1
    • Mooloo
    • By Mooloo 3rd Sep 17, 7:52 PM
    • 9,128 Posts
    • 44,569 Thanks
    I have totally lost the plot and have no idea where I am now this year - however, I am going to be spending the rest of it back on the frugal living track and make up for my absolute loss of control and at most times, sense!!
    Originally posted by squirrelgirl
    You sound exactly like me!
    This year it all went to pot, with helping family and friends in trouble etc. But now I have left myself really in a tricky space.
    My freezer is full of meat. My cupboards are full of all sorts of weird and wonderful things that I don't use enough.
    I am challenging myself to turn it around before the year is out.
    Dgd returns to school on Tuesday and I hope that I will find it easier then. She doesn't want school dinners, so I need to organise the lunches tomorrow.
    I need to go back to the start of the thread and implement as much as I can once more. So I am in a better position for the next year.
    When I die I will know that I have lived, loved, mattered and made a difference, even if in a small way.
    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 17th Sep 17, 1:10 PM
    • 2,140 Posts
    • 13,518 Thanks
    Sounds like a dodgy year for many folks on here, myself included. The past twelve months are one to forget but now things are beginning to settle down I have started to not only look at getting back to basics but perhaps find time to spend on my interests from years ago, before I became so afraid of my debt I got completely stuck.

    I'm going to spend time this afternoon finishing off the greenhouse after moving it down the garden. I have plans in place for next year and abundant crops.

    My house is beginning to look better and much less decluttered. This will be completed by Christmas. Perhaps giving me enough time and space for a little home brew.

    I'm looking forward to the last few months of the year and the next twelve months ahead. Hurray for a bit of stability.
    Last edited by parsniphead; 17-09-2017 at 1:12 PM.
    My August to Christmas challenge:.
    Pay off £2500 debt - £206/2500 8.24%
    Completely declutter the house by Christmas day...all of it.

    Nothing should be wasted on the self-sufficient holding. The dustman should never have to call. John Seymour
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 17th Sep 17, 6:20 PM
    • 1,945 Posts
    • 18,346 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Still plodding along and trying to be careful with spending. Got a temping job working in a school office. The travelling gets in down as it is one and a half hours each way by bus - have a book to read so that helps. Bring my own lunch into work. At least it is a job for now. Also got a job interview on Wednesday for a permanent job. Cannot believe how this year has flown. Still on medication for my depression/anxiety. Have been struggling with it at the moment as feeling very tired. Have booked to 3 plays at a local theatre for the coming months.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2017
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NSK September SFD 11/18 Food/Household £105.90/£150 Exercise 14
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