2014 Frugal Living Challenge

Frugaldom Posts: 6,938 Forumite
Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
edited 19 September 2014 at 11:50AM in Debt-free wannabe challenges

[/FONT]The Frugal Living Challenge 2014

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 '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 for 2014 and share your journey.

The following links will take you to previous MSE versions of this 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 cashback 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 cashback sites and always price compare
Buy reduced items in stores only if you need them
Stockpile & bulk buy
Batch cooking
Make the most of charity shops
Join Freecycle or other similar waste awareness and recycling associations
LETS trading - become active members of trading & exchange groups
Grow your own herbs, fruit & veg
Preserving & winemaking
Beadmaking & home baking
Card & gift making
Order splitting for better discounts & shared postal costs
Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
Free scratchcards
Matched betting
Free online bingo
eBid and eBay trading
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.

(I am neither endorsing nor recommending any of the links provided here, members of our extended frugal community have simply found them to contain helpful information.)

Approved Food - Some amazing bargains if you don't mind short dates or past sell by – save a fortune whilst saving it from landfill!
Bite Card - 20% off food at train stations (ideal for regular travellers)
Budgetbrain - MSE's free to use budget analysis tool - BRILLIANT!
Carrot recipes - loads of ways to use up those carrots
CASHBACK - The official MSE list of sites offering the best cashback deals
Complete (MSE) cooking collection - Loads and loads and loads of recipes
Coupon thread on MSE - For coupons, money off and discounts
Crafting for Christmas - homemade presents
Eggs, eggs, eggs - Frugaldom's '100 things to do with eggs' list
Electricity & Gas savings - monitor your electricity & gas with the MoneySaving Carbon Club
Flannel Cake making - unusual gifts
Food Bargains - Discounted food, short dated and past 'BBE' dates
Foraging & Preserving - free foods, when, where, what to do with them
Free crafts ideas - how to make papier mache banks etc
Freecycle - don't bin it, rehome it
Freegle - Originally Freecycle in UK
FREE Spreadsheet - link to Cheryl's (CW18) budget spreadsheet
Frugaldom - Home of this challenge
Gift Baskets & Hampers - an index to the MSE relevant threads
Gifts in a jar - you don't need a canner for these
Greenfingered money saving - Gardening & growing your own food
Grocery bargains - Supermarket price reduction times
Homemade Rhubarb Champagne - quick, cheap and easy
How to make a sealed pot - saving all your spare change in papier mache banks
Hunger Site - Charity site where every click counts
i-Measure - log your meter readings and try to reduce your carbon footprint
Laundry Gloop and loads of other frugal cleaning related 'recipes'
Leftovers - don't bin them, get creative, make another meal.
LETS - Local Exchange Trading Schemes and alternative currencies within communities
Martin's mad moneysaver ads - a surprising new addition to the site - advertising offers!
Martin's current offers & discount codes - updated daily
Menu Planning - hundreds of options and suggestions
My FREE spreadsheet - where to download from
Nutrition and diet info, an excellent thread - thanks to Weezl74
Old Style indexed collection - Indexed collection of links, hints and tips for anything old style, moneysaving and frugal.
Preparing for winter the frugal way
Recipes part 1 - thanks to Rosieben on the Grocery Challenge
Recipes part 2 - thanks, again, to Rosieben
Remoska discussion - everything you need to know about Remoska ovens
Rural Moneysaving Hunt - official MSE discussion
Selling on eBid - decluttering and recycling for cash with no listing fees
Slow Cooker Recipes - on MSE
Snowman Soup - always a favourite with frugallers during the festive season
Soapnuts - The frugal, eco-friendly alternative to soap powder or detergents (free samples)
Soapnuts thread on MSE - discuss, ask questions here
Spending Diary - excellent free resource for recording your spends
Start a cottage industry - the official MSE discussion
Veg Planner - free printable vegetable planting guide/calendar from the RHS
Weezl74's 50p per person per day eating healthily thread
Weezl74's frugal recipe testing thread - Phase 1
Will Power & Billy Can - part 1, part 2, part 3
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 wants. It runs from 1st January to 31st December 2014 The links will give you an idea of how previous challenges have gone and these will be updated accordingly.
I reserve the right not to spend.
The less I spend, the more I can afford.

Frugal living challenge - living on £4000 in 2024


  • Frugaldom
    Frugaldom Posts: 6,938 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
    At the moment, there is no challenger list. Anyone can join or leave this challenge whenever they like, come and go as you please.

    It's all about budgeting to within a penny and stretching those finances to get as much as possible for your money. I will use this post for updates and additions throughout 2014.

    Good luck to all who choose to take part and thank you for joining Frugaldom. :)
    I reserve the right not to spend.
    The less I spend, the more I can afford.

    Frugal living challenge - living on £4000 in 2024
  • nat21luv
    nat21luv Posts: 3,434 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Cashback Cashier
    subscribing this year! I half heartedly joined in this year but next year im in for the long haul :D
    £20k in 2023 = £2718 £2023 in 2023 = £196.41 Grocery challenge £250= £195.80 **MONEY MAKES ME HAPPY**
  • Frugaldom
    Frugaldom Posts: 6,938 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
    Thanks for joining us and good luck with 2014! :)
    I reserve the right not to spend.
    The less I spend, the more I can afford.

    Frugal living challenge - living on £4000 in 2024
  • I would like to sign up for 2014 please desperately want to get rid of all my debt. Currently have a debt free month set to January 2015 but would love to pay it off sooner if I can.
    That voice in your head that says you can’t do this is a LIAR!

    Debt Free - January 2021 :D
  • WantToBeSE
    WantToBeSE Posts: 7,729 Forumite
    I've been Money Tipped! Debt-free and Proud!
    I would like to join this please :) I am already debt free and am desperate to move house as i have the neighbours from HELL. In order to move, i must save save save as much as possible!
  • I would love to join as well my debt free date is in 2015 but I want it gone by the end of 2014
  • I'm subscribing, new to this debt free journey so need to be as tight as possible with the funds!
    Grocery Challenge 2020
    Jan £377.98/£380, Feb £417.83/£370 March /£400
  • araminta
    araminta Posts: 218 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Debt-free and Proud!
    Hi all, I am aiming to become debt free by 2014 so this challenge is exactly what I need.
    DMP Nov 09 £25,851.93 DMP June14 £0 100% paid:D
    [STRIKE]Target DFD 31st Dec 2014[/STRIKE] DFD 7th June 2014:j
    VSP no 118 £153.25 Weekly Savings Challenge #12 £276/£1378 PAYD by Xmas 2014 #095 8,500/8,500 = 100% paid #22 £365 in 365 days 168/365
  • me please! I have been lurking for a few months but I need to get involved! Next year is a big year for my household, we are having major work done to the house and its going to cost a lot meaning we need to seriously tighten our belts so im in :)
  • Include me please as a first timer.Need to keep on track.
    Thank you.
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