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2016 Frugal Living Challenge

edited 28 December 2016 at 5:51PM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
684 replies 117.7K views
FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
6.3K posts
Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
edited 28 December 2016 at 5:51PM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
Join us here for year 9 of our MSE Frugaldom challenge

The Frugal Living Challenge 2016

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 for 2014 and share your journey.

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

The 2015 Challenge is at (I am still unable to link to text on here)

The 2014 Challenge is at (for some reason I am no longer able to link to the text)

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!
I reserve the right NOT to spend:
The less I spend, the more I can afford!
Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise! :D


  • edited 28 December 2015 at 11:33AM
    FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
    6.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 28 December 2015 at 11:33AM
    Handy moneysavers' links can be found here


    My budget is same as usual - £4000 for groceries, utilities, heat, light, clothing, TV, insurance and council tax. No mortgage or rent to pay so everything else goes into renovations, pension planning and the new Frugaldom project etc. :)
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise! :D
  • crazy_cat_ladycrazy_cat_lady Forumite
    6.4K posts
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Photogenic Debt-free and Proud!
    I'm definitely in for 2016 - determined to stay debt free.
    NST May #15 NSD = 2
    Pay all your debt off by 2020 #56 £3864.23/£10000 :scream:
    1% challenge #14 (£26.25) = 16.2%
  • Please can you sign me up for 2016 I am going to get rid of this debt !!! ... Thank you :)
  • Sign me up please :) have a wedding to pay for next year so need to be as frugal us possible (luckily most of wedding is paid for, another £1000 to pay for then done, which I want to try and include in my £5000 budget!) Can be done I am sure using all the tips on here!! X
    Ready for Frugal challenge 2016
  • allie23allie23 Forumite
    1.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Debt-free and Proud! PPI Party Pooper
    Thanks for setting up the new thread for 2016 Frugaldom. I am in again for 2016 - this is one of my favourite threads. I am now debt free but hoping to save money by being more frugal particularly now that we are down to one wage.

    My one extravagance this year will be a holiday abroad - the first in around 12 years.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2020
    Save £12k in 2020 - Challenger No 4 - £10,634/£35,000
    April Grocery Challenge £34.99/£200
  • Can I please be signed up to this? Really need to tackle our debt situation!
  • parsnipheadparsniphead Forumite
    2.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    I'm definitely up for the full year. Thanks for running the challenge Frugaldom.

    I will be back with projected figures soon.......I'm still working on them.
    1 debt v's 100 days chapter 34: T3sco bank CC £250/£525.24 47.59%

  • lynnejklynnejk Forumite
    5.7K posts
    Rampant Recycler Debt-free and Proud!
    Hiya everyone

    I'm in for 2016.

    Trying to save so we can retire in a couple of years.

    Definitely need to set and keep to budget this year, so will be sitting down this week to sort it all out.

    We will still have our holidays though, as DH works so hard and deserves them, but will try to keep all the costs down - there and everywhere else.

    Good luck everyone with this challenge
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
  • nannygladysnannygladys Forumite
    1.4K posts
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Photogenic
    Count me in please will work on it over the next few days, as I'm retired I need to watch the pennies especially as I also would like to visit my dd this year, who lives abroad.
    Frugal challenge 2020
    Sealed pot 13 no.31
    Emergency fund 230.76/1000
  • Please count me in too. I am determined to stay debt free and build up a healthy emergency fund, and start with bits and pieces that need renovating in the house and in the garden.
    "There is Life AFTER DEBT."
    LBM 2009 Total Debt £49046.24 Debt Free as of 27/08/2015
    Trying to replenish 3-6 mos EF
This discussion has been closed.

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