New Post Advanced Search

Coronavirus: The latest from MSE

The MSE team is working extremely hard to keep the info we have about your travel rights, cancellation rights, sick pay (and more) up to date.
The official MSE guides: UPDATED MSE Coronavirus Guides


New, free ‘Academoney’ course from MSE and the Open University launches
All the key areas of personal finance are covered, so that you can master your money decisions

2017 Frugal Living Challenge

edited 29 December 2017 at 8:55PM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
315 replies 97.5K views
FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
6.3K posts
Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
edited 29 December 2017 at 8:55PM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
Join us here for year 10 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

Edited in - The 2018 Frugal Living Challenge is here.

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!
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


  • FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
    6.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Back soon to prepare for 2017's epic year 10 challenge! I hope you'll join us! :beer:
    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
  • Kerry_WomanKerry_Woman Forumite
    2.9K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Mortgage-free Glee!
    Definitely going to be doing this in 2017. Going to do the budget in the next few days.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2020
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST May 2020: May the force be with you NSD 19/20
  • FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
    6.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    No need to submit your username to take part, you are free to come and go as you please, contribute however and whenever you can, pursue your dream (or maintain your realised dream) of debt freedom and for our absolute beginners, welcome to a new way of life.

    Once you have achieved your debt free day, frugal living becomes is a lifestyle choice. My choice was to continue pursuing it and ploughing everything I saved from living this way into making life much more interesting and, hopefully, create an actual Frugaldom experience. Without the virtual support of fellow challengers and actual support of those pursuing a similar lifestyle around me, my journey would probably have ended several years ago, but here I am - still frugaling, still pursuing financial self-sustainability and forever creeping closer to my ultimate goals.

    Thank you to all who have taken part, followed, supported, contributed, helped and even scorned or hindered, for without you all, what has been achieved this far may not have been possible.

    Welcome to another year of Frugaldom - let's get together and make 2017 great.
    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
  • Captain_BluebearCaptain_Bluebear Forumite
    213 posts
    Part of the Furniture Debt-free and Proud!
    Hi there
    I've always loved the look of this challenge but have always stumbled upon it well into a new year. Please may I join you all this year?!

    Thank you!
    Captain Bluebear.
    LBM Dec 15 £5,629 paid £2740 in 2016

    PAYDBX17 #66 £2889/£2889
    Debt free on 31/10/17!!!
  • parsnipheadparsniphead Forumite
    2.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    Hi Frugaldom

    After last years troubles I intend to change things this year. Thank you for the link.

    I use everyd0llar and have done a basic budget for the coming year. I'm just in the process of looking at each month and tweaking it.

    Tomorrow I'm planning a fridge/freezer inventory to see where i can cut back on the first shopping trip of the year in January. I'm planning to make this year a zero waste year for food. Lots more planning needed.

    I also need to look at garden plans. It has been very productive in past years and I need to get back to the same if not better amount of fruit and veg produced. I want to eat as much as possible from the garden. I would also like chickens but this may be a while off. I've been saying that for fourteen years though, perhaps I just need to get the coop sorted by converting one of the three sheds. There isn't much in them to sort so it's not a big job. Oh and I need to replace glass in the greenhouse.

    If I can start bringing in the same amount from my self employment as I do in wages I should be debt free this year and start building a safety nets with the extra.

    I look forward to [STRIKE]stealing[/STRIKE], I mean taking on board everyone's ideas of how to cut costs.;)

    Good luck for the coming year.

    P x
    1 debt v's 100 days chapter 34: T3sco bank CC £250/£525.24 47.59%

  • amber03amber03 Forumite
    875 posts
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts Combo Breaker Photogenic
    Definitely doing this this year. More determined not to waste money, to enjoy the simple things in life that don't cost a fortune. Enjoy reading fellow frugal followers ideas and tips.xx
    :j Debtfree and and staying that way.:j
    £1000 Emergency fund No.112 £375.00
  • MerleMerle Forumite
    20 posts
    Hi Everyone
    I'm definitely in for 2017.
    Thanks parsniphead
    'Tomorrow I'm planning a fridge/freezer inventory to see where i can cut back on the first shopping trip of the year in January. I'm planning to make this year a zero waste year for food'.
    You've inspired me to do the same. I will have a look in my fridge and freezer tonight !
    Best wishes for 2017
  • nannygladysnannygladys Forumite
    1.4K posts
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Photogenic
    Hi everyone

    Been following for a couple of years, but although I have plenty of good intentions I always fall back into old ways and I could definitely do better.

    I now have an allotment so I grew loads of veggies this year and I do try to follow the frugal way but I do need to organize time and food better, so here's to a new year's challenge and much better organization.

    Frugal challenge 2020
    Sealed pot 13 no.31
    Emergency fund 230.76/1000
  • I'd love to sign up to a frugal year! Not done this before but need lots of tips to keep me debt free!

    I made a start today by switching internet provider and cutting the bill by £10 a month (as well as doubling the speed...)

    I also plan to review my energy provider, reduce waste, sell on eBay and do Swagbucks / surveys online to help!

    I'm starting with "no frills January" - limiting myself to essential spending only in the first 31 days of the year, and will go from there.
  • haybel19haybel19 Forumite
    1.3K posts
    Cashback Cashier
    I would like to join in too if you will have me... I have realised that we are letting water trickle through our fingers like water and whilst we only have a mortgage and no other debt- we could certainly be using money much more wisely - allowing us a few little niceties and a healthy level of savings which we don't currently have.

    I did start growing some of my own vegs in pots last year- our garden is medium sized but with a young child and a dog the lawn is required for play- and as I have rheumatoid arthritis digging is out of the question therefore growing in lots of planters and troughs seemed a good solution... keen to make the most of what I can grown using fresh, drying and preserving, making jams chutneys etc. So definitely going to be growing again- really enjoy it.

    Keen to learn lots of other ways to be less wasteful and make the best use of what we have.
    Make £10 a day challenge November £125.60/310
    December 417.35/310 January 512.33/310

    £1000 emergency fund challenge 0/1000

    Rule of 3 challenge 13/365
Sign In or Register to comment.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support