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2018 Frugal Living Challenge

edited 29 December 2017 at 11:54PM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
1.5K replies 229K views
FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
6.4K posts
Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
edited 29 December 2017 at 11:54PM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
Join us here for year 11 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

The Frugal Living Challenge 2018

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 if you have any questions, feel free to message me or ask in the forum.

This is an adaptation of the original 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.

If you would like to use a simple spreadsheet for calculating your annual expenditure, you are welcome to download a free copy of the original one HERE Simply overwrite the initial monthly amounts and the totals will auto-calculate. From then, it is a simple case of deducting (use the minus sign in front of the amounts) all your outgoings as the year progresses. It's worth while playing about with it to alter headings to suit your personal lifestyle. I've included a couple of extra columns for things like rent/mortgage & council tax and misc/debt payments.

Some have already achieved debt freedom 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 reach 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 our challenge:

The 2017 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

How it all began - Saving to buy a house without a mortgage 2007 Challenge

The original interest beater challenge

The original £1000 in 100 days challenge

The original free hobbies thread

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, sustainable 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 bad 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 that you use
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/sharng for better discounts & reduced delivery costs
Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
Online trading - auctions, stores, social media pages
etc, etc, etc...

Monitoring and revising the budget is part of a good 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 and saving to build eco-cabins! :D


  • edited 24 October 2018 at 10:06PM
    FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
    6.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 24 October 2018 at 10:06PM
    Let's be prepared for 2018... join me for the next big frugal living challenge. :) My personal budget for the cost of living remains unchanged but please remember that is simply to cover the COST OF LIVING.

    Your budget is personal to you - you simply calculate it by deducting ALL your necessary expenditure from your total annual income, then the balance is your frugal living budget. If you end up with a negative number then we're all here to help others turn those numbers around as quickly as possible so your goal of debt freedom becomes achievable.

    I focus purely on the needs and not the wants throughout the challenge. I'm self employed, not in receipt of any benefits and run my business as a social enterprise, (Perhaps some of you remember the Frugaleur, frugal entrepreneur, EEK or Cyberdosh challenges... these are still going, but the challenge here is purely about affording to live within our own means and have some fun doing that. :) )

    If you would like your name on this list of challengers, let me know and I can amend the list as we progress. I don't always have internet access at Frugaldom, so be patient - I will get to the list editing as soon as possible. :)

    1. *Jellie*
    2. 1Saver
    3. AdventureofMemories
    4. Allie23
    5. Angelicious
    6. Anniee88
    7. Arc2014
    8. Aruba
    9. Bebelles
    10. BroadwayBaby71
    11. Buffythedebtslayer
    12. Bustiblondilocks
    13. Buttonnose
    14. CheshireCat
    15. CosmicZebra
    16. Couldsavemore
    17. Cybertortoise
    18. CW18
    19. Datlex
    20. DawnW
    21. Debttaghh
    22. Elly68
    23. EmergencyNurse
    24. Evuka
    25. FairyPink
    26. Fishcake_Random
    27. Fizzyisbusy
    28. Florence J
    29. FoggyFroggy
    30. FrankieM
    31. Frugaldom
    32. Frugalish
    33. Frugalsazzle
    34. Frugalwannabe
    35. Gien
    36. GlendaSugarBean
    37. HazelIsOK
    38. Hugglemonster
    39. Igaveupnowimback
    40. Jammydodgersandrhl
    41. Indigowarrior
    42. Jscarlisle
    43. KB_soma
    44. Kerreh
    45. Kerry Woman
    46. Mumof3.12kindebt
    47. Lessonlearned
    48. Lindez
    49. LittleGingerFox
    50. Littlesimplelivingcottage
    51. LynneJK
    52. MadamMim2013
    53. Merle
    54. Milly-Ann-Molly
    55. Miss D Meanor
    56. Mizmir
    57. Moll
    58. Moneysavingmadgem
    59. Moneysavingmonkey85
    60. Mooloo
    61. Munchin
    62. NannyGladys
    63. Need an answer
    64. Nonnadiluca
    65. Parsniphead
    66. Patentgirl
    67. Penny2myName
    68. PennyGrabber
    69. Peony40
    70. Pipsmum
    71. PlayJay
    72. PlaysNicely
    73. Poppycat1
    74. Robi90
    75. RosesandRainbows
    76. SarahC74
    77. Saver-upper
    78. Shish100
    79. SimpleLivingIslandLife
    80. Sinkorswim2018
    81. Smijil
    82. Spudsmum
    83. Squirrelgirl
    84. Stay_at_home_mum
    85. Steve1097
    86. Supersaver2018
    87. SusieG
    88. Tanya12345
    89. The cross rabbit
    90. ThePennyFarthings
    91. TreasureQueen
    92. TrueBlueMummy
    93. Unicorn101
    94. Unicorn-ASJSD
    95. Welshsaver
    96. Wit40iwtwan
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise and saving to build eco-cabins! :D
  • Kerry_WomanKerry_Woman Forumite
    2.9K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Will work out my budget towards the end of the year.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2020
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST September 2020: the turtles do the Hokey Cokey NSD 12/20
  • evukaevuka Forumite
    117 posts
    Happy to join again! :beer:

    Already updated my benefits at work - decided to keep only my pension contributions for 2018 (that I need to pay for, all else I go with the standard options that my workplace offers) but reduced it a bit to have a little more in my pocket. Reason being is that 1) I decided to start saving for a home 2) one of my sisters is getting married this August! :T

    Started working out a detailed budget, will revisit it and put it down to an excel.

    Thinking of opening an ISA or a savings account for the savings - which do you think is better if I want to use the money as a deposit as well? Or shall I save separstely for the deposit?

    Thanks Frugaldom for running this challenge year by year, it's been a great help to me! :money:
    Make £10 a day challenge need to join again
    Sell 100 items 11/100
    GC: Jan 175.07/100
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018 £823.65/£8,965.88
    NSD: Jan 5/15 Feb 7/15
  • Count me in please. I will work out my years budget shortly and update you x
    Happily married mother of 4 x x

    Wins so far - 4
    July wins - Cetafil goodies
  • allie23allie23 Forumite
    1.6K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Debt-free and Proud!
    I'm in again for 2018. Thanks for the new thread x
    Frugal Living Challenge 2020
    Save £12k in 2020 - Challenger No 4 - £24,4516/£35,000
    July Grocery Challenge £151.63/£200
  • Poppycat1Poppycat1 Forumite
    175 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Please can I join? Budget not sorted yet because I have an issue with my house move. If it goes ahead my mortgage increases so therefore my budget will be a lot less.
    MFIT-5 #25 - Aim to get mortgage to £70,000 (or have savings to get to this amount) currently £98,500.
  • cybertortoisecybertortoise Forumite
    144 posts
    I'd like to join please. I have been eagerly awaiting the new thread. Thank you.

    I'll have my budget ready in the next week.
    Fresh start & LBM #3: 29.08.17 ~ Debt at highest: £23,583.27 ~ 26/12/18: £13,389.66 ~ 05.12.2019: £9653.06 ~ DFD aim: [STRIKE]31/12/2021[/STRIKE] 31/12/2020 ~ PAYDOB 2019 #32 : £3832.60/£4000 = 95.8% ~ 2019 1% Challenge #2: 95.8% (£4000 target) ~ Frugal Living Challenge 2020
  • edited 16 December 2017 at 12:27AM
    FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
    6.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 16 December 2017 at 12:27AM
    Nice to see some old faces already - let's see if we can make 2018 extra special! I know it's a BIG year for us with every extra penny being ploughed into future developments while [STRIKE]trying to maintain[/STRIKE] maintaining debt freedom. :D

    I've just completed my 2018 household budget (for 2 adults), so it goes as follows:

    Groceries & toiletries £1,000
    Fuel & electricity £1,500
    TV, telephone & Internet £520
    Clothing & footwear £200
    Gifts £400
    Insurance £140
    Sundries £240

    Total £4,000

    Council tax is approximately £1,000, which includes water, so my overall target is to manage on £5k including council tax. (We have no rent, no mortgage and no debts to service.) We are both home based, self-employed and not in receipt of benefits of any description, unless you count the benefits of being totally debt free and financially independent. Every other penny gets saved for investing in our Frugaldom project.

    I base my grocery shopping on £1 per person per day and have allowed extra for toiletries, visitors and special occasions.

    This is essential household expenditure but the budget could, if necessary, be cut further. Things like TV, telephones, Internet and gift buying are all basic luxuries, as is affording new clothing or having a sundries/extras budget. I could also cut down on the energy bill buy living in Scotland means it gets quite cold during winter and we rely on electric heaters, an open fire and a log burner.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise and saving to build eco-cabins! :D
  • lessonlearnedlessonlearned Forumite
    13.3K posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    I would like to join this year if I may. I will go back and read some of the 2017 thread to get some ideas.
  • FrugaldomFrugaldom Forumite
    6.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I would like to join this year if I may. I will go back and read some of the 2017 thread to get some ideas.

    Hi lessonlearned, there are so many pages of past challenges that it could take you a long time to get through them so please feel free to post any questions if you need faster answers. Welcome on board, I hope we can all help you reach your goals. :)
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise and saving to build eco-cabins! :D
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