2019 Frugal Living Challenge

Frugaldom Forumite Posts: 6,868
Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
edited 27 November 2019 at 7:46PM in Debt-free wannabe challenges
Join us here for year 12 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

The Frugal Living Challenge 2019

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 2018 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!


  • Frugaldom
    Frugaldom Forumite Posts: 6,868
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Let's be prepared for 2019... 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 - Your guaranteed annual income is what you have to budget, so star by adding up all the absolute essentials like rent, mortgage, debt repayments, work expenses and deduct the total frm your annual income. What you have left is your frugal living budget for running your household. 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 the 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 (not for profit).

    Perhaps some of you remember the Frugaleur, frugal entrepreneur, EEK or Cyberdosh challenges etc... these are still going, but the challenge here is purely about affording to live within our own means and have some fun doing that. :)

    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
  • nannygladys
    nannygladys Forumite Posts: 2,907
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Photogenic
    Hi Count me in please
    2024 is going to be a positive year for me, and it's starting now!! 

  • mummy2threeboys
    mummy2threeboys Forumite Posts: 1,006
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts
    Hi I would love to join please, I have almost 9k of debt and it feels like a millstone around my neck. Hope to half it by end of year (money is very tight at the moment)
    Compers challenge 27/70
  • parsniphead
    parsniphead Forumite Posts: 2,897
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    Another one up for the challenge. I have a huge chunk of debt to get rid of so I need to get by backside into gear.

    Time to cut back as much as i can.
    1 debt v's 100 days chapter 34: T3sco bank CC £250/£525.24 47.59%

  • Aaleigha
    Aaleigha Forumite Posts: 615
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    I would love to join I am due to move in late Jan early Feb
    my husband has just retired and I am on ESA as we sort our finances during the first few months (eg moving to oil heating bottled gas and a septic tank) being in a rural area so more car use and less money I think I need to be here to pick up tips and perhaps help motivate others as I learn
    Emergency fund £10,000
    Several categories with savings in
    Cars, house maintenance, birthdays
    Etc I have about 10 categories

    Really happy to be debt free after being a compulsive spender
  • Kerry_Woman
    Kerry_Woman Forumite Posts: 3,131
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Will be doing the challenge next year. Just need to sort out the budget and my plans for next year.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2023 Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
  • mumof3.12kindebt
    mumof3.12kindebt Forumite Posts: 1,469
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Hi everyone.
    We are going to be taking part in 2019 .
    The aim is to save as much as possible towards a house deposit. (we do have an aim of £16500) we will only be able to achieve this if we do essential spends only. The budget is drawn up. And I'm going to go through it and finalise it tomorrow ready for the new year.

    We have a plan with lots of ways to keep spends low. We are ready and raring to go.

    The next few days will be frugal ones as my bank balance is low. I have the money put aside for Januarys outgoings. (I transfer Decembers income for Januarys outgoings etc)

    We are starting with £550 in our house fund so the aim is to have £17000 in our house fund accounts by December 2019.
    This will be £8000 in the LISA (£4000 for this financial year and £4000 for the financial year 2019) and £9000 in our other house fund savings account. We will also aim to keep the £5000 in our emergency fund (hoping we won't need to touch it)

    Ill also be posting on my diary to help keep us on track.

    Have a fab frugal journey everyone . I hope you all achieve your aims :money:
    June 17 £16,000 debt ~ nov 18 DEBT FREE •June 21 £16,308 debt / july 22 debt free •Original mortgage free date 01/06/2059 current mortgage free date 01/05/2046
  • Theatregal83
    Theatregal83 Forumite Posts: 47
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I'm in, i'm aiming to have bought my own house by the time i 40 in 5 years. So want to save as much for my deposit as possible, I look forward:j t being in this challenge and following all your tips and tricks.
    Goal: Buy a house by 40th birthday (2023)
  • BabyStepper
    BabyStepper Forumite Posts: 771
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    I'd like to join in too. Started paying off debt in May this year so 2019 will be a continuation of that.
    Thanks for the spreadsheet. It's really good.
    Emergency fund £8,500/£8,500
    Mortgage overpayment £260
    £21,228.07 paid off in 22 months
  • Treasurequeen
    Treasurequeen Forumite Posts: 615
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper Xmas Saver!
    I’m in again this year, I will finalise my budget before new year.

    I aim to buy from local businesses for gifts throughout year. I Have lowered by gift budget for next year. I also aim to buy more in charity shops.

    My disability benefit may get stopped next year as I’m up for reassessment and it was such a struggle last time. (I am ill and unable to work due to my illnesses) So I need to save as much as I can to cover for the months I may not get it and during potential appeal process to cover my direct debits.
This discussion has been closed.
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