2021 Frugal Living Challenge

Frugaldom Forumite Posts: 6,859
Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
edited 9 December 2020 at 9:21PM in Old style MoneySaving
Welcome to the all new 2021 Frugal Living Challenge

Join us here for year 14 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

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 organise our frugal lifestyles, be it to tackle debts, generate extra income or 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 1990's, elsewhere. We have seen many changes over the years, none so much as affected us all throughout 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic so there could be many more people now finding themselves needing to learn more traditional methods of moneysaving - a penny saved is a penny earned and each is as important as the other.

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 worthwhile 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 for the love of it. Others are still tackling debts and frugal living 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 progress.

The following links will take you to previous MSE versions of our challenges:

The 2020 Challenge
The 2019 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

IMPORTANT - 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 the true cost of living, sticking to a budget, clearing debts and making savings wherever and however possible 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 parents or paying off the mortgage early. Some choose the lifestyle on ethical grounds. Above all, this is a fun, fairly traditional 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 and 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 only those 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/sharing for better discounts & reduced delivery costs
Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
Food sharing
Online trading - auctions, stores, social media pages etc, etc, etc...

Monitoring and revising your budget is part of a good frugal living plan. Gifts & cards could all to be homemade, livestock should pay for its own keep, anything else needs to be cash neutral.

If you haven’t already done so, join the MSE forums and share your frugal lifestyle hints, tips and achievements here, where you are among like-minded friends and supporters

I reserve the right NOT to spend:
The less I spend, the more I can afford!


  • threepenny_bit
    threepenny_bit Forumite Posts: 412
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    looking forward to doing better this year - might be towards the end of 2020 before I can do a final budget though
    Updated amounts September -
    Christmas savers $1 a day 2023 $300/365 #8

    CC $1000/5000

    Savings $2001/5000
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Forumite Posts: 0
    100 Posts Name Dropper
    Thanks for the new thread @Frugaldom ! 😊 
    I'm in (although my budget was set from 1st November 😉) 

  • peony40
    peony40 Forumite Posts: 637
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Photogenic Combo Breaker
    I am able to join you this coming year, the last couple of years I meant to, but I was too involved  with caring duties to concentrate.  There have been a number of changes to our income so I have a reduced amount to work with, so I will be working on our budget over the Christmas holiday.
    Sealed Pot Challenge # 003
    August 2023 Grocery Challenge: Wk 2 £31.39/40 Wk 3 £35.18/40 (savings: £13.43)
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