Hello Forumites! However well-intentioned, for the safety of other users we ask that you refrain from seeking or offering medical advice. This includes recommendations for medicines, procedures or over-the-counter remedies. Posts or threads found to be in breach of this rule will be removed.

2023 Frugal Living Challenge

Frugaldom Posts: 6,939 Forumite
Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
edited 2 January at 10:22AM in Old style MoneySaving
Welcome to the all new 2023 Frugal Living Challenge

Join us here for year 16 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 many 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 2020/21 and the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by Brexit and then 'the cost of living crisis'. so there could be even more people from all walks of life now finding themselves needing to learn traditional methods of moneysaving, debt-busting and budgeting - a penny saved is a penny earned and each is as important as the other. Frugal living, for some, is the only lifestyle available.

Your budget is personal to you, it should fit with your personal financial situation. Some of you 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 2022 Challenge 
The 2021 Challenge
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.

Frugal living challenge - living on £4000 in 2024


This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 343.2K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.7K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.2K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 608K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173K Life & Family
  • 247.9K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards