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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th Dec 18, 5:14 PM
    • 6,178Posts
    • 54,513Thanks
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 26th Dec 18, 5:14 PM
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge 26th Dec 18 at 5:14 PM
    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!

    GOOD LUCK IN 2019

    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 27-11-2019 at 7:46 PM.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
Page 2
    • Princess Money Penny
    • By Princess Money Penny 27th Dec 18, 10:11 AM
    • 39 Posts
    • 300 Thanks
    Princess Money Penny
    Hello I better join this year. I’m newly single stay at home (ish) mum of two admittedly feral children (4yo and 1yo). I’m not currently in debt (except the mortgage) and I don’t intend my change in circumstances to put me into debt so will need to adjust.

    Good luck everyone will sort out budget before new year!
    Sealed pot challenge 2019 = #82
    Jan 2019 Grocery Challenge = 0/260
    Declutter 2019 items in 2019! = 0/2019
    Frugal living challenge 2019 =
    • Blue Monday girl
    • By Blue Monday girl 27th Dec 18, 10:29 AM
    • 28 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    Blue Monday girl
    Id like to join please.
    We have a large debt to clear. Our main downfall is eating out, takeaways and online purchases on a whim. Meal planning and batch cooking is the way to go. Checking into MSE and less on shopping sites!
    Good luck everyone. Im looking forward to picking up some interesting tips.
    December 2018 19500.00
    July 2019 17542.00
    • ma-ri-ella
    • By ma-ri-ella 27th Dec 18, 1:54 PM
    • 972 Posts
    • 9,459 Thanks
    hi ,hopeing to join in
    no debt ,some savings - i hope to save up a deposit for a flat this year . the mortgage on flats same street as mine are less than what i pay rent so thats been a bit of a wake up call. some are even 2 bedroom to my studio style....
    i have a sharesave at work which takes out 250 from my pay per 4 weeks . i would like to match that just from being frugal and from online sites such as swagbucks.
    365 a year spend challenge - this has included food/clothes/beauty?? who knows where I am
    20,000 step a day challenge
    • mumtoomany
    • By mumtoomany 27th Dec 18, 2:04 PM
    • 256 Posts
    • 1,860 Thanks
    Hi all, just reposting here, I posted on the 2018 thread! I'd like to join up again this year please. Our very low income (around 10,000 to keep three of us and all the livestock) is set to fall again in summer, yet to know how much by. So this year needs to be extra frugal. Happy new year to you all, M2m.
    Cash neutral grocery spends 'till Christmas:
    Yougov cash, 50 plus 120 contribution from DD1. 40p found in a trolley. Found 3p, Gameduell 50.31, Grab points 6.05 Swagbucks 10, Facebook sales 35
    Spends to date:152.97
    Spent 271.25/275.21
    • mummy2threeboys
    • By mummy2threeboys 27th Dec 18, 2:13 PM
    • 950 Posts
    • 13,802 Thanks
    Lovely to see some more frugallars (That's now a new word!)
    My down fall is holidays , and I don't big expensive ones , But even the cheap caravan holiday adds up if you are doing 3 a year. I have terrible bouts of depression so I feel a bad need to run away often, ..although i'm sure my family are more than willing to assist me in this sort of healing , I need to find a cheaper and better outlet.

    I'm pretty old school elsewhere though, grow my own (well try to) Make gifts, recycle etc.
    Todays Mse was to look at unfair od charges. Put the last of the beef in the freezer minus some for a leftover stew for dinner.
    Cut up some very old t-towels and made those into cleaning rags, I got new t-towels for Christmas My others are 10-20 years old!

    Looked at my bank. loans etc , Managed to totally lock myself out of Facebook, (and a temp ban!) which is annoying as I use it as a free online message to contact my family, they don't have skype.

    Gernal tidying and absorbing christmas into the house. Thankfully fairly minimalist here , we get given things we can use up, But lordy I have enough treats to last until Easter ! lol

    Have a great day all xx
    Compers challenge 27/70
    • Shortie
    • By Shortie 27th Dec 18, 2:16 PM
    • 2,218 Posts
    • 12,069 Thanks
    Hello, count me in please x. I have become a pretty quiet MSE'er so may mostly just read. I hope that's okay x

    This year for me is about adjusting to a new budget. I took a year off to be with the children (my jobs have always been stressful and lots of time travelling). I'm due to start a new job early in the new year which is much closer to home meaning I can have a better family/work balance but is also a good chunk less pay.

    This year is also about rebuilding savings. I still have my emergency fund in tact, but have learnt to really value having a bigger cushion

    Looking forward to the journey
    Apologies if there are random typos - I am usually replying via my phone
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 27th Dec 18, 5:19 PM
    • 2,819 Posts
    • 28,532 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    I have done my budget for 2019. I am planning to move to Norwich next year(hopefully after my holiday in April), so I am paying the property maintenance monthly for the flat. I really have to cut down on my spending. I did end an very toxic friendship this year which affected me emotional and financially. I have started a new journey in 2018 since my Mum sadly died in December 2017. Still on a learning curve.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST: August Adventures
    • abbe89
    • By abbe89 27th Dec 18, 5:43 PM
    • 273 Posts
    • 1,622 Thanks
    I'd like to join in to this challenge this year!

    I've managed to pay off most of my credit card, and will pay the last chunk off after January payday so I'm very grateful for that.

    However, I'm starting a new role in January with a fair salary increase and I'm concerned that without some structure I'll slip into old habits and go crazy on spending it all and not reaping the rewards in a positive way!

    I've set up my spreadsheet with what I believe will be my income from January (will be getting a new tax code so am unsure of the exact amount) and am keen to get cracking!
    • jammydodgersandrhl
    • By jammydodgersandrhl 27th Dec 18, 7:48 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 225 Thanks
    I would like to join. I have debt to pay off this year and need to start being more savvy with my money. I have looked carefully at my bills and switched to different providers. Now i need to look at other ways i can save. Im not a very good cook and don't have much time (I'm a teacher so work is always busy). any advice and help welcome and appreciated.
    A break up led to overspend and debt!

    SPC 12 #
    Credit Card 3000
    Student Overdraft 2000
    Main Bank Overdraft 750
    • datlex
    • By datlex 28th Dec 18, 1:25 AM
    • 2,052 Posts
    • 2,549 Thanks
    Just been revising my spreadsheet for this year. I used to do it for the actual year. I now do it for the financial year as that is when a lot of my bills change and obviously pay changes due to tax changes.
    Have reduced my weekly presents budget from 5 to 4- saving of 52 a year. Have also reduced home improvements budget from 20 a week to 15 a week- saving of 260. Started looking at my phone bill- currently 11.19 for 5GB data- and yes I do use it, on a couple of occasions I actually have to get more, but not often enough to warrant paying for a bigger data allowance. Looks like Vodafone have a 25% off sale- 13 contract would be 9.50 (estimated 10 following RPI increase), need to check terms to see if is for duration of whole contract. Though might give them a ring and see if they can do any better- don't ask don't get.
    • shabbychic12
    • By shabbychic12 28th Dec 18, 2:09 AM
    • 160 Posts
    • 1,497 Thanks
    Pliease count me in. Life got in the way re retiring in 2018 but need to focus to achieve this in 2019(for my own sanity)
    2019 early retirement wannabe
    Save 12K in 2019 no 94
    All this saving l'm turning into my Dad
    • patentgirl
    • By patentgirl 28th Dec 18, 7:43 AM
    • 886 Posts
    • 12,313 Thanks
    I am in again did qute well last year but dipped around October preparations for Christmas went slightly overboard still saving for retirement both DH and me want to retire in 2 years both will have few years(me 5 years) before able to claim state pension we will look to do something part time then but both need to get out of stressful jobs for our own health which is why we need to build up our pension reserves. Another one who likes their holidays but budgeted in beginning of year into another account.Definitely going to look for ways to continue cut back on housekeeping bills, like Treasurequeen idea of supporting local businesses for gifts etc My downfall last year was lack of posting my old ipad died so can only use my phone now to post but will try to get hang of it better as always do better when reading everyone elses journeys and updates.
    Good luck everyone
    February grocery challenge 200
    • Pauper1
    • By Pauper1 28th Dec 18, 8:29 AM
    • 368 Posts
    • 2,736 Thanks
    Hello all would like to join please. We live with my parents but our expenditure still seems quite high! Our annual total is 11,909 - which, in theory, leaves us with 10,615 to pay off debts/save. We only moved in with my parents in Sept/Oct last year, so we definitely haven't seen this amount of money yet, but it would be awesome to do so! We have about 11k worth of debts to pay off and we also want to buy a house. I really don't want to be living with my parents by next Christmas, so I want to do it all in a year! Haha. I go back to work in April, which will add income of 8640 to that, and hopefully only slightly increase my outgoings (petrol etc). The sooner we can move out the better for my mental health so I am really going to focus on this challenge!
    DMP start 1st May 2014 - 10,717.17 39,349.41 Original DFD from Stepchange 6th Sept 2039... Now aiming for Summer 2019
    • the cross rabbit
    • By the cross rabbit 28th Dec 18, 9:47 AM
    • 434 Posts
    • 2,671 Thanks
    the cross rabbit
    I'd like to join as well. Aim is to build up a decent emergency fund and save some money for when DD1 goes to university. This is whilst overpaying the mortgage (its not much a month but every little helps) and saving for a car (in 4 years time). Another one who likes lots of holidays (always in the UK and always as cheap as possible, although camping in not an option as DD2 is in a wheelchair). Need to try and be a frugal as possible, no excuses other than it needs to fit in with our ethical values.
    Looking forward to 2019
    Mortgage 82,000, due to end July 2036. 18/1/2019 Mortgage 79,150.55
    #67 mortgage free wannabe 2019 157.48/800
    • Maisie M
    • By Maisie M 28th Dec 18, 11:19 AM
    • 1,520 Posts
    • 14,558 Thanks
    Maisie M

    I would like to join in please. We are saving to go to Florida in 2020 on holiday so I would like to save enough for all that so we do not need to use any credit cards or anything to pay for it.

    I know areas I can cut back on which are frivoulous spending eg meals, snacks when out as well as impulse shopping buys. I also know I can get the food burget down as we eat too much and also a lot we waste. More planning needed as its too easy to get a takeaway when I am tired.

    Off to set a budget for each thing so I am ready to rock and roll on the 1rst

    • never too old
    • By never too old 28th Dec 18, 11:19 AM
    • 2,962 Posts
    • 31,342 Thanks
    never too old
    I would love to join please.
    Fingers crossed i can do better than previous years.By joining this one it should keep me on track for the 1% challenge and 2019 in 2019.
    2019 in 2019 challenge no 18
    1% challenge no 70
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge

    2077.52 / 2019
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 28th Dec 18, 11:37 AM
    • 525 Posts
    • 2,772 Thanks
    I'm definitely in again!

    I've got the house renovations to finish and the mortgage to pay off this year....other than that, it will be a doddle!!
    MFW 2019 No. 58 - DONE - MF as of 21/11/19
    2020 Targets - Grocery Challenge 0/3600;Holidays 0/10500; Garden 0/10000; Debts 0/13000
    • cw18
    • By cw18 28th Dec 18, 12:32 PM
    • 8,086 Posts
    • 86,097 Thanks
    I'm here.

    Not yet set my budgets, but I know I need to reduce my grocery spends in the shops and use up a lot of the food mountain in my house instead.......

    I've started a stocktake, and am working on a 10 week meal plan that I then plan to recycle every 10 weeks, but with a couple of random weeks when I go away with my fella (self catering in a family owned property that we do jobs on in return for being allowed to stay there). So 5 cycles of the meal plan will get me through 2019. I already know I have enough noodles and probably enough stir fry sauces to have that every 5th day (easy to make after work, one of my healthiest meals, and I can usually get the veg at 50% off at least twice a week).

    I defrosted and did a stocktake of one freezer on Christmas Day (I see family on Boxing Day), and am currently working on the other. Pretty sure I have enough sausages (mostly high quality in a variety of flavours) to have that once a week

    I should also have enough (dried) pasta and rice in the house for the year, as well as lentils to add to mince meals (though I think I'll need another bag of oats for the same use).

    I've been warned by my utility company that my gas and electricity is likely to shoot up by 25% when my fixed deal ends early Feb due to a rise in wholesale prices - and a quick price comparison seems to confirm that So I either need to reduce comsumption by 20% to keep payments the same (don't see how when I'm already on very low bills for my type of property) or will need to reduce elsewhere to cover the increase!

    I've spent a fair bit on my car in 2018, but it's now running much better (and I no longer have fumes coming into the car when I try and run a heating system that was also not working on all settings - it's only taken 3 garages about 4 years to sort the fumes problem!! The latest garage sorted it on 2nd attempt ) so I'm hoping it'll get through the 2019 MOT in July with minimal cost. But I'm planning on using my pushbike a lot more (I've also spent a fair bit on that getting problems sorted and improvements made), so that will reduce use of car hopefully reducing maintenance costs and definitely reducing petrol costs.

    I need to stocktake toiletries, but having recently bought in several items I knew I was runing short of I think I should have enough to get me through the year (and then some for several items).

    And I probably have enough cleaning products apart from 1 box of washing powder and maybe 1 bottle of washing up liquid.

    Where I'm using groceries / toiletries / cleaning products from stock I plan to move what they cost me (or the current cost if I don't recall what I paid) to a savings account. That should give me something to fall back on for unexpected expenses, or to use to start stocking up for 2020 if I see good deals from late 2019

    The main (partially) unexpected expense in 2018 was a new laptop just before Christmas. My old one was 7.5 years old and has been limping along for about 18 months - but since the summer has regularly been threatened with being thrown through a closed window and was NOT going to make it into 2019 for regular use (it will be cleaned up and kept as a backup, with my original from 2006 being totally cleaned and junked - that was terrible to use while mine was having a new keyboard fitted a monrh or 2 ago). I've worked out that the one I'm replacing cost me under 1/week (350, as best I recall, over 7.5 years = 350 / 390 weeks = 90p/week), so I'd like to try and put 1.50 a week into a savings account ready for when this one needs replacing (in the hope it lasts almost as long). I'm lucky that my parents give me money for Christmas and my (January) birthday. A couple of years that went towards a new built-in fridge/freezer, and this time it's effectively paying a huge chunk of the laptop cost.

    Anyhow, I guess I'd best get back to the freezer........
    • datlex
    • By datlex 28th Dec 18, 2:22 PM
    • 2,052 Posts
    • 2,549 Thanks
    Spoke to Vodafone, first person wouldn't not even match detail via the app. So rang cancellations- they have matched the price of a competitor so 9 a month - 2.19 saving on what am paying now. I am estimating will be 9.45 once RPI increase applies later in year.
    • CapricornLass
    • By CapricornLass 28th Dec 18, 2:32 PM
    • 272 Posts
    • 1,121 Thanks
    I'd like to join, please. OH and I have just retired in the last six months, and we really need to adjust to the lower income, and keep within our budget.

    Biggest problem areas for me
    1) Food. My family is riddled with coeliacs, and in addition, one son is allergic to caisin in milk and nuts and I have nuts and coconut to worry about as well as gluten. Other son's girlfriend is allergic to eggs. For us, the problem is not so much downgrading to a cheaper option as to find any option. I bake and cook almost everything from scatch, but scourcing and buying suitable ingredients can be difficult, and expensive.
    2) Holidays. Another one who likes her holidays! Mostly in the UK and as cheap as I can make it, although plans are in progress for a family trip to Lisbon later on next year.

    3) Miscellaneous items - this is what I called it on the Frugal Spreadsheet last year. All the stuff which didn't really fit into any other category. I started keeping a list during the last couple of months, and I need to go through it and see if I can manage to figure out why it ran out of control last year.

    Still, I will be eating my way through a lot of left-overs during January, as well as using up what is in the freezer, so that's a start!
    Sealed Pot Challenge no 035
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