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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 18th Dec 12, 10:36 AM
    • 6,147Posts
    • 54,322Thanks
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 18th Dec 12, 10:36 AM
    2013 Frugal Living Challenge 18th Dec 12 at 10:36 AM
    Frugaldom's Frugal Living Challenge

    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 posts 1 and 2 in full and check out the HANDY LINKS section.

    To help avoid clogging up this very fast-moving thread, please private message Frugaldom to have your name added to the challenger list.


    This is an adaptation of Frugaldom's 'Living on £4,000 for a Year' challenge. It has been running here on MSE for the past 5 years, but the actual challenge began several years previously, elsewhere. It has 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.

    Some have achieved their debt free status and now follow frugal lifestyles in order to stay debt free. Others are still pursuing that dream. Whichever stage you are at, feel free to join us for 2013 and share your journey as you give debts the heave-ho once and for all.

    Edited in - the MSE version of the 2014 Frugal Living Challenge is HERE

    The following links will take you to previous MSE versions of this challenge:

    The 2013 Challenge - this one

    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

    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 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 cashback 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
    Spend within your means
    Set a proper budget
    Get a lodger
    Shop via cashback sites but always price compare
    Buy reduced items in stores only if you need them
    Stockpile & bulk buy
    Batch cooking
    Make the most of charity shops
    Join Freecycle or other similar waste awareness and recycling associations
    LETS trading - become active members of trading & exchange groups
    Grow your own herbs, fruit & veg
    Preserving & winemaking
    Card & gift making
    Order splitting for better discounts & shared postal costs
    Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
    Free scratchcards
    Matched betting
    Free online bingo
    eBid and eBay trading
    etc, etc, etc...

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

    (I am neither endorsing nor recommending any of the links provided here, members of our extended frugal community have simply found them to contain helpful information.)

    Approved Food - Some amazing bargains if you don't mind short dates or past sell by – save a fortune whilst saving it from landfill!
    Bite Card - 20% off food at train stations (ideal for regular travellers)
    Budgetbrain - MSE's free to use budget analysis tool - BRILLIANT!
    Carrot recipes - loads of ways to use up those carrots
    CASHBACK - The official MSE list of sites offering the best cashback deals
    Complete (MSE) cooking collection - Loads and loads and loads of recipes
    Coupon thread on MSE - For coupons, money off and discounts
    Crafting for Christmas - homemade presents
    Eggs, eggs, eggs - Frugaldom's '100 things to do with eggs' list
    Electricity & Gas savings - monitor your electricity & gas with the MoneySaving Carbon Club
    Flannel Cake making - unusual gifts
    Food Bargains - Discounted food, short dated and past 'BBE' dates
    Foraging & Preserving - free foods, when, where, what to do with them
    Free crafts ideas - how to make papier mache banks etc
    Freecycle - don't bin it, rehome it
    Freegle - Originally Freecycle in UK
    FREE Spreadsheet - link to Cheryl's (CW18) budget spreadsheet
    Frugaldom - Home of this challenge
    Gift Baskets & Hampers - an index to the MSE relevant threads
    Gifts in a jar - you don't need a canner for these
    Greenfingered money saving - Gardening & growing your own food
    Grocery bargains - Supermarket price reduction times
    Homemade Rhubarb Champagne - quick, cheap and easy
    How to make a sealed pot - saving all your spare change in papier mache banks
    Hunger Site - Charity site where every click counts
    i-Measure - log your meter readings and try to reduce your carbon footprint
    Laundry Gloop and loads of other frugal cleaning related 'recipes'
    Leftovers - don't bin them, get creative, make another meal.
    LETS - Local Exchange Trading Schemes and alternative currencies within communities
    Martin's mad moneysaver ads - a surprising new addition to the site - advertising offers!
    Martin's current offers & discount codes - updated daily
    Menu Planning - hundreds of options and suggestions
    My FREE spreadsheet - where to download from
    Nutrition and diet info, an excellent thread - thanks to Weezl74
    Old Style indexed collection - Indexed collection of links, hints and tips for anything old style, moneysaving and frugal.
    Preparing for winter the frugal way
    Recipes part 1 - thanks to Rosieben on the Grocery Challenge
    Recipes part 2 - thanks, again, to Rosieben
    Remoska discussion - everything you need to know about Remoska ovens
    ROSSPA - Cheap groceries & fresh produce direct to your door.
    Rural Moneysaving Hunt - official MSE discussion
    Selling on eBid - decluttering and recycling for cash with no listing fees
    Slow Cooker Recipes - on MSE
    Snowman Soup - always a favourite with frugallers during the festive season
    Soapnuts - The frugal, eco-friendly alternative to soap powder or detergents (free samples)
    Soapnuts thread on MSE - discuss, ask questions here
    Spending Diary - excellent free resource for recording your spends
    Start a cottage industry - the official MSE discussion
    Veg Planner - free printable vegetable planting guide/calendar from the RHS
    Weezl74's 50p per person per day eating healthily thread
    Weezl74's frugal recipe testing thread - Phase 1
    Will Power & Billy Can - part 1, part 2, part 3
    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 wants. It runs from 1st January to 31st December 2013 The links will give you an idea of how previous challenges have gone and these will be updated accordingly.
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 22-12-2013 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Preparing for 2014 challenge
    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 1
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 18th Dec 12, 10:37 AM
    • 6,147 Posts
    • 54,322 Thanks
    • #2
    • 18th Dec 12, 10:37 AM
    2013 Challenger List and Sample Budget
    • #2
    • 18th Dec 12, 10:37 AM
    The 2013 Challenger List

    If you want your name added to this challenger list, please private message Frugaldom.

    Baking Mad
    Dizzy Lizzie
    Frugaldom (NYK) - PM me to be added to this list
    Kerry Woman
    Miss Empty Piggy
    Miss Frugal Wannabe
    New leaf 88
    Out of Debt at Last
    Painted Lady
    Rising from the ashes
    Slowlyfading - looking after the 2013 MSE version of the frugal living challenge
    Tessie Bear
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 30-08-2013 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Adding new names to challenger list
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • AvaQuaver
    • By AvaQuaver 18th Dec 12, 11:07 AM
    • 49 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    • #3
    • 18th Dec 12, 11:07 AM
    • #3
    • 18th Dec 12, 11:07 AM
    The aim...£5000 or less in 2012. x
    Last edited by AvaQuaver; 21-04-2014 at 4:21 PM.
    'The time is now.'
    • gien
    • By gien 18th Dec 12, 3:04 PM
    • 1,645 Posts
    • 15,703 Thanks
    • #4
    • 18th Dec 12, 3:04 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Dec 12, 3:04 PM
    I lurked a bit on the other thread but I'd like to join in properly this year as we are completely skint, and need to look after my money like never before.
    We're a family of 5, high earners but high outgoings too and the two are very close right now. Additionally, we have a load of stuff to do on the house and we need to save up enough by summer to get it all done.
    Trying to keep in budget.

    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 18th Dec 12, 3:28 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    • #5
    • 18th Dec 12, 3:28 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Dec 12, 3:28 PM
    Hi everyone, Frugaldom thanks for starting the new thread (I've PMd you to be added to the Challenger List) and thanks again to Slowlyfading for keeping an eye on us

    2013 will be my 3rd year doing the FLC - year 1 was a big learning curve and I made huge steps but this year I seem to have plodded along - although great as I've not slipped back to non-frugal ways .... I need to learn new things next year!

    Looking forward to the challenge!
    Grocery Challenge £211/£455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: £125/£250
    £1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £3.96 / £1,000
    Vet Fund: £410.93 / £1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • slowlyfading
    • By slowlyfading 18th Dec 12, 5:48 PM
    • 13,035 Posts
    • 75,211 Thanks
    • #6
    • 18th Dec 12, 5:48 PM
    • #6
    • 18th Dec 12, 5:48 PM
    Woops! Was meant to grab post 3 but didn't get a chance....!
    Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind - Dr Seuss
    Personal Finance Blogger / June NSD - 2 / In pursuit of FIRE
    • slowlyfading
    • By slowlyfading 18th Dec 12, 5:49 PM
    • 13,035 Posts
    • 75,211 Thanks
    • #7
    • 18th Dec 12, 5:49 PM
    • #7
    • 18th Dec 12, 5:49 PM
    A just in case and can edit post....
    Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind - Dr Seuss
    Personal Finance Blogger / June NSD - 2 / In pursuit of FIRE
    • freedom2011
    • By freedom2011 19th Dec 12, 8:23 AM
    • 101 Posts
    • 1,108 Thanks
    • #8
    • 19th Dec 12, 8:23 AM
    • #8
    • 19th Dec 12, 8:23 AM
    Looking forward to this in 2013 & discovering more frugal ways.
    I haven't completely worked out my budget. I have really enjoyed it this year plus it keeps me on track. I hope to end the year with a high amount of savings next year and keep within whatever I set.
    Frugal Challenge £9000
    Grocery Challenge £tba pm £
    • seriouslyfrugal
    • By seriouslyfrugal 19th Dec 12, 9:18 AM
    • 343 Posts
    • 5,421 Thanks
    • #9
    • 19th Dec 12, 9:18 AM
    • #9
    • 19th Dec 12, 9:18 AM
    Please count me in for the 2013 challenge

    I think for 2013 my challenge is to keep up to date the speadsheet I was doing alright until July

    I hope everyone has a good xmas and here's to a successful 2013
    • suzitiger
    • By suzitiger 19th Dec 12, 9:41 AM
    • 946 Posts
    • 7,304 Thanks
    Hello, I am a lurker on this one but please add me again for 2013 and I will try and pop in a bit more often. Thank you :-)
    Don't turn a slip up into a give up
    *NSD Challenge Nov 0/10* *£10 a day challenge Nov £0/£300*
    No buying unnecessary toiletries challenge-in it for the long haul

    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 19th Dec 12, 9:49 AM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    Count me in aswell my budget looks like this

    rent- £1800
    mobiles- £300
    internet- £540
    electric £600
    food £1200
    desil £1800
    play money £250
    insurances £180
    heating £360
    xmas £0 (trying to do xmas next year with vouchers and surverys but have £300 set aside just incase, have £5 already and quite a few gifts already for next year-excess stuff from this year)
    clothes £0 trying to make clothes do and only use birthday/xmas money and uniform allowance have £53 already, i spent £12 of this already on 2 pairs of jeans and a pair of shoes.

    That comes to £7030 i'm setting a budget of £7500 for 2013 which allows extra if xmas and clothes don't work out as planned.So £625 a month to live on.I'm feeling positive
    DFW £7632/£28996 26.3%
    • allie23
    • By allie23 19th Dec 12, 12:37 PM
    • 1,336 Posts
    • 14,594 Thanks
    Wow, the new thread! Its amazing how excited I can become over a new thread - think I may be a bit of a MSE geek but proud of this nonetheless.

    Will defo be joining again for 2013. I am having a bit of a dilema just now about applying for a job that may mean me moving house (if I get it). I have very small amount of savings but no mortgage (paid off earlier in 2012) and it would mean that I would have a permanent job again. Moving to this location is actually part of my 5 year plan but I am just not sure if I should accelerate that plan or wait until I have more avialable cash.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save £12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - £13,310/£40,000
    • candyandstripes
    • By candyandstripes 19th Dec 12, 3:23 PM
    • 96 Posts
    • 854 Thanks
    I'd like to join in with this I'm hoping that being more frugal will allow me to hit my savings target in 2013. This means I have now started to think of what I can change, what I am spending on wants instead of needs and I will start this off by trying to put together a budget which I found on your list in the 1st post so thank you Frugaldom..
    Target £25,000 | £15,008 Saved
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 20th Dec 12, 6:57 AM
    • 803 Posts
    • 10,156 Thanks
    Please can you add me to this years challenge.. I've been hiding away reading all last years posts & really need to get my butt in gear & do something about how we live! I'll be thinking of my budget & put up later/as soon as I can x Thanks for all the inspiration x
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 2 JUNE GC £192.92/£300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • cw18
    • By cw18 21st Dec 12, 9:44 AM
    • 8,053 Posts
    • 86,005 Thanks
    I really, really need to get back to this.

    I just tried setting my budgets for next year, and I'm coming in at £2k more than I'd like to be, even after asking my son to increase his contribution to household running costs/grocery bills by 50% - so that's all going to have to come out of my savings

    In fairness I could claw it (and more) back by cancelling my swimming lessons and personal trainer sessions, but with the health issues I'm having at the moment (and my long standing back problems) I think anything that forces me to exercise is money well spent Plus the swimming lessons are to get my techniques right (I can potter up and down for about 20 lengths in my own style), which means I shouldn't end up with back ache the next day as often happens now.

    The budget's also not helped by the fact my grocery bill keeps climbing - and not just because of the costs rising in the supermarkets. It's looking increasingly likely I've developed lactose intolerance, but in the last couple of weeks I've also started to think I may be having issues with other foodstuffs (avoiding dairy but still having problems) - and that all means I'm having to pick and choose foods more carefully, and generally end up with much more expensive options (eg. my soya milk's almost twice the price of fresh skimmed milk, and the only cheeses I seem to be able to handle are goat's/feta which are a lot dearer than cheddar - especially compared to when mature cheddar comes up on offer). The grocery budget covers me for the whole year, my son for 2 days a week (about all he seems to be around, with the rest of the time spent at his girl-friend's) and my OH one day a week.

    However it's looking possible I may be able to get a few extra hours work each week - and am hoping to tie them into a day I'm already at the gym for a PT session which means no extra petrol/car expenses. That would cover about £800 of my 'overspend' which is nice

    I currently work Wed, Thur and Fri, with one PT session after work on Thur and my swimming lesson after work on Fri. My other PT session is on a Monday, so I'm hoping to do the extra hours that day so that I don't have to increase car running cost budgets - the boss is fairly flexible as to whether I do them Mon or Tues, so I may even be able to move them if I want a long weekend and not have to take holiday time

    At least some of my exercise expenses (and all my commuting costs) are effectively covered by my employer. I used to pay £35/month for gym membership, but now I work there it's free as a perk of the job. So about £14/month of that covers the petrol I use to get to work, leaving the rest to offset other costs

    I've had to set my 'medical' costs a lot higher than I wanted to, but that's because I remembered I'm due an eye check-up (and almost certainly new glasses) in October/November - which is over and above dental and prescription costs that were all I'd originally budgetted for.

    I'm expecting to have to make some tweaks the first week of next month (after reading gas, electric and water meters and adjusting payments as necessary - almost certainly upwards ), but as it stands after a first stab my spreadsheet looks like this

    EDIT: I've already realised I'm going to have to increase my presents budget as I've not allowed anything for my brother, sister-in-law and nephews, nor OH's niece (let alone other members of his family!). I'm hoping to make some and cover others with vouchers from surveys (must get back to doing those on a regular basis), but it's still going to be a hefty upwards jump in case those plans don't work out
    Last edited by cw18; 21-12-2012 at 10:00 AM.
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 21st Dec 12, 12:53 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    It's looking increasingly likely I've developed lactose intolerance, but in the last couple of weeks I've also started to think I may be having issues with other foodstuffs (avoiding dairy but still having problems) - and that all means I'm having to pick and choose foods more carefully, and generally end up with much more expensive options (eg. my soya milk's almost twice the price of fresh skimmed milk,
    Originally posted by cw18
    Ohhh with you on that one Cheryl - I'm lactose intolerant and my milk costs come in at around a staggering £400+ / year when you think you can get fresh "normal" milk for 43p / litre and the lacto*free stuff is around £1.30 / litre it quickly adds up.

    I'm really struggling to keep my grocery bill under control - both from the lactose issues and having been ill recently I'm on a very restricted diet now ... and again it seems to consist of expensive foods *sigh*

    I feel the way you do about your personal trainer with my massages - they help my back so much that there are other sacrifices I'd make first before getting rid of them.

    Exercise is a good one as it's not built into my budget at all just now - I do a lot of walking with the dog but do find swimming helps the back too .... must look into that more as I get a staff discount at the pool!
    Grocery Challenge £211/£455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: £125/£250
    £1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £3.96 / £1,000
    Vet Fund: £410.93 / £1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • rising from the ashes
    • By rising from the ashes 21st Dec 12, 1:05 PM
    • 12,321 Posts
    • 59,551 Thanks
    rising from the ashes
    2013 budget

    Might be a bit of tweaking still but just about there I think!

    Red + and Green - figures are differences from last year

    I have got some savings figures included in here which shouldn't really be in my overall expenses total but I use the SoW to keep track of all my monthly payments / direct debits as well so they've had to be added for that purpose

    Overall reduction of nearly £450 on last years figure but not sure if that's really a sensible move! Still .... it is a challenge so!
    Last edited by rising from the ashes; 21-12-2012 at 1:15 PM.
    Grocery Challenge £211/£455 (01/01-31/03)
    2016 Sell: £125/£250
    £1,000 Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £3.96 / £1,000
    Vet Fund: £410.93 / £1,000
    Debt free & determined to stay that way!
    • skint_chick
    • By skint_chick 22nd Dec 12, 5:42 PM
    • 771 Posts
    • 5,627 Thanks
    Here's my budget for 2013 - aims are to pay off £7900 cc debt and hopefully make some overpayments on my loan with just over £8000 to go. I haven't included mortgage or debt repayments, council tax or the cost of the MA I'm studying. We recently got rid of Sky and have no tv aerial so don't have to have a tv licence for watching catchup online so have saved on that.

    Electricity £300
    Oil £500
    Life insurance £248.04
    Home insurance £100
    Mobile phone £120
    Presents £200 (4 x birthday 4 x Christmas)
    Car insurance £200
    Petrol and bus fares £500
    Car tax £95
    Clothes & shoes £200
    Haircuts £100
    Social life £500
    Groceries £1200
    Cleaning supplies and toiletries £200

    This leaves me with enough for a couple of hot stone massages all for £4500. I've been seriously considering selling my car as it's only 3years old is still under warranty with servicing included for another 2 years and would raise about £6500. I get the bus to work and walk home as I only work 3 days a week and only use the car to go to the supermarket and my voluntary work, both of which are on bus routes. I'll probably decide around April time when the weather is a bit nicer!

    "I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better." Paul Theroux
    • Buffythedebtslayer
    • By Buffythedebtslayer 22nd Dec 12, 6:27 PM
    • 15,689 Posts
    • 54,015 Thanks
    I am thinking of joining, I tried a few years ago and failed miserably!

    I am going to do some reading. Not sure what I can manage, done a rough budget for the first time! and am in back in debt - due to my lack of budgetting and ability to save (this sentence is all a bit backwards but I really need the Loo so it is staying like that)

    Sealed Pot 12 - 008, 365, 1p a day, 1%, 100 days, Saving to be out of debt!
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 24th Dec 12, 5:40 AM
    • 2,773 Posts
    • 28,069 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST June 2019 - Ninja powers NSD 18/20
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