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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 3
  • xnatalie81x
    I made my very own home made pasta today for the very first time. Easy peasey. I did use my mums fan dangled pasta machine and gifted pasta flour so got my 500g flour Plus 3med eggs and water into enough pasta for 3 adults an 4 kiddies plus sauces seperately priced for just 36p (3 eggs at 12p each)

    I wouldn't buy pasta flour but plain flour can be used with value just 60p for 1.5kg meaning 20p flour plus the eggs and water 36p (value eggs although Makro have a box averaging 10p each) so 56p is very good for luxury fresh pasta. I pay 39p for the same amount in tesco value pasta but when we get our hens it'll be even cheaper although will be a while before then
    DFW since JAN 2009 - 2014 will be the year i finally clear debts Just to see which month )))

    One adult + 4 children + dog
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 28th Dec 12, 3:52 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    Is it just me who thinks you should all stop beating yourself up? your family budget should suit YOUR family not everyone elses, my budget is low but my rent is £150 and theres no council tax or water rates over here which is most peoples big costs.

    Can't wait til new year to get started, 2013 should be a big year for us
    DFW £7632/£28996 26.3%
    • freedom2011
    • By freedom2011 28th Dec 12, 4:35 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 1,108 Thanks
    I made my very own home made pasta today for the very first time. I pay 39p for the same amount in tesco value pasta but when we get our hens it'll be even cheaper although will be a while before then
    Originally posted by xnatalie81x

    Ooo I must dig mine out fresh pasta is yummy, thanks for the reminder. I shall add that to my frugal meal plan ideas. I too would love some chickens but they have to go on my dream list for the moment.
    Frugal Challenge £9000
    Grocery Challenge £tba pm £
    • freedom2011
    • By freedom2011 28th Dec 12, 4:43 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 1,108 Thanks
    looking forward to all my challenges just not sure how to get started. I have Sunday planned for going through paperwork and doing spreadsheets for budgets etc.
    I need to do inventory of fridge/ freezer/cupboards and meal plan for month then I can do shopping list. but after all that what next.

    any thoughts anyone please
    Originally posted by couldsavemore
    You've reminded me that I need to get my butt in gear and get my budget sorted. Last year I kept a spends diary plus a spreadsheet which I fould useful. I kept all my receipts in a different wallet for each month too just incase I wanted to compare the price of something.
    I am just in the process of putting together a frugal file of meal ideas and I have decided to do one with brilliant frugal tips to help my when I feel like falling off the wagon (definetely adding making fresh pasta re the last few posts) may get quite some wearing!
    Frugal Challenge £9000
    Grocery Challenge £tba pm £
  • out of debt at last
    I have decided to do my target monthly as it is more realistic for me and will keep me on track otherwise i will get very confused! I think i am frugal but am hoping to learn new ways!
    Having a Consumer Holiday 2015

    • pavlovs_dog
    • By pavlovs_dog 28th Dec 12, 7:53 PM
    • 9,813 Posts
    • 24,060 Thanks
    I think I am going to end up with a budget of 20 grand! which doesn't seem vaguely frugal. I need to think some more.

    Oh dear!
    Originally posted by Buffythedebtslayer
    I'm in a similar boat on the budget front, and it does seem extreme and lavish compared to some here. That said, our annual income is a fraction of what some folks on DFW earn, but the only debt to our name is the mortgage. Guess it just goes to show that everyone's in a different scenario.

    Whichever end of the budget scale you're at, we are all united by the common goal of taking a tighter control of our finances and getting the best bang for our buck. Either way, there is plenty of food for thought on this thread. It is only by cutting back that you start to learn what you cannot live without.
    know thyself

    Nid wy'n gofyn bywyd moethus...
    • Merle
    • By Merle 28th Dec 12, 7:59 PM
    • 20 Posts
    • 291 Thanks
    I like lots of others have spent far too much this Christmas trying to make my family and friends happy. When will I ever learn? Its time to make myself happy by living a frugal life free from debt. I've done it before and I need to get back on track. Please add me to the list this year I am going to take up the frugal challenge in earnest and make it work for me. My family I am afraid are quite selfish and take a lot of things for granted. I still have three grown up children at home who see me, since I finished work, as their personal slave. They contribute very little to the household budget and they are going to get quite a shock in 2013. The meals I will cook will be very nutritious and healthy but well within my frugal budget. For once I am going to concentrate on the needs of myself and my DH. Good luck everyone keep at it don't let anyone put you off.
    • *Jellie*
    • By *Jellie* 29th Dec 12, 6:35 AM
    • 2,934 Posts
    • 13,648 Thanks
    I'm working on how to adapt the budget and challenge so it will work for me. OH is on board with the goals and ideas but is not on MSE. It doesn't seem right to get him to join in with challenges as he approaches a frugal life in his own way and generally has done better than me!

    I think the best thing is for me to run a budget for the areas where I do and control most of the spending. To make things easier I won't worry about including our mortgage (which is fixed for a couple of years), utilities (which hubby regularly checks and makes sure we are on the best deal) and anything else where I do not have control.

    Yesterday I went through my statements for the last 4 months to get an idea of the spending on groceries and petrol. I already meal plan and batch cook but I'm sure I can reduce our groceries bill so I've set an aspirational budget figure. Petrol is unlikely to be reduced as we already walk where possible etc. My plan today is to work out a budget for the other areas in my full control and not be a perfectionist by feeling I haven't done this 'properly'
    Last edited by *Jellie*; 29-12-2012 at 10:51 AM.
    2019 fashion on a ration 0/66 coupons
  • xnatalie81x
    Jellie I don't include things I can't control either - rent, don't repayments and national insurance payments. These things are fixed for me and therefore I set a seperate budget aside or those things and only include on the challenge those things I can control

    Still have my £6 from 2012 budget to last me until the new year and already have some money in my "additional income sheet" which is money I earn/get in addition to that which I expect so far £10.88 dec Isa interest and £75.00 extra earnings from dec but taking for 2013 as won't need anything else in 2012.

    I could so easily reduce my petrol and must! I have a dual fuel car but limited to one petrol station and I'm rubbish at going there. Need to get better at judging usage as it is almost half the price of petrol!!!!!
    DFW since JAN 2009 - 2014 will be the year i finally clear debts Just to see which month )))

    One adult + 4 children + dog
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 29th Dec 12, 1:22 PM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,765 Thanks
    tessie bear
    i visited the local market today to buy some frugal fruit and wasnt a particularly pleasant experience as is was tipping it down with rain....i did however get a large bowl of apples for a quid so plan to bake some for tea...havent got to grips with the budget as such yet still thinking about the details

    with regards to hm pasta i have done it at school without a machine just rolling it thin seemed to work ok
    regards tess
    onwards and upwards
  • xnatalie81x
    Tbh tessie I think making the dough and rolling out and slicing strips would be less time consuming lol. It's just another silly gadget but my mum LOVES! Her gadgets lol. I found the pasta kept us all much fuller for longer than the dried value variety!

    Made another small loaf today (mum has a mini breadmaker) but let my 6yr old daughter put everything in. Best loaf we've ever made lol. Maybe following the measurements exactly is more important than I remember

    Chicken stew (Xmas left overs hm stock) with dumplings in a pan on the oven! We had brunch at 10.30 so dinner at 3 then tea will be this evening as we are off home tonight been staying with parents since Monday evening! Loved every minute of it
    DFW since JAN 2009 - 2014 will be the year i finally clear debts Just to see which month )))

    One adult + 4 children + dog
    • tessie bear
    • By tessie bear 29th Dec 12, 2:51 PM
    • 4,324 Posts
    • 29,765 Thanks
    tessie bear
    natalie...i love a gadget as well i have a pasta machine but find the dough gets very sticky and i end up in a mess...on the subject of gadgets what do people think to bread umming and ahring over one but they seem expensive
    onwards and upwards
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 29th Dec 12, 3:24 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    natalie...i love a gadget as well i have a pasta machine but find the dough gets very sticky and i end up in a mess...on the subject of gadgets what do people think to bread umming and ahring over one but they seem expensive
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    Do you remeber i moved house during the year? well i decided not to bring mine we had limited space and i thought i never used it anyway but now i miss it mainly for pizza dough if i see a cheapo one on ebay/facebook pages or in a charity shop i'm gonna grab it. btw best gadget even is the slowcooker
    DFW £7632/£28996 26.3%
    • vintagebrighton
    • By vintagebrighton 29th Dec 12, 5:13 PM
    • 560 Posts
    • 1,709 Thanks
    Hi everyone I'd like to join too please...

    Not sure about my budget yet but what I do know, is that I need to make my available money work harder!

    I've started a debt free diary and definitely need to up my income in some way or other. Methinks I'll be spending a lot of time on here in 2013.

    Will have a think about which way to go, monthly or yearly and what to include (or not)..... back in a bit xx
  • out of debt at last
    natalie...i love a gadget as well i have a pasta machine but find the dough gets very sticky and i end up in a mess...on the subject of gadgets what do people think to bread umming and ahring over one but they seem expensive
    Originally posted by tessie bear
    I was like that ummed and argghed over getting one cost and where to put it mostly cost though.............. i love mine, pizza dough fab, wholemeal bread great! bought mine last May and love it!
    Having a Consumer Holiday 2015

    • *Jellie*
    • By *Jellie* 29th Dec 12, 9:53 PM
    • 2,934 Posts
    • 13,648 Thanks
    I'm another fan of our bread maker. If I tried to make it without I doubt I would ever get round to it! As it is we swapped from two for Tuesday takeout pizzas to homemade pizzas when we got it and I really think we've got our money's worth out of it.
    2019 fashion on a ration 0/66 coupons
  • xnatalie81x
    I got rid of our breadmaker when I downsized so only have my mums 1lb machine which I use when there and try and remember to bring a loaf home lol. Approved foods have white bread mixes relatively cheaply so have stocked up as no measuring which makes life easier

    Pizza dough is so easy lol. I just chuck all in a large bowl and mix - cover. Sit on heater and pretty much leave the kids to it sauce just simmered tomato and herbs and let em go mad with thinly sliced mushroom and value tinned pineapple and bit grated cheese (value mozzarella mixed with cheddar if feeling generous) its like an event for them! Last time we did it I cooked them individually in value cake tins in the halogen oven gas costs me but electric is all inclusive so I use where possible!

    Only today and tomorrow and we are officially in 2013! Still have my £6 from 2012 and hoping petrol can hold out lol. Remains to be seen. Do you think we should have quick introductions? Bit about you and who is in your household, hobbies, wok, pets etc? Help the newbies (like me) a bit as quite a few faces have changed and prob situations too
    DFW since JAN 2009 - 2014 will be the year i finally clear debts Just to see which month )))

    One adult + 4 children + dog
    • littleskintdragon
    • By littleskintdragon 30th Dec 12, 8:31 AM
    • 883 Posts
    • 5,406 Thanks
    just want to say well done to everyone on this thread, i recently for the first time worked out my minimum annual spend and got a figure around £24000,its amazing how little u can live on, and one day i hope ill join u x
    Still here..... but working on that!
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 30th Dec 12, 9:02 AM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    it's the whole mixing thing i'm not keen on or else i would just do it in a bowl, i'm considering getting a standmixer, can you make pastry in a mixer or does it have to be a food processor?
    DFW £7632/£28996 26.3%
  • ostrichnomore
    Frugaldom - thank you for adding me (and running this).

    This is really giving me something to focus on, I've always been a bit random over money especially as I had several very hard years living penny by penny hand to mouth when I was younger, when I got a bit more money - even though it's not a huge amount - it was nice to just relax and let go of the reins a bit. But now I want to get serious again and there are so many great ideas on the old threads and the stickies, I spent a couple of hours reading through yesterday.

    So, to get myself started

    I've resisted the urge to go to the sales and 'treat' myself. All I need is some new work shoes so will go and find myself some today and leave it at that.

    I was given some scratchcards for Christmas (at the time thought, what?!) but I've won £70! Will invest that in buying birthday presents for 2013 in the sales.

    Got a few left over bits and pieces I bought for Christmas presents and didn't give out in the end (you know, those 'oh that'll be nice for someone' impulse buys) which I would usually just then keep myself, but they'll all go into the birthday present store now instead.

    Bought a load of reduced soups and small quiches (now in freezer), which will do me for work lunches for 2 weeks. Cost me £6.70, whereas I would have spent £30 normally so saving £23.30. Amazing how little things like not buying a Greggs/Boots lunch deal add up, when it doesn't seem like much day by day as you buy them. And the soups and quiches are Weightwatchers and will help with my diet.

    Determined to stop wasting food - it's usually only veg gone manky. Now have a blender so will start making 'bottom of fridge' soups once a week. More work lunches :-)
    I am a long term poster using an alter ego for debts and anything where I might mention relationship problems or ex. I hope you understand
    [CENTER]LBM 08/03/11. Debts Family member £1600, HMRC NI £324.AA 137.45. Halifax credit card (debt sold to Arrow Global)673.49Mystery CCJ £252 Santander overdraft £239 £0 .
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