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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 18th Dec 12, 10:36 AM
    • 6,147Posts
    • 54,320Thanks
    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 Ė 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 Ė keep it clean please). Discussion Time is for discussion of current issues (read Martinís description).

    If you post a topic that does not relate to the board itís 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 38
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 10th Dec 13, 10:54 AM
    • 6,147 Posts
    • 54,320 Thanks
    Not necessary
    I don't mind running the 2014 if no one else wants to!

    Sorry I've not been as active on the thread this year - it's been very busy and I've not been particularly frugal

    I am determined to be very much back on the wagon for 2014, if you'll have me!
    Originally posted by slowlyfading

    Hi SF and anyone else who missed my various posts.

    I am already preparing the 2014 thread HERE, so no need to worry, it'll be up and running soon.

    Hope you are all well.
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 10-12-2013 at 11:22 AM.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • 23rdspiral
    • By 23rdspiral 10th Dec 13, 6:02 PM
    • 1,927 Posts
    • 12,619 Thanks
    Hello, can I return to the fold please?

    I was a challenger on a previous incarnation of this thread back in 2011, and it really helped. 2012 was very busy, 2013 has been very stressful and now i find myself with changing circumstances which mean i should get back to being on top of every penny.

    I learnt a lot in 2011 from the great people here and have continued with the sensible ways, but think i could do with reverting to being positively frugal!

    I still have the great Spreadsheet of Wonder (from CW?) and am wondering if there has been an update to it that I should use instead?

    I've scrolled back a few pages and it's nice to see some familiar names
    Relax, Breathe, Love 2014 Challenges:Cross Stitch Cafe Challenger 23. Frugal Living Challenger. No buying cleaning products. I used MSE advice to reduce my car insurance from 550 to 325!! & paid it off in full!!!
    • Goldiegirl
    • By Goldiegirl 10th Dec 13, 7:38 PM
    • 8,477 Posts
    • 50,039 Thanks
    Help me out guys. There doesn't seem to be a board quite suitable for me. I have always been pretty OS and frugal, I have paid off my mortgage and have no debts. However, I have just four years before retirement and not much saved for a pension, and nothing to expect other than standard retirement pension. I need to save and be frugal as much as any of you, so is this the right forum for me? I am simply trying to avoid getting into debt in old age.
    Originally posted by Living proof
    I'm planning to be on the 2014 challenge for similar reasons.

    As my signature says, DH and I are planning for an early retirement. For the first year of this retirement, we'll be on quite a low income, as our only income will be pensions we already receive. Things will improve in 2016 when DH's state pension and another small pension kicks in, but even so, we'll still have less income than we do now.

    I want to get myself used to living on less, and also to up our savings in the run up to retirement.

    I probably won't be perfect, but I want to move in the right direction now.

    Over the last few years I've been de-cluttering, and this year, with the help of the de-cluttering thread on the OS board, I've remained focused all year.

    With that in mind, I want to record my efforts and thoughts with like minded people on this board. It's really helpful, and I think it'll keep me on track

    I had wondered about doing a diary, but there was nowhere totally appropriate to do this. I had thought about doing it on the pensions board, but it's not really the right place, the sort of figures thrown around on that board are way out of my league.

    I think this challenge is the sort of thing that'll really be useful for me.

    As Frugaldom says, I'll also look in on the mini challenges too
    Early retired - 18th December 2014
    If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough
    • allie23
    • By allie23 15th Dec 13, 8:59 AM
    • 1,336 Posts
    • 14,594 Thanks
    Morning All. I have been up since 6am getting organised today. Shopping done - most of it is for my Nurture group at work as we have 2 birthdays this week so 2 sets of cakes and gifts plus selection boxes for all the kids in the groups as a Christmas gift. I just have to get them all wrapped now too.

    I am having a major tidy up today. Been ill again - last weekend I had tonsillitis and had to have another few days off work. As a result I have done nil housework for weeks now so making up for it today. Also making roast pepper and tomato soup for lunches during the week.

    I hope everyone is well and enjoying the last few weeks of 2013.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save £12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - £13,310/£40,000
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 16th Dec 13, 6:00 PM
    • 2,772 Posts
    • 28,057 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    allie - Sending hugs. Hope you feel better soon.

    Still plodding along. Have brought down some of the over spend on the food. Still got £30 of M&S vouchers, so that will come in handy for some of the food shopping.

    Had a letter from the electricity company regarding my tariff. They have changed it slightly even though I am on a price freeze. They have taken away the discount I get for not having gas and lowered slightly my price for normal and night time rates. Going to give me a one off payment/credit of around £25 sometime this month. Have to see how it works out.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST June 2019 - Ninja powers NSD 10/20
  • frugaldances
    Is there a 2014 frugal living challenge please?
    NSD: 3/15 April
    Grocery spend challenge April £49/£80
    sealed pot challenge 7 #201 saved £4.76
    WSC commencing 30/3 £0/ £6 Virtual sealed pot challenge £5.46
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 22nd Dec 13, 10:19 AM
    • 6,147 Posts
    • 54,320 Thanks
    ... the 2014 thread HERE, so no need to worry, it'll be up and running soon .
    Originally posted by Frugaldom
    Is there a 2014 frugal living challenge please?
    Originally posted by frugaldances

    Yes, don't forget to read post 1, hope you have fun in 2014
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 25th Dec 13, 8:50 AM
    • 2,772 Posts
    • 28,057 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST June 2019 - Ninja powers NSD 10/20
    • allie23
    • By allie23 25th Dec 13, 10:43 AM
    • 1,336 Posts
    • 14,594 Thanks
    Thanks Kerry Woman, Merry Christmas to you too.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save £12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - £13,310/£40,000
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th Dec 13, 10:07 AM
    • 6,147 Posts
    • 54,320 Thanks
    Hope everyone managed to find something to celebrate and had a good day. All the very best for 2014 when it gets here!
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
  • dizzy lizzie
    Hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday
    We had family round and it was just wonderful seeing everybody.
    A quieter day today but out soon for a Boxing Day get together.
    Not staying long as I'd quite like some relaxing time this evening, just me and OH.
    Looking forward to starting the New Year on our shiny new thread.
    I am soooooo determined so save lots of pennies this year!!!!
    Hugs to everyone and
    Official DFW Nerd Club Member no:219
    In the Court Of The Crimson King
    I don't believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.
    Gary Larson
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 29th Dec 13, 3:34 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,405 Thanks
    my biggest frugal step has been to keep a pair of scissors handy in bedroom drawer to cut things like cleansing wipes in half tops of tubes of cream for example everything is lasting longer

    you all may do this already but i cant believe the difference it has made.
    Originally posted by couldsavemore
    Brilliant! One of my biggest savers in the bathroom is having 2 x 1l shampoo pumps. No idea where they came from originally but they were apple shampoo and apple conditioner. I get 1l bubble bath from Avon when on offer and fill them up - being a pump means the boys (inc hubby) don't get through a ridiculous amount and it is perfect for the shower!
    • debbiedeejay
    • By debbiedeejay 30th Dec 13, 7:42 PM
    • 504 Posts
    • 5,182 Thanks
    Just popping in to say an early "Happy New Frugal year" to all

    I have joined the 2014 thread but wanted to say how thankful I have been to all of you for such many inspirational posts over the year - its been a great journey and I look forward to the new adventure with you all in 2014.
    Crazy Clothes Challenge 2012 £57.20/£100,CCC 2013 £68.67/£100 ,CCC 2014 £94.32/£100
    *Frugal Living Challenge 2012, 2013, 2014*
    GC 2014 Jan £154.14/£180;Feb £103.49/£180;Mar 117.63/£160
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 1st Jan 14, 7:59 AM
    • 2,772 Posts
    • 28,057 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Wishing everyone a Happy and Frugal 2014.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST June 2019 - Ninja powers NSD 10/20
    • allie23
    • By allie23 1st Jan 14, 9:22 AM
    • 1,336 Posts
    • 14,594 Thanks
    A happy and frugal New Year to everyone. All the best for 2014. I will see you over on the 2014 board.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save £12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - £13,310/£40,000
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 1st Jan 14, 12:34 PM
    • 2,772 Posts
    • 28,057 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Looking at what I spent in 2013 in personal and food, I have managed to reduce in both areas. Not much in the food area, but at least it better than not saving nothing at all.

    Did some more decluttering before 2013 ended. I think I done most of the decluttering in the flat.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST June 2019 - Ninja powers NSD 10/20
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