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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 10th Dec 13, 11:13 AM
    • 6,147Posts
    • 54,322Thanks
    2014 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 10th Dec 13, 11:13 AM
    2014 Frugal Living Challenge 10th Dec 13 at 11:13 AM

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    The Frugal Living Challenge 2014

    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 check out the HANDY LINKS section. If you have any questions, feel free to message me.

    This is an adaptation of the '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.

    Some have already achieved their debt free status 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 teach their debt-free and/or mortgage-free day. Whichever stage you are at, feel free to join us for 2014 and share your journey.

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

    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
    Recognise the differences between needs from wants

    Spend within your means
    Set a proper budget
    Quit expensive habits
    Get a lodger
    Shop via cashback sites and 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
    Beadmaking & home baking
    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
    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 2014 The links will give you an idea of how previous challenges have gone and these will be updated accordingly.
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 19-09-2014 at 10:50 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!
Page 4
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 14th Dec 13, 8:04 AM
    • 16,752 Posts
    • 143,510 Thanks
    I'm always up for a new challenge so count me in I am a fairly good manager of cash and have cut my food budget back quite a bit, (£60.00per month ,just for me alone) but I want to build up a few more savings as its been a heavy year for expenditure(lots of decorating needed doing ) So I will be doing my utmost to build up a decent savings pot again.Plus I have a holiday cottage rental to pay for by June.No debts though which is a good start I suppose
    JackieO xxx
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • findingmyfeet
    • By findingmyfeet 14th Dec 13, 10:09 AM
    • 494 Posts
    • 5,666 Thanks
    morning all

    spent a few days trailing through bank statements/receipts etc to try to get an idea of exactly what we have been spending and trying to see were the money is leaking away!!! We never buy take aways and eat out only four or five times a year for birthdays etc. I shop in a*di/L*dl and bargain stores etc so think it must be a few pounds here there and everywhere that is being spent without noticing.!! Need to tighten up all round .

    Yesterday DH researched the gas and electricity and swopped our supplier for a cheaper fixed deal so a good start. Today we need to fill the car with petrol so we will try to watch the mileage, eak it out as long as possible and generally just try to cut all trips out to a minimum.

    I have ten family members for christmas day , so am now trying to fiddle with the menu options to keep costs down to a minimum/bake and shop wisely .ok for all the veggies and potatoes as DH and dad have allotments .

    How are you all going to cope with christmas on a budget? any tips gratefully recieved. starting as i mean to go on!!
    sealed pot member no :435 2011- £306.68 2012-£304.36 2013- £387.44 2014 - £441.43 £482.30
  • flamingo747
    We've cut xmas by
    - Using doubled up clubcard vouchers for toys for ds and niece
    - Buying food bits on offer and putting aside
    - Homemade presents for adults
    - Posting bare minimum xmas cards and only buying 2nd class, plus reusing any unmarked stamps we've received
    - Having xmas dinner just me dh & ds rather than all the inlaws
    • By COOLTRIKERCHICK 14th Dec 13, 11:02 AM
    • 10,419 Posts
    • 58,340 Thanks
    I pop back and fore for a few years now with the frugal threads..

    I am like one of the other posters, I am either frugal, or have a lapse and just spend.... ok not overboard, but It is spending that we could have done without..

    I slowly trying to work out where our money is going etc, and def going to go back into buying in bulk.. some items like sugar from FF is £1.50 for 2, so might use the moc and buy 20 -30 bags..

    also I have worked out we use 60 trays of 12 tins of cat food in a year, at the moment the cheapest place I can find it is in poundstretcher for £3.99 a tray, the next cheapest is morisons £2 for a tray of 6.... so was thinking of going to poundstretcher and bulk buying as many trays I am allowed to buy..

    There is 2 ways of looking at buying like this.... 1... if the prices go up, then I have saved/got a bit of a buffer to adapt my budget to the price increase, plus 2.... the less it potentially save more trips going to the supermarket, because we have run out, so then ending up buying other things...

    Also found out the wood pellet cat litter is 76p cheaper in poundland ( £1 per 5L in PL £2.76 for 10L in a$da, £3+ in te$co), But might do a trial with a bale of hemp animal bedding, to see how absorbant it is, as if it is suitable for using in the cat litter tray... then a huge bale will last me for yonks, and is only £10-£14 ( haven't bought it for a long time )
    Work to live= not live to work
    • Becky 2
    • By Becky 2 14th Dec 13, 2:02 PM
    • 1,086 Posts
    • 12,343 Thanks
    Becky 2
    Thanks Frugaldom for starting a new thread for 2014. I joined the challenge this year. Thanks to this challenge I set up a d.d. for a savings account and bought loads of berries in the summer that I put in the freezer. I shall eat these for breakfast over the winter period.

    In 2014 my aim will be to:
    * Save up for a deposit on a house
    * Start selling stuff again, I did this in 2012
    * Read information at least once a week on staff net at work. In December I saved £25 for getting a free bus pass.

    Good luck to everyone whether you are an old challenger or new to this challenge.
    No toiletries challenge, started 18/1/2010 - Putting £1 in my savings jar for every item that I use up. Pot 1 to 4 = £261. Pot 5=£23
    Boots points:£39.21. Extra money in 2012:£674.59. In 2013 £603.48. 2014: £85. 2015: £0
    • nat21luv
    • By nat21luv 14th Dec 13, 2:18 PM
    • 3,365 Posts
    • 27,397 Thanks
    Cooltrikerchic, that's nearly 2 tins a day of cat food! I have two cats and they have 1 tin a day and cat biscuits to bulk it out. They are fat cats so certainly don't go hungry. This is also on top of any leftovers they might get. A kilo of biscuits is just over a quid from tesco, this lasts about 10 days.

    So if you fed kitty/s 1 can a day and biscuits it works out at (30x3.99)+(1.05x36)=£158 or there abouts.
    At the minute you're spending £240 on 60 trays.

    I've been buying from home bargains at 39p a can so Ill look into £stretcher but think when I factor in petrol it might be a little dearer. Thanks for the info!
    £12k in 2019 #=
    £30k by Jan 2020= £% £10 a day = £366.23 / £500

    • By COOLTRIKERCHICK 14th Dec 13, 2:49 PM
    • 10,419 Posts
    • 58,340 Thanks
    nat21luv I have 3 cats.. one greedy guts and 2 'normal' eaters.. they also have scraps from the plates etc, the odd tin of pilchards, and if there is liver/heart reduced I buy them that too..I buy the odd box of dried food, purely for them to have something to crunch to keep their teeth healthy, But I am not a big fan of dried food...

    If I find tinned cat food cheaper anywhere I will give you the heads up..

    and yep 2 tins of cat food...a day, have tried the 1200gms of dog food now and again... to try and stretch the budget they are approx. 87p per tin

    edit..... If I fed my cats 1 tins of cat food and biscuit I think they would gang up on
    Last edited by COOLTRIKERCHICK; 14-12-2013 at 2:52 PM.
    Work to live= not live to work
    • nat21luv
    • By nat21luv 14th Dec 13, 3:03 PM
    • 3,365 Posts
    • 27,397 Thanks
    I had a feeling you would say 3! Mine gang up on me, but that's just cats! What about just 1/2 a can, biscuits and leftovers each a day? Even that would save you £66 a year and that's factoring in a kilo of biscuits lasting only 7 days rather than 10.

    A friend of mine will buy nothing else for her 2 cats but Whiskers pouches and biscuits, costs her £537 a year!!!
    £12k in 2019 #=
    £30k by Jan 2020= £% £10 a day = £366.23 / £500

    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 14th Dec 13, 3:05 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Hi guys

    Can I join in too please? I have been reading the 2013 thread on and off but really need to give myself abit of a kick start for a couple of reasons;

    1. I have approx £3k of debt i want to pay off
    2. Im sick of wasting money- im literally drowning in clothes, shoes, endless stuff etc etc
    3. I want some savings and some financial security
    4. Im training to change my career so at some point may need to take a lower paid/part time job to complete my studies

    Im looking forward to the challenge and to hopefully learning some good tips
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • millionaire-to-be
    • By millionaire-to-be 14th Dec 13, 3:15 PM
    • 36 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    Love to Join

    Need to be as frugal as possible in 2014 have to find a way to reduse costs but have a life as well.

    spend far too much on food, need to get back to planning meals and therefore not overbuy and end with cupboards full but nothing that goes together, which leads to another local shopping trip, more expensive.
    Last edited by millionaire-to-be; 14-12-2013 at 3:25 PM. Reason: spellings
    [COLOR="Blue"]218monthstogo (Government Retirement Date 2034)
    Change of Attitude for 2016: Pay, Save,& Invest
    Work on Net Worth: Assets - Liabilities.
    Totals 1st April 2016 £8091, May £8703, June £9343, July £10159
  • helencal80
    Can I join please? I am in the process of sorting out my life after a relationship breakdown. This will help me stay on track, I hope to be, no will be, debt free in January 2017! And with a limited income (I'm a student and single parent) I need all the help I can get.
  • ecodude
    Count me in too please will post my situation nearer new year. cheers
  • nikki2002-2008
    Im up for this going to try for £9000 for the year for everything it's going to be a make do and mend year
    Last edited by nikki2002-2008; 15-12-2013 at 8:39 PM.
    Mum £6043.19/£43.19 0.71% paid
    Dwp £710/£20 2.82% paid
    OD £2000 loan £1500 VC paid CO £470
    HP £1020/£681 64.8% paid
    Total £12033.19/£1034.19 8.59% paid
    • Mrs Cheshire
    • By Mrs Cheshire 14th Dec 13, 7:31 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 9,053 Thanks
    Mrs Cheshire
    Helen, you can do it and we're all here to support you!
    SPC #148 2014-£25 2015-£5.50 My stars from Sue-UU

    Grocery Challenge 2019
    Jan £396.91/£400, Feb £/£400
    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 14th Dec 13, 9:05 PM
    • 2,675 Posts
    • 18,341 Thanks
    I've always enjoyed this thread as a lurker but felt unable to join as it's very full on as I worried I couldn't stick to it full time. I really want to be able to get my head around it this year as I'm so close to being debt free and want to start getting some savings as a back up. So as it's a come and go I will feel less pressured so I'm definitely going to give it a go.

    I need to go away and start working on my budget for the coming year and how to reduce some of these figures. I have been growing veg for a few years but want to increase this in scale this year.

    Going back to post 1 to see where more cuts can be made.
    My mini challenge: pay off MBNA by 31/08/18. £502/£502 100% (paid off 30/06/18 - 2 months early )

    Pay of all debt by xmas 2019 #09 - £0/ £8471 %
    • Buffythedebtslayer
    • By Buffythedebtslayer 14th Dec 13, 9:07 PM
    • 15,689 Posts
    • 54,015 Thanks

    I'd like to join in please,

    I have 4600 of debt, need to buy a new(to me) car and have some dental work done. I have taken a pay cut in my new job and it is just till July- still I am FAR happier!

    I would like to have my 0% cc paid off by July which means making a payment of about 657 each month.

    my outgoings are about 1000 per month and that doesn't leave much really.

    If I am careful with Christmas I may be able to make a payment of 600 to the CC which would lower my monthly payment to 557.

    I have savings for the car 200 pounds! I have to pay money each to cover my rent in August when I won't have a job. I have a 100 saved for that already. I have a number of savings pots.........

    Pets - currently 160, pay in 40 a month (covers insurance and some vet bills)
    52 wk challenge = 171, pay in a different amount each week.
    365 = £1 a day for Christmas
    Virtual sealed pot = small change in account currently going on car.
    Sealed pot = physical small change left at the end of the week to be saved for either Christmas or the Car.

    I also have 2500 in an ISA. Realistically this could be used for the ca or the CC or to survive my month without a job.
    I have am in the very fortunate position to have options.
    have to get ready for bed (!) will ponder some more

    Sealed Pot 12 - 008, 365, 1p a day, 1%, 100 days, Saving to be out of debt!
    • Liliyanna
    • By Liliyanna 14th Dec 13, 9:09 PM
    • 109 Posts
    • 973 Thanks
    Hey all,

    Count me in, this next year is going to be a tough one! We aim to be debt free by 31/12/14 so have our work cut out for us

    Lily x x
    LBM = Jan 1st 2013 - £42,000 owed DFD = Christmas Eve 2014
    • amber03
    • By amber03 14th Dec 13, 9:21 PM
    • 838 Posts
    • 5,139 Thanks
    I'm in, became debt free and hope to continue, hopefully this thread will keep me on my toes.

    One thing I will do will pay for everything in cash. Each week I will take the money out for that week, hopefully any money left over can go into my savings account.x
    Debtfree and and staying that way.
    £1000 Emergency fund No.112 £572.00
  • helencal80
    Thanks Mrs Cheshire!

    On a frugal note I had some dodgy celery and leeks in the fridge, I would normally chuck them out but i made a really tasty casserole with some reduced diced pork, homemade chicken stock from last month (frozen) and a £1 bag of stew veg. It was delish! And cost about £3.50, feeding 6 of us.
    LBM Dec 2013 ~ DFD Sept 2016! Paid 45/19588 = 0.22% Crazy Clothes Challenge: 0/300 Sealed Pot Challenge 7: #207 £365 in 365 days - 2014: #35 8/365 Drop 26lbs in 26 weeks: 0/26 Janus Illusion #20: Food 83/340 SFD 2/20 FB 0/5 Choc 0/0 20p savers #22: x9 50p savers #22: x3 £2 savers #49 Grocery Challenge: JAN 83/340
  • annisimmy
    Can I join in too...

    My income is possibly going to reduce by one third sometime in early 2014 if not sooner.

    I was made redundant earlier this year, my marriage fell to pieces after I found out my ex husband had gambled our house and everything away to the point he went bankrupt, then I had to go bankrupt too as the joint mortgage debt fell on to me, so now I have a one bedroomed HAssociation bungalow in a lovley place but the bungalow was lived in by a smoker and well Im in the process of eradicating orange nicotine ceilings and walls and am doing a weekly battle with the HAssociation to sort out my leaky porch...

    I need to cut my food bills, heating bills etc as I wish to pay to have the leaky porch and storage room sorted, I know its not my responsibility but this bungalow is in such a lovley place Im ashamed to have this carbuncle of rotten wood and peeling paint attached to it.

    So while I have a small extra bit of money Im going to save and cut back and get quotes to have this done whilst I can. If my income does drop then I will not be able to afford to do this and for my own sanity as well as I need it doing.

    I have lingered and lurked for a while now so its time to put into practice what Ive roll on January 1st 2014 and let the savings pot start to be filled up.

    I will work out my budget and announce my living target for 2014 soon, I just hope my income can stay the same for the next two months then its a possibility to have my rotten porch done if not then its serious cutting it to the bone to achieve this..doable and possible if I can just get started Id be unstoppable as they say

    Last edited by annisimmy; 15-12-2013 at 7:12 AM. Reason: fat finger typos
    Life is looking good, finances are stable for a while, smelly bungalow smelling fragrant and bank balance still low but a good place till something else happens
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