Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th Dec 18, 5:14 PM
    • 6,179Posts
    • 54,578Thanks
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 26th Dec 18, 5:14 PM
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge 26th Dec 18 at 5:14 PM
    Join us here for year 12 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

    The Frugal Living Challenge 2019

    It's that time of year again, the time when we all need to start thinking ahead into the new year and how we are going to tackle any debts, generate extra income and squirrel away some savings.

    Please take the time to read this post in full and if you have any questions, feel free to message me or ask in the forum.

    This is an adaptation of the original NYK/Frugaldom 'Living on 4,000 for a Year' challenge. It has been running here on MSE for several years, although these particular money challenges began back in the 90's, elsewhere. We have seen many changes over the years, so this version is a catalogue of diaries charting the progress of 'debt free wannabe' money savers.

    Your budget is personal to you, it should fit with your personal financial situation.

    If you would like to use a simple spreadsheet for calculating your annual expenditure, you are welcome to download a free copy of the original one HERE Simply overwrite the initial monthly amounts and the totals will auto-calculate. From then, it is a simple case of deducting (use the minus sign in front of the amounts) all your outgoings as the year progresses. It's worth while playing about with it to alter headings to suit your personal lifestyle. I've included a couple of extra columns for things like rent/mortgage & council tax and misc/debt payments.

    Some have already achieved debt freedom and now follow frugal lifestyles in order to stay debt free. Others are still tackling their debts and living a frugal life in an attempt to reach their debt-free and/or mortgage-free day. Whichever stage you are at, feel free to join us and share your journey.

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

    The 2018 Challenge

    The 2017 Challenge

    The 2016 Challenge

    The 2015 Challenge

    The 2014 Challenge

    The 2013 Challenge

    The 2012 Challenge

    Part 1 - January to March 2011
    Part 2 - April to June 2011
    Part 3 - July to December 2011
    Introduction to the 2010 Challenge
    Part 1 - January to March 2010
    Part 2 - April to June 2010
    Part 3 - July to September 2010
    Part 4 - October to December 2010
    Part 1 - January to March 2009
    Part 2 - April to June 2009
    Part 3 - July to September 2009
    Part 4 - October to December 2009
    Part 1 - January to March 2008
    Part 2 - April to June 2008
    Part 3 - July to September 2008
    Part 4 - October to December 2008

    How it all began - Saving to buy a house without a mortgage 2007 Challenge

    The original interest beater challenge

    The original 1000 in 100 days challenge

    The original free hobbies thread

    Please respect others' lifestyles and beliefs. We are not here to judge, we are here to support. Thank you

    This challenge is about living a frugal, sustainable lifestyle - establishing your true cost of living, sticking to your budget, clearing any debts and making savings wherever and however you can to enable you to live the life you really want.

    Frugal living isn't for everyone, but everyone is welcome to join us. Methods employed by our merry band of frugalers include batch cooking, stockpiling, preserving, foraging, mending, shopping in charity shops, reducing, reusing, recycling, Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS), vegetable and fruit growing, allotments, keeping hens, using cash back sites and earning whatever it takes to become self sufficient in managing the cost of living without incurring debt.

    For some it is initially about clearing debt, for others it's about increasing savings, buying property, becoming stay at home mums or paying off the mortgage early. Some choose the lifestyle on ethical grounds. Above all, this is a fun and supportive way to manage your budget so you have control of your own cost of living. It's about NEEDS and not WANTS.

    Living on a budget = living within our means.
    Frugal = thrifty, living without waste

    Ideas to help you achieve and/or maintain debt free living
    Recognise the differences between needs from wants

    Spend within your means
    Set a proper budget
    Quit expensive bad habits
    Get a lodger
    Shop via cash-back sites and always price compare
    Buy reduced items in stores only if you need them
    Stockpile & bulk buy bargains that you use
    Batch cooking
    Make the most of charity shops
    Join freebie or waste awareness and recycling associations
    LETS trading - become active members of trading & exchange groups
    Grow your own herbs, fruit & veg
    Preserving & winemaking
    Breadmaking & home baking
    Card & gift making
    Order splitting/sharng for better discounts & reduced delivery costs
    Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
    Online trading - auctions, stores, social media pages
    etc, etc, etc...

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

    The bits we need to include to make this work

    Please read the MSE forum rules and help us to keep this challenge on track, thank you.
    If you have any questions about this challenge, feel free to PM me.
    The following is taken from the official MSE forum rules section:


    Please try not to take threads off-topic. This can be confusing for new users and makes it especially difficult for people ... Where requests from Board Guides for threads to be brought back on track have not been followed off-topic posts may be removed. We encourage community, but not thread derailment.

    Please bear in mind the main purpose of the site is to save money. The forum team has therefore been instructed to prioritise its time on the MoneySaving forums.


    There are two boards provided for off-topic chat and discussion. The MoneySavers Arms has been set up for fun, more lighter-hearted chat (although do still remember this is a family forum – keep it clean please). Discussion Time is for discussion of current issues (read Martin’s description).

    If you post a topic that does not relate to the board it’s posted on it will be moved to a more relevant MoneySaving board or to Discussion Time/The MoneySavers Arms.

    This challenge is about paying for needs so we can afford to live debt free and save for/afford wants. It runs from 1st January to 31st December. The links will give you an idea of how previous challenges have gone and these will be updated accordingly.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

    GOOD LUCK IN 2019

    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 27-11-2019 at 7:46 PM.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
Page 1
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th Dec 18, 5:21 PM
    • 6,179 Posts
    • 54,578 Thanks
    • #2
    • 26th Dec 18, 5:21 PM
    2019 frugal living challenge
    • #2
    • 26th Dec 18, 5:21 PM
    Let's be prepared for 2019... join me for the next big frugal living challenge. My personal budget for the cost of living remains unchanged but please remember that is simply to cover the COST OF LIVING.

    Your budget is personal to you - Your guaranteed annual income is what you have to budget, so star by adding up all the absolute essentials like rent, mortgage, debt repayments, work expenses and deduct the total frm your annual income. What you have left is your frugal living budget for running your household. If you end up with a negative number then we're all here to help others turn those numbers around as quickly as possible so the goal of debt freedom becomes achievable.

    I focus purely on the needs and not the wants throughout the challenge. I'm self employed, not in receipt of any benefits and run my business as a social enterprise (not for profit).

    Perhaps some of you remember the Frugaleur, frugal entrepreneur, EEK or Cyberdosh challenges etc... these are still going, but the challenge here is purely about affording to live within our own means and have some fun doing that.

    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 26th Dec 18, 5:34 PM
    • 1,344 Posts
    • 14,343 Thanks
    • #3
    • 26th Dec 18, 5:34 PM
    • #3
    • 26th Dec 18, 5:34 PM
    Hi Count me in please
    Frugal challenge 2019 - starting again.
    Sealed pot 13 no.31
    Emergency fund 190.41/1000
    • mummy2threeboys
    • By mummy2threeboys 26th Dec 18, 6:27 PM
    • 950 Posts
    • 13,802 Thanks
    • #4
    • 26th Dec 18, 6:27 PM
    • #4
    • 26th Dec 18, 6:27 PM
    Hi I would love to join please, I have almost 9k of debt and it feels like a millstone around my neck. Hope to half it by end of year (money is very tight at the moment)
    Compers challenge 27/70
    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 26th Dec 18, 6:38 PM
    • 2,837 Posts
    • 19,966 Thanks
    • #5
    • 26th Dec 18, 6:38 PM
    • #5
    • 26th Dec 18, 6:38 PM
    Another one up for the challenge. I have a huge chunk of debt to get rid of so I need to get by backside into gear.

    Time to cut back as much as i can.
    1 debt v's 100 days chapter 33. Yorks Bank 178.90/338.56 52%

    1000 Emergency fund challenge 133.55/1000

    My house WILL be decluttered by 1st December 2019
    • Aaleigha
    • By Aaleigha 26th Dec 18, 6:45 PM
    • 567 Posts
    • 3,706 Thanks
    • #6
    • 26th Dec 18, 6:45 PM
    • #6
    • 26th Dec 18, 6:45 PM
    I would love to join I am due to move in late Jan early Feb
    my husband has just retired and I am on ESA as we sort our finances during the first few months (eg moving to oil heating bottled gas and a septic tank) being in a rural area so more car use and less money I think I need to be here to pick up tips and perhaps help motivate others as I learn
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 26th Dec 18, 6:47 PM
    • 2,819 Posts
    • 28,539 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    • #7
    • 26th Dec 18, 6:47 PM
    • #7
    • 26th Dec 18, 6:47 PM
    Will be doing the challenge next year. Just need to sort out the budget and my plans for next year.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST: August Adventures
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 26th Dec 18, 7:29 PM
    • 696 Posts
    • 1,896 Thanks
    • #8
    • 26th Dec 18, 7:29 PM
    • #8
    • 26th Dec 18, 7:29 PM
    Hi everyone.
    We are going to be taking part in 2019 .
    The aim is to save as much as possible towards a house deposit. (we do have an aim of 16500) we will only be able to achieve this if we do essential spends only. The budget is drawn up. And I'm going to go through it and finalise it tomorrow ready for the new year.

    We have a plan with lots of ways to keep spends low. We are ready and raring to go.

    The next few days will be frugal ones as my bank balance is low. I have the money put aside for Januarys outgoings. (I transfer Decembers income for Januarys outgoings etc)

    We are starting with 550 in our house fund so the aim is to have 17000 in our house fund accounts by December 2019.
    This will be 8000 in the LISA (4000 for this financial year and 4000 for the financial year 2019) and 9000 in our other house fund savings account. We will also aim to keep the 5000 in our emergency fund (hoping we won't need to touch it)

    Ill also be posting on my diary to help keep us on track.

    Have a fab frugal journey everyone . I hope you all achieve your aims
    June 2017 16000 debt
    Sept 2018 Loan paid off
    Nov 2018 DEBT FREE
    • Theatregal83
    • By Theatregal83 26th Dec 18, 7:30 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 67 Thanks
    • #9
    • 26th Dec 18, 7:30 PM
    Aim to save 10K this year (a challenge I know!)
    • #9
    • 26th Dec 18, 7:30 PM
    I'm in, i'm aiming to have bought my own house by the time i 40 in 5 years. So want to save as much for my deposit as possible, I look forward t being in this challenge and following all your tips and tricks.
    Goal: Buy a house by 40th birthday (2023)
    • BabyStepper
    • By BabyStepper 26th Dec 18, 7:47 PM
    • 474 Posts
    • 2,104 Thanks
    I'd like to join in too. Started paying off debt in May this year so 2019 will be a continuation of that.
    Thanks for the spreadsheet. It's really good.
    May '18 21,228.07/December '19 5,510

    74% paid

    Getting it done

    • Treasurequeen
    • By Treasurequeen 26th Dec 18, 8:42 PM
    • 443 Posts
    • 4,921 Thanks
    I’m in again this year, I will finalise my budget before new year.

    I aim to buy from local businesses for gifts throughout year. I Have lowered by gift budget for next year. I also aim to buy more in charity shops.

    My disability benefit may get stopped next year as I’m up for reassessment and it was such a struggle last time. (I am ill and unable to work due to my illnesses) So I need to save as much as I can to cover for the months I may not get it and during potential appeal process to cover my direct debits.
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    2 saver club #21 40.00/250
    Save for Christmas 2020 1 a day challenge, 18 - Treasurequeen / 366
    • cuddlymarm
    • By cuddlymarm 26th Dec 18, 9:05 PM
    • 1,358 Posts
    • 8,206 Thanks
    Hi guys
    Id like to join in too please.
    OH is retired and I work part time. My aim is to stretch what we have as far as possible to allow for travel and a nice lifestyle, while keeping us happy and healthy.
    So good, healthy food and a simple life to allow for the occasional splurge on a holiday.
    Good luck fellow frugallers for 2019.
    • Buffythedebtslayer
    • By Buffythedebtslayer 26th Dec 18, 9:28 PM
    • 15,984 Posts
    • 55,823 Thanks
    Having tried this for many years and not done so well (hello Amazon!) I am in debt for a 3rd time so need things to be tight as to get out of it. I really want to change jobs but don't want to move with a debt and would ideally like some savings.

    This year did see the making of two raised beds which means I can grow some food (not all) and I really should know all the tricks by now, Almost by accident I made 25 pounds from Swagbucks and I do use cash back when I can.

    My initial plan is to have 330 pounds a month and save 170 extra to pay towards the CC.

    I will write more later as have just eaten my weight in crackers, turkey and cheese........XXXXX
    Debt Free as of 26/07/19 (third time is the charm!) Now paying myself back all my savings! Target 1= 5226/5000 (across all accounts achieved until Christmas) Avoiding the CC!
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 26th Dec 18, 9:31 PM
    • 4,844 Posts
    • 58,683 Thanks
    Id like to join please
    Im aiming to start saving for retirement so hopefully I can retire a year early than originally planned
    • sunshine81
    • By sunshine81 26th Dec 18, 10:53 PM
    • 1,438 Posts
    • 7,323 Thanks
    I'd love to join this year please, I have been reading the 2018 thread in preparation.

    I have a large amount of debt to repay and a massive target of repaying it in a year. My snowball calculator is done and my budget for January is set.
    • lcc86
    • By lcc86 26th Dec 18, 10:55 PM
    • 1,176 Posts
    • 5,145 Thanks
    Count me in please! Had a bit of a disaster in December which almost completely wiped out my savings and led to me being 1,000 in debt, so I need to pay all that off, get my emergency fund back up and get some more savings going. Luckily I received 200 for Christmas so that'll go in my housey jobs fund.

    I also decided to do a couple of challenges next year. One is a 52 week declutter that I found online, the other is to not buy anything new unless it's essential I.e. Food, toiletries, and to replace broken items or if nothing I can beg, borrow or steal will do the job. It's going to be an interesting year! - my original diary
    Trying to enjoy moments not things!
    • Katie_j
    • By Katie_j 26th Dec 18, 11:03 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 191 Thanks
    Please can I join the challenge, I really need to rein it in and need the motivation to stick to it!!
    • cybertortoise
    • By cybertortoise 26th Dec 18, 11:16 PM
    • 144 Posts
    • 1,020 Thanks
    Hello. Happy Boxing Day! I hope you've all had a great holiday season so far.

    Can I join please? I have downloaded the spreadsheet, thank you for that! I've estimated everything I can't work out, I'm hoping to be under on most categories.We just moved into a new house so I don't know what my utility bills will be yet. I've got a notebook, from my stash, and I'm going to be writing any ideas I have and hints and tips I find here. Thanks.
    Fresh start & LBM #3: 29.08.17 ~ Debt at highest: 23,583.27 ~ 26/12/18: 13,389.66 ~ 05.12.2019: 9653.06 ~ DFD aim: 31/12/2021 31/12/2020 ~ PAYDOB 2019 #32 : 3832.60/4000 = 95.8% ~ 2019 1% Challenge #2: 95.8% (4000 target) ~ Frugal Living Challenge 2020
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 27th Dec 18, 1:55 AM
    • 6,179 Posts
    • 54,578 Thanks
    Nice to see a few old names rejoining for 2019 and to all the new people, welcome to Frugaldom and a new way of spending, or not, as the case may be.

    Can I recommend the use of all the links to the previous years' challenges so you can all see how this challenge has progressed over the past 11 years and for those of you hoping to buy houses, there is also the old 'saving to buy a house without a mortgage' challenge. I know it is completely irrelevant to most who can't relovate to cheaper areas but it might help you save those deposits. (We can still buy houses here in Scotland for less than the deposits needed in parts of England and elsewhere. )
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • Miss D Meanour
    • By Miss D Meanour 27th Dec 18, 9:58 AM
    • 155 Posts
    • 1,102 Thanks
    Miss D Meanour
    Good morning everyone

    I'd love to join again this year. I'm going to be focusing on 'needs not wants' in the food department - yep this is definitely my downfall. I really want to get out in front of all my bills especially those annual ones and if I can get my food spending under control I think I can do it.

    Looking forward to a frugal New Year.
    Take care
    LBM- June 2009 - 15 year plan started, Dec 2018 - time to review & refocus
    SPC12 #33 210. Xmas 2019 - #15 365 / 365 ... PAYDBX 2019 #23: 0 / 3,400
    MFW2019 #2: 6,999.67 / 8,000 MFiT-T5 start 95,352.52 - target 40k

    No matter how far you go, you always take yourself with you
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,344Posts Today

6,143Users online

Martin's Twitter