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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th Dec 18, 5:14 PM
    • 6,178Posts
    • 54,513Thanks
    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 5
    • lantanna
    • By lantanna 31st Dec 18, 5:40 PM
    • 2,608 Posts
    • 19,875 Thanks
    Bought a hot water bottle today. Bought oil before Xmas and want to make that last TIL end of March
    2019, A year of saving, getting healthy again and turning 40
    £2793.67/£184 debt cleared in 2019 #5o
    GC Feb £170 / £169.43
    • peony40
    • By peony40 31st Dec 18, 8:54 PM
    • 494 Posts
    • 6,433 Thanks
    Hello All,

    I would like to join you in 2019. Our finances are taking a hit from February, £200 less a month, so need to budget accordingly. I will work on the figures tomorrow. I definitely need to be better organised on grocery shopping and meal planning, so I have joined the grocery challenge too, on the old style board. Also, like doing the fiscal fast too which is on the same board.

    I have not worked since 2011 due to fibromyalgia, and so no income. Husband works, but hoping to retire within the next 5 - 10 years, if at all possible.
    • slowlyfading
    • By slowlyfading 31st Dec 18, 9:20 PM
    • 13,055 Posts
    • 75,346 Thanks
    I'll be joining in again this year need to really reign in our spending in 2019.
    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 / In pursuit of FIRE
    • miss empty piggy
    • By miss empty piggy 1st Jan 19, 1:54 AM
    • 645 Posts
    • 6,677 Thanks
    miss empty piggy
    Can I join please?
    Off to sleep now- happy new year everyone. ��
    DFW Nerd No: 600
    • peony40
    • By peony40 1st Jan 19, 8:38 AM
    • 494 Posts
    • 6,433 Thanks
    Happy New Year to All.

    Last night I started working on our account figures. Excluding the mortgage, gas & elec, Life Assurance, House Insurance and Car expenditure which I still need to look at, our annual expenditure is currently running at £10,800/annum. Quite an eye opener! There are a few areas that I can reduce, but I know some will go up, such as the Council Tax, and I still have not budgeted for gifts and haircuts.

    This year is definitely a year of being mindful, to become aware of bad habits that need to be broken and new healthier habits to replace them with.

    I look forward to taking part this year.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 1st Jan 19, 10:06 AM
    • 2,311 Posts
    • 21,334 Thanks
    Happy New Year

    I'm in again for this year. I have lots of plans but the main two are paying off the last of the debt and getting the emergency fund in place.

    Lots of things learnt from last year (and my many years of being part of this challenge)
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 1st Jan 19, 11:08 AM
    • 6,178 Posts
    • 54,513 Thanks
    Happy new year - welcome to 2019
    HAPPY NEW YEAR AND WELCOME TO THE 2019 FRUGAL LIVING CHALLENGE, which officially started today.

    I crammed as many payments into the final week of 2018 as possible - hay for the rescued & rehomed ponies at the Frugaldom project (costs over £200 a month), cylinder of gas so there are 4 full at the caravans (£70 per cylinder), and submitted an electricity reading for the cottage, but it wasn't updated until after midnight, so it has become the first payment made of 2019.

    Now begins the task of remembering that it is 2019!

    Good luck to everyone taking part this year - succeess is declaring that you want to do something and setting out to do it! If you look at it that way, you cannot fail. It's just a mater of working out how much you succeeded.
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 02-01-2019 at 1:01 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!
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 1st Jan 19, 3:41 PM
    • 696 Posts
    • 1,889 Thanks
    Afternoon everyone.

    We spent £5 today on essentials at Tesco. Was going to do a full food shop at Aldi but they were closed.

    I also sent £50 to our help to save account. This does not go towards our house deposit fund. So still have £16300 to save by December.

    Hoping to get it down to £14940 by the end of January.

    So our first target for the year save £1360 in January.
    June 2017 £16000 debt
    Sept 2018 Loan paid off
    Nov 2018 DEBT FREE
    • mumtoomany
    • By mumtoomany 1st Jan 19, 4:51 PM
    • 256 Posts
    • 1,860 Thanks
    Hi all, and Happy New Year. Back with my budget for 2019.

    First the ones I can do little about.

    Council Tax: £950
    Car tax: £300
    Car Insurance:£200
    House Ins: £250
    Electric: £700
    Gas(bottled): £600
    Water: £100
    Phone/net £300

    other stuff:
    Clothing: £100
    Pocket money(dd3): £20/£250
    Xmas/bday: £250
    Diesel £800
    Groceries £1200
    Mobiles x 3 £20/£150
    DIY/car maintainance/repairing equipment:£500
    Animal feed: £500
    Everything else: £1000
    Savings: £10/at least £1500
    TV: £6.42/£0
    That is a total, I think, of £9400. Also want to try to find £1000 for driving lessons for DD3. M2m.
    Last edited by mumtoomany; 06-01-2019 at 2:55 PM. Reason: adding in spends so far
    Cash neutral grocery spends 'till Christmas:
    Yougov cash, £50 plus £120 contribution from DD1. 40p found in a trolley. Found 3p, Gameduell £50.31, Grab points £6.05 Swagbucks £10, Facebook sales £35
    Spends to date:£152.97
    Spent £271.25/£275.21
    • Shortie
    • By Shortie 1st Jan 19, 5:10 PM
    • 2,218 Posts
    • 12,069 Thanks
    Hi everyone

    I had plans to stay indoors all day but a facebook post caught my attention of a bundle of my size clothes for £10. It was just a photo of the bags so was a gamle but oh wow was I glad I went for it.. there were tonnes of lovely items in the bags

    My new workplace uniform isn't suits which is what I've been wearing for the last 20-odd years, so I suddenly needed some new office suitable cloths and trousers (at home I live in leggings and vest tops - often a little tatty as I'm not a huge fan of clothes shopping so I don't throw clothes often)

    So, trying-on-session being well, I have lots of new to me lovely items to choose from at about 20p an item .
    Apologies if there are random typos - I am usually replying via my phone
    • *Jellie*
    • By *Jellie* 1st Jan 19, 5:40 PM
    • 2,934 Posts
    • 13,649 Thanks
    Iím in again- although Iím another who tends to lurk and needs to post more!
    Last year saw a couple of major spends so we need to work on getting our savings back up. Iím still adjusting to circumstances leaving me on a lower income and there is a chance this will worsen within the household this year. I aim to get better on tracking and sticking to my budget as well as keeping up my current frugal habits.
    Top goals at the moment are to live as much as possible from storecupboards and do lots of batch cooking. Get stuff listed on ebay. Sort out PPI reclaims. Also to start planning/ideas in case our incomes tumble this year.
    Thanks to all those who post regularly and keep us on track and inspired.
    2019 fashion on a ration 0/66 coupons
    • mumtoomany
    • By mumtoomany 1st Jan 19, 5:51 PM
    • 256 Posts
    • 1,860 Thanks
    Forgot to explain, All household bills are half of total the moment DD1 and son-in-law and their three little ones share our house. They are building a new house next door. They also contribute 120 per month towards groceries, so I feed 5 adults and 3 children on(hopefully) £220 per month. So far have had a no spend year! M2m.
    Cash neutral grocery spends 'till Christmas:
    Yougov cash, £50 plus £120 contribution from DD1. 40p found in a trolley. Found 3p, Gameduell £50.31, Grab points £6.05 Swagbucks £10, Facebook sales £35
    Spends to date:£152.97
    Spent £271.25/£275.21
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 1st Jan 19, 5:53 PM
    • 5,858 Posts
    • 46,719 Thanks
    Evening all
    First check in of 2019 - I was a bit rubbish at checking in during 2018, and will try to do better this year! I have set my budgets, set up my spreadsheet (thanks again CW18) and got my lovely new spending diary ready (was a Christmas gift). Nothing spent today though, and I made nice food from ingredients we already had in
    Happy New Year everyone

    • spudsmum
    • By spudsmum 1st Jan 19, 7:08 PM
    • 459 Posts
    • 2,595 Thanks
    Hi all,

    NSD today not done much just vegetated and done a few online surveys. Also making a list of a few things we need for the house as we have a voucher to spend and want to spend it wisely. Thinking some sensible storage for my kitchen cupboards - be nice to see what dried goods/baking stuff I have at a glance so I can meal plan without having to rake through all the half full packets.

    Husband is in the kitchen - he's cooking one of the massive legs of lamb for tea - sadly (or happily?) when I took it out of the freezer last night I found a huge turkey leg and thigh right at the bottom of the freezer - yet more to add to the meat mountain! We have so much food left - Husband works for a food company so they always send a massive hamper plus both sets of parents are obviously concerned we may starve so give us food and supermarket vouchers in the run up to Xmas so we end up with loads - despite that I'm pleased to say that this year, nothing at all has been wasted, everything has been eaten or frozen (much better than previous years where we've thrown loads out!)
    Total debts £21050! now £17461.86 . 1% challenge £218/£4000 (5%) Total extra income made in 2018 £3580.79 2019 £367.20 frugal budget 2019 £82.96/£600 Aiming for debt free at 40 - only 20 months to go!
    • cybertortoise
    • By cybertortoise 1st Jan 19, 8:37 PM
    • 144 Posts
    • 1,015 Thanks
    £31.86 on groceries yesterday - it's January's income though so I'm counting it. I was very careful to consider what I actually had in the cupboards at home and bought accordingly. We are doing our own version of Veganuary (more like Veggie-uary) so I have some new recipes to test out. But I was happy to only spend that much.

    And I remembered to freeze the bread rolls I bought as they won't be used for a few days, normally I'd have forgotten and then bought fresh. I used up the last of the eggs (almost gone off, but not quite according to the cold water trick), and half a loaf of stale bread for lunch for myself and the tiddlers. I did a stocktake of my kitchen food cupboards so I know what we actually have in. I listed a few bits on a food waste app and someone came round half an hour later to collect a couple of the items.

    I got a small refund from Amazon, due to a subscription I didn't know I was paying, so that went to debt. And everything is duly noted on my spreadsheet. Now to get on with my university essay that I have been putting off for way too long!
    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
    • Whippet1
    • By Whippet1 1st Jan 19, 9:42 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 257 Thanks
    Day one of the year, haven't bought anything today!
    • amber03
    • By amber03 1st Jan 19, 10:10 PM
    • 853 Posts
    • 5,245 Thanks
    Back in again this year, hopefully to do a lot better this year than last year. Payday next week, so looking not to spend much till then.xx
    Debtfree and and staying that way.
    £1000 Emergency fund No.112 £272.00
    • abbe89
    • By abbe89 1st Jan 19, 10:12 PM
    • 273 Posts
    • 1,622 Thanks
    Day 1, and knowing that I'm recording everything I spend has already made me think - was feeling hungry and a little delicate from last night's celebrations. Almost got in my car to drive to McDs for some terrible (but much needed) hangover relief but stopped myself and had very cheesy beans on toast instead. Saved myself at least £10 when I include fuel costs etc!
    • yaisa
    • By yaisa 1st Jan 19, 11:16 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    can i join please?
    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 1st Jan 19, 11:48 PM
    • 2,837 Posts
    • 19,964 Thanks
    It had completely bypassed me that it was day one of the challenge. Luckily today was a NSD.

    I have monthly bills to pay tomorrow and need to get DS some school trousers as he got slime all over his which I cannot get out. I've tried all sorts. Any good ideas?

    Hopefully that will be all for me on spends for a day or two.
    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
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