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 14th Dec 17, 2:12 AM
    • 6,022Posts
    • 52,620Thanks
    2018 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 14th Dec 17, 2:12 AM
    2018 Frugal Living Challenge 14th Dec 17 at 2:12 AM
    Join us here for year 11 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

    The Frugal Living Challenge 2018

    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 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 2018
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 29-12-2017 at 10:54 PM. Reason: updating
    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 2
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 17th Dec 17, 5:53 PM
    • 6,022 Posts
    • 52,620 Thanks
    Have got my notebook ready for each monthly spends for 2018. Just need to sort out the budget, will do this near the end of this year.
    Originally posted by Kerry Woman
    Well done!

    I just need to check off my receipts to make sure they were all included over the past year and then I think that's me organised. Penny pots counted, savings converted into Premium Bonds while waiting to reach the next target and, hopefully, enough set aside for the major spends at the beginning of the year, including 2 family weddings.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 17th Dec 17, 8:26 PM
    • 1,896 Posts
    • 11,209 Thanks
    Florence J
    FlorenceJ, the mere fact that you take the time to look at your budget and know your own spending habits is good, taking it that step further and budgeting to live in debt freedom is even better, so you're definitely a winner if you know your numbers here.
    Originally posted by Frugaldom
    Thank you, I am quite obsessive about managing my spending and keeping a record of it. I have spreadsheets dating back to April 2015 of my expenses, and frequently compare spending patterns across 6 month segments. This is why I know in 2016 I spent nearly £400 on clothes and shoes, and this year it has been less then £60.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 18th Dec 17, 8:50 AM
    • 562 Posts
    • 6,920 Thanks
    Hi, Thanks Frugaldom for the new thread, Iím in for 2018!
    Living life happily! Debt Free date: 06/2018!!!
    Jan-July 53 Sept GC £161.16/£325
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 19th Dec 17, 5:53 AM
    • 2,077 Posts
    • 18,964 Thanks

    So glad to have found the challenge for next year

    I've done this before but am now doing it with less of us and where I have control over the budget

    So, please put me's been a while since I've done 'frugal' and so I'm going to go with a monthly budget of £1000 and see how I go.

    Is there still that wonderful spreadsheet around or are people doing their budget/spends in another way. I've definitely fallen off the wagon with keeping tabs.
    Pay off Debt by Christmas 2018 #59
    £13,406.26/ £6993.17
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    • Mooloo
    • By Mooloo 19th Dec 17, 7:06 AM
    • 9,950 Posts
    • 49,217 Thanks
    I don’t always get to follow the posts, life gets in the way and I mostly tend to just post on my own diary thread, however I would like to follow along again this coming year, as I am determined to clear the debt my son left me in this year. Promises to repay me have not materialised and I have been left with around £13,000 debt.
    I look at my money daily, I juggle and I stress.
    In 2018 I want to finally master the art of saying No to my family.
    I want to clear my debts by June 2019 and so I am going to have to be frugal, resourceful and challenging myself to be more proactive in raising the money etc.
    I am on the verge of building £1,000 for my retirement fund. Tomorrow’s standing order of £25 will see me reach my target I set in September for £1000. I have little left anywhere else but I have a dream to buy an old village house in Portugal and I need £20,000 to get me there. (At today’s prices).
    I am off to Portugal on Thursday for Christmas, all paid for as I am my Mum’s companion and carer for the week.
    On my return I have new journal’s, and new budget book etc to start 2018 off on the right foot.
    Going back over old threads and revisiting these challenges is really what I need now.
    When I die I will know that I have lived, loved, mattered and made a difference, even if in a small way.
    • cw18
    • By cw18 19th Dec 17, 9:22 AM
    • 7,967 Posts
    • 85,386 Thanks
    Is there still that wonderful spreadsheet around or are people doing their budget/spends in another way. I've definitely fallen off the wagon with keeping tabs.
    Originally posted by FrankieM
    If you send me a PM with your email address, I'll send a copy over to you - hopefully later today. It just needs a minor tweak so that it knows it's being used for 2018 rather than 2017
    Groceries : May £11.97 / £120 Apr £137.78 / £100 Mar £99.55 / £100.Feb £85.02 / £80.Jan £112.15 / £130. Annual £446.47 / £1200

    • Treasurequeen
    • By Treasurequeen 19th Dec 17, 11:49 AM
    • 365 Posts
    • 3,947 Thanks
    thanks for the new thread frugaldom, please can I join. I was on 2017's thread but never posted anything due to issues in living situation. I will sort out my budget and post it soon on the thread. x
    The £1000 emergency fund challenge #223
    Pay for birthdays and Christmas 2018 with surveys #17
    2018 Frugal Living Challenge #44
    Sealed Pot Challenge 2018~ 11 #40
    £2 saver club #26 £104
    August Grocery challenge £43/£200
    • Munchin
    • By Munchin 19th Dec 17, 5:28 PM
    • 2,383 Posts
    • 7,377 Thanks

    I would like to join please. I think I have budget almost sorted.

    • wit40iwtwan
    • By wit40iwtwan 19th Dec 17, 5:39 PM
    • 360 Posts
    • 3,237 Thanks
    I would like to join too please - will unearth the budget.

    we have sorted out a lot of our finances and taken a major dip in salary (and survived) so the next step is to hammer the mortgage and make headway into our savings for our escape to an island and the year round sunshine in 5 years! Frugal living will certainly help that mission!
    Save 2018 in 2018
    Pay off £6000 on Mortgage in 2018 - MF wannabe
    Throw away 2018 items in 2018

    Frugal fun for 2018 - how many No Spend Days can I do and how often can I just step away and not buy stupid stuff I do not need!
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 19th Dec 17, 7:33 PM
    • 6,022 Posts
    • 52,620 Thanks
    Is there still that wonderful spreadsheet around or are people doing their budget/spends in another way. I've definitely fallen off the wagon with keeping tabs.
    Originally posted by FrankieM
    Hi FrankieM! Really pleased to see you are still here and still budget-conscious. You, too, will need to come visit some day to see what all this frugal living mallarky has achieved so far.
    I added a link to my original downloadable spreadsheet, it's in post 1, just ask any questions relating to how it works. It's based on a set budget from day one (yours would be 12k) and you simply deduct each spend as you go so there's always a running total that allows you to balance the books as you go. Failing that, you can PM username CW18 and Cheryl can send you a copy of her more detailed version for adapting to suit.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 19th Dec 17, 7:46 PM
    • 6,022 Posts
    • 52,620 Thanks
    Welcome to everyone who is returning to this challenge to take part in 2018 - it's going to be an exciting year.

    Mooloo, good luck with your aims and ambitions and well done with your £1k goal being achieved so quickly.

    I'll get the latest names added to our list and then try to complete my own 2018 budget, as it's a slightly different financial plan for next year, having new place to get up and running as a frugal retreat. Without the frugal living challenge, none of t would be possible so I guarantee that as soon as things here are up & running smoothly, you're all welcome to escape to the country without worrying too much about the costs. 2018, for me, is about meeting more frugalers and offering the opportunity to come and visit what you have all helped me to achieve.
    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 19th Dec 17, 8:10 PM
    • 1,173 Posts
    • 12,661 Thanks
    Hi frugaldom, please put me down for 2018. I was on here a few years ago but a few changes in my life happened and I have only recently got on to the forums.

    I will work out a budget and post it on here, I want to start replacing money that I have spent from savings in the last couple of years by getting back to my frugal ways, in fact I'm really looking forwards to it!

    Mortgage free and debt free but only income is state pension so need to be frugal
    • truebluemummy
    • By truebluemummy 19th Dec 17, 8:10 PM
    • 110 Posts
    • 718 Thanks
    Hi everyone.

    Ive not joined before and need to really budget this year as hubby drops his salary in January and mine potentially drops in march.

    Is there a budget planner i can use to work against. This is all new to me so bare with me please. Going to buy myself a journal look through some old threads and start planning.

    Happy Christmas everyone xx
    Sept £7.50 a day.

    84.99 / 225
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 19th Dec 17, 9:59 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,427 Thanks
    Hi there,

    I really need to knuckle down and sort my life out. I'm fine with bills, my water bill is less than a frugal 1-person household and there are 3 of us! I don't have sky etc, only freebies. Most of my furniture is second hand or gifted. My food budget is low (£100-120 per month). However, I do badly overspend in all other areas of life! I need to save some spending money for a holiday in August, I'm decorating my lounge and I have debts to pay off.

    I plan on journalling everything, not entering shops unless I have to, and only buying what I actually NEED rather than what I want. I hope to sell many unloved items from my home, to help me to achieve my dreams for 2018.

    Big goals, but achievable with determination and focus.

    Thanks for having me!

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan £87.97/£100 Feb £0/£100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • Buttonnose
    • By Buttonnose 19th Dec 17, 11:51 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Just new. What a brilliant idea. Can I join please? I will look at all the links above to get up to speed and will do my budget by the end of the month/year.
    • moneysavingmonkey85
    • By moneysavingmonkey85 20th Dec 17, 12:10 AM
    • 226 Posts
    • 487 Thanks
    Getting back on the wagon
    Can I join for 2018? I used to be a good Money saver but in the last year I've gone a bit over the top, especially with holidays and clothes. Planning a major declutter and to get back to spreadsheets. Does anyone know if the spreadsheet can be saved as a Google sheet? Thanks
    £100 a month Grocery Challenge
    Use it or lose it - Trying to ebay more!
    A smile is free
    • FairyPink
    • By FairyPink 20th Dec 17, 12:17 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 20 Thanks
    On it like a car bonnet
    Iím on it again this year!
    Better prepared! I have notebooks and a diary old skool pen to paper, I think will make it better.
    I had some unavoidable expenses last year, (house fire, New to me car as the old one died and a boiler breakdown) so my savings took a punch and my debt didnít die itís death.
    Fingers crossed itís a better year and that I can get my credit cards cleared and gone for good. (Just the 3 now not 5).
    I will snag the spreadsheet when I get the slaptop out tomorrow.
    I didnít post, I just stalked in the shadows a bit. Hopefully Iíll be more active on threads this year.
    Good luck guys & Girls!
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 20th Dec 17, 7:33 AM
    • 246 Posts
    • 1,427 Thanks
    I've got a spending diary (found an old notebook ), I've got around £50 to finish the solstice shop, I'm doing a food inventory and menu plans on Sunday and the budget on Monday

    I feel very prepared for this....tomorrow I will clear what is left on the cc and start the journey on 22nd....I'm really looking forward to my time off work...I'm determined to be a dedicated frugaller!!
    15 Month Challenge: House - £10126.43/£25300; Mortgage - £528/£17000 ;
    MFW No. 167 £528/ £15000
    • Supersaver2018
    • By Supersaver2018 20th Dec 17, 7:41 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Count me in please! 😀
    • thepennyfarthings
    • By thepennyfarthings 20th Dec 17, 8:21 AM
    • 38 Posts
    • 452 Thanks
    May I join?
    I too will be using pen on paper.
    TPF x
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

184Posts Today

1,951Users online

Martin's Twitter