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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 19th Dec 14, 11:04 AM
    • 6,137Posts
    • 54,182Thanks
    2015 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:04 AM
    2015 Frugal Living Challenge 19th Dec 14 at 11:04 AM
    The Frugal Living Challenge 2015

    2016 Challenge has now been loaded at

    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 2014 Challenge is at (/for some reason I am unable to link to the text)

    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.

    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 2015 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!

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

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

    Last edited by Frugaldom; 26-12-2015 at 4:39 PM. Reason: Adding in 2016 challenge link
    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 19th Dec 14, 11:05 AM
    • 6,137 Posts
    • 54,182 Thanks
    • #2
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:05 AM
    • #2
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:05 AM

    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 - 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
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 14-01-2016 at 11:11 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!
    • cw18
    • By cw18 19th Dec 14, 11:32 AM
    • 8,037 Posts
    • 85,940 Thanks
    • #3
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:32 AM
    • #3
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:32 AM
    Budgets for 2015

    Categories that can’t be avoided :-

    Council Tax : 1212 (909 me, 303 DS1)
    Gas & Electric : 900 (540 me, 360 DS1)
    Water : 288 (168 me, 120 DS1)
    House Insurance : 270
    Groceries : 2980 (1720 me, 1260 DS1)
    Toiletries : 180 (168 me, 12 DS1)
    Cleaning Products : 120 (75 me, 45 DS1)

    Categories that could be ditched if things got desperate, but which I class as essentials :-

    Central Heating Cover : 240
    Landline & Broadband : 264
    Mobile Phone : 150
    Window Cleaner : 78
    Optical Related : 300
    Dental Related : 72
    Prescriptions & Flu Jab : 48
    Over Counter Medications : 24
    Vitamins : 144
    Presents : 480

    Pure luxuries I prefer to try and keep :-

    Gym : 480
    Lottery : 372
    Diet & Fitness Website Subscription : 96

    Car Related :-

    Car Insurance : 480 (360 me, 120 DS1)
    Petrol : 864 (384 me, 480 DS1)

    Breakdown : 78
    Road Tax : 132
    MOT : 48
    Annual Service : 132
    Repairs : 600
    (total costs 510 me, 480 DS1)

    Total figures : 11032 (7852 me, 3180 DS1)

    Zero Budget Categories :-

    For Children
    Holiday Accommodation
    Household Bits
    Household Repairs
    Public Transport
    Days Out
    Everything Else

    How I fund the Zero Budget Categories from categories with budgets

    • Full value of any presents (and cards and wrapping paper) I’ve purchased prior to 01/01/2015
    • Full value of any Toiletries and Cleaning products I use from stock that won’t be replaced (things I’d not use/miss if I didn’t have them)
    • All savings from using loyalty cards (don’t generally benefit against these categories – but there’s a possibility for presents and/or vitamins)
    • Half the value of any groceries I use up from stock
    • Half the value of any toiletries or cleaning products I use from stock which I’ll eventually need to replace
    • Half the value of any money off coupons I use (store or manufacturer) – including money off petrol
    • Half the savings from any offers (such as a jar of gravy granules on offer for 1.50 instead of 2)
    • Half the savings from multi-buys
    • Half the savings from buying Whoopsie (reduced to clear) items
    • Half the savings made by using a cashback site
    • All “loose change”. I’m rounding ALL direct debits up to the next 10p, with the ‘change’ moving over (easy to make spreadsheet do this). The same for each spend in every shop for each of the other categories (requires a bit of manual work)

    Other money used to fund the Zero Budget Categories

    • DS1 pays me 10/month to do his laundry (over and above costs of water/powder etc) to save him time. This is ALL available.
    • Survey sites earnings. ALL available.
    • Free Postcode Lottery. Anything I win on here is ALL available.
    • Roadkill. Didn’t find much in 2014, but ALL such money I pick up is available.
    • ALL of any monetary gifts I received.

    And the complicated one……

    • Part of the money raised by selling items from around the house

    The money available for splitting is the amount someone pays for the item, less any charges for selling it (such as eB@y and P@ypal fees) and postage charges. Once those are deducted the amount available is split as follows on a ‘per item’ basis.

    • First 10 : 50% of the money
    • Next 40 (10.01 - 50.00) : 25% of the money
    • Next 50 (50.01 - 100.00) : 10% of the money
    • Anything above that (100.01 and over) : 5% of the money

    So if an item makes 10 I can spend 10 * 50% = 5
    If an items sells for 40 I can spend (10 * 50%) + (30 * 25%) = 5 + 7.50 = 12.50
    If an items sells for 80 I can spend (10 * 50%) + (40 * 25%) + (30 * 10%) = 5 + 10 + 3 = 18
    And if an items sells for 250 I can spend (10 * 50%) + (40 * 25%) + (50 * 10%) + (150 * 5%) = 5 + 10 + 5 + 7.50 = 27.50

    I’m hoping this will encourage me to declutter as it’ll give me money to spend, but not to reclutter as I can’t spend all the money I make.
    Last edited by cw18; 27-12-2014 at 12:01 PM. Reason: to split Days Out from Everything Else
    • Bobarella
    • By Bobarella 19th Dec 14, 11:52 AM
    • 10,439 Posts
    • 69,775 Thanks
    • #4
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:52 AM
    • #4
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:52 AM
    Wow exciting to see the 2015 thread up. I'm really looking forward to my first proper year of joining in.
    " Your vibe attracts your tribe"

    Debt neutral 27/03/17 from 40k in the hole 2012.
    Roadkill 17 56.58 2016-62.28 2015- 84.20)
    RYSAW17 1900 2016 2,535.16 2015 1027.20
    • allie23
    • By allie23 19th Dec 14, 11:55 AM
    • 1,336 Posts
    • 14,589 Thanks
    • #5
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:55 AM
    • #5
    • 19th Dec 14, 11:55 AM
    Thank you for a lovely shiny new thread Frugaldom. I will be joining the challenge again this year.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save 12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - 13,310/40,000
    • Mrs Cheshire
    • By Mrs Cheshire 19th Dec 14, 12:23 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 9,053 Thanks
    Mrs Cheshire
    • #6
    • 19th Dec 14, 12:23 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Dec 14, 12:23 PM
    I'm going to be joining in again this year. Had a pretty frugal start to the year but in the last few months have received some funding back for childcare expenses and have been treating us to more takeaways and other bits I shouldn't really, so going to try really hard next year to put the money away as it would be good to get away in 2016 for a week, so if I save hard I should be able to do that!
    SPC #148 2014-25 2015-5.50 My stars from Sue-UU

    Grocery Challenge 2019
    Jan 396.91/400, Feb /400
    • his missus
    • By his missus 19th Dec 14, 1:46 PM
    • 3,221 Posts
    • 19,762 Thanks
    his missus
    • #7
    • 19th Dec 14, 1:46 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Dec 14, 1:46 PM
    I'm ready to have a more frugal outlook for 2015.

    I've broken many of my bad spending habits through different MSE challenges over the past couple of years. Toiletries and clothes are now only bought if needed (not wanted) and birthday/Christmas presents are mostly bought with vouchers earned through surveys or loyalty points.

    I really want to reduce my weekly shopping bill in 2015. At the moment I allow 80 a week for 2 adults and 3 cats to cover food, toiletries, medicines (usually flea treatments!) and entertainment but I want to get this down to 50 eventually.

    Once our holiday is paid for, I want to create a comfortable emergency fund and then save up to redecorate all of upstairs.

    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 19th Dec 14, 2:41 PM
    • 2,747 Posts
    • 27,754 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    • #8
    • 19th Dec 14, 2:41 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Dec 14, 2:41 PM
    Am joining in for 2015, am hoping that I can finally get on top of my spending habits.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST May 2019: May merriment NSD 19/20
  • Bambywamby
    • #9
    • 19th Dec 14, 3:36 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Dec 14, 3:36 PM
    I would like to join for 2015 too. I want to add to my savings and generally just live a frugal, less consumer based life-style.

    So I am away to work out my annual budget for 2015... this could take some time.
    *Frugal Living 2015* *Not Buying It 2015*
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ MARK TWAIN

  • youngmummy
    Yeahhy new thread thankyou frugaldom

    Im in please and raring to go ... my budget is 8000 (this is for a family of 4)
    Not including rent or council tax but does include everything else .. also Christmas is to be covered by "extra money" ie selling on ebay etc

    Thanks again .. looking forward to a more possitive and structured financial year and future hopefully
    Last edited by youngmummy; 19-12-2014 at 4:19 PM.
    (#80 save 12k in 2015) aim 10,000
    make 10 a day in 2015 261/4000
    emergency fund aim 100/1000
    1 a day for xmas 2015 0/365
    NSD feb 0/16
    feb GC 0/120
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 19th Dec 14, 6:31 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,684 Thanks
    Please count me in this year, I will base my budget on this year's totals minus some, I'm due to retire at the beginning of March and would like to be able to live on my oap, (I haven't any private pension) but I won't be giving work up then as I want to up my emergency fund and get a few more jobs done in the house with my wages.

    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 19th Dec 14, 11:19 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    I am definitely in for 2015.

    As I said a couple of weeks ago I am planning to work out my budget during my holiday over the next couple of weeks.

    Looking forward to the challenge and good luck everyone
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = 13,140
    • Munchin
    • By Munchin 20th Dec 14, 7:39 AM
    • 2,600 Posts
    • 8,464 Thanks

    I would like to join this year and stick with it. I am now debt free but I still fritter money which I want to stop and to set up an emergency fund. I'm not sure of my budget for the year but I will back with it in a bit
    • Becky 2
    • By Becky 2 20th Dec 14, 12:38 PM
    • 1,086 Posts
    • 12,343 Thanks
    Becky 2
    Frugaldom, thanks for setting up this year's challenge.

    I am joining in this year as well. Good luck to everyone.
    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
    • whmf00001
    • By whmf00001 20th Dec 14, 5:57 PM
    • 416 Posts
    • 2,883 Thanks
    Thanks for the new thread, I know it's a bit late for this year but I just CANNOT find a link to make the flannel slices of cake so wonder if anyone has an up to date link or can send some instructions. Have found reindeers and Easter bunnies.
    Have a great Christmas one and all.
    • angelicious
    • By angelicious 20th Dec 14, 7:45 PM
    • 216 Posts
    • 1,520 Thanks
    May I join the challenge please?
    [COLOR=black]Make 10 day '19: [April '19 /300

    Make 10 day say 2017 total 5256.25
    MFW: 160,306.48, now 158, 600 @07/02 Paid 1386.48
    Decluter 2019: 0/2019
    • cw18
    • By cw18 20th Dec 14, 7:56 PM
    • 8,037 Posts
    • 85,940 Thanks
    All welcome
    • Bobarella
    • By Bobarella 20th Dec 14, 8:16 PM
    • 10,439 Posts
    • 69,775 Thanks
    Hi All
    Had a good result at work today. 3.60 in tips which I used to buy food so a NSD. Plus got 2 huge loaves to bring home as they are not fresh enough to sell. But fine for us. We had some with dinner & it's hardly stale.
    So a good day all round.
    " Your vibe attracts your tribe"

    Debt neutral 27/03/17 from 40k in the hole 2012.
    Roadkill 17 56.58 2016-62.28 2015- 84.20)
    RYSAW17 1900 2016 2,535.16 2015 1027.20
    • By COOLTRIKERCHICK 21st Dec 14, 11:09 AM
    • 10,419 Posts
    • 58,340 Thanks
    morning all,

    haven't set any budgets, but as usual, trying to live as frugally as possible.

    At the moment apart from feeling guilty for a VERY frugal Christmas this year.. I am thinking of extra things we can do to bring money in... We own our own business, and its getting harder and harder, pus its physically getting harder for us ( well hubby) as we get older.. so we really should be trying to sort things out, and look to the future more, re- income.

    we got one or do two crap apple trees on our land, so going to get some mistletoe and see if we can get the mistletoe berries to take on it, so a possible income of a few pennies in future years, in the run up to Christmas..

    Going to work out a financial 'senario' if we strip everything right back, no loans or credit cards etc... and see how much we would need to cover the basics then.. so when the day comes we give up/close our business I know exactly how much income we need..

    So for now.. its get Christmas over with, and start planning for the day we close our business..

    I have finally convinced hubby to sell some of his taxidermy, his old classic rock Lp's ( when we were at a local general auction boxes of classic rock lp's and old singles were fetching over 100+ a box.. so even if we get 20 - 30 for a box full I will be happy lol...
    Work to live= not live to work
  • cyberthrifty
    I would like to join for 2015 please.

    I need to work out budgets, as I did it the other day and need about 10,000 more than I get to pay everything out and pay off a chunk of debt like I plan to! That's not going to happen so it's time to strip everything back to basics. My aim is to spend less than 12k in 2015 This has to include everything except rent and council tax and should leave me with the 5k I have challenged myself to pay off debts!

    I will be gradually decluttering and getting rid of as much as I can hopefully earning a few pennies in the meantime. And I'll be starting childminding a few months into the year so that should bring some money in but I have to pay out for courses and equipment first so as long as I break even by the end of the year (though mid year would be better!) I will be happy.
    Last edited by cyberthrifty; 21-12-2014 at 2:20 PM. Reason: To set my budget!
    LBM: 15/12/14 Debt @ LBM: 21,560.51/20,835.29 Number of creditors: 51/47 DFD: 26.04.2018! Pay a debt or reach a goal 2015 # : 626.21/5001 Frugal Living 2015: 0/12,000 January Grocery Challenge 51.91/200 Ultimate Biggest Loser #5 2.25/59.5lbs
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