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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th Dec 15, 5:36 PM
    • 5,972Posts
    • 51,976Thanks
    2016 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 26th Dec 15, 5:36 PM
    2016 Frugal Living Challenge 26th Dec 15 at 5:36 PM
    Join us here for year 9 of our MSE Frugaldom challenge

    The Frugal Living Challenge 2016

    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 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.

    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 2015 Challenge is at (I am still unable to link to text on here)

    The 2014 Challenge is at (for some reason I am no longer able 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 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 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
    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 for better discounts & shared postal costs
    Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
    Online trading - auctions, stores, social media pages
    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 Ė keep it clean please). Discussion Time is for discussion of current issues (read Martinís description).

    If you post a topic that does not relate to the board itís 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 havenít already, join the forum to reply!
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 28-12-2016 at 4:51 PM. Reason: Updating links to begin 2017 challenge
    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 34
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 25th Sep 16, 10:49 AM
    • 1,154 Posts
    • 12,438 Thanks
    Hi everyone, well things have improved a bit on the frugal front but it could be a lot better, so as I get my pension on Wednesday I'm going to sit down and work out what I'm doing in the next four weeks and then seeing what money I need. I have a freezer full of something as every drawer is full so I will have a sort out in there and October is my winter big supply shop so I will have to go through my cupboards to see what stocks I need (I do this every year and have a budget for it, I live quite rural and it snows in winter so I like some essentials in in case I can't get out) so that's my plan for tomorrow and Tuesday.

    I know I have an eye test tomorrow but new glasses are budgeted for as I haven't had any for about five years!!!!

    And I have a few babysitting bits for my dd`s but they shouldn't cost me anything and two birthdays so will have to have a look round for things for presents and hopefully that's it, so I think I will go and start cupboard inventory whilst dgd is watching her dvd, oh and I will sort the recycling out as they will be here tomorrow first thing (usually 6.30am!!!!)

    Mortgage free and debt free but only income is state pension so need to be frugal
    • milasavesmoney
    • By milasavesmoney 25th Sep 16, 1:25 PM
    • 1,616 Posts
    • 14,551 Thanks
    Nannyg you are on a roll! Everything so well thought out and on track.

    I'm doing well on all fronts. Keeping in budget on the grocery challenge. Added to EF this month.
    All Christmas presents for GD bought on sale. She is so easy at 2 yrs. Now for my adult children...
    I've started asking for their wish lists. It's better to shop for sales and I need time to do that. (5 kids-two with spouses) We shall see if anyone comes through with a list anytime soon. I know it seems early but there are a lot of them and it's less stressful if I do it this way.

    I'm doing well planning menus around my freezer/food stores. Top ups are fresh veggies, dairy and fruit. We don't eat very much bread. I'm so much less wasteful with food since I've start reading the different threads. It's important to not waste money throwing out food that could have been used, frozen, or reinvented into another meal. My grocery bill is half what it was from doing this plus not eating out so often (probably 2/3's less). We are eating more variety and healthier because I'm semi-menu planing. (We are retired so there are no tight schedules)

    My son and I reorganized the pantries, so I'm up to date (in my mind) as to what we have on hand. I know the advise is to make a list of what you have and cross it off as you use it, but I know me and I would never keep up with crossing off things.
    I need to clean and organize the freezers but oh my goodness, I don't want to at all!

    Hope your frugal ways are in place and growing.
    Last edited by milasavesmoney; 25-09-2016 at 1:33 PM.
    Overprepare, then go with the flow.
    [Regina Brett]
    • miss empty piggy
    • By miss empty piggy 27th Sep 16, 11:28 PM
    • 593 Posts
    • 5,879 Thanks
    miss empty piggy
    Did a good cheap shop at the weekend and still using up the "dishwater soup" in the freezer. Everyone takes the mick but it tastes delicious lol xxxx

    happy frugalling everyone x
    RYASAW 2017 Total to date:£4571.43
    DFW Nerd No: 600
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 29th Sep 16, 10:33 AM
    • 1,154 Posts
    • 12,438 Thanks
    Hi everyone
    Well went through the cupboards and freezer and a menu plan was done for the week so haven't spent very much on food, but looking at my bank statements it's sm and bits and bob's I'm spending so I'm on a mission to cut back on both. On the food front I went to the lottie yesterday and picked an enormous butternut squash it'll last me weeks!!!!! Lots of soup and roasted veggies on the cards I think!!!! Thank goodness for allotments.
    I have bought one of the birthday presides, a load of flower seeds that were in sale, so in total it cost less than £3 but the packet prices added up to £12, so well pleased as she will be, as she grows just flowers in her garden as she loves them. (Give me veggies any day). The other birthday is at the end of the month so I have a little while to get that one.

    Anyway budgets done for October as I was paid yesterday.
    Mortgage free and debt free but only income is state pension so need to be frugal
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 16th Oct 16, 10:00 PM
    • 1,154 Posts
    • 12,438 Thanks
    Hi everyone, the budgets are going fine and I'm plodding along.

    The birthday at the end of the month has been sorted (ridings lessons) and I found £40 in a drawer I was sorting so that will pay for those. Don't know how long it had been there but I can't remember putting it in there!!!!
    Next month I will have to buy some winter clothes but I'm keeping a look out in one of the cs near where I live as they have some really nice quality stuff in there, so hoping to pick up some jumpers and trousers for not a lit of money and as I've made a couple if tops out of some material I had left from a dress I made my dgd and a pretty quilt cover!!
    Anyway off to bed after a busy day with a drink and a good book
    Mortgage free and debt free but only income is state pension so need to be frugal
    • Shortie
    • By Shortie 17th Oct 16, 7:48 AM
    • 2,192 Posts
    • 11,760 Thanks
    Morning all

    Been plodding along here too.

    My account is doing quite well so far and it's nearly payday. It's the first time in a while that I've not been very close to going overdrawn so it's a great feeling, especially as I've paid out some large payments this month too

    Next up is to pay for a mini service on Mr Shortie's car and decide what to do with mine. Mine has got a big repair coming up (£1,000 plus VAT) and other niggles brewing, and it's an old high mileage car. So I either repair it and hope it's not the beginning of it's end (and therefore spend (waste) a lot of mone on more repairs) or just run it until it falls apart (but then I have no control over when it dies).

    Thing is, I'm not bursting to change my car (and don't want to buy a cheap run around and inherit someone else's car-problems) but I also don't want to keep a car that I may end up spending repeatedly on when it's possibly reaching its end anyway.. <<sigh>>

    Anyway, menu planning done to the end of the week and I should have some moey left to put in the holiday saving pot
    Apologies if there are random typos - I am usually replying via my phone
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 19th Oct 16, 11:22 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all
    Pleased to read everyone seems to be trogging along safely atm
    We have bitten the bullet and are replacing our old Mazda 'banger'. It has been playing up a bit recently, and now the starter motor keeps sticking. It has started to cost us money now and, because DH works back-shift and out in the middle of nowhere, we really need a reliable car.

    So, we are trading it in for a 2013 plate Dacia Laureate. We checked the going price and it seems about on target, plus we will get a twelve month warranty and it was MOT'd 29th September

    We have paid half as a deposit and DH is going to pay the balance over 24 months out of his overtime. Three other pluses are that it's petrol instead of diesel, will be more efficient, saving some running costs, and the insurance is £46 a year cheaper.

    Rest of the budgets seem to be ticking over properly atm. The only 'fly in the ointment' is the reducing interest the banks are promising to come into effect over the next few months. Oh well, can't do much except keep juggling to get the best.

    Hope you all keeping well and getting organised for the winter weather.
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 22nd Oct 16, 11:39 AM
    • 1,154 Posts
    • 12,438 Thanks
    Hi everyone, cars can be a right bug bear, I changed mine a few months ago as my other one was quite old and I didn't want to start paying out loads of money on it, so I changed it for a new one (a few months old) and I'm hoping it will be the last one I buy. I managed to pay cash with savings and I'm gradually building those up again but it's a very slow process now I've retired.
    Anyway getting ready for Xmas here. I've been making a few things for dgc, and we don't buy for adults but I always give a token gift, I'm going to have a go at onion chutney for them and perhaps have a go at some truffles.
    So frugalling is going on here most of the time but I do slip up and sewing is one area and food another!!!
    Mortgage free and debt free but only income is state pension so need to be frugal
    • Shortie
    • By Shortie 28th Oct 16, 11:02 PM
    • 2,192 Posts
    • 11,760 Thanks
    I've not done anything yet about the car, but keep flipping between change it vs keep it.. sounds like I'm thinking along the lines of what you thought a while back

    I've got the children's Christmas stockings sorted now. Just need to think about the pressies next
    Apologies if there are random typos - I am usually replying via my phone
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 5th Nov 16, 11:28 AM
    • 1,949 Posts
    • 17,740 Thanks

    I've been busy working and saving and trying not to spend too much. Unfortunately sometimes the working means buying snacks and takeaways so I'm trying to get on the ball with that.

    I've taken over the utilities from my ex and have reorganised direct debits to make them lower each month and because I'm working alot, it does mean I don't have the heating on a bonus there.

    I'm also thinking about Christmas and I'm planning on getting as much as possible this month as I start working nights in December for 4 months. I think I'm generally going for vouchers this year except for the odd one or two. It feels good to have a plan about it. I can find Christmas a bit stressful otherwise.

    I've also decided I'm going to try to walk more to save money on fuel.

    Speaking of cars, I made the emotional purchase of a car on hire purchase 2 years ago and it's a huge financial drain. I love my car but not the monthly payment. I can hand it back the middle of next year without any default payment and sadly I will be to get my outgoings as low as possible. Not my best financial decision!

    I'm also paying off a debt of £5000. I've currently saved £3000 towards it and should have it paid off by the time I finish nights and then I can get to saving for travelling and at some point a deposit for a house of my own.

    Hope you all have a good November. x
    Pay off Debt by Christmas 2018 #59
    £13,406.26/ £8,930.09
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 29th Nov 16, 2:25 PM
    • 2,313 Posts
    • 22,407 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Have not been too fugal a few times with spending. Not been too good with health issues recently so not really been focus on being careful with spending. Trying my best for the rest of the year.

    Done some decluttering. Got the electrical work done, which I am happy with as some of the things needed doing. Left it for quite a few years. Someone in my last temp job gave me a telephone number of some company that they used. Was a bit pricey, about £600. Had asked 3 people in the Church I go to, but they were unhelpful with coming back to me with contacts of electricans. Also found out that they were unhelpful to someone else who needed help with her garden, would not give her a contact.

    Got some work clothes and 2 pairs of M&S jeans from a charity shop. Happy with the purchases.

    Am hoping to get some tiling done in the bathroom soon. One of the men who helped to put in the double glazing windows in last year does some handy work, so asked him and said he would do it. He will fit it in with his other work.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST May 2018: May the odds be ever in your favour! NSD 18/19
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 9th Dec 16, 9:56 AM
    • 5,972 Posts
    • 51,976 Thanks
    Good morning to all you fruguys and gals - it's been a while since I was able to catch up or even post on here, simply because I have absolutely no spare time, have had restricted Internet access and am now hosting work exchange students at the Frugaldom project. It means costs have risen for heating, hot water and food, but it also means we are progressing quicker towards making the frugal retreat a reality and getting it open sooner, rather than later.

    Money spending - not even started for Christmas and now have DD expecting grandchild #4 in a few weeks' time and DS planning his wedding for 2018. My own longterm plans are geared towards 2020, which sounded absolutely ages away, but it's now looming clearly on the horizon!

    I am continuing with my £1 per person per day grocery budget, adapting that to the number of students staying and deducting the amount from the 'misc' column of the spreadsheet. So far, so good - I am still within reach of my 2016 target but am now looking at how to afford a car into next year's budget but I am still working with my £4,000 per year for household and general living expenses.

    Hope everyone is well and I also hope to catch up properly before this month is out - almost another challenge gone!
    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 9th Dec 16, 10:54 PM
    • 1,154 Posts
    • 12,438 Thanks
    Still trying to frugal along but I don't think I'm doing too well at the moment, I need to kerb craft spending which sometimes gets out of hand. I will try to make a budget for next year including a category for it, which I must start on soon.
    Mortgage free and debt free but only income is state pension so need to be frugal
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 9th Dec 16, 11:04 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,181 Thanks
    Evening all

    Sorry not been posting much. RL seems to get in the way so often

    Sounds like life is quite exciting for you atm frugaldom and busy somewhat. All sounds quite exciting though and pleased to hear you progressing so well towards your aims.

    Have done the accounts for November and still seem to be on course so far, apart from having to buy the new-to-us car. I'm not going to beat myself up about that however, and hoping other savings can pay for that over three years, as it was needs must with DH's work situation.

    Hope you have all been enjoying the warmer weather and are gearing up for the festive season
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • ChrissieS
    • By ChrissieS 15th Dec 16, 9:41 PM
    • 50 Posts
    • 25 Thanks
    A latecomer to this thread as I haven't been on this forum for ages.

    In August I decided I wanted to sell my one-bedroomed flat and move to a bigger place in a more happening part of the city. However, I had an £8K debt and I couldn't port my mortgage for the one I needed. That spurred me on to get rid of the debt and now I've got £2,800 left to pay off. I earn less than the national average so as well as doing a full-time job, I worked weekends and evenings. I've also lived off £10 a week for food and blogged about it: [Removed by Forum Team]

    Recently I raised the food budget to £15 as I can't access so much free food in winter. I cancelled everything I could inc gym membership, leaving just household bills. I bought nothing even when my shoes had holes in them.

    It's amazing how much free stuff you can access when you need it, but I expect you all know about that on here.

    I did endure proper hardship with the food challenge and also got very exhausted from working so hard. However, the priority on pay day was to put all my money into the debt (zero balance card), leaving £60 for food (£40 + £20 contingency) and enough to cover household bills. I had an unexpected bill one day, which forced me to live on £5.30 per week for most of November. Tough times!

    I'm going to read back now to find tips.
    Last edited by MSE ForumTeam2; 16-12-2016 at 11:27 PM.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 17th Dec 16, 11:06 AM
    • 5,972 Posts
    • 51,976 Thanks
    Frugal living challenge updates
    NannyGladys, the fact that you have posted in here shows you are still dedicated to the good cause of frugaling, so that is a success, in my book!

    LynneJK, yes, things have been really hectic here for what seems like the past couple of years and 2017 is looking equally busy, with my next grandchild expected in February! It doesn't seem any time since I was posting on here about organising the frugal side of DD's 21st birthday / engagement party and preparing for her wedding, but that was over 8 years ago!! How time flies!

    Welcome to the Frugaldom challenge, Chrissie, we have been here for a long time, stretching our budgets and saving our spare pennies, so congratulations to you for your successes. If it helps any, I am still following my £1 per person per day grocery challenge and still managing well on that, thanks to the ever fluctuating food prices and constant price wars. Not much by way of freebies in the countryside but there's always something available from somewhere when things get tight. Friends should be our most prized possession.

    I'm not sure how many of you are still here but as long as I'm doing my frugal living challenge then I'll keep running with this MSE version. Frugal living is my life, it's not just a temporary lifestyle. We are still maintaining debt freedom but have made a few largish investments along the way so, for the past 3 months, I have been providing free accommodation and meals for frugal visitors who have been staying with me to help prepare new fruit & veg growing (non-commercial) enterprise at what I call 'the trading post'. It's hard work but it's fun. We're just fencing it off now with all the free pallets we've managed to have donated.

    Keep up the good work everyone! I'll be back soon to round you all up into the starting stalls for release into the 2017 frugal derby! :lol:
    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 18th Dec 16, 12:43 AM
    • 7,959 Posts
    • 85,305 Thanks
    Still reading, but not doing very well at running budgets (other than keeping bank accounts in the black)

    Want to get back to it properly in 2017, as I don't think my car is going to keep going much longer and there's no way I can afford a half-way decent replacement (and probably wouldn't be able to raise finance at a reasonable interest rate either!)
    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

    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 18th Dec 16, 8:12 AM
    • 2,458 Posts
    • 15,635 Thanks
    Morning all

    I started this challenge in january then began a year of hell. I will do a little jig to see the back of 2016. This thread has kept me motivated, well when I bad time to read, so thank you all. Frugaldom, you face book posts have also been inspirational. You are doing some fab work.

    My debt has to go asap in 2017. I need security and I don't at the moment. If there is a repeat of this year I may go under and that can't happen. To quote Dave Rams3y, I need to get gazelle intense. If the challenge starts in 2017 I will be with you all.

    Have a good and frugal Christmas and a tightfisted new year.
    My mini challenge: pay off MBNA by 31/08/18. £53.10/£502 10.57%
    Total outstanding consumer debt - £53.10/ £7864.52
    Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.Ē -Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • whmf00001
    • By whmf00001 18th Dec 16, 10:43 AM
    • 210 Posts
    • 1,068 Thanks
    I have not had problems really in 2016 and do not anticipate any in 2017 (well some arthritis problems but thats old age). but I like to keep in touch and I hope all the folks who are/have had problems have a better 2017. Merry Christmas.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 19th Dec 16, 10:24 AM
    • 5,972 Posts
    • 51,976 Thanks
    Frugaldom challenge
    Thank you, Parsniphead, I haven't really had the chance to update on anything more than the project on my FB page but will try harder in 2017 to incorporate more about surviving my frugal budget. I'm definitely going to need a car, as getting about anywhere in a hurry is impossible here, so that's the big spend of 2017, along with starting to construct some sort of cabin for practicing a truly off-grid existence. Hopefully it all comes together within our tight budget!

    Biggest expenses in household running costs still remain heating and council tax, accounting for about 50% of my entire household's annual running costs. Food prices fluctuate but we've been able to maintain the planned £1 per person per day even during the months we have students or frugal travellers staying to help work at the project. First of them booked in for 2017 already, so here's hoping our frugal meet-up in May can go ahead as planned.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
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