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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 28th Dec 16, 4:54 PM
    • 5,972Posts
    • 51,973Thanks
    2017 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 28th Dec 16, 4:54 PM
    2017 Frugal Living Challenge 28th Dec 16 at 4:54 PM
    Join us here for year 10 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

    Edited in - The 2018 Frugal Living Challenge is here.

    The Frugal Living Challenge 2017

    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 and share your journey.

    The following links will take you to previous MSE versions of this 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

    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 !!!8211; keep it clean please). Discussion Time is for discussion of current issues (read Martin!!!8217;s description).

    If you post a topic that does not relate to the board it!!!8217;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!!!8217;t already, join the forum to reply!
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 29-12-2017 at 7:55 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 10
    • Penny pauper
    • By Penny pauper 28th Feb 17, 10:37 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 718 Thanks
    Penny pauper
    Just thinking what a lovely mum you are determined, doesn't matter if you can't fund all your daughter's therapy, it must give her a huge boost knowing that you are always there giving all the support you can.
    On the frugal front, we've done well this month and have been able to bring debt down to 6900 from 8350. Lots of overpayments. Still the biggest enemy to my frugal challenge is me. This month spent 30 for the wee one's birthday present of a reconditioned bike compared to 80+ for a new one. I feel guilty about the bike being second hand. I know it's ridiculous as she will probably only get about a years riding out of it as she's growing like a weed. I have to somehow learn to stop wanting to acquire stuff and that shiny new isn't necessarily better than gently worn.
    Have a good night everyone.
    getting out of debt 1753/8350
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 1st Mar 17, 8:14 AM
    • 6,833 Posts
    • 40,012 Thanks
    determined new ms
    that's a good reduction Pp! Must have been a tight month! I think one of the hardest things is *feeling* like our los have to make a lot of compromises. That is the biggest thing that gets me. Not sure how old you lo is but I console myself that by the time she is old enough to know we'll be on a better income x

    ooooo I should reconcile my accounts and see what the month end looks like. Not feel positive as Feb was a very expensive month with a lot of one off spends that over the year balance out. Still looks like a massive overspend though! Although groceries came in at 133 so that's a 47 underspend
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling 2017 3016.55/Roadkill 8.73
    Wombling 2018 145.73/RK 0.04
    • Jazee
    • By Jazee 1st Mar 17, 9:37 AM
    • 4,422 Posts
    • 51,919 Thanks
    Month end and we came in 118 under budget even though we've paid for a weekend away I hadn't accounted for. Helped by no council tax or water bill again.
    Savings 2018: 1478.11
    • Shortie
    • By Shortie 3rd Mar 17, 8:13 AM
    • 2,192 Posts
    • 11,760 Thanks
    Morning all

    I've followed this thread for a few years now but every once in a while I disappear off the forum, so advance apologies

    I'm due to clear my loan off when my remortgage completes is a month or too and overall will be saving around 600 a month in payments which will be a welcome breather. We have a holiday to finish paying for and I have a missing tooth to replace so not out of the woods just yet, but when they are paid for we'll be ploughing additional spare monies into savings

    We try and be careful with money but like a lot of people it's the 'mindless/thoughtless' spending that does the damage for me - a cheeky takeout here, extras in Tescos.

    We're not needing to ban all naughy things completely, but reining it in would be very beneficial

    So yesterday someone was clearly looking out for me... my fancies for falafel in work were hindered by leaving my bank card at home, I got home really fancying a chinese but was rescued by spotting a pack of Mr T Value tortillas in the cupboard which were warned in the oven (nom nom nom) after a pasta dinner and I finished off DS2's world book day costume (no idea why our school is a day later than everyone else).

    Mr Shortie had made him a shield from card and foil and I made him a tabbard from a pillow case. And while I was sewing the edges neat and adding string ties bit to the neckline, DS2 declared we were being very frugal by not buying in something that would never be worn again. Lol. I loved the sentiment, as I sat there cutting up a pillow case that we do use
    Last edited by Shortie; 03-03-2017 at 8:16 AM.
    Apologies if there are random typos - I am usually replying via my phone
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 3rd Mar 17, 8:31 AM
    • 2,310 Posts
    • 22,386 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    I took my Mum to the dentist last week. We got a cab down there, but took her home in her wheelchair. The weather was nice when we left the dentist. Did pop into C0-0p on our way home to get some treats as she did not like having the fillings. Unfortunately, she is now unwell with a bad chest. Is wheezing. Luckily we had gone to see the GP on Tuesday for something else and he had checked her chest as she was continuing coughing. He has given her antibiotics.
    Had the electric bill and it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Luckily, I had changed my tariff last year and it is the cheapest. Even though we had used more electric than in 2016 it was cheaper than our bill in 2016.
    Have used up the face cleanser and 3 lotions/creams since January.
    Did go slightly over my food budget for February. I was under budget for January and adding both months together I am still 9.62 under budget so far for the year. I am trying my best to limit how much I am spending and getting used to putting the money aside for the food/household budget.
    Have had some money refunded for insurance taken out for my cooker and had tax refunded from a temp job. Also claimed for some holiday pay and volunteer travel expenses.
    Have entered to do a charity 5k in July at Hyde Park. You can run, jog or walk. I always walk it due to my arthritis. I manage to do it in under 1 hour. Have being doing the charity 5K for quite a number of years.
    Went to a show up London yesterday for office workers. They had companies who did venue hiring, office supplies amongst other things. Did a bit of networking.
    Last edited by Kerry Woman; 03-03-2017 at 8:34 AM.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST May 2018: May the odds be ever in your favour! NSD 16/19
    • allie23
    • By allie23 5th Mar 17, 1:36 PM
    • 1,259 Posts
    • 13,739 Thanks
    I am another one who has disappeared for a while Shortie. I need to get back on here regularly though as it helps me focus and I haven't been that focussed over recent months. I am back working full time (until August when I go down to 3 days a week) and as a result I have been less frugal, opening the purse strings a bit too much!

    Last week was an eye opener. I went to a different supermarket and the cost of my trolley was 65. In my usual place (Lidl) it would have been much less. So back to Lidl today and shop cost 25.82. Much better.

    I want to get refocused as OH and I have had a dream for a while to move to the Isle of Skye (or nearby on the mainland) and this may become a reality quicker than we though due to a possible job becoming available in the next 1-2 years. I want us to be in a position to move if OH gets the job so it is time to refocus.

    Today has been pretty productive so I am feeling that I am moving in the right direction. I have a HM steak and ale pie simmering in the oven, my washing out on the line (only option as we didn't replace a broken tumble drier) and I have set up a receipt book to keep track of my food shop and fuel costs.

    My big vice is books. I must admit to regularly buying books, often on Amazon so I need to take a look at this. I may go on a new book fast for the remainder of lent.
    Save 12k in 2018 - Challenger 33 - 2,900/25,000
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 8th Mar 17, 7:16 AM
    • 6,833 Posts
    • 40,012 Thanks
    determined new ms
    smallest of frugal wins yesterday! Happened to call in at a SM mid afternoon and they had reduced double cream to 15p a pot. Picked up 3 and made 2 into 350grms butter with madam and 240ml of butter milk which I froze in 15ml ice cubes. Butter for a week costing 30p (less than if I divided between butter milk & butter!). Butter scratched off of the shopping list.

    Has inspired me to do some baking today

    Have been busy sowing vegetable seeds and have managed to sneak in a few allotment sessions I love this time of year!
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling 2017 3016.55/Roadkill 8.73
    Wombling 2018 145.73/RK 0.04
    • cw18
    • By cw18 8th Mar 17, 8:22 AM
    • 7,958 Posts
    • 85,303 Thanks
    Compareed to normal, this week is a very expensive week for me in terms of groceries - mainly vegetables. I am using a fair bit from stock as well, so that's a good thing. Hopefully the cost should balance out over the next few months as I work my way through my homemade ready meals

    OH helped me fit the new fridge/freezer on Sunday (OK, so he did most of the work ), and I'm spending part of each day of my week off work batch cooking to fill it.

    Monday I made 9 portions of bolognese sauce (mince from other freezer, jar of sauce and chopped tinned toms from stock), and yesterday I made 6 portions of venison casserole (diced venison from other freezer) and a large pot of thick veg soup (cooked, but waiting to be put through blender and tubbed up). Next is a batch of macaroni casserole (mince from other freezer, cooked with onion, baked beans, chopped tinned toms and tomatoe puree - last 3 ingredients from stock. I don't add the pasta to it before freezing as I prefer that freshly cooked and it takes less space without it ). Depending on how much space I still have I plan to make sausage casserole (already have the sausages, and will add some tinned chopped toms from stock), chicken supreme (chicken to be defrosted), beef stew (beef is lurking in the other freezer), and on Saturday I plan to defrost (more) chicken to make a double batch of enchilladas (2 portions for that day and 6 for the freezer - tortillas also from stock).

    I'm also using up some instant 'make in mug' soups at lunch time, but that's not making much space in my cupboards
    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

    • Mooloo
    • By Mooloo 8th Mar 17, 8:43 AM
    • 9,703 Posts
    • 47,468 Thanks
    I need to find my positive energy and put my knowledge to good use again.
    I have had a terribly expensive time and bailing my son out of rental debt to stop them being evicted meant I used up all of my emergency funds and emptied my bank accounts to very little.
    So I am going to have to start again. I am also not following my menu plans properly and I am shopping with out a plan etc more often than not.
    Life is changing so fast, and I need to take a step backwards and reassess what I am doing and how I can improve.
    I don't like the fact that I don't have much emergency funds, and cash flow is tight.
    I am home today and need to rest, after some dental surgery yesterday. So I am going to write my diary and try to put some changes back in to my world.
    When I die I will know that I have lived, loved, mattered and made a difference, even if in a small way.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 11th Mar 17, 6:35 AM
    • 193 Posts
    • 1,168 Thanks
    Still need to do my budget but I have completed my food inventory, planted some veg seeds and have started to get a bit more organised!

    Its going to be a bit of an expensive week unfortunately though - I need to replace the glass in my greenhouse that storm doris managed to smash seven panes in total...not impressed but it could have been worse!!

    This will be the first weekend this year that I haven't had something to do so I am going to make the most of it and get my budgets sorted, do a menu plan and also get plenty of slobbing in!!
    15 Month Challenge: House - 2161/15000; Mortgage - 300/19000 ; Jan Spends: Food 93.52/300; Petrol 0/300; Persie 0/ 300
    MFW No. 167 300/ 15000
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 16th Mar 17, 5:16 PM
    • 2,310 Posts
    • 22,386 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Have done some decluttering recently. Took two carrier bags of things to a charity shop. Also took some things to the recycling centre. Still amazed as to how much stuff is in the flat.

    Had to update the budget for some of the categories I have for the year. Got the council tax bill so put the correct amount in. My broadband monthly bill has gone up. So had to up the annual cost and added extra onto it in case it goes up again. Has gone up twice now(including the one last month) in about 6 months. Had to adjust another category due to the changes.

    My Mum is on another course of antibiotics for her chest infection. Am hoping she gets better soon.

    Still looking and applying for permanent work. Not too much temp work out there at the moment with my agency. Did register with another agency.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST May 2018: May the odds be ever in your favour! NSD 16/19
    • Siebrie
    • By Siebrie 16th Mar 17, 7:15 PM
    • 1,134 Posts
    • 18,543 Thanks
    Still the biggest enemy to my frugal challenge is me. This month spent 30 for the wee one's birthday present of a reconditioned bike compared to 80+ for a new one. I feel guilty about the bike being second hand. I know it's ridiculous as she will probably only get about a years riding out of it as she's growing like a weed. I have to somehow learn to stop wanting to acquire stuff and that shiny new isn't necessarily better than gently worn.
    Originally posted by Penny pauper
    I am reading along this very interesting challenge, and I have been in a position where this was my annual budget, although that no longer is the case.

    Pennypauper, to give you a bit of confidence: my dds are 5 and 8 and they have only ever had really old bikes. They will not get new bikes until they can ride properly, show that they can take care of their bike, and park it properly. At the moment they fall too often, bump into items, just leave their bike lying about, forget to bring it in before it starts to rain, etc. They have to show themselves worthy of a new bike.
    Wombling to wealth 2018 508,05 = 443.74
    Still a womble 2017 #25 7116,68= 6309.50
    Wombling Free 2016 #2 3.483,31= 2,969.05
    • allie23
    • By allie23 22nd Mar 17, 10:09 AM
    • 1,259 Posts
    • 13,739 Thanks
    Morning All. After a busy month with 2 weekends taken up by attending college I am treating myself to a weekend away this weekend. I took the frugal option and am booked into a Youth Hostel in Aviemore (camping would have been more frugal but it's not for me, especially at this time of year as it can be really cold there). I am really looking forward to getting out in the fresh air and having time to myself to reflect.
    Save 12k in 2018 - Challenger 33 - 2,900/25,000
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 22nd Mar 17, 5:37 PM
    • 6,833 Posts
    • 40,012 Thanks
    determined new ms
    ooooo a holiday allie. sounds so soothing to the soul! 6 weeks until ours and it was a year ago our last - gone are the days with 3 holidays abroad a year

    But I can't complain! I have spent today making my wormery. I am so excited by this it isn't true! After much research I have picked up 3 polystyrene boxes from a fish monger. Cleaned and cleaned. Used a stanley knife to cut bits off so they all fitted together snugly. Used a hot glue gun to fill up big air holes from their original life and a nail to make loads of holes little holes for them to wiggle up through. Just waiting for the worms to arrive, should be today or tomorrow and then I can start. Really hope it works!
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling 2017 3016.55/Roadkill 8.73
    Wombling 2018 145.73/RK 0.04
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 24th Mar 17, 4:44 PM
    • 6,833 Posts
    • 40,012 Thanks
    determined new ms
    whoop said wormery is now complete, worms and food in and stored in the greenhouse currently. Will move it to the garage when the weather gets nicer soon

    So happy with this. Material = 0.00, worms were 31.50 with delivery but I had 20 given to me for a birthday present just sat in savings for agggggggggggggggggggggggesssssssssssssssssssss for this very thing

    Wormery and, in time, lost of lovely free compost for 11.50
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling 2017 3016.55/Roadkill 8.73
    Wombling 2018 145.73/RK 0.04
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 25th Mar 17, 7:27 AM
    • 193 Posts
    • 1,168 Thanks
    Good news on the wormery determined!!

    I haven't done very well this week- I've found a new vegan shop and spent a fortune in there, bought a load of new stuff for my grandbaby and went to the hairdresser and paid for mine and my daughters haircut plus bought some products! suffice to say that I have spent more in a week than I earn in three!!

    Oh well, firmly back on the wagon now - I will be having a total spending freeze in April - fridge, freezer and cupboard food with only 20 per week for fresh veg, fruit and milks. I am not going out anywhere and I don't have any events for the month so I should be able to maintain a very frugal month
    15 Month Challenge: House - 2161/15000; Mortgage - 300/19000 ; Jan Spends: Food 93.52/300; Petrol 0/300; Persie 0/ 300
    MFW No. 167 300/ 15000
    • allie23
    • By allie23 26th Mar 17, 7:00 PM
    • 1,259 Posts
    • 13,739 Thanks
    Congrats on the wormery set up Determined.

    Just back from my weekend away. It was bliss as the weather has been stunning. Spend my time walking in the hills or around the lochs and then doing some reading, journaling and chatting to other people in the hostel. You are always guaranteed to meet lots of interesting people there.

    Total cost of accommodation for the 2 nights was 36 plus 'spending money' for food. I could have made it more frugal by taking food with me (which I usually do when hostelling) but this time I just wanted to treat myself.

    Last week at work before Easter hols now. I need to think about getting organised for Easter bits for my family. I don't usually buy Easter eggs, instead I bake a selection of goodies for them. I bought a silicone mould in HB that has egg designs on it so I might have a wee practice with that next weekend.

    Have a great week all.
    Save 12k in 2018 - Challenger 33 - 2,900/25,000
    • allie23
    • By allie23 26th Mar 17, 7:55 PM
    • 1,259 Posts
    • 13,739 Thanks
    Plans this week:
    1. Get up to date with Ironing and washing - including bedding (which has been waiting to be ironed for weeks!)
    2. Change beds
    3. Help OH set up new shelves in under-the-stairs cupboard. We are going to use this as extra storage for stockpiling when we bulk buy groceries when they are on offer. Our chest freezer is in here too.
    4. Watch some Grace and Frankie season 3.
    Save 12k in 2018 - Challenger 33 - 2,900/25,000
    • try harder
    • By try harder 31st Mar 17, 7:35 AM
    • 784 Posts
    • 3,013 Thanks
    try harder
    Is it too late to join in please ?If not i would like to join.
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 31st Mar 17, 7:38 AM
    • 6,833 Posts
    • 40,012 Thanks
    determined new ms
    Is it too late to join in please ?If not i would like to join.
    Originally posted by try harder
    nope, never too late welcome aboard!
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling 2017 3016.55/Roadkill 8.73
    Wombling 2018 145.73/RK 0.04
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