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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 12
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 29th Apr 17, 2:14 PM
    • 9,956 Posts
    • 62,114 Thanks
    May I join you.

    I am 65 and a retired widow, currently living with my son whilst house hunting.

    Weemidge...thanks for posting your budget. Very Interesting and helpful.

    I had roughly worked out........

    Bills - 300 (CT, WR Gas and Leccy, Insurance) - hopefully a generous estimate. Ideally I would like that to be less.

    Housekeeping/general misc - 200 to include, food, gym, gifts, hair cuts etc.

    Clothes, shoes etc......I could open a shop. I really don't need more. I tend to buy from charity shops anyway so that just comes out of the 200.

    That just leaves the car......not sure about this.

    I currently spend around 2k max a year but given that I only do around 3k miles a year it does beg the question do I really need a car.

    I have a rail card and bus pass. Taxis into the heart of the city, railway station or hospital cost less than 5 - cheaper than parking sometimes - need to think about that one.

    Even with the car I still have enough for holidays and fun stuff and hopefully can still carry on saving a bit more for my "old age".

    If I start to struggle then the car goes.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 29-04-2017 at 5:01 PM.
    • allie23
    • By allie23 29th Apr 17, 4:21 PM
    • 1,259 Posts
    • 13,739 Thanks
    Hi LL, lovely to 'see' you on this thread. You are very welcome.
    Save 12k in 2018 - Challenger 33 - 2,900/25,000
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 29th Apr 17, 5:00 PM
    • 9,956 Posts
    • 62,114 Thanks
    Hi Allie....long time no see. Thanks for the welcome.

    Just about to do my month end money round up.

    Im off on holiday on 8th May so need to sort out all my banking and mAke sure my bill payments are on track.

    Have booked two house viewings For next week.
    • Jazee
    • By Jazee 30th Apr 17, 4:37 PM
    • 4,422 Posts
    • 51,919 Thanks
    I have listed all our spends for April and we have overspent this month by 2353.18 because we had to buy a car which was not budgetted for. If I'm really strict about keeping to budgets for the next 8 months, I may be able to pull it back this year. Of course that depends on our earning potential remaining the same.
    Savings 2018: 1478.11
    • WeeMidgie
    • By WeeMidgie 2nd May 17, 7:12 AM
    • 230 Posts
    • 5,037 Thanks
    I'm doing small bits of "investment spending", e.g. my favourite deodorant, Bionsen, which is aluminium free, is currently reduced from 2.50 to 1.50 in Sainsbobs, so I'm buying ahead as the saving is so great.

    I know we all do this when we can, to a greater or lesser extent, and it's so worth the outlay on things that don't go off over time. Loo paper is another one I buy ahead, and light bulbs. I still have a goodly stock of compact fluorescent bulbs from the happy days years ago when they were reduced to 10 p!

    Lovely to see you here, lessonlearned! I hope you have a super holiday. Interesting we have fairly similar budgets. There's not much more I can finagle downwards, until the house and car insurances are due for renewal.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 2nd May 17, 6:48 PM
    • 9,956 Posts
    • 62,114 Thanks
    Investment it.

    Well I have made some investments too. 4 evening dresses from eBay for 35. Red carpet glamour at bargain basement prices.

    Helen Mirren eat your heart out.
    • evuka
    • By evuka 2nd May 17, 7:45 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 1,139 Thanks
    Hey all frugal ears!

    A bit late, haven't been on the forum for ages... who knows why. But I started to miss this thread so I'm back here, no budget yet, nothing but I'm up for some good ideas and pushes (aka kick in the @$$) to get me back on the wagon.

    Need to re-read the thread, update my signature, see y'all later
    Make 10 a day challenge need to join again
    Sell 100 items 11/100
    GC: Jan 175.07/100
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018 823.65/8,965.88
    NSD: Jan 5/15 Feb 7/15
    • Lau0707
    • By Lau0707 2nd May 17, 10:46 PM
    • 73 Posts
    • 373 Thanks
    220 made today from round one of eBay, round two ends tomorrow, and round three ends on Friday. Going to be listing load more clothes tomorrow too. Need to some how find an extra 350 to make sure all bills are paid this month... WAHHHH. pray for me

    food and petrol aren't even on the cards this month, living out of our cupboards!
    Focusing on Student Overdraft: April- 1350/ 1225.
    • kb_soma
    • By kb_soma 3rd May 17, 9:31 AM
    • 261 Posts
    • 2,039 Thanks
    Good morning everyone. I've spent a small fortune this weekend just gone and have a feeling this month is going to be expensive (lots of social stuff). Time to leave the wallet at home, I think.

    I'm going to buy myself a bike to get to work, that'll cost me around 200 outlay, but it will pay for itself in four months (current train travel is 50ish a month). Also, I get to add in some extra exercise and maybe save the soles on my shoes...
    LBM: NOVEMBER 2011 || debt free date:30/06/15 || The Fighting Debt Army: #442 || Frugal Living Challenge 2018 || January 2018 Grocery 1.22/100 ||
    • Lau0707
    • By Lau0707 8th May 17, 4:23 PM
    • 73 Posts
    • 373 Thanks
    Found a wooden Mamas and Papas high chair in a charity shop the other day, amazing condition, and I got it for 7!! I was so happy... I wont be using it for another 10 months, but I was more proud at the fact that usually I would've gone online and just paid stupid money for one! Yay!!! Bring on more charity shops xx
    Focusing on Student Overdraft: April- 1350/ 1225.
    • Lau0707
    • By Lau0707 9th May 17, 9:22 PM
    • 73 Posts
    • 373 Thanks
    bought strawberry, lettuce, tomato,potato, cucumber and pepper plants today. Kids are enjoying watering them, and really excited to eat our own home grown produce. all for 9.52. x
    Focusing on Student Overdraft: April- 1350/ 1225.
    • kb_soma
    • By kb_soma 10th May 17, 9:51 AM
    • 261 Posts
    • 2,039 Thanks
    Bought the bike, I am now training myself to bike to work. My train pass runs out on the 17th, so I *hope* to be cycling to work every day by then. It took me 35 minutes yesterday, hopefully I'll get fitter and be able to cycle faster soon!
    LBM: NOVEMBER 2011 || debt free date:30/06/15 || The Fighting Debt Army: #442 || Frugal Living Challenge 2018 || January 2018 Grocery 1.22/100 ||
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 30th May 17, 11:14 AM
    • 2,310 Posts
    • 22,387 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Still trying to plod along. Added what I have spent this month as I am not planning to spend today or tomorrow. Managed to spend less in general spending and food/household this month as compared to May last year, which I am happy about. My health issues has affected some of my spending this month sadly. Did have a 2 week temp job which ended last week. I have 2 temp jobs both in the morning next week. Still looking and applying for temp and perm work.
    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
    • WeeMidgie
    • By WeeMidgie 30th May 17, 7:43 PM
    • 230 Posts
    • 5,037 Thanks
    The month has gone well, and I'll be finishing with about 104 surplus in the food and other cash spends budget of 320.

    A couple of longer term items have now cropped up and offer savings:

    1) Laundry powder - I had borax and soap flakes which moved house with me 5 years ago, but were inaccessible in one of many packing boxes just when I needed them. So at the time, I bit the bullet and bought two giant boxes of Fairy detergent (2 4 1 offer), which have taken till now to be used up.

    Today I made approx 7kg laundry powder, using the soap flakes, borax and soda crystals, which should last me a very long time. The only current cost was for 3kg soda crystals = 3.

    2) The car insurance notification has come in and tomorrow I'll be following MSE guidance to find the best quote for the cover I require. Last year's premium was 221, this year's is 289, I don't think so! I'll update with the final result.

    ...*Added one day later*.... And having gone through Martin's recommended route to get the best price, I've got a deal for just under 158, which includes protected no claims, courtesy car, legal cover etc. It took a while, but well worth doing! Very happy!
    Last edited by WeeMidgie; 31-05-2017 at 2:33 PM.
    • Jazee
    • By Jazee 1st Jun 17, 5:13 PM
    • 4,422 Posts
    • 51,919 Thanks
    Hello, still not living very frugally here. The overspend for May was 343 and nothing really to show for it. We have now spent 6 months budget in only 5 months and I'm not sure that I'll be able to pull it all back.
    Savings 2018: 1478.11
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 6th Jun 17, 7:18 PM
    • 347 Posts
    • 938 Thanks
    hi . im new to the forum. so glad ive came across this challenge as i have a challenge for me and my family

    to live off 100 a week for the rest of the year (after all bills)
    every Monday i will transfer the 100 .
    lets give it a go
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 11th Jun 17, 1:54 PM
    • 2,310 Posts
    • 22,387 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    I had to sort out my mobile phone contract as it had to be renewed. Managed to get more minutes, more data and money off the monthly bill. Should have cost 15.99, but got it for 9.99. It is less than my last contract payments. Of course there will hopefully slight increases as they normally do.

    Saved money on some supplements. Have not used the company I usually pay them from and they offered me them for half price.

    Have been diagnosed with anxiety/depression and now on medication. Seeing my GP again in 2 weeks time.

    Had a some hours of temp work last week.
    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
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 18th Jun 17, 11:22 PM
    • 1,154 Posts
    • 12,438 Thanks
    Hi everyone
    I haven't been on here for months, and even though I'm fairly frugal I'm finding I'm having to go into savings each month to exist, so this month (nearly two weeks ago) I decided to live within my oap pension. I haven't done too badly so far but that's due to having quite a lot of food in my cupboards and freezer. I've been careful with fuel and not been on any unnecessary journeys, but I will have to rebudget fuel as I have a little very old caravan on a site that is my sanctuary and I'm missing my stays there. So that's me at the moment, trying to keep my purse closed!!!!
    Mortgage free and debt free but only income is state pension so need to be frugal
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 9th Jul 17, 9:29 AM
    • 2,310 Posts
    • 22,387 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Still trying to be careful with spending. Up to June spending is still less than up to June 2016. So happy with that. Have still work on some areas of spending.

    Still decluttering things in the flat. Taking things to charity shop, recycling centre, putting things into the communal recycling bin. I have had to bin somethings as well. Used up one cream. Not too many creams to be used up now.

    Went to have an eye test yesterday. Found online a voucher for a free eye test. Had to get 2 new glasses - distance and reading ones. Managed to get free lens included. Cost of lens were 45 for each glasses. Only had to pay for the frames. So saved 111 altogether yesterday. Both frames total cost 138. Really happy about that.

    Have had a few hours temp work in the past few weeks. Temp work for a few hours on the next 2 Wednesdays.

    Went to Clacton on Sea with my Mum during the week. Booked through a disablement association, so minibus picked us up at flat and dropped us back at flat at end of day. They also picked up other people for the trip. Enjoyed the day out.
    Last edited by Kerry Woman; 09-07-2017 at 3:54 PM.
    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
    • Jazee
    • By Jazee 9th Jul 17, 9:38 AM
    • 4,422 Posts
    • 51,919 Thanks
    Morning all. I have to admit that I stopped filling in my spreadsheet at the end of May. Must reign in my spending but finding it difficult with holidays etc. Got some good bulk bargains in f@rmf00ds yesterday though.
    Savings 2018: 1478.11
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