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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 28th Dec 16, 4:54 PM
    • 5,999Posts
    • 52,275Thanks
    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 2
    • haybel19
    • By haybel19 29th Dec 16, 3:56 PM
    • 1,331 Posts
    • 8,324 Thanks
    Ive been going through my seed packets trying work out what I can start off early on the windowsill ready to pot out... I want to make sure I make the most of the seeds I have so I buy the minimal amount and avoid buying plants when I could have grown from seed cheaper. I also what to make sure I focus on what grew well in tubs, what we will realistically use and can dry or preserve... rather my first time last year where I got carried away growing things and grew some things we never eat which was wasteful. It would also be nice to be able to give some jams and preserves as little gifts.

    So what do you guys start to grow in January? Ive found some tomatoe seeds which say to start in Jan... but that's it from my current small seed stash.... so looking for ideas.. I have a lot of wooden troughs and planters and will be filling every available space so I can grow the maximum amount.

    Also thinking if I grow too many seedlings I can sell or trade for different plants. Sure I miss a million tricks just on the growing front without everything else so very keen to hear any tips or hints.
    Last edited by haybel19; 29-12-2016 at 3:59 PM.
    • sugar23
    • By sugar23 29th Dec 16, 4:24 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 277 Thanks
    Today we have been to the park and MacDonalds with family.
    Also done a skip run .
    Now all in pjs . With hot chocolate and duvets about to watch toy story.
    Total spends today
    MacDonalds £18 :O
    Shop for milk . Bread etc £6
    Debt free before Xmas 17 #69
    Cc 3500 / 200
    Cat 1040 / 40
    Car 2592 / 217
    Total 7132 / 457 + taxcredits 81.14p/ 30
    • sammy_kaye18
    • By sammy_kaye18 29th Dec 16, 5:49 PM
    • 3,063 Posts
    • 19,313 Thanks
    Hello all
    Room for a newbie? Myself and my husband are keen to start looking at buying a house but at the minute my credit rating is ridiculous because of the debts I have so my main goal for this coming year is to get debt free.
    I think.......think i have about £3K worth of debts and I have just cleared one with Morses Ckub the week before Christmas so that has saved me £40 a month.

    I will sit and write my budget out tonight.
    My hours were at 24 with overtime before Christmas but have been cut down to my contracted 6 now - I work in a well know catalogue shop beginning with Ar**s.
    I am planning on seeing if there is any good yellow sticker reductions in my local Tesco on Saturday evening because our store is closed Sunday but I'm thinking 5pm is too late to go.
    Did spend £3 in there today though on
    2 tubes of smarties
    2 chocolate reindeer
    4 bags of chocolate snowmen/santas
    2 boxes of festive friends
    Total : £3.50

    The little sweets will keep the kids happy with a few every now and then, the festive friends will do the same with a few with a glass of milk, and the smarties can be used for cake decorating. Chocolate reindeers I promised the kids at Xmas and forgot but I think ill get them to save them for a movie night.

    Right off to make a budget, an income and a cupboard\freezer list
    Feeling human for the first time in 4 years
    ....Thats Christmas To Me.....
    • sammy_kaye18
    • By sammy_kaye18 29th Dec 16, 5:52 PM
    • 3,063 Posts
    • 19,313 Thanks
    rather my first time last year where I got carried away growing things and grew some things we never eat which was wasteful. It would also be nice to be able to give some jams and preserves as little gifts.
    Originally posted by haybel19
    I made Jam last year after going blackberry picking with the kids and it turned out fab. We made it smooth and then saved the pips and pulp to use with icecream :-)

    I did the same last year too. I grew loads of tomatoes which none of us eat :-/ but my peas and beans did well so I think I might focus on them more this year and salad. I have a plastic greenhouse which I just need to slug proof now and clear out ready :-)
    Feeling human for the first time in 4 years
    ....Thats Christmas To Me.....
    • haybel19
    • By haybel19 29th Dec 16, 6:02 PM
    • 1,331 Posts
    • 8,324 Thanks
    I am trying so hard to be so good...I have sorted through my seeds working out which to grow that we would use and which we wont... its allowed me to start thinking about what seeds I still need and ive listed those on ebay which I wont use... Ive set some tomatoe seeds on the windowsill (no greenhouse - says set Jan-march I figure 2 days early wont hurt). Going to write a plan of each month what I need to set and do so I can grow as much as possible. Any surplus plants I don't have room for I will try and swap with someone else or sell cheap for seed money.

    Have found a few things we no longer need after tidying a few drawers and these are now on ebay. I have plenty more drawers and cupboards to go!

    I already keep a detailed budget for essentials but free money is a bit like water through the fingers so will be keeping a log of what it is spent on and considering each purchase- is this really necessary?
    • haybel19
    • By haybel19 29th Dec 16, 8:35 PM
    • 1,331 Posts
    • 8,324 Thanks
    I made Jam last year after going blackberry picking with the kids and it turned out fab. We made it smooth and then saved the pips and pulp to use with icecream :-)

    I did the same last year too. I grew loads of tomatoes which none of us eat :-/ but my peas and beans did well so I think I might focus on them more this year and salad. I have a plastic greenhouse which I just need to slug proof now and clear out ready :-)
    Originally posted by sammy_kaye18
    I grew all sorts in tubs last year but definitely going to learn from what grew well, as well as what we used the most of... my runner beans did particularly well and I discovered they also freeze well.

    I made some nice blueberry jam but sadly brought the blueberries! This year I want to make jam from what ive grown if I can or find somewhere locally I can pick some fruit...
    • Queenofcolouringandtea
    • By Queenofcolouringandtea 29th Dec 16, 9:55 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 60 Thanks
    My budget is massive.

    my expenditure is a round 1000 pounds a month. 800 for rent, 116 for dog insurance, charity donations, and £50 a month for Christmas and birthdays.

    Really what I need to do is spend as little as possible!
    “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. it means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” – Unknown
    • allie23
    • By allie23 30th Dec 16, 12:56 PM
    • 1,259 Posts
    • 13,739 Thanks
    I am really excited to see the Frugal Living Challenge back. This has been one of my favourite threads for a few years. Not posted much on the forum this year but I intend to get back into it in 2017 as it really helps me focus. Thank you Frugaldom for running the challenge again.

    I am working towards saving for the dream; which for me is to live on the Isle of Skye. I have been holidaying there for 25 years and love it. To that end I want to be as frugal as possible so I can save as much of my wages towards that as I can.
    Save £12k in 2018 - Challenger 33 - £2,900/£25,000
    • FrugalinShropshire
    • By FrugalinShropshire 30th Dec 16, 4:37 PM
    • 197 Posts
    • 1,772 Thanks
    Looking forward to joining you all here. i will do a freezer/pantry inventory once our weekend guests have gone, but I am sure we have plenty of food for the coming weeks. Need to look at our seeds too and plan the veggie garden.
    Proud to be mortgage and debt free
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 30th Dec 16, 5:11 PM
    • 5,999 Posts
    • 52,275 Thanks
    Annual budgets
    I have an annual budget that is kept on a spreadsheet and shows how much is allocated to what, so it automatically deducts my expenditure as I log it. This way, any surprise costs can be balanced by deducting from elsewhere and then working to balance the books as quickly as possible.

    Having been doing this challenge for so long, some of you will know that I have had no debts for some years and saved to buy a house without a mortgage, so I have no rent or repayments to make. What we would normally have spent on mortgage payments or rent is saved for future investments, of which there have been several, especially over the last 2 years.

    The following is my current list of totals from my 2016 budget:

    Groceries - £850.00
    Cleaning & Toiletries - £75.00
    Electricity - £549.00
    Coal & Logs - £300.00
    Misc. - £90.50
    Mobile - £20.00
    Telephone & Internet - £545.00
    TV Licence - £145.50
    Footwear & Clothing - £50.00
    Gifts - £380.00
    Transport - £480.00
    Postage & Deliveries - £50.00
    Insurances - £295.00
    Pets & Livestock - £120.00
    Frugaleur Challenge - £50.00

    TOTAL = £4,000

    Council Tax - £1,000

    There is nothing I can do about the price of Council Tax so it is over and above my living expenses

    Groceries are based on an average of £1 per person per day for all meals and calculated for 2 people plus regular guests, as I am now a work exchange host, providing accommodation and meals for volunteers at our Frugaldom project.

    The Frugaleur challenge is our annual frugal entrepreneur challenge, where we invest a little something into a project that can benefit us in the future. In 2016 I invested in willows and planted them all to grow my own weaving materials for using and selling. I think of them as my little money trees.

    Telephone and Internet are becoming a horrendous price but as I need this for home-based work, keeping in contact with everyone, running the challenges and for my own entertainment and learning, I don't think it's too bad when split between two of us.

    Transport will increase in 2017 but I do business mileage, which gets claimed back at the end of the tax year.

    Insurances include house & contents via cashback site plus a monthly savings policy with life assurance included.

    As you can see, many of the things on my list are not strictly essentials so I have plenty of space to juggle things around. This is NOT related to my income in any way, shape or form, it just keeps my expenditure down and allows me to work far fewer hours that when I had debts and rent / mortgage to pay.

    I made a conscientious choice to follow this lifestyle and have never regretted it. I hope you can all grow to love this freedom to choose how you do or do not spend your money.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • pixiehouse
    • By pixiehouse 30th Dec 16, 5:13 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 378 Thanks
    I would love to join in. Being a foster carer its not easy. Fussy children, dont all like the same food. shopping is expensive. We have to put x amount of money away per week for clothing allowance for each child. But determined to find a way to cut back on food shopping at least!
    I will keep watching and see if there is anything i can change. Used to have a veg garden but me with a bad back and hubby's bad neck its not possible anymore.
    2017 here we come.. Credit cards are main thing to get rid of and all on % balance transfers so thats a start. Will go through bills again in the next week and freezer and cupboards check.
    CC 2 £9084.75
    CC 2 £5313,40/
    OH CC £5519.71
    OH CC2 £3987.22
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 30th Dec 16, 5:15 PM
    • 5,999 Posts
    • 52,275 Thanks
    For those who may not know, I run my personal challenge elsewhere and you can find the frugal working project updates on my Facebook page. I'm not asking you to go there, just explaining that they are no longer recorded here.

    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 30th Dec 16, 6:45 PM
    • 2,002 Posts
    • 18,169 Thanks
    Hi Everyone

    I'll be joining in again this year.

    The plan is to earn as much as I can and save as much as I can for travelling and getting my own place later in the year.
    Pay off Debt by Christmas 2018 #59
    £13,406.26/ £8,464.66
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 30th Dec 16, 7:09 PM
    • 5,999 Posts
    • 52,275 Thanks
    Great to 'see' you, FrankieM and Allie23!
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • *Jellie*
    • By *Jellie* 30th Dec 16, 7:33 PM
    • 2,923 Posts
    • 13,520 Thanks
    Frugaldom- is there somewhere we can get hold of your basic spreadsheet to save reinventing the wheel?
    Completely crazy clothes challenge 2018 £0/0!
    New start!
    • angelicious
    • By angelicious 30th Dec 16, 10:00 PM
    • 214 Posts
    • 1,515 Thanks
    Can I join please for 2017, really need to start living more frugally and getting the most for my money
    Make £10 day '18: March '18 £1479.50/1000 Feb '18 £2638.52/1000, Jan '18 £960/1000
    2018 1% challenge - £228 - 4% @ 07/02 (912/22800)
    Make £10 day say 2017 total £5256.25
    MFW: £160,306.48, now £158, 600 @07/02 Paid £1386.48
    Decluter 2018: 79/2018
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 31st Dec 16, 6:52 PM
    • 1,893 Posts
    • 11,188 Thanks
    Florence J
    My 2017 Budgets

    Due to paying the majority of my money towards my debts I have decided I will only live on a tightly budgeted income of £100 once all bills have been paid.

    I am hoping to get a job local to where I live to save on my season ticket costs so will readjust my budgets if this happens.

    Gifts - £25 a month/£300 a year (I am hoping to heavily subsidise this with survey vouchers)
    Health - £5 a month/£60 a year (This is for things like visiting the Dentist which is thankfully very cheap where I live. I just hope I have no problems)
    Postage and Packaging - £5 a month/£60 a year
    Travel (Visiting Family) - £15 a month/£180 a year (This is money I will put aside so I can visit my family more than I did in 2016)
    Travel (day to day) - £10 a month/£120 a year (this is travel on top of my train season ticket and unrelated to social activities)
    Work Expenses - £7.50 a month/£90 a year (This is to pay for tea and milk to take to work)
    Social - £27.50 a month/£330 a year (I will have to be very careful with this budget)
    Clothing Maintenance - £5 a month/£60 a year (I want to prolong the life of my clothes and shoes by taking them to be cleaned/fixed when needed.

    I have decided that I will not be buying things like DVDs, Books, unessential homeware items etc in 2017. I have also decided that I will not be buying any clothes with cash and will instead have to ask for vouchers for my birthday or save up my survey vouchers for items I need.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
    • lynnejk
    • By lynnejk 31st Dec 16, 10:52 PM
    • 5,343 Posts
    • 55,198 Thanks
    Evening all

    Hoping to get accounts and therefore budget sorted this week

    I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy new year and good luck with being frugalities.
    Bulk buy.......APR=233.76
    OS WL= -2/8 ......CC =00......Savings = £13,140
    • cybertortoise
    • By cybertortoise 1st Jan 17, 3:10 AM
    • 119 Posts
    • 856 Thanks
    I'd like to join please.

    Our finances are so tight at the moment I need to do whatever I can to get the most out of my money. Plus I need some good habits rather than bad ones.

    Happy new year to all x
    Fresh start & LBM #3: 29.08.17 DFD: 28.08.20 Debt at highest: £19383.27 Currently: £16576.07
    1% challenge: 0% Frugal 2018: £0/£7500 Decluttering: 0/1095
    • Dizzy Imp
    • By Dizzy Imp 1st Jan 17, 6:00 AM
    • 2,263 Posts
    • 21,425 Thanks
    Dizzy Imp
    Good morning and Happy New Year to you all...

    Can I tentatively stick my toe in the water for this challenge please? Hoping for lots of inspiration and tips to become more frugal
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