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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Dec 17, 2:12 AM
    • 5,978Posts
    • 52,022Thanks
    2018 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 14th Dec 17, 2:12 AM
    2018 Frugal Living Challenge 14th Dec 17 at 2:12 AM
    Join us here for year 11 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

    The Frugal Living Challenge 2018

    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 if you have any questions, feel free to message me or ask in the forum.

    This is an adaptation of the original 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.

    If you would like to use a simple spreadsheet for calculating your annual expenditure, you are welcome to download a free copy of the original one HERE Simply overwrite the initial monthly amounts and the totals will auto-calculate. From then, it is a simple case of deducting (use the minus sign in front of the amounts) all your outgoings as the year progresses. It's worth while playing about with it to alter headings to suit your personal lifestyle. I've included a couple of extra columns for things like rent/mortgage & council tax and misc/debt payments.

    Some have already achieved debt freedom 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 reach 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 our challenge:

    The 2017 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

    How it all began - Saving to buy a house without a mortgage 2007 Challenge

    The original interest beater challenge

    The original 1000 in 100 days challenge

    The original free hobbies thread

    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, sustainable 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 bad 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 that you use
    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/sharng for better discounts & reduced delivery costs
    Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
    Online trading - auctions, stores, social media pages
    etc, etc, etc...

    Monitoring and revising the budget is part of a good 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!

    GOOD LUCK IN 2018
    Last edited by Frugaldom; 29-12-2017 at 10:54 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
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 4th Jan 18, 8:50 PM
    • 5,978 Posts
    • 52,022 Thanks
    Can I join the thread, please? ... As soon as the mortgage is gone, we are both going part time at work and getting a camper van. The plan is to spend as much time as we can on beaches or up life purposefully and slowly...
    Originally posted by CheshireCat
    Welcome to the challenge! When you get your campervan, you'll need to come and visit Frugaldom!

    May I join? I probably won't post all that regularly but I've been following along daily for over a week... it's like a mental check and measure for myself!
    Originally posted by Kerreh
    Welcome! Don't worry about how often you post - when it gets past the worst of the weather, I become almost invisible because I spend all my time out chasing pennies.

    I'd like to join please, have only included expenses not bills/payments is that ok ? Aiming for 6000
    Originally posted by igaveupnowimback
    Everyone has their own budget and their own way of taking this challenge so you are more than welcome to join us.

    Day 4 gone and no spends. I'm going to try not to buy food this month while I work through what's in stock here. I need to do a proper declutter and that includes freezer food and cupboard stores. I have so much needing done here just now that I;ve actually advertised for help who will work in exchange for board and lodgings. Winter in Scotland isn't always the best time to advertise but who knows? Maybe there will be gap year students heading further south from the freezing Highlands.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • CheshireCat
    • By CheshireCat 4th Jan 18, 9:50 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    Cheshire cat a visual helps with motivation for paying off the mortgage.

    I taped the two short ends of A4 paper together and drew a thermometer on it.

    I drew a line down the middle of it then drew sections on it across that line.

    The amount owed went into the bulb at the bottom and i coloured the bulb red.

    Each section represented one week as we arranged with the mortgage company to pay weekly by standing order.

    On one side was the amount paid and the other was the new sum owed (Brain fog so can't remember the correct term.)

    I coloured in a section weekly with a red crayon after it was paid so it stood out.

    The paper was taped to the side of a cupboard so it was easily seen.

    My hubby got on board after that. We have paid off the mortgage and built up a small savings pot and are still adding to it even though we are living off one pension and tax credits for our youngest.
    Originally posted by grandma247
    Thanks for this tip grandma247! I'm getting this on our fridge ASAP!
    • sinkorswim2018
    • By sinkorswim2018 4th Jan 18, 10:29 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 462 Thanks
    1.19 spent today, charcoal toothpaste ( whitening apparently, makes my 16 yr old very happy) and 19p for paracetamol, we were out. One the bright side took a prepared salad to work and tea bags (lemon and ginger) even though on a course so money saved there. Cooking my.bargain turkey now (4.48 from Aldi) smells good. Cooking giblets for stock and treat for the dog....better turn it off now, thinks It's done.
    February spend so far 401 (13.2.18) / 800 January spend :794.91. Budget for month 800.
    Pay ALL your debt off by Xmas 2018 398.36/3320.38.
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 4th Jan 18, 11:35 PM
    • 358 Posts
    • 971 Thanks
    Started painting my hall with paint I already had in the shed. It looks better already but its going to take forever
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 5th Jan 18, 1:44 AM
    • 1,166 Posts
    • 12,555 Thanks
    Hi everyone
    Not much has been happening here, I haven't been out at all but u can't seem to get myself motivated to do anything.
    Right when I get up (and it seems to be getting later and later) I must start some cleaning, I think I will start with the bathroom and then go through my clothes (that won't take long) and then do a freezer inventory. These jobs wont take very long at all but I seem to be a cba frame of mind!
    I had lo for lunch and then different lo for tea, but it was very nice, anyway I must get some sleep if I want to be up at a reasonable time.
    Mortgage free and debt free but only income is state pension so need to be frugal
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 5th Jan 18, 6:43 AM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    Why am I awake?!! Will head back to sleep if I can soon - that's frugal!!

    Ended up spending 1 on the parking, which I was annoyed about as was in and out in five minutes, and then realised it was extra fuel too as the place was over four times further away than my normal dr surgery. Was sorely tempted to buy takeout for both lunch and dinner but it's becoming easier to say no to myself. Just had something from the cupboards, which used up some ridiculous stock! I made double, so just need to ping my dinner tonight, saving on gas usage.

    I need to enter a shop today as the cat has run out of wet food, so will need to resist temptation to wander around. My main shop isn't until Sunday, and I don't need anything else until then. Must resist!! Hopefully having the flu will work in my favour for this, as I'll want to be back home asap...

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan 87.97/100 Feb 0/100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • bustiblondilocks
    • By bustiblondilocks 5th Jan 18, 7:49 AM
    • 24 Posts
    • 238 Thanks
    Spent 25.66 yesterday on eggs, RTC Christmas cards for December (at 38p for pack of 20) and mainly a paper shredder.
    I've decided the frugal life will be eased by going minimalist ( a lifelong dream) and I need to seriously declutter. I have every bill and bank statement and weekly wage slips since 1998! Time to have a clear out! So whilst I'm mad at myself for not having a no spend day yet I will spend my time clearing out and shredding not shopping and getting more stuff....or that's the theory!
    Year to date spend on non bills: 171.69
    Year to date debt:12500

    Practically perfect people never permit sentiment to muddle their thinking!
    Mary Poppins
    • Rosesandrainbows
    • By Rosesandrainbows 5th Jan 18, 8:34 AM
    • 30 Posts
    • 313 Thanks
    Yesterday was an NSD and I made all meals from stores.

    Today will be a small spend day as I am going out for a pub lunch with family. I only intend to have one course to see the costs down and on the plus side it means I don't have to cook tonight.

    Jobs for the weekend include,
    stocking the fire baskets with wood as the weather is set to turn a bit colder
    making some pizza bases to pop in the freezer
    use up some of the rhubarb in the freezer and make a crumble
    clean the house

    It all very boring but should be enough to keep me occupied without finding the need to venture out. We had a very busy year in 2017 and I am really embracing this new simple, frugal routine.

    Have a lovely Friday and weekend
    • CheshireCat
    • By CheshireCat 5th Jan 18, 12:50 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    NSD today. I'm in the depths of marking hell today (I'm a teacher). Trapped in the house due to sheer amount of work I have to do before Monday. On the plus side, means I cant go out to get a coffee, my ultimate weakness. ASDA instant tastes alright after a few cups. Son is having the time of his life at grandmas today...but will no doubt be full of sugar and completely hyper when he returns!
    • PlaysNicely
    • By PlaysNicely 5th Jan 18, 4:14 PM
    • 82 Posts
    • 535 Thanks

    Hope everyone's well or at least feeling a bit better, those of you with flu

    Frugal successes this week:
    * Almost on NSD goal of 5/7 as am currently on 4 and still have the weekend to go. I'm not working this weekend so am hoping not to have to venture too far or spend owt - my NSDs refer to non-budgeted spends, if it's budgeted for, then it's ok?
    * Been given a lovely bunch of roses by neighbour for keeping an eye on her house whilst away, so these are now cheering the living room in place of the Xmas tree.
    * OH did market trip in the rain yesterday and spent just under 10 on fruit and veg. We've meal planned around this and what we have in the fridge / freezer for the coming week, so that's a good start for the overall reduced grocery budget.
    * He also raided cupboards and batch soaked and batch boiled some dried pulses (beans and chickpeas) whilst I was working today / yesterday. So, chickpea curry tonight and portions of beans now in freezer ready for making veggie chili with some other time ... seems he's really on board now with checking cupboards and bulk cooking to help reduce costs.

    Simple pleasures
    Particularly loving the spreadsheet, I have to say. I know the categories are editable and when I started to use it I looked at the 'postage' section thinking I'd take it out. But then I realised that with some of OH's family living abroad and several close rellies living throughout the UK, we do actually spend a bit on postage through the year and I always end up raiding the food purse to do so. So, postage is now part of the budget and (sad but true) I'm going to be very interested to track this area of spending!
    Slightly early finish from work today so high tide walk along the beach to blow away cobwebs before more weather sets in.
    Not working this weekend, so post-festive declutter will get underway ... totally agree with you Bustiblondelocks, frugality and simplicity do seem to go hand in hand.

    CheshireCat & Grandma247 - yes, visuals really do support trying to pay things off. When we were doing this with the mortgage we used a house shaped chart, where the 'bricks' were 1000 goals which we coloured in when paid off. Helped us to keep count and inspires action as you can see how much is owed vs how much still belonged to the bank! Really recommend using any visual that works for you!

    Finally, been paid so pots sorted for January!

    Happy weekend everyone, PNx
    1000 Emergency fund challenge #236 - 5 / 332.05 + 365 day penny challenge - 18.15 / 667.95; 52 weeks challenge = 183 / 1,378;Frugal Living 2018 #42 <11,500
    • debtaghh
    • By debtaghh 5th Jan 18, 4:43 PM
    • 1,262 Posts
    • 4,757 Thanks
    So since joining this thread:

    I have cancelled my dd tutor, cancelled my ds school lunch once week and resisted going to a coffee shop with a friend.
    Debt 16th October 2017: Cc 49,987- family 37,561: total debt 87549

    Current debt: Cc 44,810 , Family 39,417 total debt 84,227

    Frugal living challenge # 10- 8000 presents/ food/ entertainment/clothes/shoes/haircuts
    • Mooloo
    • By Mooloo 5th Jan 18, 7:39 PM
    • 9,769 Posts
    • 47,846 Thanks
    Today I emptied 3 bank accounts that only had a few s in each. Paid off a credit card and wrote to the bank to close them all. Then I cut up the credit card!
    At work we had more cuppa soups and crackers and a pain eu Chocolat for a treat at my afternoon cup of tea time. All from home, so another no Spends day.
    I stayed at work until 6pm, messaging, texting, emailing previous customers about Sewing Lessons restarting. I also made two small shopping bags out of a piece of fabric that was donated to me this morning.
    I plan to make a few tote bags to offer as !!!8220;Bags for life!!!8221; in the shop rather then my buying bags. As a small business we don!!!8217;t charge for plastic bags, so it is me who bares the cost of the bags. I will aim to make a few each day while the Shop is quiet and see if I can sell them, for 1.
    Yes I know that!!!8217;s not cost effective etc that way but I am sewing on a recycled by Mooloo!!!8217;s label on the outside of each one. So it will be advertising for me. It also goes with my want to reduce plastic useage. The fabrics that I have all over the place, a lot of it donated means that I can afford to try anyway.
    When I die I will know that I have lived, loved, mattered and made a difference, even if in a small way.
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 5th Jan 18, 7:41 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,414 Thanks
    Evening everyone,

    A frugal day today. 2 spent, on planned things, cat food and passata. I'd run out of cat food and had passata on my list for Sunday, but it was cheaper in today's shop. Saved about 5p on the passata and 17p on the cat food. I know that's not a lot, but if I saved on every product I buy, the pounds will add up!

    About to have dinner now, which I made yesterday and it just needs pinging, thus saving energy. I may even put the heating on for half an hour!

    PG x
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan 87.97/100 Feb 0/100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • kb_soma
    • By kb_soma 5th Jan 18, 7:50 PM
    • 261 Posts
    • 2,039 Thanks
    Super windy day again today, so I could not cycle. 3 spend on the train ticket home from work.

    Come on weather, I need some more NSDs!
    LBM: NOVEMBER 2011 || debt free date:30/06/15 || The Fighting Debt Army: #442 || Frugal Living Challenge 2018 || January 2018 Grocery 1.22/100 ||
    • sinkorswim2018
    • By sinkorswim2018 5th Jan 18, 9:20 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 462 Thanks
    NSD today...which for me is an achievement. I was at work today and took some of the turkey I cooked yesterday with some salad left over from new year. Usually I spend a wild 55p on porridge from the canteen, they ran out and I had some sachets in my drawer. Might have to do that every day at work. Off this weekend. Need to take a trip to recyling with thw xmas tree and huge amount of recycling from Xmas. Spending temptations will be entertaining the daughter, and date night with the boyfriend on Sunday. I have some lamb in the freezer so should be able to whip up a nice meal, and there's lots of left over alcohol. If we go out it could be a spend day...
    Perhaps I'll get some stuff on eBay this weekend.
    February spend so far 401 (13.2.18) / 800 January spend :794.91. Budget for month 800.
    Pay ALL your debt off by Xmas 2018 398.36/3320.38.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 5th Jan 18, 11:40 PM
    • 5,978 Posts
    • 52,022 Thanks
    Well done, everyone! I am impressed by all your enthusiasm and resolve and hope to be able to help keep up momentum and see loads of progress as we proceed through the year.

    Mooloo - congratulations with the CC!

    Day 5 gone and no shopping yet - this is going to be a 'buy milk and absolute essentials only' sort of month.

    I've just rehomed an old cooker that was left in the cottage when we bought it, so that's being collected tomorrow. I also have an old fridge to move but it's going to be brought to Frugaldom and used as an apple store next year.

    On the postage & deliveries category of my budget sheet, if I buy anything online that has postage & packaging to pay, I keep note of that in there, plus the delivery charge for supermarket deliveries, so it soon mounts up when you start adding in parcels sent out for Christmas & Birthdays. I soon switched to onlibne vouchers and learned to buy a supply of 1st Class stamps with no price stamped on them.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • MoneysavingmadGem
    • By MoneysavingmadGem 6th Jan 18, 8:25 AM
    • 55 Posts
    • 249 Thanks
    Well so far last 2 days only spend has been on parking each day.
    Today is a NSD as waiting for friend in hospital then going back to theirs and cooking tea.

    Used some xmas money towards credit cards so min amounts paid by due date.
    Plus counted out 5 in 1ps and 2ps so used that to pay cc to.
    Moved into a flat on my own yesterday so some bits are needed. Over this month eg pillows. But any spare at end of this month from the 150 budget I have will go to reduce cc more.
    Crazy clothes 2018 #7 - 24.23/ 120, handmade or cs
    Pay all debt off xmas 2018 #066.(909.95/ 10565.90)
    2018 frugal living #34 (2500)
    1% a day #36 (9000)
    • Steve1097
    • By Steve1097 6th Jan 18, 9:01 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    Please can I join? Will work out my budget today and post. So glad I found this challenge!
    • Rosesandrainbows
    • By Rosesandrainbows 6th Jan 18, 9:09 AM
    • 30 Posts
    • 313 Thanks
    Morning all. It's a cold, frosty one here today.

    I had a lovely day yesterday. We went out for the day but my only spend was my lunch. I stuck to one course as planned and it came out of my budgeted personal spends. I also didn't have to cook any tea when I got home which was a nice bonus.

    Today is all about organising myself for a frugal week ahead.

    - House work and laundry......boring!
    - Make a few pizza bases. One for tonights tea and a couple for the freezer.
    - Pop to the shop to buy essentials for tonights tea. I have all the main ingredients so it should come to no more than 5.
    -Top up the car with fuel. I usually budget 30 a week for this as I need to for work but this week I think I can get away with 25. I would try 20 but that might be cutting it a bit fine and if I do have any fuel left over at the end of the week then I will just put less in next week.
    -Make sure our fire baskets are filled up inside.

    I seem to be not getting many NSDs at the moment as I am going to the shop most days. It is however part of the plan to drive food costs down this month. I check what I have to make my meals for the day and then ONLY buy the other ingredients needed for that day. So it has meant that in the first five days of Jan I have only spent 10.27 on food rather than the 60 per week that I usually spend.

    Have a lovely day and stay warm
    • shish100
    • By shish100 6th Jan 18, 9:23 AM
    • 24 Posts
    • 310 Thanks
    CheshireCat - I bought a van that me and OH are in the process of converting in to a camper! A slow process as we are doing it ourselves. But looking forward to getting away in it at the weekends once spring arrives.

    My main task this weekend is to find reasonably priced foam for the seats/bed - now I know the size of the seats, that should be easier

    Other goals this weekend:
    Restock the wood baskets - don't like doing it in the dark after work because of the creepy crawlies
    Clear out a cupboard or two and list a few bits on an auction site
    Food shopping with a list that I am going to stick to
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