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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Dec 17, 2:12 AM
    • 6,091Posts
    • 53,524Thanks
    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 – keep it clean please). Discussion Time is for discussion of current issues (read Martin’s description).

    If you post a topic that does not relate to the board it’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’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 47
    • CosmicZebra
    • By CosmicZebra 8th Apr 18, 11:38 AM
    • 30 Posts
    • 328 Thanks
    Still here- still astonishing myself with how much expensive peripheral stuff actually added no value to my life. Not worrying about money so much is the best part, though. By not frittering money on stuff plus a few shifts in thinking, I have so much more left over every month. We've also cut down so much on plastic, just by thinking. We use cloth bags for fruit and veg and shop at the grocer rather than the supermarket now and that's made a huge difference. Everything else from Ald! Which has slashed the food budget. Thanks to all the ideas on this board, we've had a family epiphany.
    Savings from frugal & simple living:
    Jan ISA& Save Acc 1600 Mort o/paid 250
    Feb ISA&save acc 1330.89 Mort o/paid500
    March ISA&save ac811.35 mort o/paid 250
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 8th Apr 18, 1:58 PM
    • 503 Posts
    • 1,343 Thanks
    Hey I'm still around. We have hit our 5k savings target which wouldn't of at all been possible if it wasn't for frugal living. We have plans to pay off our last debt (loan) before the year is out and have over a 1/2 of a deposit saved too (around 8k) (not including the money for solicitor fees etc) by December.

    Last Nov I had I think 13k in debt before I consolidated it all. See my 'best put on my big girl pants' diary. Being debt free and have savings by the end of the year wouldn't of been possible had we not changed our mindset when it comes to money. I would absolutely be over the moon if we can be debt free and have our 16k deposit saved plus around 8k for moving costs by 2020 . That's 2 years saving 1k a month
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 8th Apr 18, 2:09 PM
    • 503 Posts
    • 1,343 Thanks
    I've just sent a payment of 1000 to my loan! Savings at 4k now
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 8th Apr 18, 3:56 PM
    • 626 Posts
    • 7,818 Thanks
    Frugaldom - I am still doing the challenge.
    Originally posted by Kerry Woman
    I spotted you in the list.. No 40 I think?
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 Jan GC 89.52/300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • Milly-Ann-Molly
    • By Milly-Ann-Molly 8th Apr 18, 5:28 PM
    • 517 Posts
    • 4,702 Thanks
    After a stupidly expensive march and lots of small trips to the supermarkets I have just spent a few hours making a spreadsheet and stocktaking the food in house... plus sorting seeds for our veg garden... so I now have a strict budget (in cash in envelopes labelled by week) and I pledge to try ALOT harder... want to be rid of cc debt by xmas... need a miracle!!! so its going in the safe and I am going to start overpayments for CC 1 & 2 and for the mortgage... I am inspired by some of the comments on here.

    Feeding a family of 4 (two pre-teen boys) and 2 big dogs... dropping from nearly 200 per week (an untenable amount subsidised by CC weekly ) and making ends meet on 80 per week instead (including fuel for daily school runs of 20 mile per day, toiletries, food, dog food, clothes, entertainment and all other costs!) Things are about to get a lot more frugal around here... I refuse to have debt until 2039 By my maths I will be 63 when I can finally afford luxuries... and that is depressingly sad...

    I have managed 4 NSD so for this April... amazing how little you can spend when you have non.

    Here's to change! Good luck everyone x
    Last edited by Milly-Ann-Molly; 08-04-2018 at 5:30 PM.

    Make /day October: 0 / 640
    Quidco 2,263.11 NSD Oct:
    SPC 2018#037 frugal 2018 #41
    2018 Road Kill 33.31
    Nectar 9.00 Tesco 10.50 Boots 10.18 Morrisons 15
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 8th Apr 18, 6:24 PM
    • 5,433 Posts
    • 43,086 Thanks
    I'm still here. I don't post much, but read every post, am keeping my spreadsheet and spending diary up to date meticulously, and it has really helped, as the last year has been challenging, with health issues, having to help out relatives etc. Lots of expense over the next couple of months coming up on vehicles (tax, MOTs, services, repairs, new tyres etc) but we have the money to pay for it

    • lindez
    • By lindez 8th Apr 18, 7:39 PM
    • 461 Posts
    • 1,916 Thanks
    I have started my spread sheet it is my first one !! I cant believe how much I am spending on direct debits I had three life insurances on there, one was from my old house 14 years ago, I have phone up the insurance company and closed two of them, that is a saving of 28.00 per month. My gas and electric is 124.00 per month so I am on a mission to go on comparison sites to see if I can get a cheaper deal. I live alone so this is an awful lot of money for one person in a 3 bedroom house, so off to turn some of the thermostats down. I manged to pay extra 25.00 off cc 1 yesterday. I am now going to concentrate on one card at a time and hope to clear all debt by December 2019, its a long time off, but I have just spent willy nilly on cc, not only for myself but mostly on my two adult children and grandchildren I never say no to them. Thank you for adding me to the group. Has anyone got any ideas of what I can grow easily, I have a garden, but I am not a gardener I just about manage to cut the grass !!!
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 8th Apr 18, 8:53 PM
    • 2,135 Posts
    • 19,675 Thanks
    I'm still here. Bumbling along, trying to figure out what this frugal life looks for me.

    Did a long of work today, sooo tired. But no spending.

    I have worked out that I have 70 left for the month. For fuel and odds and sods. So it's a mini challenge here
    • frugalish
    • By frugalish 8th Apr 18, 10:15 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 266 Thanks
    Budget shock
    Sooo, I'm a bit shocked if I'm honest . The budget is much worse than I thought. There are some savings we can make (we've cancelled Sky and DH's gym today, my Kindle Unlimited and charity donations), but in order to meet our basic expenses we need to increase our income. Basically, we each need to earn 400 per week. DH manages that most weeks, but I don't. So I need to get cracking on the Etsy shop, ebaying, and getting more work in the day job. Sharpish.

    On a lighter note, I've had six NSDs out of the past eight. Start as you mean to go on
    "What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" - George Eliot

    Grocery Challenge April 18 183.42 / 250 = 66.58
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    • datlex
    • By datlex 9th Apr 18, 12:04 AM
    • 1,907 Posts
    • 2,075 Thanks
    Hi folks not posted in a while on this thread. Have been reading through it though. Few things have stood out. Porridge- I like mine really thick so you can almost pick it up. Brand snobbery- I am not a fan of down branding as I think it encourages people to stick with more expensive brands when they don't like the next cheapest alternative. I prefer best value product. So for some items the value range is best, for others the premium brand. e.g. spaghetti hoops I prefer Tesco to Heinz but with floor wipes I find the Dettol better than the Tesco. Folk feeling guilty about takeaways- I get one every week with the OH from a local Indian restaurant. I make mine last two days. There's nothing wrong with enjoying yourself- budget for it then you won't feel guilty.

    I have not noticed anyone mention Iceland. I find I can save loads by buying things from there such as chicken breast mince, frozen veg and other items. 35 for a free delivery but you are likely to get enough on that to fill the freezer. Their bonus card scheme is good too as every 20 you save you get 2 free. (sometimes you get additional bonuses).

    Tomorrow I have to do a huge spend at Boots- 81p on conditioner.

    Nice short pay week this one. Last week due to the bank holiday did not get paid until Thursday, this week it will be back to Weds. I lose track of the monthly pay days most folk have. Being paid weekly, I never have the payday weekend or the long wait to be paid. Mind you I do have to ensure my weekly pay covers my monthly bills.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 9th Apr 18, 12:30 AM
    • 6,091 Posts
    • 53,524 Thanks
    Frugalish, good luck with your new budget and weekly income challenge. I'm from a very small and rural background so I cannot even contemplate those sorts of earnings, far less outgoings but if there is anything I can do to help you with your numbercrunching, it's what I do

    Datlex, we don;t have any Iceland near us but there is a Farmf00ds about 20-25 miles away that distributes money off vouchers quite regularly. I think it works out at 10% off - I am never there at the right times to use any vouchers I have ever rec eived!
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • cw18
    • By cw18 9th Apr 18, 5:56 AM
    • 7,993 Posts
    • 85,616 Thanks
    I have not noticed anyone mention Iceland. I find I can save loads by buying things from there such as chicken breast mince, frozen veg and other items. 35 for a free delivery but you are likely to get enough on that to fill the freezer. Their bonus card scheme is good too as every 20 you save you get 2 free. (sometimes you get additional bonuses).
    Originally posted by datlex
    I love their chicken nuggets and family sized pies, and tend to get some dusted fishes when they're on multi buy - but I always shop in store as I almost never spend more than 8 in a single transaction (and I only spend that much when they're doing a 'spend x however many times to get y free). The normal reward for loading the card if 1 for every 20, but they periodically offer an additional 1 per 10 (meaning 3 per 20). When they do that I load a good chunk of money onto my card - show me a bank that pays that kind of interest rate on such a small investment with instant access to it, and I shall let them have my money to look after instead
    • frugalish
    • By frugalish 9th Apr 18, 9:52 AM
    • 22 Posts
    • 266 Thanks
    Thank you, Frugaldom, you're very kind . I realise we don't have a hugely frugal budget (yet!!) but I needed to get it down on "paper" so it doesn't get away from me again

    I did a weekly income challenge so that I wouldn't feel completely overwhelmed by the 3,000 a month that's needed!! Just the thought of that makes me feel very sick. But 550-ish of that per month is on cc minimum payments. We have a vintage VW campervan we're preparing to sell, which should raise a chunk, and DH has an inheritance coming sometime this year which should pay off most if not all of the rest, and hopefully give us back our 3 month emergency fund. That's the plan, anyway. That *should* leave us debt free, and this time I mean forever!

    Another big weekly expense that's going to be put on hold is 40 pw for counselling / psychotherapy. For me, it's not a luxury, I really benefit from it (it's also what I do as my main job). But atm we can't afford it, so it's going on hold for 6 months or so. That takes my weekly budget down to 360 in one hit!

    I've really thought hard about whether we need two cars (well, atm we've got three, but the camper's for sale ), but because of the work we both do we both need to be able to travel. There isn't enough work in our little rural town for me to give up my car, otherwise I would. I've even thought about selling the car and just working from home, but I can't make the sums work... Yet!

    Anyway, really sorry for rambling on! It helps to get it out of my head I'm still waking up in the night in a panic, but at least we've got a handle on the problem now. Thanks guys for the welcome and support
    "What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" - George Eliot

    Grocery Challenge April 18 183.42 / 250 = 66.58
    Frugal Living Challenge 2018
    • ploppy57
    • By ploppy57 9th Apr 18, 5:37 PM
    • 878 Posts
    • 5,710 Thanks
    Still reading this thread although not posting much. Love reading everybody's posts and tips. So much to learn here.
    Being as frugal as I can...spent 23 on food on Saturday for the week for 2 of us. OH was with me and think I would have got it under 20 if he hadn't been.....biscuits and a bird nut feeder were thrown into the trolley.
    Not actually done a spread sheet of spending yet, as TBH I am not sure I have the time to update it all the time.

    Still onwards and upwards...
    EF #231 300/1000. SPC#110
    Christmas '19 #5 30/365.
    Mortgage Overpayments for 2019 so far, 14

    "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, Shining at the end of every day"
    • Buffythedebtslayer
    • By Buffythedebtslayer 9th Apr 18, 11:38 PM
    • 15,412 Posts
    • 51,862 Thanks
    I am still here, Frugal is debatable. Between the car and garden and the car again any budget has gone out of the window. I have a loan and savings and was debating what to do, but then my dentist phoned...... Yeah so that money will have to be found some how.

    I am going to be on a use up everything in sight for the rest of the week. I do have to go shopping for my sister on Wednesday but will resist temptation.

    I really need it to stop raining............
    Sealed Pot 12 - 008, 365, 1p a day, 1%, 100 days, Saving to be out of debt!
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 10th Apr 18, 6:43 AM
    • 2,135 Posts
    • 19,675 Thanks
    Morning Everyone

    Personally I'm glad it's not just me who is wondering if they are getting this frugal thing. I guess life just likes to throw stuff at you.
    At least you have the savings buffy I think that's definitely the frugal way.

    frugalish I feel your pain regarding trying make income. I have a Monday to Friday job but also do extra work at the weekends but I'm starting to wonder if I'll have to drop them because I'm just getting so tired. If I do then it means trying to find an extra 300 a month from somewhere else, which doesn't sound much but still needs to be found. I'm not working this weekend or the weekend after so I'm going to spend some time looking for ways to make money as well as seeing if I can get my self in a better place tiredness wise!

    Another NSD yesterday for me. I had a tub from my batch cooking in the freezer for tea.

    I'm trying to decide whether it's time to turn the heating off yet? Has anyone made the big decision?
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 10th Apr 18, 9:57 AM
    • 5,433 Posts
    • 43,086 Thanks

    I'm trying to decide whether it's time to turn the heating off yet? Has anyone made the big decision?
    Originally posted by FrankieM
    I turn it off if it isn't cold, but reserve the right to turn it back on again if it is - for example, it was off most of yesterday but on again in the evening when it turned cold. Doesn't need to be all or nothing

    • Nonnadiluca
    • By Nonnadiluca 10th Apr 18, 10:23 AM
    • 213 Posts
    • 2,174 Thanks
    Still plodding along here too, making small changes: latest is dog biscuits/treats, ( you may not think that these are a necessity but I have two hounds who would disagree!), I now buy them from the local pet shop - two scoops out of the bulk bin straight into my own bag, about 250g for 88p which lasts about a month. No plastic and saves money, win win!
    Haircut tomorrow, I have gone from 6 week to 8 week between cuts and have the junior, therefore cheapest stylist. I started having her cut my hair when she was training so it was only 10, up to 25 now she is qualified but still loads cheaper than the others and I still get to go to a swanky salon!
    Budgets are more or less on track, and I find this thread really helps keep me on the straightish and narrowish, so thanks to everyone who posts.
    • patentgirl
    • By patentgirl 10th Apr 18, 10:25 AM
    • 886 Posts
    • 12,308 Thanks
    Morning fellow frugallers
    Still going here too saving well for retirement fund off to New York for DH 60th in 3 weeks but all budgeted and saved for over the year into separate pot. Still struggling with food budgeting a bit gone over this month as I did last month ok with day to day food it is when I start cooking for family at weekends tend to go overboard as know they all struggle too so try and spoil them but need to plan some more budget but filling meals for 12 roll on nice weather then we have can some barbecues.
    We same with heating I tend to do manually now on and off like a yo yo
    February grocery challenge 200
    • spudsmum
    • By spudsmum 10th Apr 18, 2:46 PM
    • 394 Posts
    • 2,168 Thanks
    Still here, still plodding along.

    Trying to make at least one overpayment to the CC every week and paid nealry 700 since end of Jan as well as adding to all of my savings pots and emergency fund. Very happy with that. Minimum debt repayments have already dropped by about 40 per month.

    Heating is firmly off at the monent as DH has a nasty habit of clicking it on "just for an hour" but he's doing it all the time when, in my opinion its not really cold or When he's wandering around in his short PJs. I'm already dreading the quarterly bill which is due any day (last one was 700 ) that said I reserve the right to put it back on if it turns cold again - wont have my babies freezing if it genuinely is cold.

    Meal planning and shopping to a list is going ok - i tend to buy a lot of ys thats not on the list but only if its stuff we'll use so thats fine. Shopping regularly coming in under budget (15 last week) and managing at least 2 NSDs each week too which really helps with keeping costs down

    Laundry gloop has been our biggest saving. Made a 3 litre batch about 6 weeks ago which we've nearly used and it's saved us so much money - cost 30p vs 6-8 for my normal stuff - not noticed any difference in the cleaning power either so thats a massive win.
    Total debts 21050! now 17874.52 . 1% challenge 0/4000 (0%) Total extra income made in 2018 3580.79 2019 0 frugal budget 2019 0/0 Aiming for debt free at 40 - only 20 months to go!
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