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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Dec 17, 2:12 AM
    • 6,110Posts
    • 53,861Thanks
    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 51
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 17th Apr 18, 6:36 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks

    It's good to see that I'm not the only one 'around 50' starting again. It can all feel like a bit of a young person's game but I need to just keeping plodding on with what is rather then thinking about what could've been.

    One of my colleagues at work made me a shepherd's pie so that's my tea for tonight and tomorrow. I'm just going to get a cabbage to have with it. I'd got bolognaise out so I've made that into a pasta bake to have for lunch for the next few days.

    I popped over to my DD's after work and have picked up some of her tools (and had tea!) She thinks I'm silly to buy tools when I can just borrow theirs but we'll see how that works when we both want to use the same tool.
    Still for now it lets me get started and the weather is supposed to be nice this week so I'm hoping to get out after work.

    I've turned the heating off It's actually not that bad
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 18th Apr 18, 6:44 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks

    Had the Shepherd's pie I was given last night with some cabbage and gravy and I have enough for tea tonight too. It was lovely so I'm looking forward to it.
    Pasta bake and salad for lunch, that I made early.

    I'm finding that the batch cooking for a weekend really helps and being organised with my main meals means less chance of 'picking something up'. I'm still not good when I have my purse/money on me though. It seems I definitely needed crisps when I bought my cabbage yesterday :/

    It's those spends that just drip the money away. It's only 75p but probably done about 10 times in the month so it all starts to add up.

    Yesterday I booked a hair appointment for the beginning of May and I want to plan presents for my parents soon too so I know what those out goings are going to be. I need to start building a money buffer in my bank accounts and that's difficult to do when there are things to spend the money on.

    It was raining yesterday evening so no time gardening and no washing on the line. I'm hoping for better weather tonight.

    Hope you all have a good day.
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 18th Apr 18, 6:46 AM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 22,427 Thanks
    Morning everyone,

    I've not had a very frugal April so far. What with the school hols, taking my two away for a holiday (friend's chalet), falling down the stairs and getting engaged, this month has been very busy! I've used more fuel than usual, 'eaten out' more and let too many treats back in. I'm now very broke until payday, but have my mum visiting on Saturday, for my birthday on Monday. Roll on May!!

    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
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 18th Apr 18, 8:04 AM
    • 5,473 Posts
    • 43,496 Thanks
    Morning everyone,

    I've not had a very frugal April so far. What with the school hols, taking my two away for a holiday (friend's chalet), falling down the stairs and getting engaged, this month has been very busy! I've used more fuel than usual, 'eaten out' more and let too many treats back in. I'm now very broke until payday, but have my mum visiting on Saturday, for my birthday on Monday. Roll on May!!

    PG x
    Originally posted by PennyGrabber
    Congratulations PennyGrabber

    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 18th Apr 18, 10:25 AM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,861 Thanks
    Congratulations, Pennygrabber! When are you planning on having your big day?

    FrankieM if your DD stays within easy distance then I'd share her tools and save the money for other things, priority being debt clearing and then that all-important buffer zone that we all need. Good luck.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 18th Apr 18, 8:00 PM
    • 2,661 Posts
    • 26,693 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    PennyGrabber - Congratulations on your engagement. Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday. I hope you have recovered from your fall.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST February Frugality and Frolics NSD 10/20
    • shish100
    • By shish100 18th Apr 18, 8:44 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 476 Thanks
    Congratulations PennyGrabber!
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 19th Apr 18, 6:52 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks

    Congratulations Pennygrabber

    You're right frugaldom I think I can easily get into the habit of thinking that I've got to own all the things I want to use so that they are right there when I need them. When in reality it's no real inconvenience to pop in and pick them up when I need them.

    Another day at work (think of the money, think of the money) I've got a tub of chilli and rice from the freezer for lunch and I've been invited to my DD1's for a bbq tonight. I've marinaded some chicken thighs and I'll be taking those.

    I washed my bedlinen last night and that's now on the line. It's supposed to be good weather the next few days so I'm going to try to make the most of it.

    My DD3 brought home my easter egg last late then never but now that's going to shout at me until I eat it.

    I'm currently up to 12 NSD's this month. I've never made note of them before but I've started using a note book and I'm enjoying see them mount up.
    I've got just over 23 to last me until the 27th so I think I'm going to do okay. I'm hoping it'll focus me a little more on the areas that are still easy to tweek.

    Hope you all have a good day
    • cw18
    • By cw18 19th Apr 18, 8:23 AM
    • 8,001 Posts
    • 85,692 Thanks
    I'm off work now until next Thursday, and it was looking to be an expensive weekend in terms of groceries - but I've put my frugal head on (mainly because I've already spent this months grocery budget thanks to a food festival on 1st ) and I think I'm going to get away with not spending much at all

    OH and I are heading to London tomorrow as I'm doing the marathon on Sunday. We've got a self catering apartment and we've found a Mr T within walking distance (looks to be a good sized one from the pics on G00gle maps), but having to buy small portions of meat etc was still making me shudder.

    So I've meal-planned, and we're taking most of it with us. I'm taking my dairy free spread (a part tub so it doesn't matter as much if I dump some down there) so I know I have what I'm used to, and also a jar of marmalade (means I have one I like which isn't a Mr T one) for breakfasts, and just need to buy a loaf of bread to cover breakfasts. Also taking some of my milk, as I have one brand of soya milk I use all the time and I won't be able to get it there (but not taking a full litre - plan to decant some into a screw top bottle). Teabags, coffee, sugar and coffee whitener are also going into tubs and into the luggage.

    Lunch on Friday and Monday is included (we got discounted 1st class rail travel), so need something to make butties for both of us on Saturday and for him on Sunday (thinking rolls, ham and possibly cheese, all of which I think we'll buy down there).

    Evening meals will be meatballs, pasta and sauce on Friday, chicken risotto on Saturday, and soup and butties on Sunday (I never fancy eating a great deal after a lot of exercise, but am also taking some 'munchies').

    I've asked OH to bring his small cool bag which should fit in my large backpack (using that rather than a suitcase - not that I have a suitcase anyway ), and as we're about to walk out the door tomorrow I'll be dragging meatballs, chicken and freezer blocks out of my freezer. Bus, train and underground takes about 3.5 hours door-to-door, so we've decided it's safe enough to do this - and then put straight into fridge on arrival. Also taking all the other makings of the risotto apart from mushrooms and peas/corn (may well end up with tinned peas/corn - not a big fan but needs must), and the part bag of pasta needed for the meatballs (so just need to get a jar of sauce, unless we take an onion, some garlic, and a tin of chopped tomatoes).

    Only other thing we need to buy is bottled water - just hoping the Mr T has their value one as we'll need at least 2 (probably 3) 2 litre bottles. I know a lot of people would say this isn't essential, but changing water provider areas upsets my stomach for several days and the cost of bottled water is worth losing that problem

    So it now looks like the weekend spend on transport in the capital is going to faaaaar outweigh the cost of groceries, but we can't cut back on that as I'm not walking the distances we need to cover on Saturday (to get my timing chip and race number) or to get to the start of the race on Sunday.
    • datlex
    • By datlex 19th Apr 18, 8:36 PM
    • 1,956 Posts
    • 2,267 Thanks
    Any one else like the feeling when they realise they have forgotten to go to the bank so check their purse and have a few pennies over right amount of money to cover what they need due to money that had been allocated but for what ever reason not spent before they will next be passing a cash point? I do it makes me feel better off.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 20th Apr 18, 12:19 AM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,861 Thanks
    FrankieM I am so pleased that you seem to be making good progress on the frugal route to sustainable singledom (as I like to call it) and stepped away from the idea of needing to buy your own tools when borrowing is possible. Well done! I hope your 23 lasts the next week with change left over for the following week.

    CW18 If I don't 'see' you before the weeken, have a fabulous time and do us all proud in the marathon. It seems to have come around really quickly - I was quite surprised to read that it is this weekend! Good luck, enjoy and make the most of your tme away in the big city.

    Datex - we have no bank or cashline within easy reach of here so I am definitely a 'plastic gal' and virtual banker. I only count coins as the hen & duck eggs sell. Cash withdrawals are normally via cash machine in the village store a few miles away and only when it hasn't run out of cash, otherwise it's a case of waiting until first time I am in town, which does not happen very often. I do, however, celebrate if the CC bill is lower than expected, as absolutely everything goes on that and then it's cleared every month while accruing a little bit of cashback.
    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 20th Apr 18, 6:57 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks
    Morning everyone

    cw18 I feel like I missed this important piece of information! I hope you do well and have an enjoyable time. All the best.

    Another load of washing hung out on the line before work I hope this weather lasts!

    I've got my meals planned, using up the stuff that I have as much as possible. I'm going to try to see how far I can eak things out before a shop is needed. I think it'll be toilet roll that goes first but I may just pick some up on my Friday spending excursions.
    I've 'borrowed' some money from my savings for my DD's head shots (she's wanting to do musical theatre) and I'd quite like to pay that back this month if I can.

    One of my work colleagues is doing a body building show in August and to support her the rest of the office have decided to do no snacks for the month of May so I'm hoping to use that as a kick start. I seem to have spent the year so far losing and gaining the same 5 or so lbs and I need to get focused and stop messing about.

    I feel a bit of a plan coming on.

    Have a good day
    • Pipsmum
    • By Pipsmum 20th Apr 18, 7:47 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 255 Thanks
    Congratulations Pennygrabber!

    Wishing you luck on Sunday CW18 - I hope you have a great time.
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 20th Apr 18, 7:27 PM
    • 2,661 Posts
    • 26,693 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    cw18 - All the best for Sunday.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST February Frugality and Frolics NSD 10/20
    • LittleGingerFox
    • By LittleGingerFox 21st Apr 18, 9:34 AM
    • 25 Posts
    • 339 Thanks
    Congratulations PennyGrabber!

    I'm sorry I have been so quiet - been busy working and now I have a 'Dave job' (local pub and no transport costs, nice and sociable too). Debt slowly getting cleared but I've had a lot of repair work to do on the house I own and was renting out. It's going on the market next month so that finish off my debt payments and will also give me a head start on fully funded emergency fund. I'm sorry if my dave ramsey talk is not right for this forum...? I'm just so fired for a debt free and sustainable life I hope everyone is doing fun free stuff in the sun x
    CC2-Total paid in March 1560.12/ Max credit card amount 6747.03/ 5098 to go!
    • frugalish
    • By frugalish 22nd Apr 18, 6:00 AM
    • 22 Posts
    • 266 Thanks
    Wishing you all the best for today cw18! I hope it's not too hot. I'll be cheering you on from the sofa!
    • shish100
    • By shish100 22nd Apr 18, 7:48 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 476 Thanks
    Good luck CW18 in your marathon.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 22nd Apr 18, 8:32 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks
    LittleGingerFox What's a 'Dave job'?
    • patentgirl
    • By patentgirl 22nd Apr 18, 8:50 AM
    • 886 Posts
    • 12,311 Thanks
    Good luck today CW18
    February grocery challenge 200
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 22nd Apr 18, 10:06 AM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,861 Thanks
    LittleGingerFox What's a 'Dave job'?
    Originally posted by FrankieM
    I was going to as the same question !!!128513; Also meant to say, your grass 'weeds' might be wild herbs and flowers, so I would wait to find out what they are in case you have edible stuff growing.

    GOOD LUCK, CW18!
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
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