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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Dec 17, 2:12 AM
    • 6,110Posts
    • 53,862Thanks
    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 54
    • Treasurequeen
    • By Treasurequeen 3rd May 18, 8:41 PM
    • 400 Posts
    • 4,461 Thanks
    April total spends which includes: direct debits, payment for a course I!!!8217;m doing, three birthdays, food and insurance and mobile topup. = 838.24 come under budget with money left over from being paid =125.65. So far the only month I went over budget by 39.61 was in January due to a vet trip with my cat. All insurances and yearly vet booster bills have been done for this year. Holiday has been paid for. And I!!!8217;m trying to put some money by each month into my emergency account for the unknown. My course will be fully paid off in June so that will be less expense.

    May I!!!8217;m going to try to spend less on eBay and to be more frugal.
    10 NSD in April
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    Sealed Pot Challenge 2018~
    2 saver club 250.00
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 4th May 18, 6:41 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks

    I hope everyone is doing well this month so far.

    I've had a little bit of a spend week. I had my hair cut 30, but I'm hoping that'll do 3 months so only 10 a month.
    I've also had the heating back on cause it's just been cold and miserable when I've got in from work.

    On the positives:
    No unplanned spending, which is a real first for me and I'm still eating through my tubs of batch cooking from the freezer.

    It's Friday night wine night tonight and the only one I can have this month due to work and driving commitments on every other Saturday. I'll also be getting fuel and any other bits I need. Fridays are usually my 'spend' day for the week.

    This weekend I'm going to be batch cooking and pottering around the house. I want to give it a good old clean.
    I'm hoping to get into the garden and hang some washing on the line but the weather isn't looking that great so far!

    What are everyone else's plans?
    • angela110660
    • By angela110660 4th May 18, 6:54 AM
    • 783 Posts
    • 2,045 Thanks
    Happy busy weekend to you. We are continuing with dejunking garage and living room but hoping to see some of the sun on a couple of walks too. Got a family visitor coming from USA to stay mid week so need to tidy up and our endowment for the mortgage pays out next week too! Where did those 25 years go?? Happy bank hols everyone.
    Free films - 2009: saw 7 films. 2010 saw 7 films. 2011 saw 7 films. 2012 saw 5 films;2013 saw 7 films; 2014 and 2015 saw 1 in each. Nothing since!
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 5th May 18, 12:11 PM
    • 510 Posts
    • 1,375 Thanks
    Hi everyone havent posted for a while.

    Yearly spends currently stand at 6000

    Savings are at 5k
    Debt total 7796.11

    Yesterday was a NSD
    Tonight me and my partner are having homemade nandos 3 courses

    Water slide is set up for the kids as its a lovely sunny day here
    • datlex
    • By datlex 6th May 18, 12:14 PM
    • 1,958 Posts
    • 2,269 Thanks
    My frugal thing of recent is to buy a property rather than rent for the rest of my life. (I credit the money saved up to attempting to be frugal here and by following to the money saving mantras on this site- I have actually saved enough for a 10% deposit plus solicitor, broker (his cost is worth it for money saved), survey and removals) Mortgage for 22 years or less with over payments. Then no more mortgage or rent into retirement. Yes a bit more expensive in the short term but thinking longer term no more rent once I retire. The property is a bungalow, so will suit long term- it is close to bus route and local shops. Also due to location of property compared to current I will be able to make savings in my current spends. I am not using all my savings either and will therefore have an emergency fund.
    • spudsmum
    • By spudsmum 6th May 18, 11:49 PM
    • 437 Posts
    • 2,455 Thanks
    Hi all,

    Not posted for a while, not so much fallen off the wagon but this last fortnight things seem to have ground to a halt, I've been trying really hard as usual but not seeming to be getting anywhere with paying off my debts so got a bit disheartened for a couple of days. Nevertheless I've given myself a kick up the bum now and will continue on.

    Hope you've all had a lovely sunny day like we've had here. Some of our friends are in Florida and they've been on facebook today saying it's raining and cold there - oops!

    I've spent most of the day at my old rental property getting it ready to sell. Today I've managed to change the locks and do some tiling in the bathroom all by myself. Not only am I very proud of myself but I've also saved myself a lot of money on tradesmen. My mum came down and cleared a lot of rubbish from the garden so just a few more jobs to do and I'm hopeful we can get it on the market very soon.

    We've had a massive Lidl open up right near the rental property so popped on the way home and got my weekly shopping and some charcoal and some nice bits of meat as we're hoping for a BBQ tomorrow. Still needed to pop to Mr T to get a few things that Lidl dont stock but saved a fair bit ( just a shame i cant shop there regularly as too far from my house to make it viable) All in all came in 2.19 under budget but I did get about 10 of YS meat from Mr T which I've frozen and will save me a fair bit over the coming weeks.

    Also sorted and listed a load of stuff on the selling sites this week. Not had much interest which is annoying. Actually thought I'd sold my massive double pram which would have been brilliant firstly because it takes up so much room but the money would have come in handy. As it was we arranged a time for pick up but the girl didnt arrive, when I messaged her it turned out she'd come over an hour earlier than agreed (without messaging me or anything to tell me) and I didnt hear the door as wasnt expecting her so was upstairs in my office - I work from home. Apparently that was my fault though. I offered to deliver it to her but she refused every one of the options I offered her then finally said she was going out but I could leave it at the back of her house "if I really wanted to" but no mention of the money she was supposed to be giving me - erm I dont think so! I'm really annoyed actually as I dropped the price at her request and she was getting a blooming bargain. People like this only seem to exist on selling sites but there's so many of em that after a while you start to wonder if you are the one that's being unreasonable. Oh well nowt I can do I suppose but feels good to get it off my chest and have a little rant.

    On a positive note all my veggie seeds have sprouted so barring bug attacks or disasters I should have potatoes, onions, beans, peas and garlic at least - along with various herbs. I also have raspberry canes and rhubarb doing well though I wont get fruit this year. This is the furthest I've ever got with growing my own stuff so feeling quite positive and hoping it continues to thrive - no more cat droppings either since someone on here advised me on how to repel the little darlings from my garden.

    Hey ho thinks thats quite enough for tonight. Will try to check in more regularly again to keep myself motivated. Night all!
    Total debts 21050! now 17461.86 . 1% challenge 218/4000 (5%) Total extra income made in 2018 3580.79 2019 367.20 frugal budget 2019 82.96/600 Aiming for debt free at 40 - only 20 months to go!
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 7th May 18, 10:05 AM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,862 Thanks
    Dry weather here so no time to post updates until all our trees are planted and planting done. Frugaldom is taking shape.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • shish100
    • By shish100 12th May 18, 8:30 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 476 Thanks
    Good morning
    I hope the sun is shining where you are? It is making an effort - so the washing machine is on

    Not posted for a while, trying to exercise my new powers of frugality whilst I was away in the campervan! It was a great few days away over the bank holiday, and we made the most of the weather. We couldn't resist a couple of ice-creams over the weekend as it was so hot, and a nice cold beer at the mid-point of the hike. Otherwise we were self-sufficient in the van for food.

    We then had a family visitor this week for a few days. This is always harder to manage. I made sure that we all had a drink and some food with us everyday that we went out. Also had a nice big breakfast to power us through the day
    Although by the time parking has been paid, then there is the coffee and cake(!), things start to add up rather quickly. This is before we have paid an entrance fairs to any attractions.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 12th May 18, 10:57 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks
    I've had a terrible spending week this week so the belt has got to be tightened!

    Still because the sun is out I have washing on the line and no need for heating.

    Always good to see the positive
    • Treasurequeen
    • By Treasurequeen 12th May 18, 9:22 PM
    • 400 Posts
    • 4,461 Thanks
    Seven NSD so far this month which for me is very good. Ive set myself a little challenge. To buy outfits from a charity shop, to buy gifts from charity shops and to buy in bulk for some things. Hopefully I can save a bit of money doing this. Im not in any debt, I dont drive and I have an emergency back up but I want to be able to save for my future, if that makes any sense.
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    Sealed Pot Challenge 2018~
    2 saver club 250.00
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 13th May 18, 3:31 PM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,862 Thanks
    Frugaldom, I didn't know you were a hedge fund manager!
    Originally posted by Nonnadiluca
    Yes, I have been managing hedge funds for the past 4 years and hoping to reap the benefits from this year or next. I've just finished planting more hawthorn and blackthorn (sloes) this morning and am going back out this afternoon to plant some field maples then help clear space that I hope to fill with a yurt!

    Welcome to official frugaldom, Parsniphead!
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • patentgirl
    • By patentgirl 14th May 18, 8:04 AM
    • 886 Posts
    • 12,311 Thanks
    Morning everyone

    Have been MIA for couple of weeks DH 60th so we been to New York to celebrate all budgeted for though and although food and drinks with tax and tips very expensive didn't go over budget I put money by every month for holidays which this covered back to saving now did monthly shop last night online coming later need to clean and get in garden today Glad to be back back to normal.
    February grocery challenge 200
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 20th May 18, 3:57 PM
    • 510 Posts
    • 1,375 Thanks
    I've budgeted 10k for the rest of the year this is for everything.

    Broken down below
    1300 each month for all outgoings (X 7 months) 9100
    200 for the kids christening
    700 for everything else (days out, clothes, Xmas, birthdays school expenses etc)

    This should be doable. But with 3 kids in tow we will see.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 21st May 18, 9:44 AM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,862 Thanks
    Hi frugays and gals, how is everyone doing? Things here are ticking along with the new frugal cotage now let out to its first holidaymaker and the frugal breaks caravan bookings filling up for summer

    The savings have taken several hits after I decided that I needed an electric shower installed at the cottage and that meant tiling the walls right to the top. Then, as it's an over bath shower, I'd to get a glass shower screen, as I hate getting entangled in wet shower curtains. And, of course, all of this meant new wiring, fuse box and isolation switch, so an expensive exercise. Looks good finished, though. (I alsi replaced the toilet and got new taps for the bath and sink.) Now that there's a water meter, it seemed the right thing to do.

    I have spinach beet in abundance, hens and ducks are laying and I am really hoping that I can afford to get a propert polytunnel soon. I keep delaying this, though, as we have no running water at the project and everything in a polytunnel would need watered. Hmm...

    Spent the weekend clearing out rubbish and stacking up the manure heap, which is going to be next year's 'food bank'. On an even more positive note, Frugaldom was successful in its application for more trees, courtesy of the Woodland Trust, sponsorship of Sainsbury's, layers of the People's Postcode Lottery, Ikea, Yorkshire Tea and funding from DEFRA. We have been awarded another 420 baby trees for planting in November. With a mix of hazel, blackthorn (sloes), crab apple, dog rose (rosehips), elder and rowan, these will get panted to form a 'hedgerow jelly row'. Foraging for the future
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • shish100
    • By shish100 24th May 18, 6:31 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 476 Thanks
    Starting to panic a bit, I have been making progress at changing habits and monitoring spend. However OH has announced he wants to quit work to focus on starting his own business. I know this is possible and I fully support him. I just feel like now I need to really need to knuckle down and give it that last bit of effort.

    - About once a week I fall off the wagon at work and buy lunch or a snack. Need to be better prepared and stronger will-power
    - Need to change to a water meter - OH doesn't think this is a good idea, but I have looked at apps and done research. I might just do it and not say anything.
    - About once a month we have a takeaway/eat out, need to stop this.
    - Need to get a few more vegetables planted in the garden.
    - I can miss a haircut and find a cheaper place for next time.
    - continue with meal plans. This has helped a lot.
    - already use my freezer effectively with over-cooking so there are ready meals.
    - started making Christmas presents for family on the sewing machine.

    Does anyone have any inspiration / pearls of wisdom.
    You have all helped inspire me so far and to keep up with the changes.
    • cw18
    • By cw18 24th May 18, 7:55 PM
    • 8,002 Posts
    • 85,695 Thanks
    - Need to change to a water meter - OH doesn't think this is a good idea, but I have looked at apps and done research. I might just do it and not say anything.
    Originally posted by shish100
    I'd never have done anything that drastic without my hubby being OK about it, however much I thought it might save us.

    Some areas let you switch back to water rates after 12 or 24 months if switching to a meter hasn't saved you money. Have you checked if your area does this? If they do you could use that as a pretty strong bargaining tool
    • shish100
    • By shish100 26th May 18, 7:30 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 476 Thanks
    Hi Cheryl - Thanks for being the voice of reason , my just mind just in to over-drive.
    I have checked and we have 12 month window to change our mind. My OH tends to work on an evidence basis, so I probably just need to talk him through the pros and cons again and then remind of the opportunity to switch back within 12 months.
    • indigowarrior
    • By indigowarrior 26th May 18, 8:13 AM
    • 671 Posts
    • 5,050 Thanks
    I am coming back to this on Friday. That way there is six month left to the year. I am aiming for 2000 spend for everything except bills and debts. One that is looking serious. (HMRC debt) I am going to include food in to frugal spending though. The rest is going into my house fund as I have 9 months left here. I need to refigure my budget and update as one of my debts will be cleared as of Thursday.
    #545- SPC September No Spend 4/15
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th May 18, 10:48 PM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,862 Thanks
    Indigowarrior - we have 7 months left of this year

    I have juyst had a water meter fitted to the frugal letting cottage - didn't have any choice, as it is classed as commercial, so I'll see how it goes. I don't pay council tax on it, only water and sewage rates.

    My latest acquisition will be unveiled soon... camping could be on the menu this summer!
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • spudsmum
    • By spudsmum 27th May 18, 9:14 AM
    • 437 Posts
    • 2,455 Thanks
    I really love our water meter.

    We are as careful with water as we can be but with 3 kids including toddler twins - daily baths and at least one load of washing per day means we use quite a lot.

    Our standard bill was 57 but i've got that down to 14 since i got the meter.
    Total debts 21050! now 17461.86 . 1% challenge 218/4000 (5%) Total extra income made in 2018 3580.79 2019 367.20 frugal budget 2019 82.96/600 Aiming for debt free at 40 - only 20 months to go!
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