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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Dec 17, 2:12 AM
    • 6,110Posts
    • 53,865Thanks
    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 60
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 8th Jul 18, 5:58 PM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks
    It's pretty warm here, though it means all the washing is dried an put away.

    Did the shopping today and put fuel in the car so quite a bit spend day. I also treated myself to ben & jerrys and crisps...and some beer for Wednesday's football..

    That's got to be the last of the splurges for a while and money wise.

    I'm using up last weeks veg and cooking pork chops for tea. It's all a bit too hot really, but it can always be frozen once it's cooked.

    I never took out ppi, sadly. I always thought it was a rip off. Could do with a lump sum now though.
    • Mooloo
    • By Mooloo 9th Jul 18, 8:32 AM
    • 10,330 Posts
    • 52,257 Thanks
    Yes all my stuff was pre bankruptcy. Ironically if it had worked the ppi should have saved me from going bankrupt. Not one of my services told me I should be making a claim, on it, (in the proper way not as a sold incorrectly). If my payments on my cards and loans had been covered I would not have gone bankrupt. My life would have been completely different.
    When I die I will know that I have lived, loved, mattered and made a difference, even if in a small way.
    • Nonnadiluca
    • By Nonnadiluca 9th Jul 18, 5:17 PM
    • 220 Posts
    • 2,252 Thanks
    I was away for the end of June, but would like to enter my half year figures to see where I am and keep me motivated.
    Here goes:
    Spent so far. Annual budget
    Shopping budget. 1,756.74. /. 3,600. Slightly under - good!
    'other spends' budget. 3,079.98. /. 4,800. Way over - not good!
    Annual budget. 8,599.37. /. 18,000. Slightly under - good!

    Extra income:
    Premium bonds winnings - 325
    Interest - 274.66
    Yougov. 50
    Roadkill. 8.44. a grand total of 658.10

    Looking at this it seems like I have a good handle on the shopping budget, but the other spends has been somewhat underestimated! I still have insurance on both cars and MOTs in the next two months. However, the overall annual budget is looking good. This has been an interesting experiment and will hopefully help me to make more accurate predictions for next year. I will also keep picking up the pennies!!!
    Let's see what the second half of the year brings!
    Thanks to all of you who are much better at posting regularly than me, I am thankful for the inspiration.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 9th Jul 18, 5:40 PM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks
    I finally got through to the utility company and have reduced my monthly payment by over 40. I'm chuffed!
    It brings the monthly household budget to just under 1000, which is the budget that I like to work to.

    My diet isn't going very well. As much cause I can't stick to it. I'm almost at the point of just accepting being overweight and getting on with my life!
    • Moll
    • By Moll 9th Jul 18, 10:41 PM
    • 324 Posts
    • 2,925 Thanks
    Had a busy weekend helping out at our village Gala , to be hoest im glad its over , and the heat was horrendous . we wanted the sunshine so crowds would come , but it was toooooo hot , Had a fab night out last night ,,,,,,with my old Dad, Mum passed away 2 years ago ,,,and Dad bless him , took up cooking , to keep himself busy , ( No frowning at his house its not allowed lol ) he makes bread from scratch , pies , stews etc , he provides for us all , which is a great help to us on the frugal front, and hes happy that hes being usefull , AND at the age of 88 he joined the sally army ??? it was more for company to be honest , but its been brill for him , Anyway all the local churches ( Inc the sally army ) were invited to a FREE concert . A trio of singers , All was amazing ,,,,,,,,,,,,, one of them was Helen Shapiro , Oldies among us will remember her from the 60's having a few hits "Walk right back " etc , i just went for the ride really , but i thoroughly enjoyed it , Hard to believe but i googled Helen Shapiro ,,,,,,and it said she is 71
    Spudsmum on the PPI , hope we get something , its worth a try , i know we definitely had PPI on stuff years ago , but were we missold it ??? i dont know

    Frankie M Thats brilll that youve shaved off 40 a month on your utility bills , well done
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 10th Jul 18, 6:07 AM
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    • 19,713 Thanks

    Back to it here and less moaning!

    Your weekend sounds lovely moll I'm still struggling to figure out how to have a frugal social life as all my friends are overspending money spenders. I could do with a real life frugal group of people.

    I've got egg salad for lunch and chili for tea.

    Social media training at work could be interesting. lol
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 10th Jul 18, 9:44 AM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,865 Thanks
    Nonadillica, that is brilliant! Well done! I'm impressed by Premium Bonds and interest payments as those things just seem to elude me!

    Moll, sounds like a great night out and now I'll be humming 'Walk Right Back' all day!

    FrankieM, don't despair on the weight thing - I am feeling like an absolute beachball just now from doing so little extra in all this heat. I haven't shifted any of the winter increase at all! But let's not give up because we need some maintenance and preventative / remedial work to stop the spread going further befre it really is to late. I need to start getting more exercise ASAP as my daily routine simply isn't enough to compensate for my ridiculous dietary choices.

    Today is always the start of a new beginning so today I will do more to regain some fitness and fit into some old clothes rather than get any new ones.
    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 11th Jul 18, 6:21 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks

    [COLOR="Black"]Frugaldom[/COLOR ]I took a deep breath weight wise and realised that as long as I don't give up then I'm stilling head in the right direction.
    It didn't stop me buying junk food with the 2 cash I had in my purse last night though. (I can't be trusted with cash at all) but my meals are becoming more of how I'd like them to be.

    I've started reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I'm not really sure about it. Just about averyone raves about it as a great financial book, but I'm struggling to see that myself...

    What I have taken away from it, and other books and blogs is that it is better to work for yourself than someone else. (That can be income from investments etc) So that's something for me to think about.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 11th Jul 18, 5:59 PM
    • 370 Posts
    • 1,952 Thanks
    I've been awol for ages...sorry!

    Back now though, another change in circumstances so I'm hopeful that I can get back on track....I know that I'm nowhere near my original target but I'm going to do my best over the next few months!

    Used up an onion, potatoes, vegan chorizo, soya cream, dijon mustard and the remains of a bottle of white on a tartiflette for dinner - possibly enough for lunch tomorrow too depending on how much dh demolishes during the footy

    I've started to sort my herbs, have dehydrated strawberries and bananas and I've potted up some more chocolate mint, salad leaves, Cavelo Nero and purple basil.

    This weekend will be a major declutter and some serious slobbing It's been a busy few months and I'm looking forward to being more in control!
    12 Month Challenge: Renovations - 3382/21000; Mortgage - 817/16000 ;
    MFW 2019 No. 58
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 12th Jul 18, 6:39 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks

    Glad to see you back squirrelgirl I have to post regularly, else I go off piste!

    Yesterday was another NSD, though I bought a card for a colleague who has worked for the company for 35 years. I'll be claiming that back though.
    It's also pizza and cake for lunch, provided by work, to celebrate!

    Much beer was drunk last night while watching the football and that's my football watching done for another 4 years!

    I'm making chicken and vegetable dahl for tea tonight. My current favourite curry and it should also be another NSD.
    • shish100
    • By shish100 12th Jul 18, 4:01 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 476 Thanks
    FrankieM - I've read those books. Mainly because my OH read them and kept raving about them. The general principle is good, but a bit repetitive.
    The book that I found to be most inspiring is 4 hour work week. You can't read it in one sitting, it's kind of a chapter at a time because it is bit heavy going in places. Also there are some good points that get you thinking.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 13th Jul 18, 6:14 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks
    shish100 I have the 4 hour work week (and the 4 hour body!!) And it is full on. I think I got to a certain point and then stopped. There seems to a generak supposition that you're now at a certain stage and if you're not, then seems a bit pointless to read on, but I did enjoy it to that point. It might be worth getting it out again at some point.

    But Rich Dad, Poor Dad isn't well written, is reptitive and gives examples based in the US that seem about 20 years old...I'll push through but I'm still not convinced.

    Driving DS up to Manchester tonight after work with a load of his stuff. I'm looking forward to my house being less cluttered and having the weekend to myself. I've got a great big to do list that I was supposed to start at the beginning of the mnth so hopefully I'll get time to dust that off.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 13th Jul 18, 3:50 PM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,865 Thanks
    Welcome back, squirrelgirl I noticed your mention of chocolate mint and have to say that so far, this is my favourite mint based on smell, alone. I got one of those and a banana mint in a plant clearance sale just a few weeks ago and the chocolate mint just keeps on sprouting more and more cuttings while making me think of mint choc chip ice cream!

    FrankieM, over all my years of frugaling, I have steered clear of books and just kept all my own notes - probably enough to last a lifetime and fill the War and Peace of frugal living. The story of how you get from start to finish, or debt to financial freedom, is your own personal experience, filled with personal goals and ambitions. Only by having the single-mindedness to achieve your own success can fill the pages, which is why I found blogging and forums so satisfying: they make you accountable to yourself and others. There are so many threads of moneysaving that each needs to be featured in order to twist them all together into a strong shoestring budget. (I do like talking in riddles! :lol: ) You'll succeed - you just need to attain each goal one at a time and celebrate each success. Lowering the cost of living gets easier as you gain more control over your own finances and I can promise you that it is worth every penny of the effort over the years.
    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 14th Jul 18, 7:02 AM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks
    Certainly Frugaldom when you read enough books and blogs they do all start to repeat themselves. I think I go through stages when I'm looking for the Golden Ticket piece of knowledge that will make it all just 'happen' but really it's just spending less than you earn and paying off debt and then some 'investing' of some description and that just takes time.

    I'm amazed I've woken up so early cause it was a late night gettng back from Manchester. My sat nav brought me home via Leek and Buxton and other beautiful places. It was a real pleasure and good for my soul. I think rural living might be the plan eventually. If I can afford it. The views are gorgeous.

    A day of house pottering, getting the jobs done, getting some rest and getting through my to do list
    • Moll
    • By Moll 14th Jul 18, 8:34 AM
    • 324 Posts
    • 2,925 Thanks
    FrankieM As you know i live close to the area you mentioned , and a lot of these balmy summer evenings me & DH jump in the car , and drive around Buxton / Bakewell/ Matlock etc , All for the cost of petrol and as you say its good for the soul . Always blows the cobwebs off,

    Frugaldom ,,,,,, I think we all learn Frugal ways from each other , Like you ive always been frugal , but i still learn a lot from others, Each and every one of us has something to offer each other , maybe just a little something that seems un important that we are used to doing , but maybe someone else hadnt thought of it , and it could make all the difference in the bigger picture. I love to hear about what everyone is doing .

    A couple i know through letters ( My hobby is penpalling) really make me look at things , They have absolutely nothing ,,,,,,except each other ( Proper on the breadline ) but they are so upbeat about everything , always sees the silver lining , and go out "Somewhere" once every week , be it on a bus, and plan the day to somewhere ( They cant afford a car) meet friends . "Something" that they really look forward to , Its very humbling , and makes you realise that life is good .
    Speaking of penpals , my American friend ( That started off as a pen pal many moons ago ) arrives next thursday , so ill be off on my jollies with her to Cornwall ( weve gone on holiday together like this every year for the past 25 years ) , AND Ta Da,,,,,,,,,,, drum roll please , I have ALL the holiday money saved ( 930) just by being frugal with the shopping , and de cluttering and selling stuff on a local bidding site, I started in Jan ,,,,,,just goes to show how it mounts up eventually , I feel quite proud that i managed to achieve it , It was down to the wire , just got the last bit this week , from selling some bits of furniture that wasnt needed. but all our hotel costs etc etc etc are now covered ,we'll have a great time .
    Hope everyone is good , we got rain last night which cooled everything down , and yay i didnt have to water the garden, just the tomatoes in the greenhouse, i had ONE soiltary cucumber plant , which a snail got at and ate , Truly its now only a few centimetres tall ,,,,,and its got a cucumber growing on it !! lol hope it can hold the weight
    Last edited by Moll; 15-07-2018 at 11:07 AM.
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 14th Jul 18, 8:44 AM
    • 5,481 Posts
    • 43,588 Thanks
    Just popping in to say hello - I don't post often, but read every day
    Budget wise it has not been a good year, due to illness, having to help out a relative, expensive vehicle repairs, and most recently, a large dental bill for OH Our budget had, at the end of June, just over 4387 left in it, having started with 17585 allocated for the year

    Some of this was self inflicted - we don't HAVE to have an elderly camper van but most was unavoidable unfortunately. We have no mortgage or rent to pay, no debt, and we grow as much of our own food as we can in our small garden, always cook at home, and rarely buy anything new.

    Fortunately for us, we have savings, and it just goes to show how important it is to have an emergency fund of some kind, and how lucky we are to have one - though it took lots of time and effort to get to this position. We are both pensioners now (I also have a very small business that - most years - adds a little to our pensions) We will be over budget for the year, but will survive. My spreadsheet has taught me a great deal about exactly where the money goes - one thing that has struck me is how food and fuel (of all kinds) prices in particular have risen during the course of this year. The challenge now is to keep the inevitable overspend for the rest of the year as low as possible, and hopefully avoid any further disasters!

    Anyway, onwards and upwards. I have spinach and courgettes to cut , and the house and contents insurance to pay

    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Jul 18, 9:30 AM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,865 Thanks
    Moll, that is great hearing you managed to get the best part of 1,000 squirrelled away into an 'EEK' (Everything Else Kitty) tha fully covers a fabulous holiday. I always think that whatever we do, it comes down to what sort of memories it creates and to be able t make good, positive, happy ones is something else that makes the hardship of doing without everyday luxuries all so worth while.

    DawnW - your elderly campervan is like a member of the family so if it can make it to Frugaldom, feel free stop by for a visit sometime.

    I hate harking on about spreadsheets but they really are the most worthwhile tool to have in any household budget.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 14th Jul 18, 12:30 PM
    • 370 Posts
    • 1,952 Thanks
    Thanks for the welcome back!

    The renovation project has begun!! I have ordered and paid a deposit on the windows and started the decluttering

    I've also worked out what I need to pay out by the end of December next year and I need to be frugal like never before!!

    On the plus side, it's 17 months before I will be living in a home I own that is a sanctuary for me and a beautiful place to spend time with my family. That is the goal and nothing, other than the obvious, will be more important.

    I'm going to project manage it all - it's going to be lots of work but I'm looking forward to it
    12 Month Challenge: Renovations - 3382/21000; Mortgage - 817/16000 ;
    MFW 2019 No. 58
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 15th Jul 18, 5:22 PM
    • 2,137 Posts
    • 19,713 Thanks
    The end result of your renovation project sounds amazing squirrelgirl and I'm sure it'll make all the hard work worth it.

    I've had a day of getting through my 'earning extra money' to-do list. I've sold some books but we'll see how the rest goes.

    Filled the fuel tank up...52! That's what a trip to Manchester and back does. And went to Aldi. Only 22 spent there but I may need to pick up some more salad stuff later in the week.

    I was looking forward to a weekend to myself but my daughter was mostly home. I'm kind of ready for everyone moving out. lol

    Also, I don't seem to know how to rest and look after myself with out eating junk. At least I didn't buy the chinese takeaway I wanted.
    It seems if I had a plan to go out and spend money, and then it doesn't happen, I see that budgeted money as a free for all. Ususally to be spent on snacks. I need to find other things to do.

    This area of my life needs to be my next focus. I feel a notebook of plans coming on.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 16th Jul 18, 7:57 AM
    • 6,110 Posts
    • 53,865 Thanks
    Good luck, squirrellgirl, it certainl sounds like a very exciting and busy time for you but it will all be worth it.

    FrankieM - free hobbies - just think up a few. My frgaldom 'group' began as the NYK group (pre-name change) and we all write every day. Some write poems or rhymes, some write diaries, jourmals or blogs and some write books.
    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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