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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Dec 17, 1:12 AM
    • 6,133Posts
    • 54,123Thanks
    2018 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 14th Dec 17, 1:12 AM
    2018 Frugal Living Challenge 14th Dec 17 at 1:12 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 9:54 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 68
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 7th Sep 18, 5:50 AM
    • 2,217 Posts
    • 20,464 Thanks
    This month is costing me a fortune and I'm not even half way through it yet. I'll be glad when it's over

    I've made some extra money but it's going out as quickly as it's coming in. Thankfully the extra spending isn't causing debt payment issues but it would be nice to see my money sit in my account for a little while longer than it currently is.

    Lunch is made and ready to take to work and my DS is buying us tea on the way back to taking him to uni. I'm not sure it covers the fuel but it's a lovely thought
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 7th Sep 18, 5:18 PM
    • 6,133 Posts
    • 54,123 Thanks
    My word! How the other half live! Drinks, social outings, beauty treatments. My daughter has a beauty therapy business and I have never, yet, tried any form of therapy, beauty or otherwise. I simply don't care what people say or think and love being a hermit. OK, so this hermit has quite a few visitrs and manages an occasional trip to the pub but I'm a 'cheap date'.

    Aside from that, all my spare cash goes on hay.
    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 8th Sep 18, 6:41 AM
    • 2,217 Posts
    • 20,464 Thanks
    I imagine your hay still costs more Frugaldom I can't manage to shave my legs consistently so I can't imagine these things will be a regular occurance.

    I've checked my Spark energy statement this morning and I'm still going well there.

    I've noticed a few friends have started to put there heating on with the temperature dropping a little, but I haven't even thought about it yet. I need to get some lovely thick curtains up at all of the windows first so will talk to my son in law and see if we can get some job swapping happening so he can help me.

    That'll be another spend...I can't wait for this month to end!

    I came home from work yesterday and DS had cut the grass and cleaned the house.
    I drove him home and now I have my house back, well apart from DD3 who is prone to clomping about. lol.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 10th Sep 18, 5:43 AM
    • 2,217 Posts
    • 20,464 Thanks
    A good night/day had on Saturday and I spent yesterday feeling terrible and being pathetic on the sofa.

    On the plus side I only spent the cash I budgeted and came home with money.

    Lunch made and tea planned for today and I'm at DD1's babysitting for a couple of hours tonight.

    All in all, I'm back to some kind of normal, frugal life.
    • *little.squirrel*
    • By *little.squirrel* 11th Sep 18, 8:21 AM
    • 74 Posts
    • 138 Thanks
    I am so glad I found this thread! I've just spent the last few days reading through from start to finish and I feel like this is definitely the place for me.

    My DH and I sat down at the start of the year and tried to plan a proper budget. We did well to start with and then majorly fell off the wagon during the last few months. Incredibly frustrating because we are trying so hard to save but I'm still hoping we can get back on track and meet our targets by the end of the year. I guess we have justified the overspend because we have been living abroad for the last few years and this was our first proper summer being home and so we've had lots of visitors and trips planned that cost way more than we intended.

    In terms of successes though, I have challenged myself to buy no brand new clothes this year, only charity shops and eb@y allowed and so far I have managed really well. My spends are lower and I'm making very considered decisions before purchasing anything. I also said that I wouldn't spend any money on make up, which I have also managed so far. Mainly because I've pretty much stopped wearing it! (which I actually find quite empowering).

    I am loving all the frugal tips and encouragement. It's so nice finding like minded people. I know it's late in the year but I am going to follow along
    #112 Save 12k in 2018: 5000/6000
    #35 Save 12k in 2019: 1149.96/7000
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 13th Sep 18, 9:50 AM
    • 431 Posts
    • 2,309 Thanks
    Welcome little.squirrel!!

    not even vaguely frugal yesterday!

    dd's birthday went according to budget but then i had a blow out on the grandbaby!! Must admit, that is the one area of spending I have absolutely no control over whatsoever!!

    oh well, not to worry, I can't change it so I will just accept it and stop shopping with the baby there!!

    Hoping to get the elderberries picked at the weekend - I also have to decant the ginger whisky for the sil so will use the ginger to make a jam ... nomnom!! I still have to sort the freezer with just seems to be getting in the way at the moment - hopefully, by the beginning of next week I will have things a little more organised and will be back on track!
    12 Month Challenge:[COLOR=]"Red"Mortgage - 4900/16000 ; MFW 2019 No. 58 GC 587.26/3600 Jan 270/Feb 50/ March 87.26/April 180
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Sep 18, 12:00 PM
    • 6,133 Posts
    • 54,123 Thanks
    I am so glad I found this thread! I've just spent the last few days reading through from start to finish and I feel like this is definitely the place for me.
    Originally posted by *little.squirrel*
    Welcome to the frugal living challenge - I hope yu have fun and make huge savngs along the way. I shall add your name to our challenger list and look forward to hearing of your progress.

    FrankieM - hay is costing an absolute fortune this year! It certainly doesn't help that so many farmers have decided not to sell any just in case they run out and nor does it help that we have just agreed to take on more rescue ponies, but friends have been fab helping raise the funds to help feed the local rescue centre ones. It costs around 1,000 per year per per pony unless you have a herd and can buy & store feed in bulk, so it means forking out several thousand pounds per year, but I do everything as frugally as possible. We stick to a budget of 5,000 for cost of living (my frugal living challenge plus council tax) and 5,000 for everything else, then anything over that went into the savings pot. Now, however, the most of it gets eaten by ponies. But I think we have done not too badly with investing our savings.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • datlex
    • By datlex 15th Sep 18, 1:44 PM
    • 2,012 Posts
    • 2,418 Thanks
    Just been re-reading through all the posts. It is noticeable how much quieter the thread gets as the year has progressed. But I suspect that it is because life just continues, people have had their holidays etc.

    I have been in my bungalow now for a few months and I am loving living here. I have reviewed my budget- the back garden is badly overgrown and has some rubbish in, to the extent it will take more than a strim to get rid of it all. Hence, I am saving up to have it cleared. I also have a second bedroom/ dining/spare room (It doesn't currently have a designated purpose). I need to get furniture for that or move old furntiure from main bedroom and get new for the bedroom, hence am also saving for that. I am also overpaying by 10 a week on my mortgage.

    I haven't actually had a holiday away this year- we've had visits by and to family. We have one more next week. Then no more breaks until Christmas/New Year when I have two and a half weeks off!

    I'd forgotten some of the items earlier on here- the bin collections for example. How on earth do you folk on fortnightly collections cope? We are on weekly collections here for black bins. (non recycling household waste). Our waste gets turned into electricity- hence the weekly collections.

    The bulky waste collection was also concerning- here it is 10 for up to 5 non electrical items. There is no limit on how often you can arrange a collection. If you have electrical items it is 10 for 2 items. Only difficulty is things like curtains rods over 6ft- they won't take them.

    I'm still debt free it has been tempting to get back into it in order to get things done on this place, but I know it will be worth the wait saving up and I will likely be able to afford something nicer if I wait.

    This week I have 19 left to spend plus money already set aside for weekly takeaway and not a lot extra to buy before pay day.

    I have decided on one frugal measure though- a plate rack for my bench: my plates are too big for the cupboards (doors won't close fully)- so it was either a case of smaller plates or saving for new kitchen cupboards. (I will need a new kitchen eventually- but I want time to save for one that will last). It occurred to me that if I got a stand, I would save quite a bit of money. * Update- realised I had a suitable stand that baking ware was on, so reallocated the use of it. Baking ware doesn't actually need a stand.
    Last edited by datlex; 15-09-2018 at 2:13 PM.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 24th Sep 18, 5:54 AM
    • 2,217 Posts
    • 20,464 Thanks

    Sorry about the lack of posting for ages and ages.

    It's been a frugal money nightmare here the past few weeks.

    It's been an expensive couple of months with birthdays and meals out but I also managed to smash my phone, break my freezer and get a parking ticket.

    So, it's real frugal living from here to the end of the year. Earning a bit extra but also looking very seriously at my spending and pretty much trying not to (spend that is)

    My phone was covered under insurance, so only excess to pay. I've borrowed a freezer from my DD. It's a lot smaller than my original but I'm giving it a go because there's a small one being stored and if I can get on with a smaller one then I can have that. And my parking ticket..well, my ex DH gave me a tenner towards it as I was dropping him and DS off when I got it.

    On the plus side, I saved all the meat by squishing it into the freezer on my fridge freezer and made all the frozen veg into soup (well it's more like baby food..pretty thick!)

    I've also found some random Ikea curtains, which I'm going to try to line with something and put up.

    I've spent the last couple of weeks on the Oldstyle board, reminding myself of where I can save money and that we all find our own 'simple life' . It's where I first started on the boards and it feels like getting back to my roots.

    Have a good day everyone
    • cw18
    • By cw18 24th Sep 18, 1:33 PM
    • 8,032 Posts
    • 85,931 Thanks
    I'd forgotten some of the items earlier on here- the bin collections for example. How on earth do you folk on fortnightly collections cope? We are on weekly collections here for black bins. (non recycling household waste).
    Originally posted by datlex
    Those on fortnightly are lucky.

    My green bin (garden and food) is fornightly, apart from Christmas/New Year when we miss the collection we're due one of those weeks.

    Brown (glass, plastic and tins), blue (paper, card and tetrapacks), and black (everything else) are collected once every 3 weeks.

    I regularly see people moaning on the council FB page, but it's not a problem for me even though my blue and brown are half sized. My brown, blue and black only go out a few times a year. - so far this year brown has been Jan, June & Aug, blue has been May, and black has been Jan and Aug, The green only goes out during lawn mowing season, when I struggle to get everything in it even if I only mow the lawns and leave all the pruning & weeding alone!
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 24th Sep 18, 7:42 PM
    • 2,714 Posts
    • 27,338 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Trying my best this month. Achieving NSD's. Will be going over the food/household budget this month. Am buying items for the flat that are either bamboo/stainless steel. Recycling plastic items where possible. Joined a fitness centre, pay as you go. Been swimming twice. It is a nice swimming pool, shower and changing area. Waiting to hear from decorator/painter as to when he can start. He has given me a very reasonable quote to do the whole flat and has good reviews. Planning to sort out the flat by the end of the year. Did end a very toxic friendship a month ago. Life has been better without that friendship and financially better.
    Last edited by Kerry Woman; 24-09-2018 at 7:54 PM.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST April 2019 - Spring Forward NSD 11/15
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 25th Sep 18, 5:59 AM
    • 2,217 Posts
    • 20,464 Thanks

    The curtains I have are two single ones, so that's two windows done. I just need to buy curtain poles and curtains for the lounge room. As well as some kind of fleece or lining for the curtains I have. I've got a good idea of what I doing/getting.

    Last winter was colder in the house than I was expecting and it feels 'good' to be thinking about it now before the cold weather hits so that I can be cozy in my home this year and not be spending a fortune on my utility dd.

    as it is they've put it up by 10, I'm assuming that's based on last years usage statement so I'm hoping to reduce it again in a month or two when I've shown that I'm not using as much.

    I really need to relook at my supplier. I find the fact that they just put your dd up all the time really annoying. It'd be nice if they at least gave you the year to see how you go though I guess it saves you having a big bill.
    • Treasurequeen
    • By Treasurequeen 25th Sep 18, 5:59 PM
    • 412 Posts
    • 4,581 Thanks
    Fallen off the frugal way lately been a costly few months. Have started buying presents for Christmas in the summer so have spread the cost slightly. I have started buying foods for Christmas that have a long best before date so they are stored away. I've noticed prices are increasing slightly for the seasonal stock already.

    My cash isa interest rate has gone down but I noticed that I was entitled to my banks loyalty isa as I have been with them for 11 years now, that pays more interest. My isa only contains my emergency fund but interest counts so I will transfer my old one into the new one when it goes live in a few days time.

    I bought a draught excluder for a few pounds in charity shop as my front door is letting a cold draft in. I can't alter door as it is a fire door but the draught excluder will help with the draft. For some reason there is a massive gap between door frame and the door. I have also got my old draught excluder out from storage to put by my patio door as that too is letting a draught in. All cracks in window will be corked at the weekend.
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    2 saver club #21 40.00/250
    • shish100
    • By shish100 25th Sep 18, 6:56 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 477 Thanks
    Sounds like everyone is battening down the hatches for winter.

    One of the jobs for the weekend will be to tidy the log store and chop up any oversized pieces that have been given to us. Then I will have an indication of how much more I need to buy to see us through the winter.

    I am also going to be doing a survey of my cupboards, fridge and freezer. Then I will prioritise eating what has limited life left in it. Then a bit of batch cooking. Batch-cooking makes life easier after work especially in the winter when I feel like hibernating.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 26th Sep 18, 5:59 AM
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    • 20,464 Thanks
    My 'frugal ways' have taken quite the battering Treasurequeen My own fault really as I've budgeted for money before I've received it and frittered 20 here and there and they really add up!

    Talking of battering down the hatches for winter, I've got at least one slow puncture on my car so I'm getting that looked at today and I gave the heating a blast last night to see if it was working okay and the downstairs rads don't heat up so I'll be on to the landlord to get that fixed.

    My list is firmly made for the winter things I need for the house so I'll be buying what I need soon and getting the house as cozy as I can.

    I also need to stock up on winter things for the car so I need to get a list done.

    I'm also a big fan of having home made frozen meals stocked shish100 I'm working my way through the meat that defrosted slightly but then it'll getting the freezer stocked up, knowing that there's always something I can eat.
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 26th Sep 18, 2:23 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,680 Thanks
    Hi everyone, its been a long time since I came on the forums so not much frugalling has been happening as I tend to go off the boil unless Im accountable, I know ….!!! no excuse really, but Im having to cut back quite drastically for the next few months (no debt but no savings either) as I have a couple of big bills coming in and I only get the state pension, I will be on poo hill if Im not careful, so from today the frugalling starts again - I cant afford any debt.

    I got paid today so I thought 'lets get going, I can do this' and hopefully I will get back into the swing again and actually be a better person for it. (no more waste)

    So Ive taken gas and electric readings and submitted them to the utilities company and I can compare it again on next pay day, I have got out of the habit of doing this and my DD has gone up!!

    I have made a loaf (well the breadmaker has!) as I have the ingrediants in and made a pot of tomato soup with home grown toms, celery from the freezer and everything else from my cupboards. Not sure about tea, but as Im not going out Im sure I'll find something. My freezer and cupboards are full of food, so I'll be using a LOT from them!!

    So here goes, my journey starts again and to be honest I don't need any more winter clothes, no household items and I have no excuses for not doing it!!!!


    PS Looking forwards to being sensible again
    Budgeting again, must try harder!!
    Sealed pot challenge no.31
    Frugal challenge 2019
    • cw18
    • By cw18 26th Sep 18, 3:45 PM
    • 8,032 Posts
    • 85,931 Thanks
    I gave the heating a blast last night to see if it was working okay and the downstairs rads don't heat up so I'll be on to the landlord to get that fixed.
    Originally posted by FrankieM
    Could be as simple as air in the system. I bleed my radiators a few times a year, otherwise some of them stop heating as they become full of air instead of water.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 27th Sep 18, 5:26 AM
    • 2,217 Posts
    • 20,464 Thanks
    Thanks cw18 Though I thought when the rads needed bleeding that they got partly warm but not all over? But I'll find something use, a screwdriver maybe, and see whether that makes a difference.

    My dodgey tyres ended up being one dodgey tyre that need replacing. I drove into work expecting to have to replace at least 2 and bracing myself for 4 so I'm quite relieved it was just the one.'s my birthday today
    I was supposed to be heading to York but had to cancel due to work. (the hotel refund has paid for my tyre) Probably for the best given the money situation but my reason for going away for my birthday is that it often feels like a non event full of expectations that go nowhere.
    So, here it is, a non event full of expectations going nowhere! lolol

    I'm with you nannygladysmy savings are quite depleted and I need to concentrate on building those up again and getting a larger emergency fund, so it's sensible, thoughtful, budgeted spending so that I can do that.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 27th Sep 18, 5:49 AM
    • 431 Posts
    • 2,309 Thanks
    Happy birthday frankiem!!
    12 Month Challenge:[COLOR=]"Red"Mortgage - 4900/16000 ; MFW 2019 No. 58 GC 587.26/3600 Jan 270/Feb 50/ March 87.26/April 180
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 27th Sep 18, 8:33 AM
    • 2,714 Posts
    • 27,338 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    FrankieM - Wishing you a Happy Birthday.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST April 2019 - Spring Forward NSD 11/15
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