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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Dec 17, 1:12 AM
    • 6,138Posts
    • 54,190Thanks
    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 70
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 6th Oct 18, 10:29 PM
    • 6,138 Posts
    • 54,190 Thanks
    Soup season is definitely upon us here in Scotland, with the frst ground frosts and daytime temperatures dropping into single digits.

    Nannygladys, your garden sounds very productive! Well done

    whmf00001, I agree, you could use the liquid to cook rice or noodles to flavour them, or as a stock for veggies in a curry or chilli dish.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 7th Oct 18, 9:21 AM
    • 5,596 Posts
    • 44,563 Thanks
    We had a hard frost here in SW England this morning, earliest one I think for a few years now.

    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 7th Oct 18, 3:50 PM
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    So sorry to hear your news parsniphead xx

    I got back from my few days away (work related) on Thursday evening and I've been getting myself and the house organised since.

    I've bought all the items I need to 'winter proof' the house and awaiting their arrival. So once it all gets here, I'll have curtains to line and curtain poles to put up. An electric blanket to get on the bed. I've also bought throws for the sofa and my bed and a hot water bottle to keep me cozy.

    I bought myself some winter boots, a dressing gown, a handbag and a phone case with some birthday money that I was given.

    Today has been spent cooking up the meat from the freezer so that I can clean out the freezer. I'm refreezing everything once it's cooked and portioned. And giving the central heating a good blast.

    I haven't had it on so far this year but I tried giving the radiators a bleed and wanted to see if I'd made a difference. It seems all radiators work to different degrees once they've been on for a while. I'm not sure what that will mean once the heating is on timer so I may still need to contact the landlord, I'll just see.

    I'm still focused on not spending on 'extras' this month and I'm doing very well. I've usually succumbed to a takeaway by now!

    I cam across a meme on facebook (I love a good meme) 'Does it support the life I'm trying to create'

    Certainly food for thought...have a good rest of the day xx
    • Moll
    • By Moll 7th Oct 18, 11:06 PM
    • 358 Posts
    • 3,335 Thanks
    parsniphead sorry to hear your diagnosis , but as everyone else has said , if i can help in any way , give me a shout

    sorry ive been AWAL for a bit , but stayed on plan and been frugal ,
    Health worries here too , but i "Think " we are finally coming out the other side , DD is expecting her 2nd baby in about 4 weeks , and its been a rough ride all the way through with a few scares , they didnt think she'd go to full term , but shes getting there now . Me,,,,,,,, would you believe ive got to be over 60 ,,and now they tell me ive got to have Grommits put in both ears !!!! i thought only kids had that done , in fact my 6 year old grandaughter has got to have the same op the following month , so i hope they dont hurt me or ill panic for her if you know what i mean , Unfortunately , i have an exsisiting heart problem ( Been fixed ) so a lot better , but because of that ive got to have a general anesthetic for the Grommits ,cos im on blood thinners i suppose , i go in hospital on the 15th , but ive got FIVE hospital appointments in the last 3 weeks to do with it , ??
    anyway onto nicer things ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, me and DH have been away for a few days holiday , didnt plan ,just took off with the dog, and had a lovely time ,, i boobed on one thing , as id packed everything we needed so not to buy much ( Caravan holiday) and then realised id left the sugar. sauces etc ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, so a quick trip to the nearest Mc Donalds for a Mc Flurry ( We was at the sea side so ice cream was allowed lol ) and i stocked up on the freebie sugar, salt/ pepper etc so we was sorted,
    The days have turned colder, we hadnt put the heating on till 2 days ago , and the grandchildren came so it went on for them , and have to admit its made us feel nesh now , and we need it on at night , will try and be frugal with it though , and TRY and learn DH to keep the doors to the rooms closed, Got heavy curtains up so thats ok . still getting tomatoes off my garden plants , i have one of those plastic greenhouses and have to admit i did a LOT better with the surplus ones i had OUTSIDE the greenhouse , We arnt keen on tomatoe based foods and soups unfortunately , but theyve kept us going all summer so far with sandwiches, salads etc, Is everyone preparing for Christmas? Ive got about 40 in vouchers that ive collected through the year for surveys etc so will use them for gifts, My christmas present list used to be huge when i was working , but not so big these days , Postage is my biggest cost, as my hobby is penpalling , and parcels cost a lot so i have to budget mainly for that , Hope everyone is ok , and ill catch up on everyones posts now im back
    Last edited by Moll; 07-10-2018 at 11:11 PM.
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 8th Oct 18, 8:45 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,684 Thanks
    Hi everyone

    Back from a few days away and I have been very careful to get back home within the budget I allowed myself.

    So soup making is continuing, mainly with courgette/marrow in but I don't mind too much, as I keep adding different things/herbs/spices into them to make them all a bit different, and mostly its free.

    I have pulled my winter stuff out, and I have plenty of woollies, boots etc to wear and last years boots (which I bought the year before) are still fine. I will wear my old walking boots if the weather gets really bad and wellies/trainers down the lottie.

    My winter coat from last year will do …. so I don't need to buy much at all - hooray!!!!

    I need to go through my cupboards to see if I need any tins, dried foods just incase we have a hard winter as I live at the top of a steep hill and nobody can get cars out when it starts icing up and snow is a definite no go. Thinking on it I must see if I have cold and flu stuff etc in just in case as well, preparing for the worst!!!! To help pay for this I have a load to Tosco vouchers to use, so I will take a list and keep to it.
    Anyway going to get some supper.
    PS I have been really productive on the lottie this year and neighbours as well as dds all get a share!
    Budgeting again, must try harder!!
    Sealed pot challenge no.31
    Frugal challenge 2019
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 9th Oct 18, 2:56 PM
    • 6,138 Posts
    • 54,190 Thanks
    It's good to see that so many people had productive years on their allotments - I really do hope we can get ours set up and running for next year as it's been a long time in coming. Unfortunately, we seem to have gratuated from slugs & moles to rabbits and deer, so the prospect of growing veg is looking ever distant, unless we make serious moves to keep everything out the growing space.

    I now have another 3 large boxes of windfalls and already have 2 buckets of apple cider vinegar on the go. This is without picking any apples from the trees, so once the new orchards have grown up enough to produce fruit we will need to be at a stage that we can have open days for fruit picking. Who knows, maybe ine day we'll be able to do the fruit processing at Frugaldom, too.

    The year is passing far too quickly for my liking - shorter days mean it's still quite dark in the mornings when starting and evenings are drawing in so much that it's dark before Im finished feeding ponies etc. About 4 of the hens are still laying, so eggs aplenty and still managing to sell a couple of dozen each week to balance the books in that department. If only people would buy pony poop then we'd be wealthy.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • Moll
    • By Moll 9th Oct 18, 6:43 PM
    • 358 Posts
    • 3,335 Thanks
    Had a good frugal day .. almost had a Nsd , apart from one bottle of milk which was needed, but im in the habit of only buying what i need, and am never tempted,,,,,,unless the G,kids are with me ,
    We went to a friends house yesterday he kindly gave me 2 HUGE pumpkins grown in the allotment. and he showed us around thier house , They moved in with thier daughter / son in law and family , 2 years ago , and all had the house altered and extended to accomodate them all wow it was amazing what they had achieved , The house had been planned and really thought out well , so they all had thier own space, made me come home and have a serious look at my own house , and the potential it held , if we moved rooms around
    , food for thought
    Last edited by Moll; 09-10-2018 at 6:45 PM. Reason: d
    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 11th Oct 18, 11:30 AM
    • 2,658 Posts
    • 18,160 Thanks
    Thanks for the good wishes all.

    My veg garden has been disastrous this year but I guess as I was unable to tend it then it's no surprise. I do have load of cabbage and kale so it's something isn't it.

    I also have a largish stash of stuff which I've been hoarding as I'm worried about the dreaded brexsh*t. I'm sick of hearing about it but plan to make sure I can fill my belly .

    I do need to get Christmas sorted. I want to make as much as i can and need to get it sorted as I'm probably going to be having surgery in november/December.

    I have cut back lots but I guess I could be tighter if needs be. I just want the debts gone. A relook at budgets are needed.

    I hope you all have fab day.
    My mini challenge: pay off MBNA by 31/08/18. 502/502 100% (paid off 30/06/18 - 2 months early )

    Pay of all debt by xmas 2019 #09 - 0/ 8471 %
    • Moll
    • By Moll 11th Oct 18, 5:40 PM
    • 358 Posts
    • 3,335 Thanks
    Parsniphead can i ask what things you are going to make for Christmas? i love to know what people are doing , christmas is my favourite time of year, ive made food hampers for my grown up kids so far,
    Seems to be a time of hospitals here for us , DD went for a baby scan at her hospital today , ( All good ) Dad whos 89. went for a test yesterday and they discovered he had high blood pressure SOOOOOOO HIGH 14O / over 100 and something , ( Ive never known anyone have it that high with no symptoms !!) obviously they was concerned about strokes so Dad was admitted ,,,,its come "Down " to 199 so theyve released him and let him come home ? ?? Tomorrow , my turn i go twice , once for an EKG, and then back later for hearing tests , ready for when i have the grommits surgery on Monday ....... oh well i suppose it keeps us out of mischief, Id got a couple of Mc Donalds reciepts in my bag that id done thier on line survey with and made me eligable to get a big mac & fries for 1.99 , Perfect for when we was waiting around in the hospital , not great food , but cheaper than the hospital resteraunt prices and at least we were fed,
    Last edited by Moll; 11-10-2018 at 5:42 PM.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 12th Oct 18, 5:42 AM
    • 2,237 Posts
    • 20,645 Thanks

    Sorry to hear you've had a bit of a time of it mol lots of hugs.

    Parsniphead I can't decide whether to stock up the freezer with meat and frozen veg or just stock up my bank account with money. Though I'm trying to be sensible generally.

    It's been a busy week at work. One of my team is on holiday and we are really feeling it, and of course upper management choose this time to ask you to do extra stuff (if you can)...yeah, I can't sorry lol

    I've written myself a weekly menu, lunch and tea and will use that as a base, swapping things in and out as I get bored etc.

    I'm much better when things are 'automated' and it's working really well with paying off my debt and saving for my emergency fund so I figured it should work with weight loss too.

    Still no heating on here, and all my packages have arrived so at some point I'll be doing curtains and curtain rails and getting the electric blanket on the bed.

    I'm off to see a gig with my son tonight. Apart from the drive, I'm looking forward to the break away
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 12th Oct 18, 5:56 AM
    • 2,237 Posts
    • 20,645 Thanks
    A bit of a money update:

    My utilities DD has been put up again, though I'm in credit, but given my usage last winter I can understand so I'll just be working on keeping that down.

    They offered me a 'better deal' but that would have cost me an extra 20 a month on top of the higher DD so I can't see how that would work. I'm looking forward to seeing what my bill is like when I'm more focused.

    My grocery money has got a bit of surplus as I've been eating out of the freezer and using things up. It looks like a normal shop this weekend so it'll be interesting to see whether I've budgeted enough.

    I've spent a bit more on getting ready for winter than I expected. I was hoping to have a bit of money left over for my getting ready for summer in a couple of months but that's not to be. So, it's purse put away again for now except essentials and budgeted items.

    I've also gone back to getting some extra work on weekends so I can rebuild my emergency fund. I've realised that the stress of not having any savings far out weighs any 'stress' of working more.

    Apart from that, I'm ticking along merrily...
    • datlex
    • By datlex 13th Oct 18, 9:49 AM
    • 2,040 Posts
    • 2,493 Thanks
    My frugal thing of this week is scanning paper work that I have had for decades so that it can be shredded. This is in order to free up space in my furniture so that I don't need to buy replacements for a couple of old book cases that I got rid of when I moved due to them falling apart.

    I am also trying to be more disciplined about eating in moderation- rather than snacking/grazing, so that I can hopefully lose some weight. (As well as eating a bit healthier).
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 14th Oct 18, 5:43 AM
    • 2,237 Posts
    • 20,645 Thanks
    That reminds me of the bag of paperwork I picked up from my old house about 4 months ago datlex that I've done nothing with!

    Overspent on my planned budget for Friday night. I have the money in my account but I underestimated how much I like to buy a tshirt from a gig and then went halves with DS so he could get one.

    I'm also going to a black tie event this week and the dresses I have are a little tight so I've spent money buying something to wear. This isn't budgeted for but I'll still try to take it from my personal spends over the next couple of months so it doesn't mess up my other accounts.

    It's still quite mild here, so still no heating on.Groceries done and in budget.
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 14th Oct 18, 8:38 AM
    • 6,138 Posts
    • 54,190 Thanks
    Good morning frugalers, hpe everyone escaed damage from the latest bout of stormy weather.

    Budgets definitely need t become more flexible at this ime of year for many of us, what with Christmas on the horizon and the seasonal temperature drops meaning we spend the bulk on heating. Business expenses escalate out of proportion, as others don't share our frugal ways and legislation pretty much dictates what we spend on making work (or holiday) environments comfortable for others. Spare a thought for small businesses bound by rules and regulations and trying to employ staff and offering goods and/or services. Heating bill here is phenomenal, already.

    What's cheap and cheerful at the minute? Porridge oats, soup, cabbage, carrots, pasta & spaghetti, tinned tomatoes, rice and eggs, so any combination of that lot makes up the basis for meals here at Frugaldom.

    This Cjristmas, I am trying my best to shop from local crafters so I need all the savings I can get to find/order the right gifts in the right wrappings that won't find themselves in the bin. It's much more difficult than you think, once you start to think. The obvious choice would be edible goods in reuseable containers, but even most of those arrive in some form of plastic or disposable wrapping. I try my best.
    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 15th Oct 18, 5:47 AM
    • 2,237 Posts
    • 20,645 Thanks

    It's been a stupidly early start for me but used the time to give the house a bit of a tidy.

    I need to give it a clean and so I've been taking another look at Flylady and doing something everyday instead of the once a week cleaning I was doing. As I'm getting busier, I don't always have a day to give to it. I've written a list (I love a list!) and I'll see how it all works out.

    I watched Stacey Dooley's program about the enviromental cost of fashion last night. I think she has also done one on plastic and it was eye opening. It'll be another thing to get to grips with, I think.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 16th Oct 18, 5:31 AM
    • 2,237 Posts
    • 20,645 Thanks
    I dragged myself through yesterday. I was so tired after my early start.

    Usually when I'm that tired snacks and a takeaway would be on the menu but I managed to cook tea, though nothing else got done.

    I had a much better sleep last night and I'm feeling almost perky this morning

    I've got myself a project book to put all my lists in, almost like my own version of a Flylady Control Journal, so I'll get that organised this week.

    Still no heating on here, though yesterday was chilly and I thought I might need to. But by the time I had my comfy clothes on and the oven, it didn't really need it.

    The one thing I notice is the washing on the racks takes much longer to dry. But I don't want to have to put the heating on just for that.
    • Moll
    • By Moll 16th Oct 18, 8:44 AM
    • 358 Posts
    • 3,335 Thanks
    Morning everyone , I had my surgery yesterday to have the Grommits put in both ears, Sailed through it , didnt feel a thing , Its amazing what anesthetic can do Lol . My ears feel weird this morning , like "Something " in them , but no pain ,, Lately ive been letting things slide , Not the frugal .thats a way of life for me , but my weight increase, not cleaned and tidied the house as well as i could , you know that sort of thing, and i promised myself as soon as i got the surgery . this is day one of sorting everything else out , Frankie M ,,,,,,ive also been on Fly Lady ( Great minds think alike ) and im going to try and think up "Challenges " for myself , re the weight loss ,not sure what ,,,,,and ideas appreciated xxx maybe a certain amount of exersize a day , ( But im not very active these days so baby steps) Im continuing to de clutter the house , and put things on the local bidding site , now this is one that starts at 1 bids so no one is going to be a millionaire , but its great for recieving bargains too , so i look at it as a sharing site, plus you earn "Something" and get "Something " out of the house that i dont need, Last week i started on that , sold 3 books and got my first 3.60 in the kitty for those, Sounds silly , but do you remember me doing this for my hotel / holiday money for Cornwall last Summer,i got a total of 930 just by doing that , so the pennies really do add up , i also love lists, so am going to get a book and divide into , sections of what i want to achieve,
    Last edited by Moll; 16-10-2018 at 8:55 AM.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 17th Oct 18, 5:44 AM
    • 2,237 Posts
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    Awake at 4.40am today...I've no idea what is wrong with my body clock but I either need to fix it or get used to it and become more productive!

    The dress I bought for my black tie evening arrived yesterday and it fits. It'll do and I'm sure I'll have a lovely time, but like a true introvert, I'm already trying to think of excuses not to go

    Moll you can't go wrong with a list or 10. They focus the mind

    I've only done one list in my project book so far. I need some time to think and plan. Could be something for these 4.30am starts I'm currently having!

    Okay, confession time...I've been on the amazon wish list and bought a load of my wish items. The money is in savings but it seems once I start spending then I'm on a roll.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 18th Oct 18, 6:03 AM
    • 2,237 Posts
    • 20,645 Thanks

    I felt awful yesterday, really down. I think I might need to invest in some vitamin D and a SAD lamp for the winter.

    I've had notifications that my amazon purchases have been dispatched so I'm looking forward to that.

    Another 3am wake up this morning, though I did get back to sleep eventually and woke to my alarm at 6am. I think I feel worse for it though. And I'm out this evening so caffeine will be needed otherwise I'll be falling asleep in my dinner!

    I'm off work tomorrow and heading down to Bath for the weekend. I'm sure I'll enjoy it once I'm there but I'm feeling a little peopled out and like I'm not getting enough time to plan and organise myself.

    Still no heating on here. I can't decide whether it's just incredibly mild or I'm being incredibly stubborn.
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 18th Oct 18, 5:28 PM
    • 558 Posts
    • 1,474 Thanks
    parsniphead . So sorry to hear about your health. Sending Love hugs and prayers. You will be in my thoughts xx
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