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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th Dec 18, 5:14 PM
    • 6,121Posts
    • 53,985Thanks
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 26th Dec 18, 5:14 PM
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge 26th Dec 18 at 5:14 PM
    Join us here for year 12 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

    The Frugal Living Challenge 2019

    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 2018 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 Ė keep it clean please). Discussion Time is for discussion of current issues (read Martinís description).

    If you post a topic that does not relate to the board itís 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 havenít already, join the forum to reply!

    GOOD LUCK IN 2019

    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 14-01-2019 at 2:57 PM.
    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 15
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 12th Jan 19, 1:14 PM
    • 6,121 Posts
    • 53,985 Thanks
    I logged on to Mr Ts club card account as haven't updated my details since we moved to the new house over 2 years ago. I have £36.00 in vouchers - I'm over the moon.
    Originally posted by miss empty piggy
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • Kaylataste
    • By Kaylataste 12th Jan 19, 1:20 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 225 Thanks
    I have been really pleased with my cutbacks,I received a shopping voucher for Xmas and normally I would have just splashed it on random beauty buys without thinking about it.I bought new pillows that I needed and a gorgeous scented candle in the sale.I am definitely thinking about what I buy and am avoiding shops and online shopping as much as possible!
    • natnat13
    • By natnat13 12th Jan 19, 2:01 PM
    • 608 Posts
    • 7,630 Thanks
    Hi everyone,
    My week has been slightly more spendy than anticipated.

    Thurs I needed milk for home and work. Co-op had 8 pints for £2.20 and I get student discount in there. Then I realised it was a friend's 40th on Friday. I had a card and a gift bag but bought her a bottle of proscecco, no I didn't have to do it but I wanted to and she was really thrilled.

    Also on Thursday night I discovered I'd won a competition through one of my jobs which is an overnight stay in London with a trip to see Cirque de soleil! Was so excited BUT it's going to cost money. I have to get there (from Cornwall) and there may be a few spends. I decided to see whether my other job would let me have time off first which they did. So I had a dilema, if I don't go I'm not losing anything but opportunities like that don't come up very often. SO, I looked at trains (£68 return) and deicded to go for it. There's afternoon tea when we arrive and breakfast the next morning. I'll take some food and drink with me too so hopefully I don't spend much when I'm there. It's posh dress for the theatre (Royal Albert Hall!) I have something I can wear. So excited.

    Today I had to fill up the car which was anticipated, I only use about a tank a month at the moment so that's not too bad.

    I was going to cook steak tonight (using meat voucher) DH then suggested indian takeaway!! I said I thought we were being frugal. I don't think this budget living idea is coming as naturally to him! He said you work hard all week, you don't want to cook. He's paying (we have separate finances and a joint bills account we both pay into).

    Food shopping tomorrow, I have meal planned and made a list again.

    Have a nice weekend everyone
    Mum, student, worker, dog mum, partner.
    Keen to live a healthly lifestyle and save money
    • sistercas
    • By sistercas 12th Jan 19, 4:30 PM
    • 4,839 Posts
    • 58,622 Thanks
    Reported post 271. ... spam

    4 NSDs this week as I was at work, did have a spend day yesterday for a top up food shop and some cold and flu stuff for DH as he has man flu

    Dd2 has gone back to uni today so I imagine our expenses will go down as she tends to leave all the lights on, has a fan going all night , not to mention all the food etc . Bless her I will miss her though

    I am starting to de clutter the kitchen cupboards , it’s a job I hate but it has to be done, my kitchen is tiny so it can’t take a lot of clutter
    Last edited by sistercas; 12-01-2019 at 4:41 PM.
    • BrownHare
    • By BrownHare 12th Jan 19, 5:34 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 140 Thanks
    Had a spendy dinner with friends on Thurs but have been extremely frugal for a week - only bought fresh fruit/veg/milk as needed. Haven't bought any breakfast/lunch/drinks at work.

    I've surprised myself how I managed to stick to it, I've had many frugal days but rarely managed to fit them into the same week (or month even).

    Drastically cut my sugar/junk food intake but don't feel any better for it (yet).

    Decluttering but struggling to sell decent stuff - I'd like to make a few £s and I don't like the idea of throwing useable things away.
    • chocolatelover93
    • By chocolatelover93 12th Jan 19, 9:48 PM
    • 917 Posts
    • 5,980 Thanks
    Hello everyone

    Sorry I've not posted in a few days I have been ill

    Been indoors all day today and almost bag a NSD until I put something in my basket online and went to delete it but accidentally clicked buy

    Am doing some surveys again to earn a bit more money.

    Popped into Iceyland yesterday and topped the freezer up and then went to local butchers to get fresh meat. I think it a lot nicer than SM meat and it is nice to support a local business

    I have written a meal plan for the next week but as the freezer is now full I might do one until my next pay day (28th ) seems so long away lol.

    I am taking a huge bag and a half full of bits to the CS tomorrow

    C xx
    Read my diaryHere
    • BabyStepper
    • By BabyStepper 13th Jan 19, 7:29 AM
    • 263 Posts
    • 762 Thanks
    We managed to build a compost bin using pallets that we got for free. That was a success!
    Originally posted by *little.squirrel*
    Thanks for the tip, great idea, now need to persuade OH to get on with it...
    May '18 £21,228.07/March '19 £15,781.40

    25.6% paid

    Getting it done

    • The Lady Sarah
    • By The Lady Sarah 13th Jan 19, 12:35 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 195 Thanks
    The Lady Sarah
    So today has been mostly preparing! lol well will be when I get off the sofa.... Frugality actually takes quite a bit of planning - as I know if I don't have my lunches and Breakfasts ready I won't make them in the morning and normally too tired in the evenings!
    So a big bag of carrots that were feeling sorry for themselves and three salvaged parsnips from before Christmas have been boiled up... now debating what to do with them! Soup maybe? Am not into vegitarianism but have the makings for Cheese Scones so that doesn't sound too bad - anyone got any other ideas?
    Yesterday was one of my nephews birthdays so £30 pressie and £34 for meal... today it's the other ones!! So another £30 .... but no meal! lol his fiancee is cooking for him... hehe wonder where she got that idea =)
    Clear - Nationwide OD Dec -£2675.23 /£2700
    First Direct OD -£405.55/£500 Credit Card - CLEARED/£712
    Credit card at 0%- Jan - £3365.72

    £2019 in 2019 - £218/£2019
    Attempting Frugality....
    • allie23
    • By allie23 13th Jan 19, 2:43 PM
    • 1,331 Posts
    • 14,534 Thanks
    Sorry I've not posted much recently. Apart from work I've not been online much at all and I don't have time to post when I am at work. I am keeping up with reading the thread though.

    It's been a fairly frugal weekend for me. Made a big batch of soup yesterday using up some veg and an apple crumble to finish off some apples I ha sitting around. That was mine and OHs dinner last night and will be again today. There may be enough soup to take to work for lunch tomorrow too.

    I have been doing some decluttering too. Last weekend a load of books went to the charity shop and today I took some more books - these were walking books we no longer use and some recipe books. I also persuaded OH to let me declutter one of the cupboards in his room. He was not keen at first but I had stuff in his cupboard as he was keen for that to go. So we ended up with another bag full of bits for the charity shop and a few things to go to the tip (like old cassette tapes). We discovered some old photos in OHs room so I may get some new photo albums when I get paid later in the month to keep them safe.

    Have a good week everyone.
    February 2019 Grocery Challenge
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Save £12k in 2019 - Challenger No 69 - £6680/£40,000
    • datlex
    • By datlex 13th Jan 19, 3:05 PM
    • 1,984 Posts
    • 2,341 Thanks
    Datex, perhaps best you edit your post to remove the referal link in the spammer's post. New user status and that's the only message being posted in several locations throughout MSE isn't the best start if the OP is joining our challenge. (Apologies to 'JeffnAndy' if you are genuine, please let us know you are here to join us.)
    Originally posted by Frugaldom
    I hadn't even seen the referral link. I was quoting the post not sharing the referral link.
    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 13th Jan 19, 5:31 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,679 Thanks
    Hi everyone
    Little squirrel and miss empty piggy at the lottie site Im on, people put on the notice board if they are in need of a greenhouse, shed, paving slabs etc just in case someone on there is trying to get rid some.

    I haven't been out shopping or anywhere since Wednesday, still clearing and tidying, its nearly all done now so I will get to the CS perhaps in a couple of days. The attic should be empty as I had new loft insulation put in there a few years ago, so at least that's OK. The garden shed will be done when the weather gets better.

    Found a few crafting projects to finish off (forgot I had started them!) so they will keep me busy for the next couple of weeks and then I can start on a quilt that I have everything for but as Im a novice and its pretty big I keep putting it off.

    Budgeting again, must try harder!!
    Sealed pot challenge no.31
    Frugal challenge 2019
    • natnat13
    • By natnat13 13th Jan 19, 6:11 PM
    • 608 Posts
    • 7,630 Thanks
    Did food shopping today, £39! That's half what we'd spend if we didn't plan and have a list to stick to. Really pleased with that.

    I baked some cheese scones (leftover xmas cheese), banana buns (brown bananas),roast turkey (cheap after xmas) and made a golden syrup pud and custard for afters. I would usually have bought a pudding with the shopping.

    I'm not anticipating much spending next week fingers crossed.
    Mum, student, worker, dog mum, partner.
    Keen to live a healthly lifestyle and save money
    • miss empty piggy
    • By miss empty piggy 13th Jan 19, 11:56 PM
    • 645 Posts
    • 6,632 Thanks
    miss empty piggy
    Hi everyone
    Little squirrel and miss empty piggy at the lottie site Im on, people put on the notice board if they are in need of a greenhouse, shed, paving slabs etc just in case someone on there is trying to get rid some.

    Originally posted by nannygladys
    Oh wow, that's great. I'll keep an eye out - hopefully they'll do the same at ours.

    Little squirrel - I have been making pallet compost bins today too.

    Some good friends brought 18 pallets up to our site yesterday on their trailer for us to make 3 bins in total and then do what we want with the rest. They said they have an endless supply which is fantastic. We're thinking of making a shed with them but think it might take a while lol. We'll see how we get on.

    We got 3 painted up today with leftover garden fence paint so hopefully they'll last a bit longer. DOH wants to put a liner in them too and had a AZ gift voucher for xmas and so we spent a total of 25p.

    We met our site neighbours on one side today and it was an old friend from school and her family which was really nice.

    DD1 went back to uni also today and so I am expecting the bills to go down a bit now too. It's not been as bad as usual as I am particularly mindful of overspending and she knows that we are cutting back this year (our 'fallow' year as we're calling it).

    Just remembered that we're going to do an escape room on Tuesday night which will cost us. I don't know how it will go but I'll give anything a go once xxx If you don't hear from me - you'll know I'm no good
    DFW Nerd No: 600
    • Sea Shell
    • By Sea Shell 14th Jan 19, 6:52 AM
    • 1,324 Posts
    • 2,429 Thanks
    Sea Shell
    I bought a 5 visit PAYG voucher that's just shy of £30 (gym with pool), but at least I'm not tied into a contract. I also had to tax my car, but that was only £30.

    So far this month we've only spent £220 (ex bills). of which groceries were £120. We ran the freezer and cupboards down over Christmas, so have had a bit of a re-stock.
    " That pound I saved yesterday, is a pound I don't have to earn tomorrow "
    • sinkorswim2018
    • By sinkorswim2018 14th Jan 19, 7:18 AM
    • 91 Posts
    • 1,125 Thanks
    I need to build an emergency fund into my budget as I find myself in a hotel going back and forth to the hospital after my daughter became unexpectedly unwell... possible surgery today which they are hoping to avoid until a later day if they can. I did get a good deal on the accomodation and got free breakfast and parking. :/

    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 14th Jan 19, 1:20 PM
    • 755 Posts
    • 9,638 Thanks
    I need to build an emergency fund into my budget as I find myself in a hotel going back and forth to the hospital after my daughter became unexpectedly unwell... possible surgery today which they are hoping to avoid until a later day if they can. I did get a good deal on the accomodation and got free breakfast and parking. :/
    Originally posted by sinkorswim2018
    So sorry to read that your daughter is poorly, hoping she is on the mend quickly and that if the surgery does go ahead then itís successful.. Sending hugs to you both
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 2 March GC £0/£300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • Lifeisforliving19
    • By Lifeisforliving19 14th Jan 19, 1:23 PM
    • 279 Posts
    • 1,896 Thanks
    I need to build an emergency fund into my budget as I find myself in a hotel going back and forth to the hospital after my daughter became unexpectedly unwell... possible surgery today which they are hoping to avoid until a later day if they can. I did get a good deal on the accomodation and got free breakfast and parking. :/
    Originally posted by sinkorswim2018

    Oh that's not good, but hopefully her surgery will have a positive outcome. I know it can be very expensive when you get an emergency like that. When OH had his accident last year, we spent a fortune on hospital carparking and extra fuel and food. Good luck. x
    DMP 2015 £57,549, now £42,310 (26% paid)
    EF £300 Mortgage OP's this year £55
    Christmas 2019 £20 SPC #110....keeping it a surprise
    There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, Shining at the End of Every Day!

    • nannygladys
    • By nannygladys 14th Jan 19, 2:55 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 13,679 Thanks
    HI everyone

    miss empty piggy I like the idea of having a 'fallow' year!

    Sink or swim 2018I hope your daughter is feeling better soon.

    Another frugal day, Ive done the usual bits and Im sat down doing a bit of sewing and TV watching as its raining outside and looking quite dark.

    Another tea from stores tonight, Ive run out of milk but Im using dried so I should be OK this week.

    Budgeting again, must try harder!!
    Sealed pot challenge no.31
    Frugal challenge 2019
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 14th Jan 19, 6:08 PM
    • 2,694 Posts
    • 27,114 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    sinkorswim2018 - Sending hugs to your daughter.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST March 2019: WINS against the debt NSD 7/20
    • chocolatelover93
    • By chocolatelover93 14th Jan 19, 8:20 PM
    • 917 Posts
    • 5,980 Thanks
    Hello everyone

    sinkorswim - hope your DD is better soon!

    Yesterday I sat down and put money left from budgets into different envelopes and when I get paid every month will do it again and won't be taking out any cards with me so hopefully I will stick to my budgets!! Also have a second diary my mum bought me for xmas that I am using a spending diary

    C xx
    Read my diaryHere
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