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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 26th Dec 18, 4:14 PM
    • 6,160Posts
    • 54,422Thanks
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 26th Dec 18, 4:14 PM
    2019 Frugal Living Challenge 26th Dec 18 at 4:14 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 1:57 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 57
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 13th Jun 19, 7:44 PM
    • 6,160 Posts
    • 54,422 Thanks
    the extension is only leaking a little bit.... the leaks that required a pan to catch the drips, were actually overflowing gutters! I have removed 8 buckets full of leaves and helicopter seeds from just two gutters yesterday....
    Originally posted by Siebrie
    That should be a huge relief for you - the simplest things can have the most impact, which is probably why we all get told to pay attention to the little things so they don't turn into big things. Or in the case of money, pay attention to the little pennies so they do turn into bigger pounds.
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 13th Jun 19, 7:48 PM
    • 6,160 Posts
    • 54,422 Thanks
    In preparation for my ration challenge, I tried making plain floyr & water crepes today. They cost about 2p each to make but oh dear, how I missed having syrup or sugar & lemon on them!
    I reserve the right NOT to spend:
    The less I spend, the more I can afford!
    Now running Frugaldom as a lifestyle social enterprise!
    • cw18
    • By cw18 13th Jun 19, 9:17 PM
    • 8,082 Posts
    • 86,085 Thanks
    In preparation for my ration challenge, I tried making plain floyr & water crepes today. They cost about 2p each to make but oh dear, how I missed having syrup or sugar & lemon on them!
    Originally posted by Frugaldom
    I don't like them much even with toppings

    The best I ever had were savoury ones in Brittany, filled with a creamy chicken and mushroom mix (a bit like chicken supreme but soooo much creamier than anything I've had here - I suspect there was a splash of white wine in there too )
    • Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    • By Crafty Lisa Hampshire 14th Jun 19, 12:58 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 809 Thanks
    Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    Had a disappointment this week. I found out on Wednesday that my holiday I booked at the beginning of January (the first one I have booked in an age) has been cancelled. Not enough places were sold. They tried to find me something else but because I am a lone traveller they couldn't find anything at a place I hadn't been to before. I will be getting a full refund but I was so looking forward to that holiday.

    On the plus side, once I get my refund I will be able to buy a new washing machine. I may look again later in the year for another holiday.
    • sinkorswim2018
    • By sinkorswim2018 14th Jun 19, 7:22 PM
    • 106 Posts
    • 1,342 Thanks
    Crafty Lisa... That's a shame about ypur holiday, but a washing machine is important too. Are you buying new or second hand? I got a fabulous dishwasher for £30 recently though I did have to pick it up. Some charity furniture shops will deliver for a small fee. Just a thought.

    I've managed to accidently save £16 a month by being disorganised with my money! Forgot to switch my mortgage and got a reminder I would be paying new higher amount (we are talking an extra £215 per month). Went online quickly to change with my current mortgage provider. When I'd looked a month ago I could of got one for the same fixed amount I am paying now (at 1.99% 2 year fix) now I can switch to an even cheaper one! (At 1.74% 2 year fix). Let's hope it all goes through smoothly.

    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 15th Jun 19, 7:06 AM
    • 2,308 Posts
    • 21,327 Thanks
    Sorry to hear about your holiday Crafty Lisa

    I'm back on the frugal band wagon today.

    I've downloaded the spreadsheets to see where my money goes.

    Also going to try to eat out of the freezer as much as I can for the rest of the month and stop taking my purse with me to work.

    I've never been a fan of 'no spend days' but I think I might have to put them in place in the short term to be stricter with myself.
    • OLaney
    • By OLaney 15th Jun 19, 3:55 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 377 Thanks
    Hi All

    Just a quick update...

    I have found an app on the App Store called Fudget is a budget planner and it is so easy to use!! I think I am going to move all my expenditure onto this app because as much as spreadsheets are great for budgeting I personally don’t like them that much haha. For any others out there who not fans of spreadsheets I recommend you try out Fudget,... I don’t think you will be disappointed .

    Sorry to hear about your holiday Crafty Lisa x

    Have a great rest of the weekend!
    Last edited by OLaney; 16-06-2019 at 3:27 PM. Reason: Update
    • Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    • By Crafty Lisa Hampshire 17th Jun 19, 12:48 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 809 Thanks
    Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    Crafty Lisa... That's a shame about ypur holiday, but a washing machine is important too. Are you buying new or second hand? I got a fabulous dishwasher for £30 recently though I did have to pick it up. Some charity furniture shops will deliver for a small fee. Just a thought.
    Originally posted by sinkorswim2018

    I tend to buy my kitchen appliances brand new so that I can make sure I get the warranties, I can get it delivered, they take the old appliance away, it gets installed properly and I can be sure I get exactly what I want in respect of features etc. Everything else I get second hand if I can.

    Checked my money last night and its going to prove tricky to stay in budget until the end of the month. I have another 8 days to go before I get paid and I have a booked night out this Saturday and a dinner on Sunday with the extended family. I also am running low on petrol so will have to buy some of that before pay day. I had a weekend away at the beginning of the month which seems to have scuppered things even though I had thought I had kept within budget. I need to try harder next month. I need to make some soup for lunches and I need to bake some bread. The freezer has got stuff in it so I won't starve completely but may have some unusual combinations of food for breakfast.

    To aid me I am staying out of town at lunchtimes - I don't need any temptation. Also I will now be getting the cleaning done as I will not be wanting to go out unless already planned for. I am reassured following this post that I am not the only one that seems to be in this position this month.

    A positive thing this weekend though - I found a recipe for a homemade multisurface cleaner that seems to work. It is made up using all ingredients I have at home so I now don't need to buy the mass produced stuff. One less product to worry about adding to the shopping list and one less spray bottle to add to the recycling pile.
    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 17th Jun 19, 6:55 PM
    • 2,308 Posts
    • 21,327 Thanks
    I've paid off my credit card with's sad but it puts me on an even keel for when I get paid next week.

    I've also reinstated not taking my purse to work and no spend days.

    MS Money is downloaded onto my laptop and I'll be tracking every penny (though I'm keeping my savings 'hidden' so I don't find things to spend it on!)

    And I'm no longer using my credit card. It seems that I don't see as real money so back to cash and the debit card.

    I'm looking forward to the new month and fresh start.
    • sinkorswim2018
    • By sinkorswim2018 19th Jun 19, 5:14 PM
    • 106 Posts
    • 1,342 Thanks
    FrankieM- well done for clearing that credit card, you know it's the right thing to do. Hoping to pay a chunk off mine this month, I've been doing a lot of overtime.
    Now that I've moved to another 2 years fix rate on my mortgage I've arranged to overpay by £50 a month. My future me will thank me. ��

    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 23rd Jun 19, 7:06 PM
    • 2,308 Posts
    • 21,327 Thanks
    The last shop for the month has happened and I don't think I'll need to spend anything now until next week.

    Payday on Thursday and I can't wait!
    • sinkorswim2018
    • By sinkorswim2018 26th Jun 19, 9:33 PM
    • 106 Posts
    • 1,342 Thanks
    Nearly payday. I've kept just within budget for groceries and well under budget for eating out. Have done a lot of overtime and will pay off £500 off my 0% credit card this month, leaving just under another 3k to go Have an occasion to get dressed up for soon, the perfect excuse to spend. I've bought my outfit from a charity shop... it is still great, and I'm matching it up with accessories I already own. Still doing lot's of overtime so next month should be good too, though I have to say I'm tired.

    • FrankieM
    • By FrankieM 27th Jun 19, 4:56 AM
    • 2,308 Posts
    • 21,327 Thanks
    When I was paying of my loan last year, I did a lot of 6/7 day weeks. It's exhausting, so I feel your pain sinkorswim2018

    Payday today. I saw it in with £1.77 in my account, so it couldn't come soon enough.

    My budgets are organised and my money has been moved into the various pots.

    I'm looking forward to a planned July
    • mumof3.12kindebt
    • By mumof3.12kindebt 27th Jun 19, 8:35 AM
    • 682 Posts
    • 1,863 Thanks
    We have moved
    Morning everyone ,

    We moved into the house last Wednesday. All went smoothly. The whole experience was pretty stress free. During the whole process I think the most stressful time was getting enough overtime to ensure we had enough money to move and waiting to see if our mortgage application got approved.
    We have managed to move with a small amount of savings left in the bank so I'm pleased about that.
    Payday tomorrow so that money is going into the bills account for July.

    Everyone is settling in well. Eldest started school on Monday and is enjoying his new school. Ds2 should start at his school part time in July and hopefully go full-time from September. (he has done reception class part time since last sept at his old school due to his additional needs and lack of funding) . The boys are going to different schools. We could of sent them to the same school but they both have different needs and enjoy different things so they have gone to schools more suited to each of them.

    Everything is going well. I'm enjoying my job so everything is just lovely right now.

    Have a great day all and stay frugal

    Hugs to all those that need or want one x
    June 2017 £16000 debt
    Sept 2018 Loan paid off
    Nov 2018 DEBT FREE
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 27th Jun 19, 12:58 PM
    • 1,354 Posts
    • 9,925 Thanks
    Congratulations on the move, mumof3.12kindebt. It sounds like it went well. I hope you're all very happy in your new home.

    sinkorswim2018 please leave some time for yourself. I understand how, when the overtime is available, it's tempting to work every hour God sends, but you do need to sleep, to rest and to do something enjoyable every day.

    I'm very pleased tomorrow is payday. This month has been quite expensive for me. I have no idea where most of the money's gone, but my Money-to-Live-Off Account would be considerably overdrawn if I hadn't raided £100 from the car's Fuel Account at the start of last week. As it is, the closing balance is £3.60. I know some of it went on groceries - our Grocery Challenge Kitty (cash) is £22 in the red - but the rest of it? Just evaporated.

    I'm not in debt - bar the mortgage - and I do have multiple savings pots, but they're all quarantined for their designated purposes and, therefore, not "mine".

    - Pip

    ETA: I've just checked and I've got £50 in my wallet. No idea where the rest went.
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. #47 Official Brain Harvesting Body Counter
    • cw18
    • By cw18 28th Jun 19, 5:04 PM
    • 8,082 Posts
    • 86,085 Thanks
    So it turns out the job I applied for a few weeks ago wasn't meant to be for a good reason

    There are a few offices around home that I can walk, cycle or catch buses to - with no longer a commute time than my current office, but removing the reliance on my car as they're much closer. Of those there was 1 that I really wanted, but I was aware that vacancies there are few and far between. The one I applied for (and then withdrew after they reduced the hours) was the only one of the 5 I'd have considered that I haven't been loaned out to.

    On Tuesday one of the chaps in my office asked if I'd seen a vacancy for the office in the next town up from home - which is the one I really wanted. He has a friend who wants to transfer into our office, and that friend is aware a couple of us want to transfer out to this specfic one - so he wanted to be sure we'd seen it.

    I have alerts set up on the recruitment site to let me know when any of these offices post a vacancy, but for some reason I'd not had anything for this one. When I got home on Tuesday I checked the site, and there it was - from last Thursday! And it's the same number of hours in a week as I'm currently on. They only get left up for a few days, so I quickly submitted an application - and it wasn't on the list of vacancies any more when I got up on Wednesday mornings as it had timed out!!

    As I'm on the same grade and hours I knew that meant I was through the first two 'rounds' (if someone on the same grade applies anyone on a different grade doesn't get, likewise with hours). So that left it down to time in service, and I had no idea who I was up against - but pretty certain there'd be someone with more than my 3 year and almost 8 months as it seems a lot of people want to get into this particular office!

    I got a call while I was at work today to confirm they'd received and looked at my application, and check I was still interested. I got another call about an hour later to tell me the job is mine

    Not sure when I'll make the move, but my current office has a maximum of 28 days to release me. And then my round-trip commute will drop from 22 miles in the car to 3.25 miles of walking, running or cycling

    I'm not yet sure whether the fact it puts me close to another selection of shops is a good or bad thing
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 28th Jun 19, 5:17 PM
    • 5,789 Posts
    • 46,216 Thanks
    Great news Cheryl!

    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 29th Jun 19, 7:49 AM
    • 1,354 Posts
    • 9,925 Thanks
    Fantastic news, Cheryl. Congratulations!

    - Pip
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. #47 Official Brain Harvesting Body Counter
    • Kerry Woman
    • By Kerry Woman 30th Jun 19, 5:19 PM
    • 2,819 Posts
    • 28,531 Thanks
    Kerry Woman
    Cheryl - Great news about the job.
    Came under food budget again this month, which I am pleased about. Am putting my plan on hold to put my flat up for sale in July and looking for another place in new location, as I have a health issue that needs to be sorted out. Had an ultra sound scan which crossed off the thing I was dreading that I had. Found out what the issue is and being referred to a consultant to see what the options are, one being an operation. Need to have another blood test, as the last one was abnormal and high for one particular part. Hopefully I can move etc by the end of the year. Going to try and be really careful with spending. Have managed 24 NSD's this month. Written out a list of things that I need to do tomorrow, which include to renew my passport and subscription to the DBS update service. Am really happy as to what I have achieved in the first 6 months.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2019
    Mortgage free as of 1st August 2013
    NST: August Adventures
    • little_green
    • By little_green 30th Jun 19, 5:55 PM
    • 413 Posts
    • 1,035 Thanks
    Nooooo I bought 2 items online on 15th of this month. The website only offers 14 days returns (unlike most that offer 28 days) so I'm literally just days over the return period and of course both items have just been reduced by a £10 so I could have saved £20!!!
    I'm so mad at myself for not being more patient I also feel a bit irked that it's literally like a day over my return period

    This is where I feel like I should be stricter with myself
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