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    • Frugaldom
    • By Frugaldom 27th Nov 19, 7:43 PM
    • 6,203Posts
    • 55,136Thanks
    Frugaldom
    2020 Frugal Living Challenge
    • #1
    • 27th Nov 19, 7:43 PM
    2020 Frugal Living Challenge 27th Nov 19 at 7:43 PM
    Welcome to the all new 2020 Frugal Living Challenge

    Join us here for year 13 of the Frugaldom challenge on MSE

    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 2019 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

    IMPORTANT
    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
    Houseshare
    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
    Bartering
    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.

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply.

    GOOD LUCK IN 2020
    Last edited by MSE Molly; 11-12-2019 at 10:25 AM.
    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 21
    • Elisheba
    • By Elisheba 14th Jan 20, 11:28 PM
    • 126 Posts
    • 1,023 Thanks
    Elisheba
    Frugal things I've tried today:

    1) I've now moved the furniture in the office/bedroom around, as well as the living room, to get the benefit of the radiator in there when I'm working in there. It was so much more toasty afterwards!

    2) I've watered down the milk and can't really notice the difference. That'll save me a good chunk in my grocery bill from now on. My brother thinks this is hilarious and doesn't believe its drinkable. More fool him, eh?

    3) I've started using less tinned cat food and adding some biscuits to their bowls. I remember my Gran doing that with the dogs when I was a kid. They seem happy enough with it so far, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed as it will probably be about 1/3 cheaper a month.

    4) I invested 59p in a radiator key and bled all the radiators. I then turned all the radiators off in rooms I wasn't using.

    I'm still working my way through the Sneaky Ways to save Pennies threads, but so many good ideas on there! A few odd ones as well ��
    Consume less. Live more.
    • Finally Solvent
    • By Finally Solvent 15th Jan 20, 4:19 AM
    • 223 Posts
    • 1,592 Thanks
    Finally Solvent
    2) I've watered down the milk and can't really notice the difference. That'll save me a good chunk in my grocery bill from now on. My brother thinks this is hilarious and doesn't believe its drinkable. More fool him, eh?
    Originally posted by Elisheba
    Reminds me of a Care Home fairly near to us that hit the headlines in the local paper because they'd been caught out watering down the milk that they gave to their residents. Apparently no one had ever complained about the taste though, not even visitors who were given tea there. A whistle-blower on the staff reported it amongst a list of other penny-pinching methods which she felt unfair on the residents. I'm not sure if the Home was given a fine but their reputation for trust suffered
    Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge 2020 #6 33.49/500
    • Kitchenbunny
    • By Kitchenbunny 15th Jan 20, 10:00 PM
    • 1,864 Posts
    • 20,328 Thanks
    Kitchenbunny
    Just wrote a big post but there was something that glitched and lost my post. Ah well. I had only wanted to say that savings are on track and that I’m keeping a daily wins diary to show savings from coupons used, yellow stickers, etc. Also that I have the car’s MOT coming up and I’m a little stressed about that. Seem to be stressed about everything but could be approaching time of life,lol.

    Groceries look set to cost half of what DH thinks we should probably spend which I’m happy about. Plus am thinking of setting up a small online shop for selling little sewn toys or crochet bits and I want to have a go at making undies to make the most of my sewing machine.

    Hope everyone is well.

    • Muggle1000
    • By Muggle1000 15th Jan 20, 11:10 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 82 Thanks
    Muggle1000
    Been living off leftovers this week. It was my goal this week to not buy any food for me and use up bits in the freezer. This hasn't happened as there have been ample leftovers. Think there's even more leftovers than I can actually eat. I'm meal planning but as I am doing a new meal for every day I am not getting the chance to use leftovers up. I need to address this. Also found 9 Tosco shopping vouchers. Very pleased with that.
    Challenges and progress:
    1 debt vs 100 days c34 - 30/870
    January no spend days challenge - 19/31
    Pay your debts off by Xmas 20 - 0/20,000
    Frugal living 2020

    Make 1 a day extra in January - 126.74/31
    • little_green
    • By little_green 16th Jan 20, 12:30 PM
    • 451 Posts
    • 1,153 Thanks
    little_green
    Been living off leftovers this week. It was my goal this week to not buy any food for me and use up bits in the freezer. This hasn't happened as there have been ample leftovers. Think there's even more leftovers than I can actually eat. I'm meal planning but as I am doing a new meal for every day I am not getting the chance to use leftovers up. I need to address this. Also found 9 Tosco shopping vouchers. Very pleased with that.
    Originally posted by Muggle1000
    I too meal plan but like you it tends to be a new meal daily. What i find frustrating is buying a pack of lettuce & then only using couple of handfuls say to go along with a burger & not needing it for anything else (not a big fan of lettuce) & then it goes brown & watery in the fridge!
    ....
    • lilian1977
    • By lilian1977 16th Jan 20, 12:39 PM
    • 4,664 Posts
    • 18,473 Thanks
    lilian1977
    I too meal plan but like you it tends to be a new meal daily. What i find frustrating is buying a pack of lettuce & then only using couple of handfuls say to go along with a burger & not needing it for anything else (not a big fan of lettuce) & then it goes brown & watery in the fridge!
    ....
    Originally posted by little_green
    I made this the other day, absolutely delicious and used up the ends of my lettuce. https://www.surreyep.org.uk/reduce-reuse-recycle/food/recipes/lettuce-and-potato-soup/


    My debt free diary
    [/SIZE][/FONT]
    • Finally Solvent
    • By Finally Solvent 16th Jan 20, 12:48 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 1,592 Thanks
    Finally Solvent
    My no-spending intentions have hit the buffers already. My stick blender which didn't cost much at the time and has done absolutely sterling service finally died yesterday. It kept tripping the house fuse s whenever I switched it on and DH said it definitely wasn't repairable. Ordered an identical one at Argos today and will collect when I'm in town tomorrow. Not too much harm done financially as I have just redeemed almost the equivalent amount in cashback from Quidco. Just means my small savings pot won't get anything added

    I make all my own soup, no veg ever gets wasted in this house, and although we love chunky soups I make a lot of smoother ones like leek, carrot, tomato etc too. I'm lost without my trusty stick blender
    Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge 2020 #6 33.49/500
    • lilian1977
    • By lilian1977 16th Jan 20, 12:50 PM
    • 4,664 Posts
    • 18,473 Thanks
    lilian1977
    Hi everyone - I haven't updated for a while but I've been frugalling away quietly, here are a few things I've done:

    I've been on sick leave since Christmas so haven't been paying to get to work, I worked out how much I would need to spend on travel when I go back and transferred the excess to my savings.

    Strict meal planning, which has involved some lovely cheap meals:
    • YS Ginsters pasties with Try Me Free chips and Tesco beans - 23.5p per portion
    • Tofu and chickpea stew with jacket potatoes - got the tofu for 50p and it did for two more meals for DH at work as well
    • Veggie quiche with Try Me Free chips and YS veg - got a pack of Jus Rol shortcrust pastry for 40p and using up just out of date eggs and some aquafaba to bulk them out
    • We ate out on Monday for our son's 9th birthday but he chose the local carvery so it was only 15, we just had mains then went home for birthday cake

    I've been trying to keep the heating and lights off as much as possible, although it's not that easy when you work from home! However, I submitted our meter readings last week and have had an adjustment to my direct debit, down by 34! Hoping to keep this up, as if we save that 34 a month between now and Christmas it just about pays for our Christmas 2020 weekend away.

    However, bad news is that our car won't start - this has happened a few times in the last few months so I think we need a new battery, but I am charging the jump start machine currently in the hope that it will at least see us through the next few days! We budget for emergency costs like this but it's still frustrating.

    Hope everyone is looking forward to the weeekend x


    My debt free diary
    [/SIZE][/FONT]
    • Finally Solvent
    • By Finally Solvent 16th Jan 20, 12:51 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 1,592 Thanks
    Finally Solvent
    I made this the other day, absolutely delicious and used up the ends of my lettuce. https://www.surreyep.org.uk/reduce-reuse-recycle/food/recipes/lettuce-and-potato-soup/
    Originally posted by lilian1977
    Sounds delicious, I'll definitely be trying that one. Thanks for the recipe

    We grow most of our own fruit and veg and are over-run by lettuce in the summer. I never know what to do with it all and even on hot days we still enjoy our lunchtime bowl of HM soup. I think I've tossed most types of veg into my soups but never lettuce before. We live and learn
    Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge 2020 #6 33.49/500
    • Finally Solvent
    • By Finally Solvent 16th Jan 20, 12:57 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 1,592 Thanks
    Finally Solvent
    I've been trying to keep the heating and lights off as much as possible, although it's not that easy when you work from home! However, I submitted our meter readings last week and have had an adjustment to my direct debit, down by 34! Hoping to keep this up, as if we save that 34 a month between now and Christmas it just about pays for our Christmas 2020 weekend away.
    Originally posted by lilian1977
    Wow, did I read that correctly? 34 a month less???. That's an amazing saving. Mine's gone down by 7 a month and I thought that was good
    Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge 2020 #6 33.49/500
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 16th Jan 20, 2:00 PM
    • 1,488 Posts
    • 10,899 Thanks
    PipneyJane
    I'm in a different situation - I have been lurking on these boards for a while. Recently I have moved from UK to a country where living costs are very high due to hubby's job.
    He did get a substantial pay rise, but I'm struggling to find work due to work permits etc - I don't live in Europe. All goods are imported and there are no discount grocery stores. Very little fresh local (cheap) produce is available. I'm looking for motivation to live as frugally as possible in the circumstances as our spending started to get out of control and we have got into a lot of debt very quickly. We are trying to reign spending in before it gets out of hand. I'm looking forward to reading ideas and then adapting them to the reality of where I am living!
    Originally posted by HoneyIShrunktheDebt
    I haven't time to write a detailed response but I would recommend NOT translating everything back into your home currency in your mind.

    Cost of living can have a devastating effect on your budget. I'm an Australian and have lived in the UK for over 30 years. One of the first things I learned in 1989 was that 1 bought considerably less than $1 had at home, while my wages were effectively halved because of the cost of living in the UK.

    As someone else said: talk to the locals and adapt your lifestyle to theirs. Chat up the butcher, the shopkeeper, your neighbours, and figure out how to live like they do.

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

    2020 Fashion on the Ration Challenge 0/66 coupons spent
    • Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    • By Crafty Lisa Hampshire 16th Jan 20, 2:02 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 1,165 Thanks
    Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    I have another spend to report. I got absolutely drenched (and cold) walking home the other night from work and when I looked at my coat I realised that it is well past its best. The inside filling wasn't great and its water resistant coating is non-existent and I realised that the inside lining (and back of the coat where I use a rucksack at times) is rather threadbare. The next day (whilst wearing said coat) I noticed that there was a 70% sale in an outdoor shop in the High Street so I had a look. I normally struggle to get sale stuff in my size (I'm Ms Average it seems) but they had loads. I found a coat that was perfect which was down by 85.00. I went to purchase it and then I was told it was actually only 90.00 (reduced by 110.00). So although I felt I had to splash out on a new coat I did get a bargain and I am hoping it will last me just as long as my old one (7 years) if not longer.


    This month has been a bit of a spend month so I'm thinking that maybe I should just write this month off (but still trying to stick to my budgets) and then review things in February. I should know exactly what my take home is when I get paid at the end of January (as my pay rise should come through then) so I can finalise my budget for this year.


    Thanks for the info about the pennies thread. I'm going to try and have a look for that.
    Lisa x
    Fashion on a Ration Challenge 2020 - 66 (+ 19 carried over) = 85 coupons/Spent 23.5 coupons
    Frugal Living Challenge 2020
    • 2Scratters
    • By 2Scratters 16th Jan 20, 4:20 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 369 Thanks
    2Scratters
    lets do 2020
    Hi Peeps,

    I have read all up on all posts before posting. Learned some new things - everyday is a school day
    Have had quite a few no spend days as been on here. The fridge is getting a bit bare now.


    Have a good week
    Anything is better than nothing-check back and see
    • Savvy sewing
    • By Savvy sewing 17th Jan 20, 9:04 AM
    • 10,994 Posts
    • 58,695 Thanks
    Savvy sewing
    I went back through the links to the threads in 2007 and 2008, and had a reread. That has got me doing the 1000 in 100 days. So far I have managed to put by 245, so that is getting me thinking about a lot of other things I need to do to be on point.
    When I die I will know that I have lived, loved, mattered and made a difference, even if in a small way.
    • allie23
    • By allie23 17th Jan 20, 11:03 AM
    • 1,424 Posts
    • 15,317 Thanks
    allie23
    Morning folks, been keeping up the focus on living frugal. Did some baking last night which will do for snacks over the weekend. food planned for the weekend, I just need to get a food plan done for next week and shop for it.

    Plans for the weekend are:

    Get up to date with housework and laundry (not particularly exciting but I like the end result of a clean, tidy organised home).

    Get the potting shed organised to start growing flowers for the garden. I won't start until the middle of next month but I just want to make sure I have what I need. I might need to buy some more propagators but will see how the ones I have a faring first. I am hoping that my local pound-stretcher will have these in as they usually have them a quite a good price. I will need to buy a new heater for the potting shed so going to shop around to get the best price.

    I have a bulk load of wood being delivered for the wood burner. This is a bigger outlay initially but works out cheaper overall compared to buying bags of logs. This delivery will last us until next winter.

    I am going to have a mooch around some of our local charity shops on Saturday afternoon. I haven't done this in ages. I am looking for a new lightweight scarf to dress up some outfits and have a budget of 5 or less.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2020
    Save 12k in 2020 - Challenger No 4 - 3750/35,000
    February Grocery Challenge 46.43/130
    Saving for Christmas 1 a day - /366
    • mumtoomany
    • By mumtoomany 17th Jan 20, 1:51 PM
    • 268 Posts
    • 1,993 Thanks
    mumtoomany
    Hi all, still frugalling along. Not posted, as I have been reading on my tablet whilst watching the grandchildren. (it won't let me log on!) Did an inventory of both freezers. I have enough meat/fish for around 60 meals for the 8 of us! And loads of veg, fruit, bread, ice cream, cheese etc. However more than 95% of it was either bought at less than full price (yellow label, staff discount, etc) or was home grown. Starting to slowly eat our way through them. Leads to interesting meals, burger, chips and cabbage anyone?

    Need to sort through the seeds left from last year, see what can be planted, what I need more of. Also need to finish clearing out the poly-tunnel. May go and start that now.

    Mended a bread knife yesterday and darned my gloves. DH still working on the barn roof, although I have been out helping him.

    Speak soon, mumtoomany.
    • Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    • By Crafty Lisa Hampshire 17th Jan 20, 2:00 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 1,165 Thanks
    Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    Elisheba - I couldn't find the Sneaky Ways to Saving Pennies Thread. Would you be able to paste up a link so I can have a look at it is possible? Thank you.
    Lisa x
    Fashion on a Ration Challenge 2020 - 66 (+ 19 carried over) = 85 coupons/Spent 23.5 coupons
    Frugal Living Challenge 2020
    • Finally Solvent
    • By Finally Solvent 17th Jan 20, 3:08 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 1,592 Thanks
    Finally Solvent
    Elisheba - I couldn't find the Sneaky Ways to Saving Pennies Thread. Would you be able to paste up a link so I can have a look at it is possible? Thank you.
    Originally posted by Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    Maybe it was this one:

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=2426287


    HIH
    Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge 2020 #6 33.49/500
    • miss empty piggy
    • By miss empty piggy 17th Jan 20, 8:25 PM
    • 710 Posts
    • 7,426 Thanks
    miss empty piggy
    I've just had a good read through - there's some really great tips.
    DFW Nerd No: 600


    193.07/300. Jan grocery challenge 2020
    Pay all debts off by Xmas 2020 125/6k
    Wombling 2020 9.64
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 18th Jan 20, 11:11 AM
    • 12,370 Posts
    • 87,441 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    Hi everyone.....

    I'm loving this thread.....so inspirational. So many useful tips.

    Well I blew my 25 food budget. but then again I have been ill and so have relied on a few easy short cuts. Also I have entertained a bit so extra there. I have also gone back on my diet (lost 3lbs this week wahoo). So again eating lots of fruit and veg which don't come cheap this time of year.

    I've have spent 68 so far, but the freezer and cupboards are still well stocked and we are over half way through the month so I'm hoping to keep the spending down,

    I used to spend over 200 month on groceries, so if I can get it down to 100/120 I will be very happy.

    Like others have said I too am going to try and grow a bit more produce this year, especially soft fruits etc which I can then hopefully freeze for the winter.

    My other money saving this month is I have been a lot more frugal with the energy used, central heating thermostat set a little lower and not washing half loads. I have a smart meter so I can monitor the energy used and I am definitely using less.

    The real good news is that my car sailed through its MOT so nothing to spend there. Phew

    I have been very good and avoided buying any clothes even though I was tempted. I did pick up some nice bits and pieces from the charity shop - bric a brac, cushions and accessories to go with my new colour schemes. Only spent 12 so well pleased.

    That's about it for now......but I will definitely keep reading along to keep me motivated.
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