Wednesday, 27 November 2013

1999-2014 Celebrating 15 Years of Frugal Living Challenges

My Moneysaving Experience Has Taught Me Well!

Frugaldom's Annual Frugal Living Challenge

It's the time of year when we all need to start thinking ahead into the new year, especially if we need to tackle any debts, generate extra income or squirrel away some extra savings for something special.
Scottish pound note
Scottish pounds - still in circulation
2014 is a very special year for NYK - it will be the 15th anniversary of our frugal living challenges. (We did have challenges prior to that, but of a slightly different variety.)

Every year, I set a Frugal Living Challenge, based on the original concept known as 'The Scottish Pound'. The following is clipped from a 1999 newspaper and shows the beginnings of our first, ever, published grocery challenge. For the benefits of non-Scots, the word 'messages' basically mean groceries.

NYK Media's first published grocery challenge from 1999

The grocery budget has increased, somewhat, since 1999. Currently, the Frugaldom household grocery budget is set at £1 per person per day for all meals. In saying that, I have maintained the same overall annual budget for many, many years, so my £4,000 per year challenge is still the one I, personally, follow. Nowadays, I'm probably getting far more for my £4,000 because some luxury non-essentials cost much less.

Life experience (and a 1997/8 challenge) taught me that almost all things are possible within a budget, as long as we are realistic about wanting to achieve our goals and live well within our means. By following a few basic principles (and almost every trick in the book) I managed to clear my feet by 2007, but continued running the challenges, multiplying and diversifying them along the way.

I love trying to beat the banks, squeeze overhead costs and attempt what some consider to be impossible while stretching every single penny of my budget as far as is humanly possible! Year on year, we try to grow more, make more, save more, need less and waste less. The quest for self-sustainability is still as relevant now as it ever has been, in my opinion.
A budget is a very personal thing; it should fit with your personal financial situation and it should enable a decent lifestyle to be affordable. No two households are identical, so work out your own cost of living and your own household budget. If you aren't too sure how to do that, you can check out What is a Budget?'

Some followers of NYK and Frugaldom have already achieved their debt free status and moved on in their worlds, while some now follow our challenges simply to help them remain free from debt. Others are still pursuing that dream. Whichever stage you are at, feel free to join us for 2014. Share your journey with like-minded others in the Frugal Forums.

Now we are approaching December 2013 and preparing to launch the 2014 Frugal Living Challenges, which will be hosted in the Frugal Forums. As usual, some will also be featured elsewhere in various guises. We do like to spice things up a bit now and again, so we incorporate mini challenges lasting anything from a few days to weeks or months.

The final monthly-challenge of this year is Decius Frugalus! For the entire month of December, we will be practicing our creative, moneysaving, frugal lifestyles with an attempt at zero-waste on cash, energy, food and fuel in an attempt to leap into the new year full of renewed hopes, dreams and ambitions.

They may take our money but - once achieved - they may never take our debt freedom!

For some it is initially about asking themselves the question, 'how did I get into debt'? That is generally followed by the all too familiar, 'how do I get out of debt?' and, as soon as that penny has finally dropped, you should feel some of the weight lift off your shoulders. Clearing debt isn't easy, but nor is it impossible. If you want to be part of a mutually supportive and rather exclusive group of like-minded people, introduce yourself in the Frugal Forums.
For others, our challenges are about increasing savings, buying property, becoming stay at home mums, starting businesses, seeing the world or paying off the mortgage early. Some choose the lifestyle on ethical grounds but it is not, as has been suggested in the past, self-imposed poverty. It's a fun and supportive way to help you manage your budget, enabling you to control your own cost of living. It's also about separating the NEEDS from the WANTS.

In case you should ever run a little short of free reading material, the following links will take you to previous versions of this challenge that have run on the website. It's a no holds barred look at reality in a virtual world:


  1. I have just found your blog and am looking forward to having a good look later.
    I did see one of your goals is to live on 4,000 pounds a year and I was wondering if this included everything.
    I am in Australia and we are pensioners. I have just calculated that that is just over $7,000 and I thought I would look and see if we could live on 8,000, but I don't think so!!
    Just our home and contents insurance is $1,000 and you could say another for electricity and gas.

    1. I list everything required of a household apart from our property tax, known here as Council Tax, which is about £1,000 per year. It's all explained in where we already have Australian based challengers taking part. :)

  2. Hello! I just want to say that every time I pop on your site I get more inspired :-) Pru

    1. Good luck and all the very best for 2014. :)


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