Frugal living blog about how to do some money saving and cost cutting in an effort to live a good life, free from debt, without having to live in self-imposed poverty. You won't find us running for awards or seeking fame, fortune or even national recognition because we live the life we write - it is as simple as that.
The Frugal Blog is linked to and supported by the frugal forums, frugal shop, NYK's chat room and the land of Frugaldom, which came about as a direct result of having stuck with my frugal living, moneysaving challenge unfalteringly until the point of attaining debt freedom, and then for the next 7 years thereafter. This is now year 8 of my debt free challenge and almost all of it has been documented online as a frugal blog with forum posts.
Frugal Living Challenge
This is an adaptation of the original 'Living on £4,000 for a Year' challenge, which has been running online since 2007. Some of the NYK challenges date back to the late 1990's, so I do have a considerable amount of experience in balancing my own books, while living within my own means, always done on a budget that some consider to be impossible. Utter nonsense! It is entirely possible and is an achievement of which I am particularly proud. I can say with confidence that frugal living, free from debt, on a small income is 100% possible. You do, however, need to exercise will power and keep yourself focussed on your plans in order to achieve these otherwise impossible goals.
We have seen many changes over the years, so each stage in the development of our frugal living and working plans takes us a step closer to the good life and beyond. Your budget is personal to you, it should fit with your personal financial situation and it should be something you are happy to achieve. If you can achieve a point at which you spend less than you have coming in, then you are halfway there. Getting to the point that you are spending less than you are earning while also absolutely free from debt is the ultimate goal. You just need to believe it is possible and stick to your plan, no matter what.
You can join our quest for financial freedom by visiting us in our members only frugal living forums.
My frugal living challenge is not about self-deprivation or self-imposed poverty just for the sake of it, it is about providing genuine support for those who are prepared to try making a real difference to their own lives while sorting out their difficult financial situations. Once the debts are gone and you are in full command of your own spending (or not spending, as the case may be), the world is your oyster. Whether you choose to invest, explore, plant a forest, see the world or lead a comfortable life knowing you are financially secure is entirely up to you.
Many former and current challengers have achieved debt freedom and now follow frugal lifestyles in order to stay free from debt while pursuing better lives without the entrapment of credit. Others are tackling debts, including mortgages, while following a frugal lifestyle in an attempt to reach their debt-free or mortgage-free day. Whichever stage you are at, feel free to join us and share your journey.
2015 saw the return of the live NYK Chat room, complete with scheduled chats for the purposes of additional support, plus live question time. The new platform has been tested over the past few months and it is hoped that the increased potential for even more real time interactivity can help many more people who want to embark on their own money saving journeys to financial freedom.
This challenge is about establishing your true cost of living, sticking to your budget, clearing debts (if you have any) 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 frugalers include batch cooking, stockpiling useful bargains, 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 doing whatever it takes to become self sufficient in managing the cost of living without incurring debt.
For some it is about clearing debt, for others it's about increasing savings, buying property, becoming stay at home parents or paying off the mortgage early. Some choose the lifestyle on ethical grounds, others seek early retirement or self-sustainability. Above all, this is meant to be a fun and supportive way to manage a minimal budget so you have control of your own money.
- It's about NEEDS and not WANTS
- Living on a budget = living within our means
- Frugal = thrifty, living without waste
Fifty Shades of Money Saving
- Recognise the differences between needs from wants
- Spend within your means
- Set a proper budget
- Quit expensive habits
- Houseshare or get a lodger
- Shop via cashback sites
- Always price compare
- Buy reduced items in stores only if you need them
- Stockpile & bulk buy long shelf life groceries that you will use
- Batch cook
- Make the most of charity shops
- Join Freecycle or other similar waste awareness and recycling groups
- LETS trading - become active members of trading & exchange groups
- Grow herbs, fruit & vegetables
- Preserving - jams, jellies, cordials, pickles, relishes & wine
- Bake your own bread using cheap flour
- Learn easy bake biscuit, cake and pastry recipes
- Make your own greetings cards
- Give homemade gifts
- Share orders with friends, colleagues and family for better discounts & reduced delivery costs
- Landshare, garden share or apply for an allotment if you have no growing space
- Make the most of all freebies
- Develop your own home-based business
- Sell your surplus through the likes of eBid and eBay trading
- Do a kitchen cupboard inventory of foodstuffs
- Use lists for grocery shopping
- Know exactly what is in your freezer
- Use up everything in your fridge
- Learn how to make soups, stews and casseroles
- Make the most of your slow cooker, if you have one
- Learn how to knit, crochet and/or sew
- Make do and mend rather than buy new
- Engage in clothes swaps and accessorise your outfits rather than have to buy new
- Learn to make your own laundry cleaner
- Make your own household cleaning agents: invest in soda crystals or sodium bicarbonate,
- Get inventive in the kitchen with herbs and spices to use up all leftovers
- Use the free gym whenever you like - just open your door and step outside
- Use housework as an exercise routine
- Dry flowers so they last forever
- Collect seeds for sowing
- Go foraging for free wild foods
- Trim your own hair or ask a friend to do it for you
- Turn down the thermostat if you have central heating - wear an extra layer of clothing instead
- Early to bed, early to rise - based on daylight, it can save on lighting
- Collect fallen sticks, twigs, dry leaves and fir cones for kindling if you have an open fire or stove
- Save all suitable containers for freezing or preserving food
- Eat a sensible diet: over-eating is one of the costliest mistakes you can make, along with wasting food
- Food is NOT bad just because it has passed its 'Best Before' date. Undamaged tins and properly stored dried goods can last for years beyond that
- Stay focussed and stay strong - debts have to be paid before saving for rainy days and luxuries
By basing your frugal lifestyle around a combination of the above suggestions, you will soon begin to recognise many more ways of saving money but the easiest way to get started is simply to quit spending it until you have assessed your real cost of living. Monitoring and revising a budget is part of any frugal living plan.
Please respect others' lifestyles and beliefs. We are not here to judge, we are here to support. Feel free to join us by following the frugal blog, registering for our free forums or joining us in the chat room sometime soon. We aren't here to score points or win prizes, we are here to show how simple life can be and then the fun can begin.