Welcome to Day 1 of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge!

Note: We are taking the Uber Frugal Month Challenge together as a group for the second time in July 2017! Sign-up in the box below to join the group. For more information on the July 2017 Challenge, check out this post.

Happy New Year! And welcome to the first day of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge! Over 6,000 7,000 8,000 folks are joining me on an epic journey through extreme frugality during the month of January–and you can too! If you sign-up today in the box below, you’ll be on track with the rest of us to receive an email from me every single day of January.

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Signup

We all need some encouragement and inspiration! Starting the day you sign up, I'll send you an email a day for 31 days. Each email will have a tip, meditation, or other frugality enhancer.

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If you woke up this morning wondering what your New Year’s resolution should be, wonder no more! The Uber Frugal Month (UFM) is the perfect New Year’s gift to give yourself–and–it’s only a month long. If you’re already signed up, congratulations and welcome! You should’ve received your first UFM email this morning (check your spam folder if you don’t see it).

A stream on our land that hasn’t frozen over

Although, true to its name, the Uber Frugal Month is only a month long, it’s designed to create lasting changes in how we interact with our money.  After all, it’s pointless to save a ton of money one month only to go spend a ton of money every other month. Indeed, the overarching goal of an Uber Frugal Month is to recalibrate your mindset in relation to spending, saving, material goods, and what you truly need in order to live your version of the good life.

The UFM shocks your system by removing all of your unnecessary spending and helps you identify your long-term goals and priorities. Through the UFM, you’ll also discover just how much money you could save every month if you embraced extreme frugality for the longterm, like Mr. Frugalwoods and me. And this is a virtuous cycle: the less money you need to live on, the more money you save, and the less money you need to earn for the rest of your life.

But long-term extreme frugality isn’t miserly deprivation, it’s all about strategically spending only in service of what matters most to you. Frugality mutes the noise of unnecessary consumerism and grants you the freedom to build the life you want–instead of the life you feel you have to live.

If you’re joining me in this Challenge, or if you’d like to know more about it, check out: Uber Frugal Month: The Ultimate Guide To Saving More Money Than You Ever Thought Possible! You can also join the conversation in our Uber Frugal Month community on Facebook.

What are your goals for 2017?

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Signup

We all need some encouragement and inspiration! Starting the day you sign up, I'll send you an email a day for 31 days. Each email will have a tip, meditation, or other frugality enhancer.

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73 Responses

  1. Wow 6000? That’s great!! Looking forward to what this month will bring (and the month after for me as I’m upping the challenge to 2 months).

  2. Cori says:

    Very excited to begin!

  3. karen says:

    Happy New Year! I calculated my networth (sobering) and finished my expense log for December 2016. I am convinced I can cut the expenses of last month by 60%. I will be aiming for 50% reduction in Grocery bills this month. Can’t wait to read everyone’s comments here, (I’m not a facebook user). Together we can do this!

  4. Lee Ann says:

    well………..we paid off our mortgage as of December 30th 2016. We have one more debt, my car. Our savings is woefully short of what it should be so I am hoping that this month kicks my butt into shape.

  5. Cheryl says:

    Lee Ann, Congratulations on paying off you mortgage TWO DAYS AGO. I’m envious. Wonderful milestone.

    Looking forward to this journey and what I can learn from all of you. (I don’t do Facebook, either.).

  6. Amazing to see how many people are taking on this challenge. What a great way to start the new year! Good luck to everyone!

  7. Sherri says:

    I had already dubbed 2017 “The Year of Living Frugally” when I found this awesome site. So exciting to find so many like-minded people! I’ve always been responsible with money, but our current savings is woefully inadequate, partly due to repairs and upgrades to bring our very old house up to speed, and partly due to mindless spending. I’m looking forward to maximizing savings and trying harder to get my husband on board with regard to uber frugality. 🙂

  8. Yeeee!! let’s do it! let’s see how more frugal we can be 🙂

  9. Frankfurt Rob says:

    6000 wow!!!!!!

    My “about me” text in MMM forums is Frugalitly Allows Me to have My Cake and Eat It Too! It’s a statement to thise who say life is short I want to enjoy it a d such

  10. tarnya says:

    Yay made it through first day without spending a penny. Swerved the last mi ure go looksy sales online, clicked off on links friends sent for good buys on offer today. I even opted for oj day instead of going to cinema (free as a carer ) in aid to not buy a starbucks which I am trying to ween myself off. Bit proud on me today. Have also made decision to not buy a single meal for my home house in January till we have completely pillaged our over stuff chest freezer and depleted all my pre christmas and christmas stash. Phew that’s not bad going for a food hoarder hee hee

    • TRACY says:

      I feel like I am the only person that actually cannot get off Starbucks! I made coffee at home yesterday, and today. First time in a very long time. What is it that makes us love it soooo much? Do they put something addictive in it? I mean besides the obvious caffeine addiction, of which I can get out of my own coffee at home…What is it? I will try so hard this month to stick to this. One day at a time…I haven’t spent anything yesterday or today. 🙂 Yay me! I just hope I can stay this optimistic two weeks from now 🙂

      • katscratch says:

        TRACY yes, actually, Starbucks has made sure their coffee has more caffeine than other brands so that you are quite literally addicted to *Starbucks*. So it’s not just you! Treat yourself for the caffeine withdrawal (for me, an extra cup, lots of Vitamin C, and extra water usually do the trick) and the transition will be much smoother 🙂

    • Mrs. ETT says:

      Congratulations Tarnya, that’s a whole bunch of frugal decisions you chose to make in a single day! Excellent commitment – how much do you think you saved already just by breaking your usual habits? Keep going strong!

    • Maria says:

      Wow Tarnya, looks like you’re off to a great start! I’m finding it really hard to ignore all the great on-line sales though– so tempting. However, I’m committed to stay off those sites and will be sticking to the “frugal month challenge”. I managed to get through day 1 without spending a cent.

  11. sarah says:

    6000!!! Amazing!

  12. Meredith says:

    Spent some time today unsubscribing from shopping email lists and have signed up instead for more frugal-minded lists instead (only have a couple so far). Seems like it will be a lot more motivating to have those emails than the shopping ones! Husband and I have agreed to some mini-goals and one big one (replace our 1998-model car with something more like 2010 – 2012 in December 2017, paying cash). Looking forward to a good year of mindful spending – and saving!

    • katscratch says:

      Unsubscribing is one of those things I don’t *think* makes a big difference until after the fact noticing it does affect my thoughts about ‘stuff I want’. Good idea!

  13. Barbara Hughes says:

    I re-read your article re eating ALL the food & I have started going through the freezer,even made a list of vegies & put on the front of the fridge as they tend to work their way to the back & then slowly die.NOTHING could be as helpful as this one action ie.eat ALL the food.I constantly feel that I need to go shopping as I may be running out of food but the list clarifies how much there actually is.Thanks Barbara

  14. Cheryl says:

    I spent the last two months reorganizing, donating items not needed, cleaning out the house, and purchased a few things that we consider helpful to maximizing our bottom line – like the Foodsaver. Ready to maximize saving this next year!

  15. Sandra says:

    We have no debt, so our goal this month is further minimalism. To that end, we are selling and giving away bedroom furniture, living room furniture, shelving, and more knick-knacks. We just don’t need the storage space. In our earlier downsizing and decluttering days, it was all about the storage. We keep underwear and socks in the bathroom drawers and hang everything else in a closet, plus we’ve pared down to 50 items or less for our individual wardrobes. Tomorrow is Wardrobe Review Day. There will be donations, repairs, alterations, and a new list made in case a few items need to be replaced. I will either make them or look for them in thrifty places and alter them as needed, going by what is on the list and in the budget.

  16. Penny says:

    I love this! It’s amazing to see how many people you’ve inspired! Last year, we put a ton of money towards debt while paying two grad school tuitions. Now that we’re down to one, I’m hoping we can really step up our game even more!

    Oh, and since we’re teachers, grad school is how we get raises 😝

  17. Christine K says:

    Wishing the Uber Frugal month didn’t start on one day a year that Dillards has 50% off of clearance. This is my day to get our shoes and sneakers for the year for 80% off (shoes and undies are the only things we don’t do used). This is literally my only big-spending day of the year…wish it didn’t have to happen on Jan 1st! Otherwise I’m excited for the rest of the uber-frugal month!

  18. Patricia says:

    Day 1 of the frugal challenge is over and I haven’t spent a penny which is good because usually I would have been out for a coffee and maybe even a bit of shopping. Any extra money I save over the next 3 month which is the starter period I intend to do the frugal challenge will be paid off the mortgage which has 6 years left to run.

  19. margo says:

    For all of those who spend on coffee, please learn how to make a great coffee at home. The secret is buy the freshest beans you can , not big quantity a week or 2 worth at avtime, ask at cafes, grind them daily as you need them or 2 days worth only , then use a stovetop esspresso or a French press plunger. Add a teaspoon or 2 of cold watervto the ground coffee just beforecyou pour on the boiled water to stop the oils in the beans getting too hot.
    It is so lovely to go out for a coffee or meet up,with friends for coffee……but most of the time you can save money by making great coffee at home.
    I am lucky my local cofe roasts their own beans so that is fresh, BUT supermarket packaged beans or preground could be quite old..
    Rack up the savings and have fun

  20. Sarah C says:

    Took a lovely hike with my family, came home to a lunch out of our pantry instead of grabbing food out like we might normally have done, and planning a dinner from more pantry stock. Good start to the month and year! I do need a haircut this month, but I’ll spend $15 on that at my local aveda training salon, so not a major expense.

  21. Susan says:

    I am pumped for this challenge! I just wish I could get the hubby 100% on board, oh well, I’ll do what I can to minimize the money flying out the window. Didn’t spend a dime today, never left the house which helps. One thing I’m going to have a problem with is avoiding the grocery store ads and not being able to stock up on items that are a great deal. Good luck everyone!

  22. I paid 45k off by blogging in the past, using the blog to keep me honest. I now have a new blog as a single mum keeping the pennies in my pocket. My resolution is to build my bank account up again.

    • katscratch says:

      I’ve been really surprised so far that getting my thoughts about my finances not just written, but displayed in a public arena, has made a HUGE difference to my motivation. I’m definitely in the writing-for-myself camp, but it’s been fun so far.

  23. Had a great first day of the uber frugal month challenge! Packed some snacks and went on a hike with my three boys (including the littlest one on my back for three hours), came home and had a great homemade lunch and dinner. Today I plan on another spend-free day for my last vacation day before heading back to work tomorrow. Here’s to one day at a time!

  24. We may not be officially participating in your challenge, but do know we are reading and living the frugal life still. So great to see so many people joining you on this journey!!

  25. Sheila says:

    I’ve had an interesting reaction to this challenge as I read everything and look at my financials. I’ve been very, very down on myself for my financial management in the last year. We made a couple of decisions that made things very tight for us (refinancing our house for a shorter time period and buying another vehicle – I don’t regret buying it, but I did it in a way that was better financially in the long term but harder in the short term), and then we had some medical issues for both my husband and I and our dogs (kids have stayed healthy, thank God!), that cost a lot. But when I ran year end-reports, and looked at the totals, we had $5,190.17 expenses OVER budget just for medical and dogs, and my budget was based on several previous years of data. We also made a choice to spend in a couple of ways that we didn’t plan to – one for an activity for one daughter that was hugely beneficial to her and the other was in charity. Despite all that and having a very tight budget to begin with, I only came up $1605 short in my savings goals, and I really felt like our spending was completely in line with our priorities. We are still on track for a planned retirement of 59.5 for my husband and 57.5 for me (we are 52 and 50 now). So oddly enough, reviewing all this in conjunction with looking at the frugal challenge actually allowed me to forgive myself. I still plan to participate – I have a big list for Sam’s for this week which should cover most of our meals for the month, but we don’t actually have a lot in our budget to cut out. We don’t have cable, use Ooma for home phone, etc. Our per person groceries are only slightly more than the Frugalwoods. We do spend on crossfit, but have a great deal for $150/month, and that is completely in line with our priorities. I also work from home, and the social aspect is pretty huge to me. So for me, I’ll be trying to bring the grocery budget down even a bit more and the biggest question is eating out, and I’ll be working with my husband on that (he didn’t sign up for the challenge :)). So the reason for this big long comment), is to say that while I really don’t expect to save that much extra money this month, thank you for this examination that gave me some peace that I didn’t have before and the encouragement to continue to do the things I have been doing. I’ll be reading all the comments as well as the posts! I love seeing what other people are doing and always rethinking my own ways.

    • katscratch says:

      Oh my gosh! I had almost the *exact* same financial events as you! Refinanced, car loan (I was hoping to pay cash), several unexpected medical procedures for myself and an emergent procedure then surgery for my kiddo, geriatric pets that required a big spike in spending at the end of their lives (over the last 2 years).

      Replace CrossFit with being new to bicycling, though 😉

      We also haven’t had the usual consumer-y things to cut out like cable etc so it really has been all about determining my real priorities and making sure all my spending falls in line.

      For me, a big factor to letting go of my anxiety and guilt over my money choices in the past few years is reading Frugalwoods. Even though on paper my finances are nothing like theirs, Mrs. Frugalwoods’ writing style is so full of grace and inspiration, it’s impossible not to feel motivated and to feel good about the things I’ve done right. It’s one of the few sites I read that frames things in a way that makes them fun while also being aware not everyone is in the same boat.

      I too, read all the comments. I’ve learned so much from people posting – sometimes it’s just a simple turn of phrase that starts me in a better direction.

      Thank you so much for commenting!

  26. Jenni says:

    I’m in! We’ve spent the last two years packing and decorating our home ready to move, so our 2017 goal is to sell our house (lovely, but a city terrace with no garden) and buy somewhere with a decent sized garden so I can grow food and rescue chickens. This is likely to mean a mortgage though, so we have a couple of goals:

    1. JANUARY – Save £1000 to the house fund
    2. SIX MONTHS – Save enough to pay for moving expenses/stamp duty etc without having to add them onto the mortgage (should be done in the next couple of months)
    3. LONG TERM – pay off mortgage within 10 years of getting it so I have the option of working (very) part time

    We’re pretty frugal already but habits have been drifting with no specific goal in mind, and also because decorating everything ourselves has been quite stressful (although frugal!) and I’ve been working full time after only working 4 days a week for several years. Lots of spendy habits have snuck in – but they’re going to be flung right back out again this month. Good luck everyone!

  27. Lynn says:

    I am absolutely determined to spend nothing I don’t have to in January, and to use the mantra “experiences, not stuff” for the rest of the year.

  28. Karen says:

    I am learning lots reading posts. Strategies today, I sorted through fridge and pantry to meal plan for the week-I won’t grocery shop this week! Laundered and ironed my work clothes-I am on month 6 of no clothes shopping and I haven’t felt it one bit!
    Big goal for this month-to truly know what I can save from one paycheck to put towards speeding up my savings rate. Together we can do this! Karen

  29. Anne says:

    FWIW. . . I signed up yesterday and immediately got your first (very inspiring) email post, however nothing came through today? (And I did check my spam folder, it’s not there.) Thought you might like to know in case others are having similar experiences.

    Best,
    Anne

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hi Anne, Thank you so much for signing up! The emails are automatically sent around 5:00am EST every morning. However, when they arrive in your inbox is dependent upon your email provider and your internet connection. If a few days pass and you’re not getting the emails (and they haven’t gone to your spam folder), you might’ve accidentally unsubscribed from the list–and so, you can just sign up again here on the blog. I hope this helps :)!

      • Anne says:

        Thank you. I got today’s post (#3), so must be properly signed up, but no sign of yesterday’s anywhere, FWIW. Is there a link to the daily posts on your website? Thanks.
        Best,
        Anne

    • Christine K says:

      Same here, but I figured maybe there aren’t daily emails? I think a lot of people are participating in this on Facebook so maybe updates are on there…don’t know because I don’t have a FB acct.

      I’m failing the Uber Frugal challenge. We have been waiting 3 years for a certain travel deal to reoccur and it just did yesterday. I booked it. DH is laughing at me because I’m having a “frugality crisis” over this. He says we are frugal so we can take advantage of the travel when opportunity knocks. Still though…UGH!

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Hi Christine:
        The emails come every single day (for 31 days) and are automatically sent around 5:00am EST every morning. However, when they arrive in your inbox is dependent upon your email provider and your internet connection. The subject line will always start with “UFM” so you can search your email for “UFM.”

        If a few days pass and you’re not getting the emails (and they haven’t gone to your spam folder), you might’ve accidentally unsubscribed from the list, and so, you can just sign up again here on the blog. I hope this helps :)!

        • Christine K says:

          I just received day 2 this morning so I think mine are delayed somehow. I signed up again yesterday just in case also. Thanks!

          • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

            Hi Christine: the emails are sent out automatically every day for 31 days and they start on the day you sign-up. So if, for example, you signed up today, you’d get day 1 today, day 2 tomorrow, and so forth. I hope this helps and, thank you so much for joining the Challenge :)!

  30. I’m super pumped to start the Uber Frugal Month!

    This isn’t necessarily a frugal goal, but I’ve been great about exercising for the last week. I’m not doing to lose weight or anything; I just wanted to get back on the wagon with exercising since it makes me feel awesome. And when I feel awesome I don’t feel like spending moolah!

    Our big goal for UFM is to get our savings rate to 60%. We’re hovering in the 50% range and I’d love to increase that, especially as we’re paying off our $65,000 student loans in 18 months. Let’s do this!

  31. snowcanyon says:

    I’m doing it- trying to keep non-rent, non-health insurance premium expenses below $1k a month. But, in reality, I’m not sure if it will change anything in my life. I don’t spend that much more now, and in all honesty I doubt, despite my prodigious savings rate, if I’ll ever be able to achieve the life I want (just to move home, that’s all, but it’s hard if home is Manhattan).

    With 40% of my earnings going to taxes, soaring real estate prices in my hometown, and a career I abhor, I’m not sure how much more $500 a month will do, or even what the point is, really.

  32. Rachael says:

    High five to all the other frugal warriors this month! Every small victory is still a big step in the right direction!
    I’m off to a pretty good start so far this month! I made a few decisions that will cut our costs, which are already pretty low, and increase our income and net worth. I did treat myself and my husband to local artisan ice cream (kids scoops!) after a long side-gig shift yesterday, but only with the tip money earned from that shift. My husband and I treated it as a date.

    – Switched to eating pescetarian, with fish as a protein source only 1 meal/week (all home cooked meals, started this in December and groceries are down from $70/week for 2 to $50 or less. Not willing to go less on this, since cooking is both sustenance and a hobby for my husband and I!)
    – Use Aldi as my 1st stop when buying groceries instead of the “fancier” grocery store, which I can get the other odds and ends at
    – Picked up 4 side-gig shifts the 1st week of the month with amazon flex (like uber but for packages! this is on top of my full-time career.)
    – Switched off my non-pension retirement savings (previously $6,000/yr) to send instead to consumer debt (small 1k cc balance) and student loans (~40k)(though the thought of not saving in my 457b makes me a little antsy.. there’s ~15k balance at the moment and I’d rather get the return from paying off loans since I’ll be disqualified from PSLF once my husband starts working..)
    – Signed up for focus group studies- I’ve already got one booked tomorrow that pays a $100 visa gift card for yogurt tasting!
    – Got free tickets for movie screenings and local museums from the library and local film society so I can still “do fun stuff” without spending $$$$.
    – Started charging my electric car exclusively at free charge stations instead of at home (started this one in ~November and have saved ~$25/month off of my electricity bill and got more walking and library time in!)

    My husband’s and my combined net worth is still in the negative, but I’m confident that this year we’ll really start to be able to see things turn around! I’m hoping this month goes smoothly and I can continue taking on side-gig hours without getting burnt out until my husband graduates from his (paid!) master’s program in May.

  33. Annabella says:

    hi fellow-frugalcommunity,

    2016 ended very poorly for me, my mum (80) broke her leg and had to have surgery. You may ask yourself what has that got to do with the challenge, well… I have already an uberfrugal year behind me, I did very well, expect for one nasty habit, I am smoking one pack/day, this is the only way to participate in the challenge, quit smoking, so, I had already prepared with Allan Carr’s book and felt ready before silvester, when that phone call reached me and of course I felt immediately I would not make it, now, a few days have passed, I am much calmer again and have just extinguished the last one, ashtray and lighter discarded, please keep fingers crossed 🙂
    My motto will be “I am not giving something up, but I am going to gain something”

    I also installed kind of a system where I get points for “good behavior”, be it sports, be it learning something, all kind of stuff, and there is no gratification planned for it, except little imaginary medals of honor.
    Wishing you All the Best from Switzerland
    Annabella

  34. Gladys says:

    I just signed up!!!
    We already lowered our cellphone bill this month for $69.12 for two lines!

  35. snowcanyon says:

    I’m planning on FIREing soon, or at least moving to a 1099 paycheck. Any thoughts on how to lower health insurance costs? Or how people are addressing potential changes in the ACA?

    Any thoughts from the Frugalwoods?

  36. We are going to be moving this month or next, so it’s not practical for us to participate this time, but I don’t feel too bad because every month is basically an uber frugal month for us!
    I’m still working on our goals for 2017, but I have to include losing weight. It’s tradition.

  37. snowcanyon says:

    Hmm. Just doingy accounts- I spent less than 1k beyond rent, which is a great month for me. Guess I’ll have to turn the heat down to 55, forgo renewing my professional memberships, and skip the trip home to see my parents.

    I hope I don’t regret this…January is hard.

  38. FrugalFox says:

    It’s official I’ve signed up. Looking forward to receiving some great tips. Hopefully I’ll be able to repay you with some tips of our own.

  39. Shannon says:

    So wish I could join! But we are heading to New Orleans for a mini-vacation in a week and that’s not exactly frugal. But during the other weeks, I’ll be doing my best!

  40. Karen says:

    4th day of no spending. Feeling good, had to race home to eat leftovers after a very lengthy work meeting….didn’t hit the fast food or coffee shop so I am proud of myself. I am reviewing goals every day and anticipating triggers, I have unsubscribed to a lot of online coupon/shopping sites. The weekend may present challenges, so I will spend a little time thinking about that before I get blindsided by impulses—planning is key! It is critical for me to stay motivated daily to help develop this new habit of not turning to shopping or spending impulsively when bored, stressed or without forethought. Reading everyone’s post is also very helpful. Non-judgemental, supportive group of people!

  41. Samantha says:

    A little late to the game, but I’m ready to stop spending… as soon as I buy my new used car this weekend. It’s only costing me $750 out of pocket, so no car payment! I’ve already purged my home of unnecessary junk – made 6 bags of clothing to go to good will, and have already given away things on freecycle.com. I have also made a menu of 5 weeks worth of food (3 meals and snacks!!) to keep me from dining out. Looking forward to see through this challenge with you all.

  42. 8,000 participants! Wow! I’ll be doing the challenge and will be trying for a year. Here’s to hoping we all can learn something from being frugal and identifying what is important to us in life.

  43. Karen says:

    Day 5 = 0 spending! Leftovers- gotta be creative and adventurous!

  44. Esther says:

    Hey i recieved day 1&2 of the frugal challenge but not one since, checked my spam no luck

  45. Tracy says:

    I am fully committed to the Uber Frugal Challenge! I wrote EVERYTHING down on paper and actually made myself look at it. Sounds silly, I know, but it’s been very easy to overlook uncomfortable things (credit card debt, car payments, etc.) I’m in a bit of shock and slightly embarrassed. I mean, how did we get here??? Well, I KNOW how we did but WHY did we allow it? I wish I could post this on the Uber Frugal Challenge FB page to get feedback from others, however my mother tracks everything I do on FB and don’t need her knowing all this. Sigh……. Thank you for creating this challenge. It’s something I’ve needed to do for a LOOOOOOOONG time!

  46. Karen says:

    Day 6 = grocery and gas $ spent today and tracked on my expense app. Usually we get takeout on Friday nite–not this time!! Also spent 45 minutes arguing about a $20 copay–my stubbornness paid off and I don’t have to pay it. Being frugal takes time and energy and singlemindedness!! Stick with it–its worth it!!

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