Let’s Take The Uber Frugal Month Challenge Together!
Note: You can sign-up for the Uber Frugal Month Challenge at any time! Although we take the Challenge as a group every January and July, you can start it on your own whenever you’d like. Just sign-up in the box below and you’ll receive an email a day for 31 days.
Do you want to save more money in 2017? Ok, Ok I fully realize we just got over Thanksgiving and that Christmas is weeks away yet. And so, it might seem premature to begin a conversation about New Year’s resolutions. However, I’m broaching the topic early this year because, for the first time in Frugalwoods history, I’m hosting an Uber Frugal Month Challenge in January!
I know that many of you have completed the Uber Frugal Month Challenge on your own, because you’ve sent me countless success stories. And so, I thought that since everything is better when done with friends, we should do the Uber Frugal Month Challenge together! Sound exciting? Sound terrible? Either way, keep reading.
As many of you know, the Uber Frugal Month is how Mr. Frugalwoods and I got our start in extreme frugality. It chronicles the precise steps we took to launch ourselves to a savings rate of 72%+, and chart our way to financial independence and our homestead in the woods.
Beyond merely saving money, an Uber Frugal Month resets your brain, and more specifically, your degree of hedonic adaptation. Through an Uber Frugal Month, you learn that not buying things isn’t difficult. You’ll realize that saving money can become your default approach to finances. The Uber Frugal Month will serve as your touchpoint for your maximum frugality level.
After the Challenge, you might decide you don’t want to live quite that frugally, but I can almost guarantee you won’t go back to spending as much as you did before participating in the Challenge. In general, with an Uber Frugal Month, you’ll find that your natural set point of frugality has migrated to a more frugal level on the spending continuum. And what you’ll then discover is that frugality isn’t just a way to save money, it’s a life philosophy you can apply to everything you do.
It’s incredibly easy for all of us to get caught up in the lifestyle inflation trap of treating ourselves and continually upgrading our material possessions. After all, that’s what everyone else does. Except for everyone else participating in this Challenge!
The Uber Frugal Month Challenges You To:
- Examine all of your spending.
- Categorize mandatory vs. discretionary expenses.
- Identify areas where you can reduce or eliminate spending–and then do it!
- Go as frugal as you possibly can for one whole entire month.
- At the end of the month, identify what level of frugality is feasible for YOU to embrace for the longterm.
The Uber Frugal Month Challenge is no joke. It’s no semi-frugal, maybe-I’ll-cut-down-on-one-latte-per-week scheme. This is the hardcore, I am willing to change in order to save more money RIGHT NOW scheme. Lucky for you, it works, it’s straightforward, and–for the first time ever–we’re going to do it together!
In the month of January 2017 (which is next month… eeeek!), I invite you to join me, and fellow frugal sojourners, in following the Uber Frugal Month Challenge. Fear not, I’ll provide in-depth information on how to execute your very own Uber Frugal Month.
Uber Frugal Month Challenge FAQs (actually I have no idea if these are FAQs since I’ve never done this before… so feel free to ask more Qs in the comments!):
1) If you’re anything like me, your first question is, “how much will this cost?” In allegiance with my frugal belief system, participating in the Challenge is completely FREE. So, no excuses!
2) Where do I sign up? Put your email address in the box below and click on the Signup button:
Uber Frugal Month Challenge Signup
We all need encouragement and inspiration on our financial journey! Signup to receive an email a day from me for 31 days. Every email has a tip, a mantra, an action item, and recommended reading, all designed to help you transform your finances. You can take the UFM at any time and as many times as you want!
3) Why a month? I find that a month is long enough to give you a true sense of how extreme frugality feels, but short enough to ensure you’ll stick it out all 31 days. What I experienced after my very first Uber Frugal Month was awe at how little I missed my erstwhile spendy ways. For the most part, I simply didn’t need the junk I’d been wasting my money on.
4) What will we do? We’ll kick off with a full rundown on what an Uber Frugal Month entails (which you can read right here) and how to incorporate the strategies of extreme frugality into your life. I’ll send all members of the Challenge a daily email of inspiration/motivation/frugal strategy.
5) Where will we talk with other members of the Challenge? On Facebook! We’ll have regular discussions, moderated by me, on our Uber Frugal Month Challenge Facebook page. Yes, you will need a Facebook account in order to participate in this aspect of the Challenge, but that too is free of charge (hooray!). P.S. If you’d rather not get a Facebook account, you can still participate in the Challenge by signing up in the box at the bottom of this post.
6) What’s the goal? The overarching goal of participating in the Uber Frugal Month is to get your spending in alignment with your goals. Additionally, you’ll learn how much more money you can save every month if you live with the extreme frugality mindset. You just might find yourself on track to achieve financial independence and retire early…
7) Who should sign up? Anyone who wants to improve their finances! This Challenge is tailored for folks who already understand the basics of frugality (which if you’re reading this, you do) and who want to augment their savings. Whether you’re new to frugality, or you’ve been practicing it for decades, you are welcome! The Challenge is especially for you if you think you can’t possibly save any more money. Even old-timers like me need a refresh with our frugality and the Uber Frugal Month is the perfect opportunity to check-in with not only our spending and savings projections, but also our mindset as it relates to consumption.
8) When is this again? The entire month of January 2017. We start January 1, hungover or not!
9) What happens at the end of the Challenge? All participants will be invited to share success stories and lessons learned here on Frugalwoods.
10) Why are you doing this, Mrs. FW? For the same reason I write this blog: I’m passionate about spreading the message that through frugality, you can achieve a happier, more peaceful, less stressful existence. And I’m passionate about demonstrating that everyone can manage their money wisely, and I’m passionate about the fact that consuming more stuff doesn’t equal a life. And I’m passionate about helping people re-architect their lives so that they don’t need to spend a ton of money in order to be happy, fulfilled, and at peace. That’s really what this is all about.
Ok that’s all I can think of for now. You can begin signing up for the Challenge today and I’ll send out reminders throughout December. We’ll start on January 1, so don’t delay! If you’ve already signed up, be sure to read Uber Frugal Month: The Ultimate Guide To Saving More Money Than You Ever Thought Possible.
Have you ever done an Uber Frugal Month on your own? What questions do you have about next month’s Challenge?
Uber Frugal Month Challenge Signup
We all need encouragement and inspiration on our financial journey! Signup to receive an email a day from me for 31 days. Every email has a tip, a mantra, an action item, and recommended reading, all designed to help you transform your finances. You can take the UFM at any time and as many times as you want!
I’ll be on vacation for a good bit of January, so I won’t plan on making it any more frugal than usual, but this sounds like a great way to motivate people to stay with it for a whole month! Daily emails with motivation sound super helpful!
January is a great month to do this challenge, in my opinion. I feel like we need a detox after holiday spending, and we have everything we want or need after Christmas. Great idea to invite people to participate together!
Love your pseudonym*
I’m so excited. I need a tuneup. So HAPPY for you and beautiful family. You helped me get started. And I don’t feel depraved. No, no deprived. Thank you so much for my new attitude.
Love this idea! January is a great month to reset spending and take back control of all the money leaks. I definitely want to cut back after the holidays and focus on eating out less. We’ve got a pressure cooker now, so no excuses!
Ooooo a pressure cooker! So cool!
Love your term, “money leaks.”. How appropriate.
I love my instant pot! I make yogurt in it almost every weekend now.
I’m making my first batch tomorrow. Ordered the 7/1 Instant Pot on cyber Monday!
Thanks; this is great timing as my husband and I have finally managed to buy a house in Greater Boston and will be moving at the end of February. Looking to incorporate mucho frugality and like many other readers, it will be easier for me than for him. I think I will need to quietly lead by example.
Very exciting! This is perfect timing as I already spent a good chunk of time last weekend looking at my monthly recurring expenses now and into 2017. It’s a start, but I really could use your tips and inspiration throughout the month to make big changes. Thank you in advance!
I am so excited! I had already planned on doing a “no spend” January, so I am super glad to have encouragement from my favorite blog, along with it’s followers. I know I will learn a lot from others in January, and I look forward to it!
Oh, fun challenge Mrs. Frugalwoods!
I feel like every month starts out as an Uber Frugal Month at our house, but things like Daycare and home repairs always kill the results. It can be a little frustrating.
Yes there is no going around paying for pre school
Agreed – – $766 a month over here!! But that ends for me in September and I plan on not spending a penny of that. I’m sure there still will be after school care costs etc, but nothing close to what I’m spending now. I’m choosing to be optimistic today and see this as an opportunity for the future 🙂
I remember the daycare challenge so well…in Toronto daycare is obscenely expensive (over a $1,100/mo for full day pre school age…and that was a few years ago now). Depending on the age of your kids, perhaps you could switch to an aftercare only program, or a half day program if they’re not in school? When my daughter started all day jr kindergarten (thank you Ontario government!), we were able to at first switch to only paying the after care fees (less than the cost of before and after care), then later arrange our schedules to handle pick up/drop off between us, eliminating the need for daycare altogether. Of course, since she was older, the savings were partly re-directed to more activity fees (piano, taekwondo, swimming during the school year; and, half-day programs at the Royal Ontario Museum during summer break), but MUCH more reasonable than daycare fees and still great socializing/learning fun from my daughter’s perspective.
Loving this plan! My family and I have big dreams of leaving the Silicon Valley and decamping to Oregon. Seems like a Long journey, but your blog has inspired me! Viva la frugal!
Wonderful! So glad to hear you’re joining us 🙂
We’re in SF, dreaming of homesteading in Tennessee, Clancy! Hello, neighbor!
Thanks for the challenge. I’m in!
Thank you for doing this. I can’t wait to get started!
I wish the Frugalwoods family a wonderful holiday.
Perfect. A detox after holiday spending is just what my bank account needs!
This is going to RocK!! January is generally bill hangover month from Christmas over indulgence. A frugal January is the cold shower I need to do a mind reset. We’ve paid off two large credit card balances this year. I have one left to go! This is really going to help clean that up a bit quicker.
<3 the terms I am reading here. Detox, $ leaks. Hub & I are faithful frugal followers & we are excited to join other like minded people. I have an idea for me to do already. Hub & I study weekly & have many goals. Jan will be a great time to accept & challenge others. Joy to the world.
Just signed up! Thanks, this should be fun and easier to do with the support of a group.
I’ve been rereading posts to stay motivated…
Sorry, can’t do FB though – don’t agree with that company.
Can’t wait to get started! My husband and I are both on board to cut out excess spending and make wiser financial decisions. After many years of marriage, we finally set up an official budget last month. What an eye-opening experience that was!!!
Woohoo! I need inspiration too. We are moving in spring to our homestead and I want finances in shipshape order. Thanks, I’m in:)
I usually hit the mall early January to stock up on some things during the after holidays huge sales everywhere. Do I still qualify for this challenge?
I’m looking forward to January! Thank you for providing this supportive environment. Like another reader, I’m not on Facebook. So I will kiss out on that part, unfortunately.
I think you can still get the daily email send out by signing up tho
Glad to have you, Faith! Yes, Lisa-Michelle is correct, you can still participate by signing up for the emails.
Thank you! I did sign up for the daily e-mails. I just meant I would miss out the community support since you are doing this through Facebook.
I adore this idea! I’m totally signing up. 🙂 Our savings rate is currently hovering in the 40 % – 50% range and I’ve been looking for ways to increase that. We’ve started our badass student loan payoff ($65,000 in 18 months!) and every little bit of money helps!
Wow you go Mrs Pincher- that is an awesome saving rate-woot!
I will definitely be participating! I would also like to ask you to in future maybe do some posts on helping parents and students do college day in and day out expenses more frugally. I have two in college right now and though we are always on our game, we can always use more tips and more perspectives on how to manage it.
Hi Stacey, so glad you’re joining us! I actually have several posts on frugality in college: Frugal Advice For New College Graduates, Our Guide To A Very Frugal (Yet Still Awesome) College Experience, and That Time I Went To Grad School For Free*. I hope these help 🙂
Hi Stacey 🙂 I don’t know if this would be applicable where your children are in college, but my son calculated that the most economical meal plan was paying for one meal daily and supplementing with groceries. His dorm is three blocks from a low-ish priced grocery store, which definitely helps his overall budget. He has access to free coffee and drinks mostly water, which also is a big savings over his former roommate’s Keurig and friends’ soda habits 🙂
I have just started a small business out of my home. Is it okay to do the challenge with my personal finances and not my business finances?
I’m in! Can’t wait!
Great timing. I am meeting with a financial planner tomorrow to help me with my savings plan so knowing I’m going Uber Frugal in a a few weeks will definitely help. I can’t wait!!!
Can’t wait! Literally can’t wait, I’m starting now. I have a shopping ban as a new years resolution so what a perfect way to kick off the near year!
Mrs. Grumby and I are in!!!
oh boy this should be interesting
Great idea!!! I’m in. Please post regular updates on your blog too. I don’t have Facebook and don’t really want to add another online medium but would love to follow along! I know I sound old but I’m really not; just old school : ))
Hi Angela! You can participate in the Challenge just by signing up for the emails (using the box up above in the post).
Excited to take part in this! Have been in a bit of a frugal slump recently (expensive groceries, taxis, clothes) and I have identified the reason for this as not planning enough. For example, I didn’t plan a way to carpool or bike to a work event so I had to take a taxi last minute, I didn’t ask in advance to borrow formal clothing for the event so I had to buy something on the day of, I didn’t cook my lunch yesterday so I have to buy it from the cafeteria today, etc. So for me this challenge will be very tied to my efforts at planning my life better! By the way, thanks for doing this for free so that everyone can participate Mrs Frugalwoods 🙂
Yup this is me too! Most of the money we spend is last minute groceries or eating out because I forgot to (or was too lazy to) menu plan.
I will be stapling this to my husband’s forehead. No, not really, but I am the frugal one of the two of us. I am going to do the challenge.
Right now, I want to celebrate the successes I’ve had in the last year. It is embarrassing that my husband and I had several credit cards at the beginning of the year. One:12,000. Two: 8,000. Three: 9,000. We make way too much money for this. Now, through tax return payment, tuition reimbursement through work, an extra work project that will net me 3000 at the end of December, and a lot of overtime. One: paid off. Two: paid off. Three: moved 8800 from a high interest credit card through balance transfer for 0% APR x 14 months, will be paid off in April through the extra work project.
I look at this and I want to cry. It is finally happening!
How exciting! Congratulations!
Woot! Go go go!!! That’s great progress you guys made!
Oh what the hay, I’m in too. January and February are usually my lowest spending months since I tend to wrap up in a blanket on the couch and hibernate as much as possible. I’ve got some great video games to finish. Hours of entertainment, already paid for!
Woohoo! Glad to have you, Gwen 🙂
Well, I’m going to sign up but it won’t be hard because I retire as of December 31st so frugal will become my middle name. I’m not financial independent as yet, and our savings will take a hit. But I’m going more for the “re-architect their lives so that they don’t need to spend a ton of money in order to be happy, fulfilled, and at peace.” But I’ll try my best, and thank you for all your inspiration!!
Mary Ann my husband and I are doing the same thing as of January 6th! He will be managing our rentals and I will continue my part-time teaching job at least until May, but it will be a huge change for the better in terms of time together as a family. He’s leaving a high paying job, and we have lots in savings/investments but aren’t FI either. We figure this will give us the breathing room to decide what we really need and interesting ways to pay for it. Best of luck, I’m excited to do this challenge with someone in a similar situation! 🙂
Still doing frugal as a necessity this month. Due to an unexpected expense we are cancelling Christmas except for going to church, slashing our food budget by 2/3 and not repairing our furnace. We might do food pantry for the first time in 7 years. This is guerilla frugality.
I’ve been there. It can be hard to maintain optimism month in month out when your psyche realizes it’s not a choice but a necessity. It sounds like you have a good plan already, though!
My family celebrates a very quiet Christmas and we aren’t big on presents, preferring to just relax in each other’s company, so in my opinion you are keeping the important part of the holiday at the forefront 🙂
Christmas has always been fairly simple in our family but now that everyone has scattered from coast to coast we try to get phone calls all around which is fun. We use a landline so it’s not expensive. I do find a few thrifted gifts and I’ll make a gift or two, but nothing extravagant. If the weather holds we’ll go to a couple church services and music club. Being a musician I do perform around the holidays and that’s very fulfilling. As a family we have always cherished each other beyond presents so it will be good. I hope your family enjoys the celebrations of the season and your time together!
This is perfect!! We are starting our 8 year count down to retirement Jan 1. Best possible way to tighten us up!!! We started out reading your blog in April, super excited to get down to serious business along side you!
I am starting my 8 year count down to retirement too; I will have taught school for 33 years! I’m trying to prepare myself for a pension that will be less than what I make right now. Good luck to you!
Good luck to you as well!!! Are you going to blog about it?
Oh, no…I wouldn’t know where to start, lol! I set goals and stay encouraged by blogs like this one. Right now, I’m paying down debt, which should be complete in 6 months, and then I’ll take that same amount of money and put it in savings until retirement. I just try to be creative & thoughtful as to where my money is going each day.
We just finished Frugal Fun Sobrember, our frugal month of the year, however we usually do one in February as well. I’m going to put myself up for 2 uber frugal months in a row! Coming back from Hyper Expensive Vacation (aka going home for xmas and spending 2k/person on plane tickets) on January 5th and will start then.
For me it’ll look like this:
No spending on alcohol – only drinking the liquor/beer cabinet at home, which I should be honest.. leaves me well stocked for the next year.
No eating out – unless work pays
Clear the pantry – groceries should be mainly veggies and other fresh staples
$30 transit budget/month – try to walk to work as much as possible
No discretionary spending – no new clothes, treats and what nots.
Overall budget: $700
Estimated income: $2000/month
Savings rate: 65%
My ideal is to beat this, as I’m giving myself more leeway than I did this past November (with an overall attempted budget of $660 but with a lower income) so I’m super excited for this challenge, thank you Mrs.Frugalwoods for arranging this!
I’ve wondered if we could make it on just my husband’s salary–seems like a good way to test that hypothesis!
I make more than my husband, but since we were poor college students not that long ago, it seems very reasonable that we could live on just his salary (and save mine!). Unfortunately my husband is not currently on board with the idea (yet)! But perhaps like you say Sarah, this will be a good way to test whether this is feasible.
Either way, I love the idea of a dedicated month to frugality and can’t wait to get the daily tips.
I just recently decided to do my own my year long challenge I’m calling the “Sustainably Happy Project” (inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project) and I’ve dedicated the month of April to finances. But I think this will be a great primer for that!
I’m so so glad you’re doing this! I already had on my 2017 goal list to do an Uber Frugal January…I am ELATED that this is now an official thing with daily emails and a whole community working along side!! 🙂
This is wonderful! I was thinking about doing a frugal January, but I love the team spirit of this challenge 🙂
Love this idea! I’m signing up, but I’ll be in SE Asia for the first couple of weeks of January. I’ll start my month when I get back!
We just did No-Spend October & No-Spend November, at your inspiration (well, you and our un/underemployment). Doing a little more driving and shopping this month, but January will be another no-spend month for us. Will appreciate the inspirational emails!!
So funny that you proposed this – I was planning on making a Buy Nothing month for my husband and I! So basically, I am completely on board!
I’m not sure if I should do this, although I love the idea, because I must buy a few items of clothing in early January. I will be working with a major tax preparation company which has a dress code and while I don’t need a lot, I do need something professional to wear. I plan to hit the resale shops but does this is put me out of the running for your January challenge?
Everyone is welcome to participate!
I had a probably signing up. This message keeps appearing after I enter my email, “There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.” I keep hitting sign up and I keep getting the same error message. I would love to join this challenge!
Sorry about that, Josh! Try opening a new browser window and see if that works. Let me know if you’re still having problems.
did you do something to your blog to stop it from fully posting on Feedly? I can’t always read in a browser so I just wanted to check as Feedly hid half your blog post. Is it because of this: https://www.quora.com/Why-cant-I-view-full-BBC-articles-in-readers-like-Feedly-and-Digg-Reader Was this something to keep up page views? I hope it’s not permanent as I like to read in Feedly.
Hmmm, not sure what the deal is. I’ll check on that. We just migrated to a new email system, so maybe that knocked some stuff out of whack.
frugal month pairs verrrry nicely with the “sober January” we always try to do (and fail at, but maybe this is our year!)
Very cool idea. The budget will likely need reinforcing after the month of December!
Perfect timing, I am looking forward to January and will definitely participate.
Totally different topic, but I would love to see a post about what Babywoods currently eats. Since your post about leftovers I am on a mission to reduce our food waste even more but it is a challenge with small children whose appetite is not really predictable. And they seem to eat a lot of food that you cannot really refeed (like oatmeal).
I actually do re-feed Babywoods her oatmeal. It just goes in the fridge until the next morning! Babywoods mostly eats tiny portions of what Mr. FW and I eat and, I scrape up whatever she doesn’t finish into a tupperware for the next meal :).
Do you make the oatmeal with milk or water? I will definitely try that, too.
We make it with hot water. Good luck!
I make my little guy oatmeal with apples and water, but I eat the rest for breakfast. It’s my weekday go to and that way there’s no waste. ????
When my kids were tiny I all but powdered the oatmeal before cooking, and ground it less as they grew. I used hot water and found it to mix up quickly because the particles were so small.
I’m so in!! I’m aggressively paying off my mortgage, the bank says I’ve got about 20 months left and I’m trying to speed that up every way I can by putting any extra savings or “found” money into the principal!
Right there with you, about 12 months left to go, maybe less. I’m in with the uber frugal month but I don’t have a facebook account and don’t really want one. I’ll have to participate vicariously.
Hi Christine! You can participate in the Uber Frugal Month just by signing up in the box I include up above in the post. The Facebook group isn’t mandatory 🙂
Thanks! I will sign up. I’m seriously considering trying your No Clothes Shopping Year too!!!
Love reading your blog and looking forward to taking this challenge. I have tried to be frugal iin the last couple of years but I think I need recalibrating!
I got my husband on board the other day. We already started talking logistics. As you said, we need to share the goal to make it happen.
Omg, I saw Uber in your title and thought we’d be chatting about ridesharing…hadn’t had my coffee yet. This is just the finacial nudge I need, thank you Mrs. FW
I signed up. I am not ENTIRELY certain that I will be able to resist using any gift cards I might receive and/or spending any Christmas cash I might receive, because I am currently in a state of what feels like deprivation. Like my Chuck Taylors, which I wear for weight lifting and also pretty much everything else, are getting all worn out, but I didn’t replace them in November because I honest-to-goodness ran out of money. But I figured I might as well sign up and see how it goes! I have tried an uber-frugal month before but I did not have buy-in from my then-spouse.
Hi Mrs. F! I love the idea of the challenge! My husband and I purchased a home that we will be doing major renovations on starting in 2017, so our budget has been a big focus of ours. He and I are on the same page about our finances in general (we’re using YNAB (You Need a Budget) to track every dime together), but the _challenge_ aspect of this will leave him a bit cold, especially in January (month of new years’ resolutions).
Perhaps I will adapt your challenge to focus on a couple of spendy and low priorty budget items? I don’t want to buy into the challenge and accept the side-affect of marital strife!
Thanks for a great blog.
This is a really good idea!! We’ve gotten carried away with spending lately (still saving, of course, but we definitely could have been saving more…) and I think this challenge would be perfect. We’re really cutting back this month, too, as some career changes may be happening soon for my husband and I. Count me in!! Thanks, Mrs. Frugalwoods!!
This is great! I’ve become a bit addicted to your blog, and am definitely planning on doing the Uber Frugal month (sans Facebook most likely, but I look forward to the emails!)
I’m interested in finding out how other parents of school-age children manage to be as frugal as possible. It was relatively easy when my twins were babies – breastfeeding, cloth diapers, made our own food, so many hand me down baby clothes. But now they’re 8, and the big challenge is not food or clothing, it’s activities. That stuff adds up fast, and I’m not even talking huge time/money commitments like hockey, or traveling soccer or dance. This is basic, community ed level stuff for two kids who are not even nearly overscheduled, but it’s amazing how much those costs build. I want to be frugal, but I also want my kids in the district Spanish program. 😛 I may just need to expect that this may not be the MOST frugal time in our lives, and do the best we can. 🙂
That is exactly our position so I am interested in doing this challenge to compare notes with other parents at this stage.
Are there any opportunities for you to volunteer with those activities, sometimes you can get a discount if you put in some hours helping out.
I’m in because I track my expenses monthly in detail against a budget. Then at this time of year I analyze my spending (seeing where I exceeded the budget or underspent) and make a new one for next year. I love the analysis. And this year I was thinking of increasing a few budget items (think INFLATING!) because I dramatically lowered my medical insurance premiums (think REWARDING MYSELF!). Ha! Maybe I can reverse that.
I’ve signed up!! We’re in the middle of a journey from our previous address in Cardiff, UK – through Europe, across the USA, and finally arriving at our base in Australia in March 2017. We spend new year in Germany and head over to the US in the first few days of January. So…for me it will be an Uber Frugal Month On Tour! We’ve travelled a LOT and mostly on a shoestring, so I hope I can share some uber frugal tips for travelling but not blowing the budget 🙂
Excited about the January challenge! I am on month 4 of no clothes shopping and hasn’t been difficult. Currently 50% of my take home goes to paying off daughter’s college tuition, I have 20 long months to go. Anything I saved from the January challenge will get added to the pot! I consider myself frugal but this should really “challenge” that assumption. Thanks, Karen
I don’t want to have my personal facebook account attached to the public discussions. But I’m otherwise down to participate.
Quick question, your blog posts are now making me click over from my Feedly reader in order to view the whole blog post. Is that something that was done on purpose? I like to read from my phone and Feedly makes it so much easier.
Not done on purpose! We’re migrating our email delivery system and it threw a few things out of whack. We’re working on fixing it now (and by ‘we’ I mean me and Mr. FW since no one else works with us 😉 )
Oh bless you!!! This makes me so happy to hear. I know things can get wonky when changes are being made that’s why I asked. Thanks so much for replying! I am looking forward to the uber frugal challenge!
I’m in! I did this challenge in November and it was a total success (over $1K extra in savings). I’m going to try to beat November’s numbers in January!
Can’t wait! This sounds awesome, I love seeing the $ signs in my bank account go up.
January is always hard for me because the joy of Christmas is over but this challenge is cheering me up already! I am scared but excited! I don’t want to fail.
You inspired me to do the no new (or used!) clothes shopping ban. I set out for a month and lasted FOUR months. My friends and family did not think I could go a week. Loved proving them wrong! Sooooo ready for a Uber Frugal Month ….or two ….or four….
My husband and I tried this in February 2013, and we decided on the month of February because it had only 28 days. At the time, we called it “Financial February” ! “Frugal February” would also have been an appropriate name.
What if your spouse isn’t on board to do this? Will it still work?
I know I could cut down on spending but its my spouse who is the big spender and enjoys it.
I just don’t know if I could fully commit on my own 🙁
This is a great question! I have a post with reader suggestions that you might find useful in determining your answer: Reader Suggestions On: How To Convince Your Husband Or Wife To Be Frugal. I hope this helps!
Hmmmm. I’m not sure I could do it. My brain isn’t wired that way. I come out the same as you but I get there differently. Maybe it is because I am so right brained that numbers give me a rash. However, I do congratulate everyone who is giving it the ole college try!
I’m already a member of the Boycott Buying Brigade, so I don’t suppose I really need to join the challenge. I like your blog because I find more ideas for reducing, reusing, recycling, and above all, doing without! We don’t actually do without important things like healthy food, fellowship, shelter, warmth, clothing, and good health. We just obtain them without spending money, for the most part.
Just signed up!
….I’ve read through your blog from start to finish twice in the last year or so, and I have to admit I want to reply to almost every comment! You have cultivated a lovely, empathetic, engaged following. This new chapter for the blog is very exciting!
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you’ve joined the Challenge! And, I do love our community here–it’s a wonderful group of people 🙂
I just committed to doing another challenge beginning January 1 (Body GLOW). I think taking on two at the same time would be too ambitious for me (although, maybe not, because I bet a lot of the tools for success would work hand-in-hand.) If it is a success, I hope it will become a “jump in anytime” for a month sort of thing – because I am intrigued.
I SO need this!!!! After a bunch of sleepless nights about debt I’m in!!! I’ve followed your journey for quite some time now. I also live in Vermont. I don’t have a FB account and I’m not sure I want one. I hope that’s ok? By the way, I ADORE Frugal Hound♥
Hi Kimberly! Glad you’re joining the Challenge! No, you don’t need a Facebook account in order to participate–you can just sign up via the form in this post.
I’m in! Can’t wait 🙂 I need to finish paying on a trip (destination wedding in which I am a bridesmaid) in February so a frugal January is just what I need!
Sounds like a great idea! I just signed up. We started our frugalization (is that even a word?) in October and would love extra encouragement to keep going. I am sure unexpected expenses will creep up, which always happens to us with our two teen/tween daughters. But keeping focused on the goals is so important. We were able to raise our savings rate from 40% to over 60% during our first frugal month and, looking back, no one in this family really missed anything we didn’t spend money on.
Hi, I’m joining the challenge! I’m not on Facebook though. I used to be for many years but deleted it 4 years ago and never looked back!
anyway, I’m excited to participate because even though we use online accounting software to track our business expenses, I don’t track my personal expenses at all. Looking forward to it 🙂
Thanks for having an option for those of us not on Facebook..
I’m so in!! With one caveat: my husband and I are going away over MLK Day, and so we will not be uberfrugal that weekend, but I’m not letting that stop me from tackling the rest of the month!
My husband and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary on Dec 22, 2016. We have been growing more frugal and aware of what really matters in life to us as a couple over this great year. I think this challenge will be a fun way to take us to an even deeper awareness of what we do/don’t need – and will probably develop our culinary creativity!
I’d love to join in, our family would just have to make a few modifications since we’re moving cross-country in January… ???? I’ll brush up on your road trip and moving posts though, and see if we can bring those costs down a bit. So exciting! I love a good challenge!
Long time reader, first time commenter. I have been doing a January ” financial fast” for the past 5 years, its a good way to reset the frugal auto pilot after the holiday season. I am all in for this challenge, even recruited a couple of people in my office. Joy, Peace, Blessing and a Happy New Year to the Frugalwoods and your extended family. Looking forward to ready your homestead adventures in 2017.
I’ve never, ever been frugal. But I’m willing to give it a shot.
Sounds like you are ready to make the first move, Isabel!
Maybe you will surprise yourself.
So excited to join this! We’ve definitely made a bunch of big (and maybe not all entirely necessary) purchases since moving to Vermont this fall, and we have some big goals for 2017 (getting married, taking a killer honeymoon, hopefully buying a house), so this should get us off on the right foot!
This is 100% off topic but I want to thank you for turning me into PACT for undies. I have been working on buying less but better and needed an ethical underwear source. I just bought some of their tights too and they are so warm and cozy – so thanks!
Thank you for this challenge-I just signed up. I need to pay off $26,000.00 in credit card debt. I have kept this a secret and it is keeping me up at night. For two years I have tried to pay it off without success. I have been putting off going to the bank and asking for free advice. I feel so ashamed. I am hoping the challenge will help.
Don’t know if you’ll see my comment but if you have a word press account you can track comments – nice when you follow/comment on dozens of blogs like I do. I wouldn’t ask at the bank they have vested interest in keeping you in debt, instead check out Dave Ramsey and various frugal debt reduction blogs. That what I did, we had nearly 100,00 euros in debt which we cleared all off! Not only is it doable but it can be really exciting!
Hi Debbie, I am so excited to hear you’re joining the Challenge! I hope we can provide the support, tools, and encouragement you need to tackle your debt! And I tend to agree with Frankfurt Rob, usually financial institutions do not have your best interests at heart (and are not required to) especially if the advice is free.
I’d have to agree. It’s not just that they have a vested interest too, it’s that there’s no incentive for them to get you to confront the uncomfortable questions of what is it that you’re spending you’re money on and what are you going to do to permanently change that. In fact, there’s a disincentive since they might turn you off. They’ll most likely happily give you the lower cost line of credit to pay off the card (means kudos for the bank rep, so long as you’re approved), but unless you tackle the big money hogs in your life (and/or find something that earns you more cash on the side) at the same time as you get that line of credit (usually the 3 biggest spends are on housing/accommodation, car/transportation (including insurance, gas, and maintenance), and food), then 6 months later you find you’ve racked the card back up again and now have both the line of credit and a maxed out card. For the bank rep? No bad consequences.
I’m in! Looking to pay off my mortgage in 3 years (gulp) so I need all the help I can get.
Sounds great! So glad to have you in the Challenge 🙂
Heck yes I’m joining in – thanks for setting up this challenge Mrs. Frugalwoods! I’m looking forward to the Frugal Houd helping to take a “bite” out of my expenses. Now to convince the rest of the family.
Looking forward to the challenge, and thanks to Mrs. Frugalwoods for setting it up! I know Frugal Hound will help to take a “bite” out of our expenses. Now to convince my husband! 🙂
I just signed up and look forward to the challenge. I went a little overboard with presents this christmas (mostly tickets to events, photobooks and childrens books for nieces…, but never the less…) and hope to save up a good chunk towards our “own home” fund with my husband! I would be happy to get in touch with some fellow frugal Germans (maybe from Hessen?), as I find the german personal finance blogsphere lacking some female insight and humor. I love your blog and the way you write about your family, even though I pine for a slightly different life with a couple frugal kids and maybe a frugal cat or two. 🙂 One difference I see moneywise: I cry a little every time I see your low insurance and tax costs…. Maybe one day I will send you my data as a Reader case study. 🙂
Greetings from icycold Germany,
Hi Johanna! So glad you’re joining us! We have quite a few German readers, and several who are participating in the Challenge who’ve commented in our Challenge Facebook group! I hope you can connect with them :).
I signed up today but I am from Switzerland (living costs are very very high here) I have 7 cats and they are not frugal at all :), they eat far more than FrugalDog…
Greetings from Hessen as well. What German bloggers are you reading? There are some Germans over at the MMM forum but I’m not too active there, too many threads and not enough topics so it gets overwhelmed very quickly. I’m also on toytowngermany.com An expat forum. Timhortonsman
So happy to have this planned for January! I don’t have FB, but I’ll enjoy your daily email tips. I was happily carless for ten months of this year, and then realized getting around was like a part-time job. Am now driving again (a frugal used car with frugal insurance!) and want to revisit ways to live happily with less! Happy holidays to you and your lovely family at your picture-postcard home!
I did a No Money May last year and it was rather eye-opening to see how many times I went to make a purchase. It is good to periodically reset oneself to thinking “do I actually NEED to make this purchase?” every time you go to spend money. I didn’t last past the month, but I am hoping to pay off some serious bills this year. Here is to Uber Frugal January! My goal for next year is #droppingTheDebt2017!!!!
Woohoo! I like that #!!!
Just signed up! Can’t wait to try it out and test ourselves! We started our own FIRE journey in March this year, so always on the lookout to spend less and flex our frugal muscles.
Just saying “hi”. I’ve just come across your site and I’m going to be spending some time catching up in the archives…. My 2016 resolution was to join “The Compact” and not buy anything new that could be avoided. I enjoyed it and will likely continue but am looking for inspiration to take my simplifying and saving to the next level. Taking the Uber Frugal Month might just be the thing! Looking forward to it.
How did you join the compact? I tried to get on yahoo group but no one approved or denied my request over a certain number of weeks so yahoo booted it. Maybe it’s not active enough. I’ve got a plan for frugality for the year that I think is aligned with the compact.
I just purchased a 24-pack of toilet paper, a 9-roll-pack of paper towels, and a large bottle of dish soap so I won’t need to buy them in January. Is that cheating??!! 😊
I know what you mean. I was a thinking about buying some decor items I want, but don’t need. But, I really want them! I’ve been telling myself if I order them by 12/31 that isn’t cheating. 😞
Great challenge to start off the new year! Especially coming off the holiday months that tend to get a little spendy. Get your mind right for 2017!!
Totally need this. Racked up nearly $17k in debt this year in some pretty spectacular unexpected ways. Not paying interest on any of it thankfully but still need it eradicated quick. We have a mortgage and that is the ONLY debt deemed ‘acceptable.’ After the debt is gone, need to rebuild the emergency fund.
Yeah! I’m so happy to have found your site (which I’m binge reading). I’m years off an actual retirement but I am semi-obssessed with planning for it :-).
I just started using mint.com to track my finances and financial goals…now I am ready to get really frugal!
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience.
I’m in! Great timing…we’ve been frugaling it for years and are close to FI (yea!), but there are always those exceptions/lapses and further improvements to be made. And as I’m planning on making the leap next year into post-full time employment (hubby is already there), I’m deep in the throes of the pre-leap angst – will it really be okay when I let go? Intellectually I know that we won’t starve, but emotionally this will be a good test of could we belt tighten further without compromising the important stuff if, say, both the markets were to decide to take a spectacular and sustained nose dive and the to furnace quit working the day after I walk out the door.
Wow Iove a frugal challenge but there is very little way to lower our budget. My 12.00 a month cell phone could go but that is just not practical. My only luxury is my 45.00 internet. I am unwilling to let that go. We stream television and I coupon off it. The couponing is pretty much how I feed my family. We live off of 1000.00 a month and sadly 400.00 a month goes for insurance and taxes. We receive no social services help and have no debt, I have a pet and two college children. I am as low as it goes. I think this month I may start using Swag bucks and Tuluna to try and bring in a little extra this year.
I had the Uber Frugal Month Challenge last June! It was freaking challenging, and I learned so many financial lessons that I had never thought I could learn. There were really lots of revelations like I could live without going to the gym, which I used to be into so much, for months, and instead do home workouts. More importantly, I could save as much as 30% of my total salary seriously and religiously.
I try to stay frugal as much as I can. However i’m off to Thailand for two weeks in January and I’m picking up my new dog on the 14th January. That already sounds like an expensive month to me.
Maybe I’ll start in February!
I’m in from the land of the Jayhawks. My challenge is that my 83 year old mother just came to live with me. She is not frugal and talks about spending all the time. Email encouragement will help me. Rock Chalk!
Rock Chalk!!! So glad to have you joining us 🙂
Just joined the challenge and I am looking forward to it!
Hi there – love the Uber challenge and am looking forward to participating in it! I do have a concern about using the Facebook page, maybe you can help?
When a person comments on the UFMC page, that comment will also be posted on their news feed for all of their Facebook friends to see, right? Example: “Danielle commented on Uber Frugal Month page: My savings challenge comes from keeping up with my spendy friends…” Do you know if there is a way to avoid this?
I’d love to be more specific and honest in my comments in the challenge, but I’m not excited for all of my Facebook friends to see my deepest darkest thoughts. 😉
Dear Mrs. Frugalwoods,
Thank you for coming up with the frugal wood challenge my wife is really excited about it. Unfortunately in preparation for you challenge she is now stocking up on everything she may need to by next month. She has now spent over 2000 on our credit card statement knowing she will be taking you challenge. I don’t know if this was what you were thinking before issuing the challenge. I don’t think she realizes we will still have to pay the bill next month. Wow!
Hi I have a question I have no savings and a fixed income. I’d love to try this challenge but how can I when I’m $600 behind for the month in bills. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks 💜
signed in 🙂
January is usually my best month in terms of expenses and earnings (due to yearly bonus credited in January).
In 2016 I achieved 89.8% saving rate on January!
I guess it will be hard to beat 🙂
Late post to this thread, but I’ll share my tale anyway. In my pre-FIRE years, before PF blogs were a thing, I did a number of No-Spend Februarys. Once, I stretched it out for 90 days! Now that I’m FIRE, I’m not as interested in a re-set, but I’ll follow along casually, mostly just to root for others. (BTW, I chose February because it is the shortest month. Hee.)
The best result of a no-spend month is as follows: one year, nearing the end of my no-spend month, I discovered a dear friend was terminally ill and struggling financially. She was worried about paying her (high COLA-Los Angeles) rent. With my windfall savings I was able to send her a Trader Joe’s gift card and a check for two month’s rent. Sadly, she died a few weeks later. To this day, I can hardly describe how empowering it felt to be able to ease her worries at such a difficult time.
If you’ve never done something like this before, I encourage you to do so. You never know what a difference it could make in your (or perhaps someone else’s) life.
Thanks for doing this challenge, Mrs. FW!
Hi Liz- for some reason, your Frugalwoods FB page the Frugal Challenge FB page aren’t working for me anymore. FB won’t open to your sites. Has anyone else had issues? It started today.
Hi Carol: I just checked and they’re both working for me. Maybe try logging out of Facebook and restarting? Good luck!
Sounds like a good idea, I am a little behind but I will definitely jump on board and give this a shot. Any money saved is always a bonus that can be invested. Always remember to make your money work for you.
Day 3 spending = 0
Feeling good, love reading posts, gaining knowledge and strategies to make this work for me.
Day 4 = 0 spending
I am disliking dilemmas over visiting aging family members…
Just found you again (took a break when most was about baby and Vermont — sorry). We’d love to do this. Is it best to start at the beginning of a month or should we just go ahead and start now — 1/6? Thank you!
You can sign up whenever you’d like and you’ll start with the Day 1 email :)! So, feel free to sign-up now, we’d love to have you join us!
I joint the challenge only the beginning of the week. The aim was, to get into the mindset for our goals.
Unfortunately, I have been laid of yesterday. Very unexpected and upsetting.
For this weekend I want to wallow in self pity. Next week it will be a start to our new life.
I was going to change things anyhow. Now my hand has been forced, I see it as the opportunity to make the changes now and find a way to make it work.
Wish me luck!
We’ve always been basically frugal but, my family of 6 also has taken a “Frugal February” every year since 2001. At that time it was inspired by a missed paycheck from my husband’s job. Each year, in memory of that hard month, we ratchet up our frugal game in February. Well, about 4 months ago, my husband was laid off from the job he got back in 2001. But because we have lived a frugal life, it didn’t immediately send us into a tailspin. My hope for the Uber Frugal Month Challenge is to sharpen my skills and reinvigorate my approach to frugal living — and find a new community of frugal folks. Thanks!
Thank you for this, have signed up for the challenge!! I spent way too much money this past Christmas and really need to get back on track!
I am keen to start my uber frugal month, as I missed the boat in January. I am trying to sign up for your recommended money tracking software that is free. However, I tried to follow the link, and it was a blank page. I then googled their website, and found their sight, was inputting my details and it didn’t like my mobile number…. ( I live in Australia) and was wondering if anyone outside of America was having difficulty with accessing the software for recording expenses?
Hi Michelle! Thank you so much for taking the UFM! Unfortunately, Personal Capital only works in the US, but I know some of my international readers have had good luck with Mint. Hope that helps!
Hey I’m a shopaholic I’m obsessed with spending and when I shop it makes everything feel great I have always loved the idea of being frugal I have never tried it i want to be free of debt and collect moments not things 😊 so I’m going to put my all into this challenge wish me luck
At first I thought that we had already cut our expenses as much as possible. It was only as I was drifting off to sleep last night that I realized that I could drop a couple news subscriptions and drop our exterminator to bare bones. Those will save us $900 a year! I’ll miss my news (but NPR is free), and my mosquito and ant free yard, but that is an extra mortgage payment and a half!