It’s time, my friends. The sign-up for my free January 2020 Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge (UFM) is HERE!!!! You’ve read the Frugalwoods Case Studies, you’ve seen the UFM testimonials, you look at my monthly expense reports and think “I can spend less than Frugalwoods!,” and now, it’s time. The UFM is your opportunity to put these frugal concepts into practice. The UFM is your chance to lasso your spending, organize your money, and get a better handle on your financial life.

The UFM doesn’t just help you save money. The UFM helps transform your relationship with money: how you earn it, how you spend it, how you manage it. The UFM is money management bootcamp and next month, we’re doing the Challenge together! Did I mention it’s FREE? It’s free.

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Sign-up

Join the January 2021 Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge! Enter your email address below to receive an email a day for 31 days starting January 1, 2021.

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Rely On The Strength Of A Group: New Year’s Resolution Accountability Buddies

Winter: there are upsides, such as the UFM!

Rather than toiling alone on a resolution, join the UFM Group Challenge and toil along with other people! On second thought, “toil” might not be the best word choice–let’s go with something more inspirational–work? achieve? succeed? Point being, the UFM enables you to make an individual new year’s resolution–to be better with your money–and provides you with a support network to serve as your accountability buddies.

Making smart decisions about your finances is often lonely because, as a culture, we don’t discuss money. Plus–unlike with a new diet or exercise regime–most of the work you do is invisible to other people. After all, there’s not a whole lot to show when you’re not buying things and not spending money. I mean, you could walk around with a print-out of your newly robust bank account, but that seems a bit weird, no? I mean, you do you…

The UFM Group Challenge puts you in touch with an entire network of fellow frugal weirdos who are excited about transforming their finances and excited to chat about how much money they’re saving and the decisions they’re making to ensure a better financial future.

You are not alone in wanting to be better with your money and you are not alone in being nervous about taking the first step and you are not alone in worrying you won’t know what to do. We all feel–or felt–that way at some point! No one is born knowing what to do with their money, but our culture makes us feel like we should have been. Let go of that embarrassment and that fear. During the UFM, I will hold your hand from day one and be with you throughout the month of January–in your inbox every morning–helping you create a more stable financial future.

New This Year: A Private Facebook Group!

Snowy sunrise

You all have requested (many times) that I create a private Facebook Group for our Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge conversations and I have heard your pleas! In January 2020, for the first time ever, we will convene in a private Facebook Group to discuss the UFM, to share our challenges, and to offer support and advice to one another. In the past, I’ve hosted an Uber Frugal Month Facebook Page, but you all adroitly noted that “Pages” are public while “Groups” are private, which is desirable since we get into some pretty heavy topics over the course of the UFM.

You’ll receive an email with instructions on how to join the Facebook Group after you sign-up for the Challenge.

This private Facebook Group will be open to everyone signed up for the UFM Challenge and the posts to the group will be private. Did I mention that the Group is private? It will be visible on Facebook (ya know, so you can find it), but the members and the posts will be private.

This Is An International Challenge!

Me in Amsterdam, being international and all

I get so excited when I see folks from all around the globe taking the Challenge. To date, over 77,000 frugal weirdos have participated in the UFM hailing from Prague, the Netherlands, South Africa, Finland, Romania, Germany, Australia, Ireland, England, Wales, Canada, Scotland, Denmark, New Zealand, and more!

What this tells me is that there are a lot of us who no longer want to be part of the consumer-driven machine. Who want more out of our lives. Who want to be authentic people, not merely consumers designed to spend money.

And Now For My World-Famous FAQs Section! (probably not world-famous, but sounds better than “non world-famous”)

Q: What, exactly, is this Uber Frugal Month Challenge thing?

It’s a 31-day program following the steps my husband and I took to recalibrate our approach to consumerism, ramp up our savings rate, and ultimately, achieve financial independence. To sign-up for the Challenge, enter your email address in the box below and you’ll be all set to go!

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Sign-up

Join the January 2021 Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge! Enter your email address below to receive an email a day for 31 days starting January 1, 2021.

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Q: What do you mean “31-day program”? Sounds painful/long.

Not at all painful! Only one month long! You’ll receive an email from me every day for 31 days, starting on January 1, 2020. Each email has a theme for the day, an action item, links to recommended reading, and a mantra for inspiration.

The first step, which you’ll be prompted to do in the first email, is to read through and complete the questions contained in this post:

Uber Frugal Month: The Ultimate Guide To Saving More Money Than You Ever Thought Possible

You can get started on that adventure now since it takes some time to perform the soul-searching that’s required to really do the Uber Frugal Month with gusto.

Q: Who should take the UFM?

Anyone and everyone!

  • If you’ve never been frugal a day in your life, but are ready to improve your financial health and make real changes in how you manage your money, then the UFM is for you.
  • If you feel like you’re in an awesome place with your frugality, the UFM is a nice touch-up and a good reminder of why you’re frugal and how you might augment your savings and your overall philosophical approach to a simple, fulfilling lifestyle.
  • If you previously took the UFM but bailed without finishing (no judgment from me) or weren’t ready to follow through on all of the action items, now’s your chance to try it again.
  • If you thought about taking it last time, but didn’t sign-up, do it now!
  • If you’ve already taken the Challenge, but want to touch base with where you are on your financial journey, join us again!
  • If you took the Challenge before and had so much fun hanging out in the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month Facebook group that you want to hang out with us again, sign-up!
  • If you think you might want to save more money, but aren’t sure, join us.
  • If you have no clue what your longterm financial goals are (or even how much money you have or how much money you’re spending), then the UFM is definitely for you!

Q: Do I need to use Facebook (or other social media) in order to participate?

Nope! The Challenge is conducted entirely via email and here on Frugalwoods. The UFM Facebook Group is an optional bonus. No need to sign-up for Facebook in order to participate in the UFM. All you have to do is sign-up with your email address in the box below.

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Sign-up

Join the January 2021 Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge! Enter your email address below to receive an email a day for 31 days starting January 1, 2021.

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Q: If I’ve already taken the UFM, can I take it again?

Le barn in le snow

Absolutely! I had my tech guy (aka Mr. Frugalwoods) set up the email thing-y such that you can sign-up to re-take the Challenge with the same email address you used to take the Challenge previously. You do, however, need to sign-up again in order to join us starting January 1st.

Q: What does it mean to take the UFM as a group in January?

It means I will moderate the UFM Facebook Group and facilitate discussions in the group to help you along your journey.

This Facebook Group is active only twice a year during the two months that we take the Challenge as a group (January and July).

You’ll receive an email with instructions on how to join the Group shortly before the Challenge starts. Note that this is different from the regular Frugalwoods Facebook page, which I moderate year-round. If you take the Challenge in January, you’re doing so with the knowledge that thousands of other frugal adherents are participating in the UFM alongside you. There’s power and motivation in knowing that you are not alone on this epic frugal journey.

Q: How much does the UFM cost to take?

It is absolutely free! So, no excuses!

Q: How do I know if my sign-up was successful?

You’ll receive an email from me confirming your registration. The Challenge will commence on January 1, 2020!

Q: When are the UFM emails sent?

Me + my email assistant

You’ll receive an email from me every single morning for the entire month (January 1 – January 31, 2020) at 5:00am EST. The emails are sent automatically at the same time everyday to everyone signed up for the Challenge so, fear not, they will arrive. I’m paranoid about the emails so I manually check every morning to make sure they’re sent.

Please note that the time at which emails are delivered to your inbox depends on your email and internet providers–some providers are slower than others to deliver messages. If you suspect you’re not receiving your UFM emails, please do the following:

  • #1: check your spam and all other email folders (search for “UFM” as every email begins with that title in the subject line).
  • #2: if you think you’ve accidentally unsubscribed from the Challenge, you can sign-up again here on Frugalwoods.

Unfortunately, due to the volume of Frugalwoods readers who sign-up for the Challenge, I can’t send out the emails individually. We are a two-person team over here–me and Mr. Frugalwoods—and much as I would love to email each of you personally, I have very real limitations on my time as a work-from-home mama of two small children and a homesteader on 66 acres. People, I don’t even have time to brush my hair everyday (and it shows… ).

Q: Can I access the UFM in any other way?

Nope, you gotta sign-up for the emails.


Q: How should I prepare for the Challenge?

  1. Read Uber Frugal Month: The Ultimate Guide To Saving More Money Than You Ever Thought Possible and follow all of the instructions contained in that post.
  2. Start tracking your expenses ASAP if you’re not already doing so. I use and recommend the free online expense tracker through Personal Capital (this is an affiliate link).
  3. Be proud of yourself for taking this powerful step toward creating the life you want to live–not the life you have to live.
  4. Invite a friend to take the Challenge with you.

Q: Can I take the UFM after January 2020?

Yes! You can sign-up to take the UFM at any time, but the Group Challenge is only offered in January and July. Sign-up by January 1 in order to join us!

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Sign-up

Join the January 2021 Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge! Enter your email address below to receive an email a day for 31 days starting January 1, 2021.

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Real Live People Love The UFM!!!

Glamour shed, in danger of being eaten by snow

Fun as it is to read what I write (right?!), it’s even MORE fun to read what other people (real, live people!) have said about their participation in the Uber Frugal Month Challenge. Lucky for you, I’ve collected testimonials from past Challenge participants who’ve written heartfelt notes about how the UFM revolutionized their finances and ultimately, their lives. Here are but a few selected for your enjoyment and published with permission:

Carrie shared:

Many thanks for hosting the UFM Challenge. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years but have never commented or taken “The Challenge.” With your “frugal guidance” and case studies, I examined every expense under a microscope, cut back hard everywhere possible and paid off all debt except the mortgage. All of this to say….my last frontier of frugality was kicking the morning coffee stop on the way to work. The UFM challenge was just the motivation I needed. I had a little coffee pot at home that was left by a former tenant. I took the pot and a supply of coffee/sugar/milk to the office…BAM… no drive thru coffee since the last day of December. Today I transferred that extra $100 in January coffee money to knock another little bit off the mortgage.

Lisa wrote:

I’ve loved reading your emails and have poured over the different posts on your site in a binge-worthy state! I cannot tell you how the concept of “enough” has really changed how I think about things. After recently coming out of a soul-sucking job, I have realized all the signs in my life and body were yelling at me (literally, for years) to think more about how and why I do things. I write this email just to say thank you for your site and sharing so openly you and your family’s experiences. I feel like I’m now finding “my people” if that makes sense in terms of searching for “more” in life, and really questioning all the mainstream mentalities, especially around money, careers, consumerism, and what we want our lives to be. I feel like we’re trying to REALLY get at the core of what are the most important things in our life, and it feels so oddly refreshing!

Linda said:

First I must THANK YOU for doing what you are doing. Thank you! I just finished the UFM of 31 days, and it was brilliant!  First I purchased your book on Audible last month and I listened.  Then I went to your website and I felt like I’d come home.  I read everything I could in a couple of days, and decided to do the UFM.  It has been a challenge, and a joy.

I have lived what I thought was frugally for most of my life, and now in retirement I have even less money than before. But through the UFM, I realized that I have not been really frugal the way I need to be.

What I discovered this last month is that I could be much more frugal than I ever have been! And my sadness is gone.  I’m proud of what I have done (all except for the no-savings part). I have this new determination to move toward frugality as a mindset and let it inform all areas of my life.

This past month has improved my flow of funds to savings by nearly $400. I’m shocked. And as things settle out in the future, since I’m not feeling very deprived right now, perhaps next month my savings may be even better.  My life is better and will be better from now on! Thank you so much for showing me the way.

 Melanie shared:

I just wanted to say a big “Thank You!” I recently stumbled upon your blog and took your 30-day Frugal Challenge. It has caused me to begin making some big changes in my life. I always thought I was pretty good with my money, since I have no debt, always paid my credit card off each month, and stuck to a budget. But just a few days into the Challenge I began realizing that my budget was really just allowing me to spend instead of actually save, and that I did a lot of spending because I was bored or feeling lonely or unfulfilled. Truly eye-opening! My money was just slowly draining away, and I had no idea!

For me, “frugal” had always felt like a “bad word.” Constricting. lifeless, and like I’d be denying myself good things. But you have successfully helped me to see that frugality is freedom and really just making better choices in order to have/experience the things that really matter and bring fullness to life.

Shelley wrote:

I have LOVED reading your blog emails this month. I’ve learned so much…and have put it to practice.  No eating out, except when Mom _In_Law took us out. We are doing repairs and updating house in preparation to sell it later this year.  But, of course, we have saved to do that.

I’m in a different season of life than you and Mr. FW., for sure. My husband retires later this year, and I have only a handful of years left. Our kids are now grown and living their own lives. But I’m sharing your blog and tips with them in hopes that they might catch your enthusiasm for a different (And in my opinion, better) way to live and enjoy life.  Plus, I’m hoping implementing many of your ideas will perhaps get me to an early retirement.   Thank you again for sharing your life and frugal knowledge with all of us.  It means a lot.

Katrina said:

Waking up to no UFM email this morning, how will I kickstart my frugal day?!  I kid, I just went back and read some of your other articles, obviously. Thank you so much for this exercise, it has been a pleasure working through it this month with my husband. We have been working towards financial independence for about 3 months now and this was the perfect refresher to keep us motivated. The daily steps to re-evaluate were perfect for trimming the fat. We thought we were frugal, but there were areas to tighten up that don’t make us feel deprived in the least. Thank you for all that you do, it has clicked so completely with myself and brought so much peace and joy to my life I can’t believe it. Your take on frugality strengthening marriages is so true, it has brought my husband and I much closer. Your story has helped us start to form our own escape plan to raise our 2 boys on a rural parcel on one of the islands off Washington when we retire. Still filling out the details of this plan, but just having a life goal again has lit a fire under our asses!

Edith shared:

I’m nineteen years old and a rabid environmentalist–and now a rabid frugality advocate as well. I picked up your book last summer and loved it. I think one of the biggest benefits of frugality– that possibly doesn’t get enough PR in your blog!!– is how gosh darn GOOD frugality is for the EARTH. Opting out of consumerism (do you know how much CO2 is released to make a pair of jeans?!), choosing to eat less meat, wasting less are all key components of an environmentally-conscious life. And I think that’s why I’ve loved reading your book, because I finally found a lifestyle that fit more broadly with my passion for the environment. In part to you, I’m living with less cognitive dissonance and loving it. So thanks!

Sarah wrote:

Thank you so much for this enlightening journey! I’m pregnant with my second baby and I’ve been working hard to find a way to become a stay at home mom. I had the most difficult time going back to work after having my first baby and I know this time won’t be easier. My husband and I have been following your guidelines and successes and I really believe we can make it work for me to stay home.

I know it won’t be easy, but I read a motivating quote you said about finding a way for things that truly matter. This matters more to me than anything. The becoming of our frugal lifestyle has jumpstarted this journey. Thank you for all you do – you are an inspiration in many ways, but for me personally, you showed me that I can be a SAHM and I will always appreciate that. Thank you again for this month-long frugal challenge. It has changed my life!

Holly shared:

Thank you Frugalwoods! This isn’t my first challenge and won’t be my last. The first time I participated was, for me, a turning point. It truly did change our family’s relationship with spending forever. I am grateful for you and for your family’s example.

N.S. wrote:

I’ve followed you for years now and I’ve done this challenge twice. It’s been a great touchstone in my life for reminding me why we live the way we do. Frugality brings us joy and freedom we couldn’t imagine living without now. We had an especially hard month with family money matters (siblings and parents) and it was nice to have this in my inbox each day to tell me that we’re not crazy for staying in our modest home, saving our money, having one car, cooking at home, and all the other things we do that bring us peace. Keep up the good work! We’re thankful to have you in our lives.

Thomas shared:

I absolutely love your advice and fully embrace the frugal lifestyle! My wife is Asian so her cultural worldview is already well synchronized with simple living. She actually thinks American consumerism is quite crazy and creates huge amounts of needless stress! Thank you so much for what you do! Our goal is to save in order to pay off the mortgage… You’ve certainly helped us toward watching it, hopefully within the next decade!

Christine wrote:

I have enjoyed the Frugal Month challenge. Your writings have given me ideas to consider on how to improve and organize my home.Taking the nod from frugal thinking I have tapped into the used furniture market in my city. For just under $300 I was able to purchase a dresser, two shelving units, a bar style kitchen table, two bar stools and a unique wooden wall hanging for the kitchen. I was able to pay cash for all of this because I have changed my budget and spending mindset to include only things that I know will add value to my and my husband’s lifestyle. I’ve also bumped by savings rate to 20% of each pay cheque.Thank you so much for your genius frugal tips and your amazing inspiration!!

Chris shared:

You are an inspiration – along with Mr. FW of course Please keep up the good work! The monthly challenge I have done a number of times, but the reinforcement always keeps me FIRE anchored!

Jenn wrote:

Thanks to your challenge I hit my goal budget for the first time in the last 9 months! I’m actually under. And guess what? The unexpected expenses that show up every month showed up again. The cats got sick. The a/c broke. We fixed them all up. And I’m still under budget! These things would normally be my excuse for going over what I wanted to spend this month, but I noticed something: they happen every month. I’m still tempted to think “well, next month will be different. I’ll spend even less then!” Maybe, but it’s just not something you can bank on. It feels so amazing to have absorbed these emergencies (for me, AC is an emergency lol) and still hit my savings goal. One thing I did that I’ll keep doing is make a running list of things I want. I took screenshots and keep them in an album on my phone. There’s like $600 worth of optional things I wanted to buy this month and would have but didn’t and while there are a few things I’d still like, I don’t feel the urgency to get them right now. It’s like the album is enough for me. I feel so confident and willing to keep going. I feel calm and at peace. Thank you, Liz. You’ve inspired me for a long time and now I’m inspiring myself!

Have you done the Uber Frugal Month Challenge before? Will you join us in January?

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Sign-up

Join the January 2021 Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge! Enter your email address below to receive an email a day for 31 days starting January 1, 2021.

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  1. So, I’m one of those who bailed on you before, but I’m in a different mind space, and this time … more open to change. Cheers to making a dent in debt in 2020!

  2. Even though I do not need to be extra frugal anymore, it has always been a way of life for me from childhood. My mom and dad shopped at other people’s trash piles, taking home their furniture, dishes, discarded glassware, all things they never had to spend a dime on. They bought a very small house, paid it off, drove one car, never had a clothes dryer, I could go on and on. I want to receive your ideas, tips and articles for my own general knowledge that may help me to save on some parts of daily living. FYI, I bought your recommendation for King Arthur flour and I must say it is awesome. I usually only buy the cheapest out there but no more. Thankyou

  3. YES!! All signed up- this is my second time doing it and I can’t wait! The UFM challenge is awesome for re-focusing on finances and staying motivated in the new year as “resolutions” tend to fizzle.

  4. I’ll be signing up again to review things. My Dad passed away last June but didn’t leave a will. Things are before probate now to get me appointed executrix…I’m an only kid and Mom died back in 2005. Once that gets straightened around I have plans! I also have a husband with health issues, Amyloidosis AL. Been fighting this for almost 8 years now, eventually it will win and I need plans for when that happens. What I learn from the challenge and elsewhere will help me then. Thank you in advance for all your help!!!

  5. I can’t wait to do the UFM! I read your book a couple of years ago and loved it, and just came across the blog. You really have your sh*t together and I’m looking forward to a whole month of motivation. Thank you so much for doing this!

  6. I did it in mid-2018 and have benefitted greatly from it! The daily reminders to rethink what we value and why are great because they help you focus on what you really need and want, so that you can cut all the extraneous stuff. I highly recommend the uber frugal month challenge. 🙂

  7. I an very interested in your ideas. How do I get more information? I don’t think I’m ready to sign up yet but would love to get ready for the next one in July. Sincerely TerriTheresa

    1. An uber frugal month challenge can be a great thing, if it helps develop a frugal mindset that carries on. Each year during the last few days of the year and the first couple days of January, I always see the gym is extremely crowded with new faces. Than after these New Years resolutions to get in better shape fade, the crowd thins out and the regular gym attendees continue their workout routines. The new faces had given up without establishing an exercise routine. I am a firm believer in financial responsibility and over my lifetime I have seen where looking long term has paid off by avoiding unnecessary spending, insourcing where I can, saving for retirement by automatically having it taken out of my paycheck and having the maximum amount I could contribute taken out. I am thankful that now that I have reached 60, the age I had planned to retire at, My pensions and retirement savings allow me to cover all of my monthly bills and allow me the flexibility to do the things I enjoy. I still practice the habits I developed of living well within my means, not trying to impress the neighbors or my friends with driving a fancy new vehicle or spending thousands of dollars on expensive vacations. Sadly I know people several years older than me that never planned ahead or managed to save for their retirement. They are still working full time and do not expect to ever be able to retire, they will be working until they die. So my plan for 2020 is to prune my fruit trees and berry bushes this winter, start seedlings for my garden and enjoy time to go fishing, kayaking as well as keeping up my exercise routine at the gym. I also have some trees I need to take down and wood to split to burn in my wood stove and campfires on my yard.

  8. The bits I need help with are excessive supermarket shopping including buying wine all the time! However, I will be doing dry January.

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