Join the January Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge!

The Uber Frugal Month is BACK! Sign-up now to join me—and thousands of other frugal folks—for my free, month-long money makeover/bootcamp/analysis/party. Starting January 1st, I’ll send you an email a day with specific steps to improve your finances. There’ll be motivational mantras thrown in, but the primary purpose of the UFM is to give you detailed, straightforward, easy-to-follow financial action items. Woohoo!

A lot of people (me included!) take the UFM every single year as a refresher course to help get back on track or confirm that they’re still in great financial shape. Other people come to it as money beginners and end the month with new confidence about their finances. Still others are at expert level and take the course as a way to connect with the broader Frugalwoods community and offer encouragement and advice to newer community members.

One of my all-time faves from last Christmas… come on, Littlewoods 😉

It’s fun (I mean, at the very least, it’s not painful), it’s free (totally free), and it’s written in plain English (no financial jargon allowed).

The Uber Frugal Month isn’t just about saving money. It’s a holistic re-evaluation and re-structuring of our human relationship with one of the most polarizing, stress-inducing, divorce-causing, fear-mongering things: our money.

But money does not have to be any of those things. Money can be a beast you tame, understand, and that works for you–not against you. You can either master your money or it can master you. Join me and take charge! [imagine Flight of the Valkyries playing as you read this, please and thank you].

The Private Facebook Group Lives On!

YAAASSSS! Actually, the private Facebook group never stopped after I created it a few years ago. I LOVE the supportive, helpful, friendly, funny and frugal conversations that happen in that group. I rarely comment because the group members are rocking it and have created a wonderful community!

You do not have to join the private Facebook group in order to participate in the Challenge–it’s an added bonus and a way to connect with the broader, worldwide Frugalwoods community.

If you’re already a member of the group, you just keep on keeping on. If you’d like to join the group, you’ll receive instructions after you sign-up for the UFM. It’s a private group, which means the posts are confidential to the group.

It’s also a “Frugalwoods-y” group, which means there’s no rudeness, judgement, self-promotion, or mean comments tolerated. Humor and photos of your frugal hacks (and pets!!!) are welcome and encouraged!

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

Q: What, exactly, is the Uber Frugal Month Challenge?

It’s a 31-day program outlining 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!

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, 2022. Every email has a theme for the day, an action item, links to recommended reading, and a mantra for inspiration.

Kidwoods is NOT having it

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

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

You can get started on that now since it takes some time to really do the Uber Frugal Month with gusto.

Q: Who should take the UFM?

Anyone and everyone!

  • Except for dogs. The UFM is not designed for dogs. Sorry, dogs.
  • 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, the UFM is for you.
  • If you’re in an awesome place with your frugality, the UFM is a nice touch-up and reminder of why you’re frugal and how you might augment your savings and 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 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), 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.

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

I cannot believe this was only a year ago… they’re so big now!!!

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 when you sign up for the UFM.

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?

Christmas 2019

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 starts on January 1, 2022!

Q: When are the UFM emails sent?

You’ll receive an email from me every single morning for the entire month (January 1 – January 31, 2022) at 5:00am EST. The emails are sent automatically at the same time every day 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 has that 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.

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 the instructions 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!!! Hey, this could be the perfect holiday gift for the person who has everything…

Q: Can I take the UFM after January 2022?

Absolutely! 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!

Real Live People Love The UFM!!!

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. Luckily 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:

Rebecca wrote:

Christmas 2018

I cannot begin to find the right words… to rightly describe the joy it is to read your blogs and begin this journey. Thank you for putting pen to paper and sharing the gift that has been given to you. Many other gifts …those of your readers, will be set free into motion because of your step of faith! I am 51 years young, married, and retired a wee bit younger than most, due to a life change that has me following in pursuit of the call and passion which my husband and I have on out lives. I was feeling a bit like a weirdo as you so keenly put it,  but your blogs and emails are daily vitamins of encouragement to me that we are on the right path. They have also been a loving admonishment to me as well, to do things a bit differently, to live a more genuinely frugal life. I have especially been caught up in the lie that it matters what other people think, and that has been so refreshingly brought to life and pulled out of the ground of my heart, like an unwanted weed. Thank you so very much for exposing these things, so we can acknowledge them and get rid of them. Now I can plant a frugality flower in the space where that weed was.

Beth said:

Christmas 2018

Thank you so much for this challenge. It definitely got me thinking and looking at things from a different perspective. This month has been one where I am looking at things and reexamining priorities and this challenge has helped with that.

Ellen shared:

I participated all month and also read your book. I enjoyed the challenge very much and found it strikingly easy to cut down, but with that ease came the realization of how much unneeded stuff I have spent money on mindlessly. As a single gal, I have absolutely no reason to be spending ANY money on unnecessary stuff… I saved 73% of my income this month and I intend to see you on the other side: financial independence.

Jill wrote:

Thanks for hosting this frugal month! I love creating budgets & up to this point had always assumed that as long as I was meeting my savings goals my spending was in-line w my budget. This is the first time I’ve tracked every dollar & it was enlightening. While I was correct in how much money I was spending – I was wrong about what  I was spending it on. I plan to keep up the tracking as it only takes a few minutes each week and it has allowed me to make sure I’m maximizing the enjoyment I get from each dollar spent.

Dalton shared:

Christmas 2017: pregnant with Littlewoods!

I’ve already been making leaps and bounds towards financial independence, but I wanted to challenge myself a little more. This month has been that challenge – basically I wanted to strip away all the unnecessary and see how cheap my life could actually be. I’ll use this month as a point of reference for my FIRE journey going forward as a “worse case” scenario. I say worse case because I was still eating well, exercising often and spending time with friends. I was just doing it with a more intentional and frugal mindset. I appreciate the structure that this challenge had and that there were actions. 

Jason said:

This month helped in that I got to have a reminder each morning in my inbox on frugality, but by far the best thing was the Facebook group! The constant dialog of the group overtook my facebook feed, so not only did I get your morning email, I was reminded of frugality all day long. I think by far that was the best aspect of your Uber Frugal Month program. I got lots of tips on everything from recipes to dryer balls.

Adrianna wrote:

Although our savings are still a work in progress, I had two notable victories this month. I was able to pay most of my credit card statements in full, which I hadn’t done for awhile, and when a necessary home repair came up last weekend, I was able to contribute my half from my savings without stress. Similar to what you have said before . . . something that could have been a crisis was only an inconvenience. Most people in the challenge would not have considered my month of January frugal by their standards, but it did make a difference for me. I feel ready to keep working towards my goals. Thanks for providing this challenge and all of your content.

Teresa shared:

Christmas 2016. This makes me miss Frugal Hound so much!

I was so excited to try this challenge to really jump start our year. The daily emails were great reminders of WHY we are on this journey. I restructured our budget and we are off to an amazing start. Thank you so much!

Kaitlin said:

I love your approach to frugality and saving money. I love how you embrace that everyone is at a different stage and may have different needs, but there are certain things that are definitely NOT needs, and are in fact, wants masquerading as needs. My first foray into the FIRE life was with Pete, aka Mr. Money Mustache, who is great for an ice bucket over the head into the world of frugality, but his approach is much more extreme and one sided. It was a great introduction. But what I really enjoy about frugalwoods is that I can relate to you as a person. I love reading about the ‘softer’ side of FIRE with your homestead and your babies and the way you and your husband are there for each other and are a team in this dynamic.

Meg wrote:

First, a massive thank you for the last 31 days of uber frugality. It is no exaggeration to say that I’m a changed person… UFM helped me shake off a few monthly subscriptions that I’d let creep in, start making a few more things in house than I did before (okay, global pandemic also gave me a boost there), start cutting my husband’s hair (UFM + pandemic again). But mostly, UFM has helped me feel more powerful than I have in a long time. Everything I need is already within me. UFM helped me start to see it.

K.C. shared:

Christmas 2015. Baby Kidwoods!!!

Thank you so much for this challenge! This month was eye opening. I realized how little we actually need but also how easy it is to turn wants into needs! For me deciding if I really needed or wanted something and waiting 72 hours helped a lot. A lot of times I forgot about it after 24 hours hah. Sometimes I didn’t. But I  also became more conscious of social media advertising and blocked ads, unsubscribed from unwanted emails.

R.L. said:

I just want to say thank you for doing the UFM again. This is my second one and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It reframes my thinking and helps me get right back on the path. My life isn’t “frugal” right now in the sense that I am paying for an MBA — but because of frugality, I am able to pay cash for it instead of taking out student loans. Your UFM challenge has helped a lot of us, including myself.

Susie wrote:

Thank you very much for your emails this month. I really appreciate your perspective. You’ve done a lot of thinking about your values and reflecting and planning etc, I do not live intentionally so it’s quite impressive to get a look into the life of someone who does… I won’t be able to be a full frugal weirdo but I certainly am adopting many of these habits. 

Sarah shared:

I knew NOTHING (quite literally, nothing) about personal finance when I stumbled onto your blog, and I’ve learned so much. I’m a medical student in Boston (so your posts on frugal Boston living are much appreciated)! My husband just left a job that was pretty miserable, so we decided to do an Uber Frugal Month. And it was a huge success! We slashed our grocery bill and flexed our DIY muscles, including my first home haircut, which turned out surprisingly well! We also decluttered our apartment and sold things that people might actually want (like blenders and my old iPad) and gave the rest away through Buy Nothing groups (like lightsaber chopsticks and a food chopper from the 70s). We also took some huge steps to limit impulse spending- not only did I implement the 72 hour rule, I also deleted my Amazon account, and have no plans to bring it back. (A useful exercise for me was categorizing all of the random purchases I impulse bought on Amazon over the years- why did I think I need a ukulele?? Or a tofu press?? 1-click ordering is the devil.)

Merry Christmas 2013! The pre-kid years…

We also GOT MARRIED during this month (at a courthouse, with family Zooming in), and definitely frugalized it- my dress was $25, my shoes were $10 from Buffalo exchange, and my engagement ring and our 2 wedding bands came out to $150 total. My best friend served as photographer and I made wedding photo books for our families myself using Shutterfly). We are planning to celebrate with friends and family when it’s safe to do so, but it’ll be a frugal backyard affair with bulk wine and beer, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream cake, and a rental karaoke machine). I also took the time to really dive into learning about all of the different loan repayment plans available to doctors, since I’m graduating medical school in May, and am sharing this knowledge with my friends and classmates. I’m graduating with $380,000 in medical school debt (I know) and going into pediatric neurology, a relatively lower paying field in medicine ($178,000 is the average in Massachusetts- obviously a great salary, but the debt-to-income ratio isn’t ideal). Not only that, but I want to practice at a safety net hospital, since I’m fluent in Spanish and want to work with populations that do not always have great access to care. Essentially, will allow me to practice medicine in a way that prioritizes my deepest values.

Are you fired up for 2022? Are you ready to Uber Frugal it up???? (cue Flight of the Valkyries again)

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20 Responses

  1. Linda says:

    Love the photos — nice trip down memory lane!

  2. Christopher Johnson says:

    I enjoy your Frugal Month challenge because they either act as reminders or new ideas of things to try to improve my finances. I’ve found that my biggest weakness is cooking my meals without waste. Now it is even more challenging since I found out in October that I’m prediabetic so I need to eat low-carb to keep my blood sugar and triglycerides within the normal range. If all goes well, I’ll build the first (and perhaps only) stage of my first and forever (and perhaps tiny) home in 2022 in which case I’ll look for KETO and WFPB (whole food plant based) recipes to try once I get the garden going. I haven’t been able to have a garden since I left my parents’ house in 1994 so I’m very excited about the possibility.

  3. sierra says:

    Love the Uber Frugal challenge! This will be my second year doing it!

  4. Fartner1 says:

    I am signed up for the emails! I did it several years back (July 2018). But now I have another kid (mommy brain!) and so this is a great way to recalibrate.

  5. Mary Ann Gonsalves says:

    Hi Liz,
    I’m glad you included some earlier pics of your family and your beloved dog. Happy Holidays to you and all your family!
    I always enjoy all your writings and challenges too!
    Mary Ann Gonsalves

  6. Clancy says:

    Frugalhound was the best! Thanks for sharing the photos! Can’t wait to redo UFM!

  7. Bridgette Shy says:

    Love it! It will be great to reboot for 2022. I got some new goals

  8. isa says:

    Yes!!!! Gearing up for a frugal YEAR 🙂

  9. Wendy says:

    Happy to be doing this again! I still track every penny, so I know where my money goes, but I’ve been experiencing spending creep as my income has grown, and I want to be saving more.

  10. JD says:

    I’ve done this before a couple of times, but I had stopped, as we had developed a pretty good handle on things. Then a huge health crisis came along, and wheeee, we’re in debt again. So this will be my challenge, to work as hard as possible to get back out of debt. Onward!

  11. James W Day says:

    I already cut the cable & home phone cord from 250.00 to 80.00 ( I know, I know for this crowd its a neophyte move! lol)

  12. Bitten says:

    Holiday greetings from Denmark. I have never commented before, but have followed the blog for a few months. I have signed up for January’s frugal project. Our December just got way more expensive as my 11-year-old son tested positive for Covid late last night. Today, we have had to online shop for the whole Christmas dinner which is served in Denmark on the Eve of the 24th. We had planned to celebrate Christmas with my in-laws, but Covid threw a curve ball again. So frugal January is probably not a bad idea now. Also the prices of heat, electricity, and food have exploded.
    I look forward to following Frugal January and merry Christmas from Denmark.

  13. Puck says:

    I’ve been avoiding the UFMs because of overwhelm (and some different priorities), but it might be time for that tune-up now. I think I’m gonna do it!

  14. Michelle says:

    Did not see a box below to sign up for this…

  15. Kate Semple says:

    I’ve signed up to do this again! I’ve done it before and I usually think there’s not much I can cut but there’s always something! This summer we moved to rural New Brunswick and that move right there has eliminated our previously huge restaurant and take out budget but there’s always something else that creeps in. Our salaries here are lower and we haven’t learned to live with a new budget yet so this will be good for us!

  16. Beth M says:

    How wonderful to see all your pictures! I miss Frugalhound as well. Last year I finally joined in the UFM goodness, so this year I am looking forward to my second time around.

  17. Such a great challenge! We all need to be pushed to be more frugal, especially in January because it sets the tone for the rest of the year! Keep up the great work Frugalwoods fam!

  18. John says:

    UFM is a great financial health check!

  19. Alex says:

    I’m really trying but I’m struggling. Every time I try and save money, I find I am spending more. Unfortunately some of the tips do not apply to me as I live in Canada – we are notorious for having high cell phone bills. I’m trying to see where I can save and reduce. Really trying this year!

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