Winter sunrise from our back porch

Oh, it’s back. That’s right. The thing you’ve asked Santa for, the thing you’ve pined after all year, the thing that’s been on your wishlist and sitting in your shopping cart for months is finally here. And you get to have it for FREE!! It’s the Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge and it will be gifted to you starting January 1, 2019. I know what you want and I know what you need: you want financial freedom, the ability to get out of debt, the power to transform how you think about money, and the skills to do it.

All this and more will be yours with the Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge. Think I’m kidding? I am as serious as a lump of coal. Sign-up in the box below to join thousands of fellow Frugalwoods readers in a month-long Challenge to revamp how you manage your money.

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Signup

We all need encouragement and inspiration on our financial journey! Sign-up to receive an email a day from me for 31 days starting January 1, 2019. Every email has a tip, a mantra, an action item, and recommended reading, all designed to help you transform your finances.

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And yes, the Uber Frugal Month is actually free!!! It’s not a ploy to up-sell you or sell your email address (I don’t even know how to do that… ) or inundate you with cute dog photos. Some things in life are actually free and this is one of them. Maybe I should charge for it, but I don’t because I’m passionate about helping people manage their money.

While it’s true you can sign-up for the Uber Frugal Month Challenge any old time of year (seriously, any old time), we do the Challenge as a group every January and July. We’ve been doing it this way for several years and–based on the feedback you’ve provided–you all love it. I love it too! It’s a chance to connect with likeminded frugal weirdos, to offer advice and support, and to know that we’re not alone in our commitment to creating better financial futures for ourselves.

Financial Health Is The Best Form Of Self-Care

Kidwoods in the snow

January’s Challenge theme is: “financial health = self-care.” The internet is rife with prompts to indulge in “self-care” these days. And don’t get me wrong, I love me a bubble bath and a massage and some yoga (and wine. Did anyone mention wine? Just me?). I posit that the highest and best form of self-care is attending to your financial well-being.

If your money is under control, YOU are under control. If your money is doing what you want it to be doing, YOU are doing what you want to be doing. How you use your money dictates the type of life you’ll lead. Use your money wisely and LOVE the life you live. This, by the way, is not a platitude or a cliche. It’s a truism I’ve realized over the course of working with many of you on your finances through our Reader Case Studies, the Reader Suggestions, over email, and in person. You can control your money, or it can control you.

The Uber Frugal Month Challenge is designed to help you wrest back control of your money–however beastly it may be–and give you the confidence and the concrete knowledge of how to create a more sustainable, fulfilling, and simple financial path forward. Having your money in check allows you to pursue the things you love and allows you to create a lifestyle of reduced stress and a lifestyle that includes more of what you enjoy doing. Managing money well is the medium through which you can tap into deeper forms of self-care. It’s the bedrock foundation of overall health and well-being.

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Signup

We all need encouragement and inspiration on our financial journey! Sign-up to receive an email a day from me for 31 days starting January 1, 2019. Every email has a tip, a mantra, an action item, and recommended reading, all designed to help you transform your finances.

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And Now For My World-Famous FAQs Section! (probably not actually 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 I created that follows the steps my husband and I took to recalibrate our approach to consumerism, ramp our savings rate up to over 70%, 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 Signup

We all need encouragement and inspiration on our financial journey! Sign-up to receive an email a day from me for 31 days starting January 1, 2019. Every email has a tip, a mantra, an action item, and recommended reading, all designed to help you transform your finances.

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

Snowy driveway walk

Not at all painful! Only one month long! You’ll receive an email from me every day for 31 days, starting on January 1, 2019. Each email contains 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 does take 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 page is a totally 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 Signup

We all need encouragement and inspiration on our financial journey! Sign-up to receive an email a day from me for 31 days starting January 1, 2019. Every email has a tip, a mantra, an action item, and recommended reading, all designed to help you transform your finances.

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

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 the month of January?

Snow-capped winter berries

It means that I will moderate the UFM Facebook page every day and lead discussions with conversation prompts to help you along your journey. This Facebook page is active only twice a year during the two months that we take the Challenge as a group (January and July). You can join the Uber Frugal Month Facebook page here. 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 right 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, 2019!

Q: When are the UFM emails sent?


Our Christmas tree! You can really see that burned out section of lights in this photo… hah!

You’ll receive an email from me every single morning for the entire month (January 1 – January 31, 2019) 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. Join the UFM Facebook page and introduce yourself!
  3. 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).
  4. Be proud of yourself for taking this powerful step toward creating the life you want to live–not the life you have to live.
  5. Invite a friend to take the Challenge with you!
  6. Have no regrets!

Q: Can I take the UFM after January 2019?

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!

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. 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, published with permission:

Susan wrote:

I have enjoyed this Uber Frugal Month so much! It has really made me stop and think about where we (hubby and myself) want to be in 10 years (debt free). And more importantly how much cutting back on unnecessary spending are we willing to do! We didn’t even have a good idea of what we were spending every month. We do now! Very eye opening! We have created a spending plan for ourselves and learning to not waste!! No wasting money, food or any other resource! Really cannot thank you enough for helping us open our eyes! I really enjoy reading about your homestead! Congrats on Babywoods#2 and we are so sorry about Frugal Hound! Say hello to Mr. Frugalwoods for us 🙂

Deirdre said:

I would very much like to thank you for sending me the e-mails for the Uber Frugal Month. I am at the other end of the scale whereby I have been doing this for most of my married life of 40 years. It started out from the need of buying a home together. Then the UK recession of the early 90’s hit us hard, and came the inevitable unemployment and self-employment to just get by. By this time we were raising our amazing family of 4 children, so they were lean times, with several recessions to follow, to add to the mix. Through careful budgeting, and a frugal lifestyle, we have not only managed to pay off our mortgage years earlier than we should, but help all 4 of our children through University, and they have all gone on to have professional careers. Our life has been very happy, and I am now blessed with 3 lovely grandchildren, who bring us pure joy. My Husband is due to retire in 2 month’s time and we are looking forward to the next chapter of our frugal life together. Despite having little more than one basic State Pension to live off, having saved well over the years, we will be comfortable and content.

So why am I reading frugal blogs, you might ask. Without blowing my own trumpet, there is not much I don’t know about turning a sixpence into a shilling. Because, it is always inspiring to see how other’s embrace the journey. There are always new things to learn, and it is reassuring to know that you are not the only frugal weirdo, to pinch your coin of phrase. Frugality really does equal freedom. 

The main thing about frugality that ‘normal’ people don’t get, is that you are not missing out. Your blog is refreshing because it shows that by not being enslaved by consumerism, you can live the life you want and enjoy it.  My life is very different to yours, but I live your lifestyle, and I am proof that it works. Thank you for the inspiration that you are giving to frugal weirdos young and old, and those that may just join our journey by reading your blog. I hope that you and your lovely family will gain as much from your frugal journey through life as mine have.

Karen shared:

You asked for a reply as to how the UFM was for us? We LOVED it. My husband and I would sit on the couch each night and read your latest email (we live in Australia and it arrived in our inbox around 8:20pm each night, perfect to read together once the kids were in bed. We would actually refresh our email page in eager anticipation!).

We consider ourselves pretty frugal already, so we didn’t get many tips on how to be more frugal. But what we did get out of your emails (& the UFM community of FB) was how to own frugality, how to be proud of it, and not be ashamed by being frugal. This was the first time we’ve found a like-minded community around frugality…. I think we all underestimate the importance of belonging, especially when you’re not “the norm” (as per fugal lifestyle choices). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Peta wrote:

I’ve been reading your blog for a few years, and have now completed my third Uber Frugal Month with the Frugalwoods community, and it has created a great frame of mind for a frugal year ahead. I’ve found that as I continue to participate in each Uber Frugal Month, I become more committed and more reflective about what frugalism means to me. This time I have really been considering every item purchased, and as a result have had some weird and wacky meals, using up provisions already in the fridge/cupboard, instead of buying extra supplies. And I have successfully stopped buying chocolate (my biggest weakness which was developing into quite a bad habit), and so far this year have not bought any treats for myself. This is the longest I have gone without succumbing, so I’m really pleased about that, as I’m becoming more mindful of needing to maintain my health (I’m 63 years old, and want to stay fit and healthy as long as possible).

For 2018, I’m actually now psyched up to commit to a ban on buying clothes, as well as various other items such as books, DVDs etc, until I have read/watched the vast collection I already have. I don’t know if I’ll match your length of your clothes ban, but my mantra now is “I have enough,” something I picked up recently from an online article I read.

MK shared:

Greetings from snowy and sunny Tallinn, Estonia. … I had calculated how much I had spent in 2017 for certain things like gas, clothes, eating out, take away lattes (my weakness), dental care etc. I was truly mortified to find out that I had spent over 900€ for take away lattes (to compare with – I had spent 1,050€ on gas for my 2010 Honda Jazz). I knew that something needed to change in 2018. And hearing about your site few days later, it truly was a “match made in heaven.” I always thought it’s the big expenses, but no, 900€ per year for take-away lattes shows it’s about the small, 2.60€ choice you make, when you walk into a cute old town cafe to get your daily “treat.”

I always thought that Estonians (and post Soviet areas in Eastern Europe general) are way more frugal than Americans (don’t mean to offend my American friends here). When I lived in USA 10 years ago I was truly surprised how much stuff people buy (and what they don’t actually need + it many cases is put to their credit cards). I try to visit States once a year and the “keeping up with the Joneses” race still amazes me every time. But when I did the challenge this month, I understood I am almost the same! Estonians in general are the same. Take away food has become our favorite food (all the apps available for food ordering and selections in stores show it); shopping is considered as a hobby for weekends (impossible to find a free parking space in a mall during weekend) and the growing concept that things make you happy (and if it’s too expensive, you can always take out a loan with ca 15-25% interest rate). And more you talk to people (co-workers, people you know from school), the more they admit (after 2 glasses of wine usually) that their debt in general is getting bigger and bigger because “hey I needed the new counter tops for my 2010 built kitchen”.

Just some small things I changed in January:

* Canceled my make- up artist and hairdresser appointment for a party (saved at least 3 hours and 60€). Did make-up and hair myself and got many compliments for my looks (and it took only 20 minutes in my own bedroom).
* Said “NO” to certain expenses on my best friends upcoming wedding in April in London. Since I am maid of honor, it was emotionally difficult to set your foot down like this, but saved with single NO at least 200£ (about 230€).
* Bought only 4 take away-lattes (it was 2 days norm before).
* Took a bus to work on most work days (local transportation is free if your primary residence is registered in Tallinn city limits) – saved 50€ on gas + 1 hr every day.
*  Didn’t buy new clothes (don´t think I need to buy them for next 6 months at least).
* Ate out only twice (total expense 20€, before it was more like 80€-100€ per month).

So frugal life is for me. I see how much freedom is possible to gain from those small choices… So thank you so much for your amazing site and the challenge. It all found me on a right time, before I was able to get myself into serious money trouble because of my (growing) spending habits on things I actually don’t need.

Linda wrote:

I am so glad you have inspired me to do this. I actually completed the month without unnecessary spending and paid off a chunk of debt that I had considered was going to be a struggle but actually turned out quite straightforward. The best bit is that my husband has seen the effect and is totally on board for Uber Frugal February!! Thanks again, Linda (in Scotland)

Jenn shared:

My husband and I had an awesome month, largely in part to your emails. I found your blog late last year and surprised my husband with our new 2018 plan for fiscal savviness. We closely calculated all of our necessary expenditures, streamlined those we didn’t need (sorry Hulu), and have largely stuck to it. Our January was fantastic – we saved over $1k, communicated well, did healthy free activities, used down time to declutter our home, and most importantly, built memories. We’re now hard charging into February

Piia shared:

Greetings from Finland! It was so nice to take part in the UFM challenge and see how much money one can save simply by making more conscious choices in one’s daily life. I already have a monthly budget, but thanks to the challenge, I was able to save over 75 euros, despite having some extra expenses last month, such as buying a new mattress. Some of the best things I learned during the UFM, were to use the food and supplies in my pantry and freezer, and to overall, appreciate more and make use of the resources I already have. I will definitely keep following your blog, and maybe participate in a future UFM.

Brenda wrote:

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put forth to help make being frugal something worth striving for. It isn’t about being cheap, but indeed is a way to accomplish important goals of life. I looked forward to reading your daily posts and am a little sad that the month has ended, but I am so grateful for all the insights and new ideas to apply to my life.

Thank you for causing me to take a look deep within and question why I buy what I buy, and to bring up to the surface what things in life – physically, mentally, and spiritually – do I really treasure? I also learned how being frugal with one’s time and money can help accomplish things that had for so long been collecting dust on a forgotten shelf somewhere.

… There’s another proverb that says, “A fool and his money are soon departed.”  Thank you for helping me, and thousands of others, not to be those fools any longer!

Vicki shared:

I wanted to write and thank you for developing and hosting the January 2018 frugal month. I have had a monumental mind shift over the last six months or so, and your frugal month solidified what had been amorphously kicking around in my brain. All of the great challenges that our generation faces – the death of the natural world as we know it, climate change (which is a distinct but interrelated problem), income inequality, modern day slavery – they all are born from, or exacerbated by, the same vice – consumerism. Our society literally teaches the worship and coveting of material things, the vast majority of which we do not need, will not make us happy, and will ultimately adversely affect our long term financial outcomes.

I believe that we have developed a culture identity crisis, in which we define ourselves by what we own, rather than what knowledge we possess, what particular skills we have developed, or what creed we have adopted. It is, after all, easier to buy a cheap plastic trinket than learn French.

So how do we shed our identity as the “consumer” and regain our identity as a “person?”  Your frugal month challenge, for me, was instrumental in this transition. The first step was to shut out the siren song of marketing messages. Do you know just how difficult it is to isolate yourself from marketing?  It quite literally surrounds us. I unsubscribed from several retailer email listservs. Within a couple of weeks, some had put me back on without my authorization, or sent me emails with titles such as “We miss you!  Come back for X% off!” They do not miss me.  They miss my money.  I also unfollowed retailers and shopping related pages on Facebook.  I called retailer after retailer and asked them to take me off their catalogue mailing list.

After a month away from the marketing, I felt less bloated.  My brain felt uncluttered for the first time in a while. Because when you aren’t constantly running a gauntlet of marketing messages saying buy buy buy buy buy buy sale sale sale sale you can actually think. It’s like that moment you turn off a blaring television and just listen to the silence.

Sonya shared:

Honestly I am so sad that UFM is over! It was wonderful, it was a great daily reading that really helped solidify what I was experiencing and learning on my own in my life this month. Thank you for this invaluable resource. Seriously can’t put into words how great it was.

Anne wrote:

Thank you so much for the month! I have truly enjoyed and appreciated the daily encouragement. It has helped me to start to define more clearly what frugality means to me and how it can really work for me and my family. We are not as extreme as the Frugalwoods but I want to be very smart and deliberate with our money, while also enjoying the journey. Reminders to practice gratitude and non materialism and non consumerism are super helpful. I’m always in the lookout for resources, support and community around those values. I’m also looking forward to reading the books you recommended as well as your recent publication! Thanks too for the tip of using Personal Capital to track savings/investments (I’ve been using Mint but not as happy with it recently).

Amy shared:

I discovered your website a mere two weeks ago, and it’s already changed my life; that sounds so dumb and cliche but I promise it is not. … I clicked and began reading, and it’s like a whole new world was opened up to me… I feel like my mind is being cracked open by a new way of thinking as my consumer conditioning is being dismantled with extreme haste. I signed up for your Uber Frugal Month challenge and one of the first posts was about signing up for Personal Capital and I was like, yeah NO. That sounds like…work. And icky. I was just going to skip it. But! I did it, and wow. Wow wow wow. Seeing it all there in black and white makes it literally impossible to ignore (wait, we’ve already spent $234 in restaurants this month alone AND I cook three meals a day AND we’ve already spent $800 at the grocery store? WHAT??). 

Anyway, I won’t keep going on with details and I’m sure you get emails like this all the time, but your examples and outlines and plans are an amazing education for someone like me who is literally bumbling along and once even believed she wasn’t a spender. My husband is excited and totally onboard, and we’ve already begun to make changes…we’re packing hubby’s lunch for starters, and I even cut my toddler’s hair today…and we survived! 😀

So thank you. I am SO SO excited for your book, and I apologize for the length of this email, but I owed it to you. It was the least I could do for what I’ve already learned in this short time. Here’s to a frugal future!

Pam wrote:

Loved this challenge. It was just what I needed. The headline news is after one month I can pay off a quarter of my credit card debt!!! Its not huge but it was weighing me down. Other stuff though that was just as important to me was the thinking you encouraged. I was quite surprised by some of my conclusions. I love our current home, I actually like my job and I want to keep doing it. Just before this challenge I’d changed jobs, doubled my income but started to work from home which reduced all the associated costs and time of commuting, win, win me thinks!! I had been put off trying frugality before because my husband and I approach spending a little differently, but doing more reading, some of your articles and reader studies I realised it didn’t matter for me, he is capable of frugality, we once saved enough money in a year to take a year sabbatical and travel India and the far East.

…What mattered was paying my credit card off and saving my extra income for the thing I love the most … travel. The biggest bonus of this month has been reconnecting me with a previous younger more political me who abhorred the consumer culture we are surrounded by. She must have been there under the surface because neither of our daughters see shopping as a pastime, both wear hand me downs, charity shop clothes and handmade s and just don’t question it. Less time shopping more time riding bikes, swimming in lakes, walking up mountains!!! But seriously I had also lost my way a bit, I love sewing knitting and creating but blimey….there is a great crafting community out there alongside an amazing market place and it’s easy to over and unnecessarily consumer to create.

Your questions made me really ponder. . I thought about how I am influenced and edited my Instagram account ruthlessly. I also found a whole new online community, crafters who think about sustainable crafting, using what you have, reimagining things. I could go on but should really stop. This challenge in one month has reshaped me, thank you so much. I will miss your emails and am thinking I will sign up for the July challenge just to keep going and also to see how much further I can go!! Thank you so much.

Lenia wrote:

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your book and what a big help your blog is. I happened to finish the book in late June and when I looked up your web site I discovered an Uber Frugal Month was about to begin. I’m really enjoying the daily emails from the UFM, along with the links to your older columns and the recent case study.

You are an excellent writer, exceptionally clear, relatable and practical. The information you’re sharing is potentially life-transformative; it can be applied to other areas, not just one’s budget. Our family has lived debt-free since our first child was born and we are now approaching retirement with some confidence that all of our needs will be met thanks to our careful saving and investing. Nevertheless, your book and blog are offering daily insights into additional ways we can be frugal along with gems to contemplate and discuss within our marriage and with friends and family. In short, you are genuinely enriching our lives on several levels!

Stevie wrote:

I just wanted to shoot you a quick note to THANK YOU for your work. A few weeks ago, I decided that ignorance was no longer bliss when it came to my family’s finances. I’d always considered myself money-conscious, but for some “mysterious” reason, there was never money left for savings at the end of the month and although we’d stopped using credit cards a few years back, our high interest rate balances weren’t going down. Hmmm…. I started digging into every ounce of personal finance advice I could find, and came across your blog. It’s really given me the motivation I needed to making actionable change to decrease our debt and start building savings. I took on the rather inconvenient job last week of inventorying our freezer/pantry, and building a grocery list around what we already had, and not only did I come in $30 under budget this week, I spent $50 less than I normally do – Amazing!

Cee wrote:

I just wanted to start off by saying that I am a massive fan of your blog, and I recommend it to lots of people. I find it so inspiring. This was my first time attempting the Uber Frugal Month Challenge, but I used it for something a little different than the original intent. Rather than try to decrease my previous average spending, I used it to set the initial budgetary expectations for my brand-new life… since I just got married!!!

I am all about the hyper-frugal lifestyle, but my new husband is much more fond of spending money. … After a honeymoon spent discussing our combined financial future while cuddling by the sea, this challenge was a chance for us to sit down together, look at our freshly-combined bank statements, and come up with spending that we felt was aligned with our new long-term goals together. It was a very helpful exercise!

It wasn’t my most frugal month, and it definitely wasn’t his most luxurious month, but the point is that we are no longer making decisions on our own. We felt pretty good about the compromises we came up with while we were working through the challenge — I can be understanding about how much he loves to work in coffee shops, and he is valiantly scrubbing kitchen pots instead of relying on his accustomed weekly cleaning lady.

Overall, it was a solid first step towards a sustainable financial life together, and it’s exciting to look at the numbers and realize that we have a solid shot at achieving our dreams. The two of us are eager to continue working together using this month as our baseline to see where we can go from here! Thank you so much for putting this challenge together.

Judith shared:

I started 2017 with $17,100 in debt and dropped to just $1,700 in debt by the end of the year. All of this was while living in New York City on a nonprofit salary! I very unexpectedly lost my job the week of Thanksgiving last year. I knew that, with the holidays quickly approaching, I most likely wouldn’t be able to find employment before the new year. This time in my life was scary and intimidating, as being jobless always is. BUT, because I had saved 6 months of cash through the UFM challenge, money didn’t have to be part of my stress.

I knew that I would be able to continue paying NYC-priced rent while looking for jobs and that I would have several months before my savings were depleted. A time that could have been filled with fear and rage wound up becoming a few months of great personal growth. I was able to do many of the things I had wanted to do for years but had always put off. Ultimately, I got a job offer at the end of January. I was able to negotiate a start date in March to give me time to take my mother on a trip and to move cities without urgency. None of this would have been possible had I not started with the UFM challenge. Thanks for all of your advice and guidance.

Your emails and blog have made my life better. 

UFM: A Truly International Challenge

Finding contentment amid snow and ice

One of my favorite aspects of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge is connecting with all of you and hearing your personal stories–just a few of which are shared above. It motivates me when I hear how this Challenge has changed your lives for the better and it’s thrilling to learn how many different countries Challenge participants hail from!

We’ve had Challenge participants from Brazil, Singapore, Namibia, Sweden, Switzerland, Lithuania, Prague, the Netherlands, South Africa, Finland, Romania, Estonia, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Ireland, England, Wales, Canada, Scotland, Denmark, New Zealand, and many more! What this tells me is that there are a lot of us in the world 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.

Resolve To Be Better In 2019

Join me in January to start your year off in a financially empowering, proactive, and positive way. The Challenge starts on January 1, 2019; sign-up now to ensure you’ll be part of this life-improving, transformative journey.

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

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  1. Just signed up again! I’ve done the challenge every time with the group, and it’s a really great chance to recalibrate spending 🙂 looking forward to the Facebook chats!

  2. I’m very excited! With a young baby I know that I won’t be able to participate fully but there is still a lot I can do. No time like the present. And I’ve been thinking so much about how to create a sustainable and frugal life for my new family.

  3. “If your money is under control, YOU are under control” I love it! The uber frugal sounds amazing and it is such a great challenge to do. I love the readers’ stories on how it helped them greatly. So excited to try this out!

  4. Yay!!! I’m so pumped! I just recently gave notice at work that I will not be returning next school year. We saved, saved and saved and we are finally ready to give winters in Florida a try. Living life on my own terms has been in the making for over 20 years.

  5. Yay, super pumped! The Facebook group is the best for this. So supportive and so many good ideas!

    One quick note: the newsletter sign up at the bottom (which is likely a site template item) likely won’t get you on the Uber Frugal List – smack my typing hand if I’m wrong, Mrs. FW. You will probably have to scroll back up to that specific sign up if you’re bad at following Mrs. FW directions as you’re reading like I am. Don’t miss out!

    1. As someone who hasn’t done this before: do you consider the Facebook group essential to completing this well? I looked at it but am not comfortable putting so much personal information out there on a public group. Is it still worth completing the challenge while not participating there?

      1. You can definitely take the Challenge without the Facebook component. The Facebook page is an add-on that facilitates conversation among Challenge participants. But the Challenge itself takes place via email.

  6. I did this challenge earlier this year to get myself back into my old frugal habits and it served me well! Do it! Seriously, what do you have to lose, except more money? Start your new year off right with this fun and thoughtful challenge. 🙂

    1. You can! You’ll get daily emails that include links to other posts. The Facebook group is nice for daily interaction and community, but not necessary.

  7. You are inspiring as is everyone else taking this journey seriously. Thank you all. I’m signing up and will really try to keep up. Heavenly Christmas to all.

  8. I’m excited to participate in UFM 2019! I did it last January and had a lot of great insights 🙂 this year I’ve got my boyfriend interested so we will be participating together 🙂 Also I’m going to blog about what we learn each week 😀

  9. Can’t wait to do this for the second time. Six months makes me lax about budgeting/saving so I can use this right about now!
    Especially after the holidays!!! We will be on vacation for a week in January but will adhere to using gift cards and cash. I believe it is our frugal lifestyle that make vacations possible!

  10. Thank you so much for doing this challenge again.. I find your blog so motivating – it is one of the few I read and actually learn something from so I don’t feel like I’m wasting time. I also really enjoy the readers’ comments as there are many great tips.
    Merry Christmas and blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  11. I enjoy your internet site, and I bought your book, which I found most interesting. I would love to participate in the UFM, but I never receive the email confirmation, after trying to register. I checked my spam, and it is not there either. The same thing happened last yr. when I tried to register. Could the problem be that I live in Canada ? Please advise.

    1. Hi Lynda: Thank you so much for reading! So it’s possible that the confirmation email is going into your spam or junk folder. You can participate in the Challenge from anywhere in the world, so it shouldn’t make a difference that you’re in Canada.

  12. Just signed up once again! Always a great time. And I am hoping to finally start blogging with regularity again on my own frugal-living site soon (last quarter of the year at work was INSANE….)

  13. I will be in the midst of moving in January so I won’t be participating this time. (I retired at 55 – very proud of that!) I look forward to July’s challenge when I have 4-5 months of data in my new home. Definitely “cutting the cord” on this move though!!

  14. Hello. I’m 56 and lost my husband suddenly 19 months ago. I’ve had a difficult learning curve with the loss of income and paying off debt on a teacher’s salary. It was my intent to retire in 2020, but that seems impossible to me now. I’ve never been good at finances and I’m looking forward to learning how to make my money work for me and to let go of the fear I’ve had for the past 19 months. I’ve just signed up for the January challenge.

    1. Hi There. Just a thought. I think it would be awesome if you considered a reader case study. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope the New Year brings wonderful things for you.

  15. Ready to start the challenge. I’ve already gone through our budget and categorized the discretionary things to attack! It’s kind of stunning to think how much “extra” is there to possibly cut. Starting the New Year with eyes open!

  16. Shoot. I forgot to sign up before Jan 1. Can you still participate? I did send in my email address today.

  17. I am all about self-care. That is affordable of course. I trimmed any expenses that were not necessary so when I do want to do something that really excites me, then I can. I cut out about $8,000 in expenses. I just culled subscriptions and paid off debt. Nice post! 😉


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