Uber-Frugal January: Who’s with Me?

I’ve mentioned before how enamored I am with the folks over at Frugalwoods. They have spending habits I envy, clear goals, mad photography skills, and apparently the world’s most patient and photogenic. (Seriously, I’m not even a dog person, but those are remarkable dog photos.)

Anyway, one of their suggestions is that you do an “Uber Frugal Month” as a personal challenge. You can and should read the details here, but the basic premise is that you go through your spending with a fine-tooth comb, categorizing it based on its level of necessity, and then, well, spend less than that. Possibly much less.

January seems like a good month for this because it gives one a chance to detox from any holiday excess. It’s also good timing for us because we are starting to toy with the idea of becoming homeowners again. The Uber Frugal Month will (a) let us see how low our budget can go and (b) hopefully load up our savings a bit.

I haven’t gone through our spending yet, but I already have some targets in mind. Like Netflix: Sure, it’s cheap, but we don’t need it. I work at a public library! The tiniest amount of pre-planning, and anything we want to watch is waiting there for me to pick up. (Mr. FP isn’t sure about giving this up, but negotiations are underway.) I’ll try getting a little more hand-on with the groceries–see if I can make Greek yogurt, for instance. The Frugalwoods family combined their Uber Frugal Month challenge with an “Eat All the Things” challenge, which sounds like a good idea to me. Got a freezer full of cooked-ahead rice and beans, cheese, and other oddments waiting to keep our bellies from rumbling. I’m not going to eat up expensive things, most notably beef, that we eat regularly but in small quantities, but everything else is fair game. I’m looking at you, quinoa! I WILL make something with you this month!


For someone with just a fridge-top freezer, I store a lot of stuff. Please don’t judge me for the chicken nuggets.



More oddments in the door. We buy our bread several loaves at a time at a bakery outlet (aka “used bread store”) and store the excess in the freezer.

I admit, I have this cheat in mind: I’m allowed to spend any gift cards that I get for Christmas. And I haven’t decided about wine, but coffee is non-negotiable! Maybe I’ll drinkĀ smaller cups.

Who wants to join me for Uber Frugal January? Or just ogle my results? Stay tuned for initial spending analysis…

Update: Due to complete lack of preparation time, Uber-Frugal Month has been postponed until February. Please join me then :-). I apologize to anyone who was really excited about seeing my spending analysis.


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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

13 responses to “Uber-Frugal January: Who’s with Me?”

  1. Mrs. Frugalwoods says :

    Rock on! I’m so honored that you’re going to do our Uber Frugal Month! January sounds like a great time for it too. Mr. FW and I were just reminiscing about our “Eat All The Things” efforts, which took us a few months actually, and resulted in some super random meals. But, it did stretch our culinary creativity! Good luck and please keep us posted!

  2. slowlysippingcoffee says :

    I love his idea. Every January we tend to go on a spending diet, just to recover from the holidays. Usually we spend a month or two, only buying consumables. This year I think we are going to see how long we can go into the year only buying consumables.

  3. Amy K / RelaxedGal on the MMM forums says :

    As for the quinoa, try the Quinoa with Black Beans recipe from the Simple Dollar,

    We made it in our 7 quart crockpot and it was only 1/3 full – I recommend a 4 quart if you have one for more even cooking.

    Best Wishes for a Frugal January – And a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • frugalparagon says :

      Oooh, that does sound tasty. Our quinoa is already cooked, but I could probably just thaw it and add at the end, reducing the broth accordingly. Our crockpot is one of the smaller round ones–don’t know the size, but it used to be my mother’s small one–so that should work. Thanks!

  4. Tarynkay says :

    Greek yogurt is easy to make- just make yogurt and then strain it through cheesecloth. As a frugal person, the amount of whey this produces might trouble you. Whey is great for replacing liquids in baked goods, including breads as well as things like pancakes or baked oatmeal. You can also add it to smoothies for extra protein.

    January sounds like the perfect uber frugal month. You are all stuffed and overindulged from the holidays and there is such a general spirit of can-do self-improvement.

    • David says :

      I know FP doesn’t like my bread recipe, but whey definitely works in that. And instead of cheesecloth, get butter muslin. Same concept, only it can be washed and reused. And honestly, any reasonably lint-free kitchen towel works too. No need to buy something! I’ve made ricotta strained through our standard towels and it’s just fine.

      • frugalparagon says :

        LOL, don’t take it personally :-). Actually I liked the no-knead bread OK, but Mr. FP wouldn’t touch it. The one time I tried straining yogurt, I used a tea towel, which worked fine but I over did it and wound up with concrete-like yogurt!

      • Tarynkay says :

        If you are looking for good bread, check out Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. They probably have it at your library!

        Oh, no, you didn’t mess it up, you just inadvertantly made labneh. Stir some olive oil and spices in there and pretend you are vacationing in Beirut.

  5. Mr. Captain Cash says :

    Really great idea frugalparagon. I’ll be checking in to see how you make out. Slowlysippingcoffee thats going to be fun to follow along and see how you make out with not buying anything new!

    Best of luck

    Mr. Captain Cash

  6. David says :

    We just did the Eat All the Things before leaving on holiday. I have a feeling January will be expensive restocking but maybe not. I’m trying to hoard discretionary funds for garden projects.

  7. katjamant says :

    I will join you!

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