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The Final Frugality Challenge Update

Total for December: £31.74
Total for 2007: £1,275.46

So, there you go - I aimed to save £1,500. On the face of it I've failed, although I beg to differ. £100 Per month is still a tangible sum. Unfortunately, the car break-in meant that I haemorrhaged money during the course of December. It was a shame, because I had quite a cheap Christmas. It would have been nice to fully reap the benefits and increase the total saved for the year.

That said, I could have tried harder in many other areas. I managed to do quite well with my shopping, but in other areas I could have been more aggressive. As the challenge was to save money as ethically as I could, I don't think I did badly in that respect. The Good Shopping Guide became my bible and at the same time as saving money, I managed to do so with a relatively clear conscience, so much so that my new habits have become second nature.

The challenge certainly hasn't been a lost cause. Most of the consumer choices I've probably made in not just the last year, but over the last several years have been influenced out of ethics, whether that be finance, food or clothing - it's just that there's more work to be done. For example, the fixed-rate on my mortgage comes up for renewal this year. I'm now in a considerably better bargaining position than at the start of the term and as a consequence I believe I should be able to lower my repayments, whilst using an ethical provider. I'll keep you posted on that one.

I'm also pleased to say that I've observed retailers changing their habits too (M&S is a big example). The optimist in me hopes that consumers consciously choosing to buy "good" products has spurred this on. This is a trend that I hope to see continue throughout 2008, because it'll make my life a lot easier when it comes to making the right choice on what to buy.

Finally, you could argue that the lack of a true motive meant that I had no real impetus to push the project further. For example, I don't have bailiffs knocking on my door, nor do I need to find a job. However, as you'll have seen from one of my previous postings, that might be a different matter - therefore I think I'll be continuing with the exercise, because you never know when it might happen.

It's been an interesting exercise.

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