Award for doing b*gger all

Shona Prophett

Writer - Columnist - Blogger

Cyberdosh = online money

Are You Gambling with your Future?

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How it all began

Lashkari filly1997/98 - A huge challenge, finding out how easy it would be to take a horse from field to flat racing on a miniscule budget. It can be done, we succeeded, although the horse wasn't so convinced that it wanted to race in the first place! Three starts, no places, much fun trying.

1999 - The first regular money saving column in monthly newspaper 'Now You Know' was called 'The Scottish Pound'. This was a grocery-budget challenge to feed a family of 4 a main meal each day for £10 per week. Frugal living and money saving pay and some people wanted to find out more about it. The first step is to become debt free, but to do that takes money. Meanwhile, I'm building up my Cyberdosh in the form of domain names.

Reduce, reuse, recycle and catch a severe dose of frugalitis. It's much more environmentally friendly and much more fun than being skint. (Which you can easily be when you have horses, pets or expensive hobbies.)

We also ran a column named 'The Plonkers'. This was an attempt to find some cheap alternatives to fine wine at the dinner table. In all these years, the best alternative I've found cost no more than the sugar it takes to ferment the rhubarb (thank you to Emma in the Orkney Isles), but it was still fun sampling cheap wine provided by various sponsors at the time.

2000 - 2005 These years have now been deleted from here, as they involved quite a bit of trading in shares, both stockmarket and racehorses, with a few gambles along the way. There is no such thing as a safe bet, so never risk money you cannot afford to burn. (See the 'Billy Can Challenge', which is still lised at the start of the Frugal Living Challenge, now hosted on Moneysavingexpert.com forums, for how to assess this.) For those of you who followed or participated during these years, you may remember the successes with the 1-2-3 at Ascott and profitable encounters with companies such as Arena Leisure, eBay, Hyder and Trafficmaster. But it was time to reel it in a bit and make a real difference to long term savings and investment prospects. I sold my shares, weeded out unused domain names from my micro-holdings, invested in a couple more dot coms and some proprty.

The 2006 Cyberdosh Challenge

Following on from the above, another money challenge; my mission was to carry out the following financial experiment over the period of one year :-

  • Spend £100 on lottery tickets

  • Invest £100 in Premium Bonds

  • Buy £100 worth of stock or shares

  • Save £100 in a bank, building society or savings account

  • Bet £100 on some horse races

  • Buy £100 of scratch cards

At the end of the experiment, I had to report my findings and explain why I thought each of the above was, or was not, an ideal 'investment' opportunity. The results were interesting, especially as I got to keep the profits, the shares, the winnings and the Premium Bonds!

2007 - Cyberdosh Challenge

'Can you live on £4,000 for a year?' 

To make all things fair, cost of living does NOT include rent / mortgage payment or council tax / water rates, as these costs are dependent on personal circumstances. The basis of the challenge is, live for 12 months on no more than £4000. This may seem ridiculously unrealistic to some, but I accepted the challenge. I'm almost sure that I'm of sane mind. It's a far cry from the original £600 experiment! Once again, my one stipulation was that at the end of this experiment, I keep any surplus stocks, shares, cash, bonds or winnings. Alongside this challenge there were also selling/moneymaking challenges, being run through eBid's free online auctions, which, although much harder work to promote,  were way more frugal than the global market leader. Answer to initial Challenge question - YES!

After successfully completing 2007 and declaring debt freedom, NYK Media launched the frugal lifestyle challenge on the Moneysavingexpert.com forums. The name change to 'Frugaldom' was implemented to help avoid confusion.

2008 - 2020
The annual frugal living challenge continues

2020 - going to try the 2006 challenge again and see how different the results are:

  • Spend £100 on lottery tickets

  • Invest £100 in Premium Bonds

  • Buy £100 worth of stock or shares

  • Save £100 in a bank, building society or savings account

  • Bet £100 on some horse races

  • Buy £100 of scratch cards

2020 (c) NYK Media. 'Shona Prophett' writes for pleasure, entertainment value and payment only. Nothing within her writings should be taken as financial advice and she removes herself from any and all responsibilities or liabilities, whatsoever, for anything, ever. This is NOT advice, it is simple reading material.

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