The Frugal Life Newsletter
The Frugal Life
February 11, 2002
o The Frugal Life* (TFL) is published every
Monday by, Keren Wells, publisher.
TFL is intended for subscribers only.
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o A Note From Keren
o A Cheap Used Car –by Gary Foreman
o CLEVER AND FRUGAL PARTY FAVORS — By Mary Ann
o Readers Needs
o Readers Tips
o Subscription info
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A Note from Keren
Boy, have I missed you!! Finally I am able to send a newsletter. My
computer died… the reason? 125 viruses. Tried to restore the system
and did not work after all. For having a frugal site and preach about
frugality, I feel (and it hurts), I have spent a lot of money trying to
fix the computer with not good results. I have lost all the emails that I
received before January 5th, 2002. My parents are so kind to let us use
their new computer, they live in Kansas, my father shipped it to us which
I am very grateful. So, daddy if you read my newsletter like you say you
do, thanks a million, love you guys!!
Well, going back to business: We have added a new section at the
beginning of January – Home Based Business Opportunities –
http://www.thefrugallife.com/thefrugallife/home_biz.htm. This section is dedicated to
give you legitimate business opportunities to work from home. I am making
sure we include only legitimate, honest and good information. I decided
to include such section in the website due to an overwhelming request for
resources for Home Based Business. I will be including more information
as we go.
Also I was planning on building a new design for the website, which is
greatly needed, but due to all the problems I had with the viruses I am
postponing such plan. And for those that have sent me emails, I will be
replying to them as soon as possible, I have 560 emails in my inbox. I am
very sorry for the delay on the newsletter and everything else, but we are
back and remember that we are here to serve you in any way we can.
And, before I forget, please send us your frugal tips and needs. One more
thing, I found this great website, you should check it out
http://www.tradeaway.com, in some way it is better than ebay, it is
FREE!! A great way to buy, sell and trade on line without the hassles of
online auctions. If asked who referred you, please use my name Keren
I wish and pray that all of you have a blessed year… Let’s Roll!! 🙂
p.s. I need Juanita Bryant to email me please!! please email me at
I need to get in touch with you ASAP.
A Cheap Used Car
The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
I’m a struggling, hard-working single mother who is in dire need of a car,
but I can’t stand the thought of making car payments for 5 years because
my bad credit. I have $3,000 saved and I’m considering going to an auto
auction. If this is not a feasible way to get a car, could you please tell
me the best way to get one?
Julie is wise to avoid car payments. Paying interest on a car loan only
jacks up the price of the car. And, while Julie should be able to find an
acceptable car in her price range, an auction might not be the best place
She probably already knows that any car in this price range will have some
defects. The trick is avoiding major repairs. She would be wise to ask a
mechanic or knowledgeable friend to look over any car before she buys it.
Most major failures do not happen suddenly. There are warning signs.
Watch out for cars that have been ‘totalled’ or flooded and rebuilt. Many
are recycled to unsuspecting consumers. Julie might want to visit
carfax.com. For a small fee she can check a car’s VIN number for accidents
and other problems.
Always make sure that you get a good, clean title with your car. If a
seller cannot produce the title at the time of sale don’t buy the car.
Unless Julie is in desperate shape she should take her time. There will be
many junkers within her price range. It takes time to find the good rides.
Julie can expect to spend some money on repairs each year. But that’s not
an argument for a new car. Payments would be more expensive than repair
Should Julie begin her search at an auction? There are some good buys to
be had. But there are also big risks.
The best deals are at wholesale auctions. Julie will need a someone who
has a dealers’ license to get her in.
If you want to try an auction, plan on getting there early. Examine your
potential purchase carefully. Take a Kelley’s Blue Book or NADA guide with
you to help with pricing info. Then hope that no one else bids on your
Auctions bring some risks. Cars are sold ‘as is’. So if it doesn’t run
that’s just too bad. Generally you be unable to get out of an auction
purchase unless the title is defective.
So you need to carefully examine any car that you bid on. And you must do
it at the auction site. You can’t take the car down to your favorite
mechanic for an an unbiased opinion.
The vast majority of auction sellers are honest people that you’d be happy
to do business with. But auctions are an easy place for the dishonest to
move a car with a bad history. It’s hard to judge a seller’s honesty when
you don’t even meet them.
Finally, Julie should remember that auctions have something called a
“buyer’s premium”. That’s a commission that’s added to the winning bid.
Sometimes it’s a fixed amount. Other times it’s a percentage of the
Perhaps a safer option for Julie would be to buy from a private party.
takes more time, but could get her a better car. Remember her goal: a well
Where can she find one? Naturally she can look in the local paper. But,
Julie’s best bet is to tell friends and co-workers that she’s looking for
A well maintained car won’t get much more as a trade-in for the seller. So
they’d actually do a little better by selling to Julie. She’d have the
advantage of knowing more about the seller. And she’d have enough time to
have her mechanic look at the car.
What can Julie expect to find? We went to KelleyBlueBook.com for pricing.
We priced three popular family models. All three cars were assumed to have
100,000 miles. And all three were 4 door sedans with automatic
transmissions, air conditioning and the standard engine. A twelve year old
Toyota Camry and eight year old Ford Taurus were under Julie’s $3,000
limit. A twelve year old Honda Accord was slightly over.
So it is possible for Julie to find the bargain that she’s looking for.
She’ll need some patience. A good mechanic or friend who knows cars will
helpful. Hopefully Julie will find a dependable set of wheels for her
Gary Foreman is a former purchasing manager who currently publishes The
Dollar Stretcher website www.stretcher.com/save.htm > where you’ll find
hundreds of free articles to save you time and money.
Q. I have a question on a recipe I am looking for. There are
resturants/fast food places that sell soup in a bread bowl. I would like
recipe for these bread bowls–the individual size. I wonder if anyone has
o Keren, as parents with adult children, we
sometimes get this from our children; “Why didn’t you
get that when we were at home?”
Truth is it costs a lot to raise children and there
are some things parents cannot afford to get until the
children are on their own.
But, we always whenever possible got things that
would not have to ever replace. This is a frugality I
know my parents never learned. It is always less
expensive to think in long term cost not the immediate
‘can I afford it now’ kind of thinking. Whenever
possible go for endurance, even if it is a little
pricey now. The cost of children doesn’t even come
close to the cost of teen-teenagers and young adults. So
make sure the ‘expensive’ things will outlast their
tenure as your at-home children.
Thank you, Michael
o When my fleece blouses and jackets start to get
matted looking I use a slicker brush for
dogs/cats to “fuzzy it up” again. The brush
bristles are tiny little wires and I just use a
gentle picking sort of motion to lift the nap.
Can’t pull too hard when it grabs the fabric or
you’ll probably wind up with thin or bald spots.
o I am not a Mom but I am a working wife, and I try to live frugally.
Even thou both my husband and myself work full time, we still need to
watch our funds.
I really despise any prepared foods. They are not only expensive, but I
think bad for you, and not as good as real food. Here are a few of the
ways I avoid using the convenience foods in my kitchen. Some save money,
some save time.
1.) Instead of gravy mixes, I purchase bouillon cubes. Have them on hand
as well as flour, and you can whip up a sauce in no time.If you can add
some of the juices from the meat, all the better for flavor.Serve over
rice or pasta , or, cook your meal in the gravy,(chop veggies and meat
in bite-sized pieces) then serve over the pasta. It’s great, a basic two
2.) Try making your own soups and stews. They are so easy, once you have
tried it. I used to be intimidated, but really they are fast, easy and a
great way to use up veggie leftovers. Need a recipe? www.souprecipe.com
or, saut� onion and celery in butter or oil in a pot. Add meat, brown,
cover with water and simmer about 30-45 minutes. Add veggies, bouillon,
and continue to simmer 10-20 minutes or until veggies are done. Thicken
with flour and cold water if desired(not necessary).The smaller you
chop your components, the quicker they cook.
3.) home baked cookies are nice, but the ingredients are very expensive
for the more popular ones. Buying the cookies which are baked in the
store(Safeway in my case) really is less expensive, in most cases.And,
not as time consuming!
Well, I hope you find these helpful. Thank you for your
website/newsletter, I look forward to it every month!
Jani, Denver, Co.
o I wanted to comment about the article “Trouble getting Mortgage.” The
question was from a lady named Sally. She said her debts were written off
after 5 years. My Husband had credit card debt that stayed on the credit
report for 7 years. At this time there was no way to pay them off. After
7 years it disappeared.
We had to get a vehicle and went shopping for one, not sure if we could
get one. We found our credit was actually fine then. About a year later
when Our finances were better we thought about getting a house. We found
our old credit debt back on the credit report. We were told that someone
had bought our old debt. We had no idea this could be done. We had always
heard that bad credit cleared up after 7 yrs too. We found this not to be
If you have any frugal tips, please send them to editor
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