THE FRUGAL LIFE NEWS
Published Weekly by Randal Watkins
The Frugal Life
June 10, 2003
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A NOTE FROM RANDAL
My wife, Donna, met up online with the founder of the HUGS AND HOPE CLUB,
which was created to “send smiles across the miles” and brighten the day of
children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases. This
nationwide program touches the lives of many children across the country and
throughout the entire world. Their simple goal is to bring a little more
joy, love, laughter, and hope into the lives of sick kids. The site
features stories and photos of children with addresses so you can write a
note of encouragement to them and/or family members. Visit the site and
send a note to a child today. http://www.hugsandhope.com/ href=” http://www.hugsandhope.com/ “> Hugs and Hope
Thanks for giving us a chance to visit you through email twice a month. As
always, please pass The Frugal Life News on to your friends! After all,
it’s how we grow!
Until next time,
IT’S OFFICIAL… PAYING OFF ALL OF YOUR DEBTS IS A GOOD IDEA!”
Suze Orman, the financial-planning self-help guru and author of 6
bestselling financial self-help books has come squarely down on the side of
paying off ALL of your debts!
Now… Suze has always advocated paying off credit card (I call them “Debt
Cards”) debt BEFORE you start saving money. But her latest heretical
pronouncement, as cited in Fortune Magazine’s Midyear Investor’s Guide for
“Everyone should be aggressively paying off MORTGAGE debt as fast as
Of course, this stepped on a toe or two.
In the single and emotionally charged word of Gary Schatsky, former chairman
of the National Association for Personal Financial Advisors:
When you consider the source, would we have predicted any other response
from a “Personal Financial Advisor?”
Gary goes on to say:
“You can always pay down your mortgage. You can’t always give whatever you
want to your 401(k).”
I’m not exactly sure what Gary is talking about. Perhaps he was too
emotional when he made that statement and could not think clearly.
You see, nowhere in this Fortune article did anyone, including Suze, suggest
“paying down” your mortgage. She said, “pay it off.” This mental
recombination of the facts reveals this advisor’s hidden biases. Gary
doesn’t believe mortgages are to be paid off. They are to be “paid down.”
Presumably to grow again at the next refinancing or new house purchase, only
to be paid down again… not unlike Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill.
And if you take another look at this statement, one wonders… when is it
that you cannot give to your 401(k) yet you can “pay down” your mortgage? As
far as I know, the only time you can’t give to your 401(k) is when you have
no paycheck — or you’ve maxed out your contribution for the year.
But… if you have no paycheck… you can’t “pay down” much of anything.
Which is exactly Suze’s point:
“You’re fired. You can’t find another job for, say, a year. Your 401(k) is
way down and returning less per month than your mortgage payment cost.
You’ve got trouble.”
Journalists are trained to offer both sides of the story, so I guess we
shouldn’t be surprised that an industry that stands to lose money because
people are rapidly paying off their debts and building real security would
not speak favorably of this practice.
But just once I wish a journalist would ask someone who’s actually paid
everything off, including their mortgage, their opinion of investing while
in debt. These people aren’t that hard to find. Some of you, long-time
readers of this column, have done it.
Suze’s recent epiphany comes during a difficult economic and investment
climate. It feels like the right thing to do now that 401(k)s have shriveled
and jobs are disappearing.
Better to own everything and then invest… than to own nothing and
worthless investments, too. Ask the Enron-ites,the Tyco-ites, the
MCI-Worldcom-ites, and just about any Dotcom-ite…
In fact, if Suze had started preaching this idea back in 1996, seven years
ago when I started teaching these concepts, just think of the financial
lives she would have saved! You see, it only takes about 5-7 years to pay
EVERYTHING off. Yes. Including your 30-year mortgage.
We may still have experienced an economic downturn, but who would have been
best positioned to take advantage of this opportunity? The Debt-Free
family… or the family who just refinanced their mortgage?
Payoff All of your Debts in 5-7 Years using the money you
Greg Moore is the author of the Debt Freedom Course, “DebtIntoWealth —
Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom”. For your FREE Lesson 1 of this
course, CLICK HERE: http://www.debtintowealth.com/frugal.html
Debt Into Wealth
FRUGAL HOME / GARDENING
SAFE TIPS FOR LAWN & GARDEN
Remember that anything applied to your lawn or garden can wash down storm
drains, or seep into groundwater. Therefore, it is extremely important to
make sure that whatever you apply to your lawn is safe for the environment.
* Don’t add anything to your lawn or garden until you have your soil tested
for acidity and fertility. This can be done through your county agricultural
extension service or by purchasing a kit at your local garden center.
* Aerate your soil and remove dead organics by raking. This produces a
stronger lawn and reduces the need to use fertilizers or pesticides.
* Use organic fertilizers to condition the soil. Chemical fertilizers (which
may run off lawns into waterways) produce chemically-dependent lawns which
require more and more chemicalsto remain healthy. Some brand name organic
fertilizers are: Espoma, Earthworks, Ringer, Lawn King, Fertell, Earth-Rite,
and Sustain. For a greener lawn, natural source of nitrogen, such as
composted manure, bloodmeat, and cottonseed meal, can be used.
* Don’t over-fertilize your lawn. Over-fertilized grass roots become lazy
and remain near the surface, where they require more water and are more
exposed to extremes in weather. Bone-meal and rock phosphate will aid in
building strong roots.
* Plant drought-tolerant grass seeds. Cultivate and mulch your gardens to
help retain moisture and keep weed growth down. Water only when the soil is
dry, but water thoroughy to encourage deeper root growth, which reduces the
need for excessive watering. Garden centers sell water meters which indicate
when water is needed. To discourage disease, water in the morning so that
lawns and plants will be dry by evening. * Mow high, mow often. Mowing high
and often reduces stress on grass and helps retain moisture which shades out
weeds and keeps soil cool. Mow without a bag and leave your grass clippings,
which will fertilize naturally and shade the soil.
* Start a compost pile. Excessive grass clippings, leaves, weeds, kitchen
waste, ect. can all be used to create a nutrient rich fertilizer to till
* Avoid using chemical pesticides. Pesticides may run-off into waterways,
kill beneficial insects, and are long-lasting. Large insects (e.g. Japanese
beetles) can be hand picked from gardens and dispatched in soapy water or
alcohol (don’t use gasoline or other toxics). Biological non-toxic controls
are available at graden centers.
* Avoid lawn services that use chemicals. Run-off from these chemicals
contribute to pointless pollution. Furthermore, despite lawn companies’
claims that treared areas are safe after 24 hours, dangerous pesticides
remain well after application.
* Plant trees. They contribute oxygen, remove carbon dioxide, reduce
erosion, and give shade.
Visit Healthy Pet Corner for lots of information, products,
and links for birds, cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, and reptiles.
All for Pets
NATURAL OILS FOR MOSQUITOES, FLEAS, AND TICKS
Effective as an insecticide due to its terpine content, Geranium essential
oil is used to repel ticks, fleas and mosquitoes from humans and animals
alike. It can also be used in the treatment of lice and ringworm. Many old
herbalist books mention Geranium as being an excellent tick repellent. It
can be used by putting the oil on the dog’s collar every week or added to
the rinse when bathing. The most effective way to use it is in a spritzer
bottle that you can spray on and rub in several times a week since some
areas of the country are heavily infested and with the increase of heartworm
disease, it’s better to prevent than treat, even though there is an herbal
heartworm treatment. Check with your vet before using essential oils on
cats. Read more about its other uses:
MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANING, BATH, and BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Here’s a kit with everything you will need to start making your
own pampering and cleaning products for pennies with the
easy-to-follow recipe guide.
Make Your Own
FRUGAL TIPS FROM OUR SUBSCRIBERS
SAFETY FIRST! CABINETS FULL OF TOXIC CLEANERS ARE A CONSTANT DANGER FOR
CHILDREN AND PETS
Many of the best selling retail brands no longer contain ammonia, a powerful
eye and lung irritant. They now may contain other harmful chemicals,
including Butyl Cellosolve and methanol (methyl alcohol), which can cause
blindness or death if accidently ingested. For a green alternative, mix
equal parts water and vinegar (or lemon juice) and apply with a spray
Many automatic dishwasher detergents are high in phosphates, which create
algae blooms in bodies of water. They may also contain chlorine bleach, an
eye and lung irritant with a nasty byproduct: toxic organo-chlorines that
are formed when bleach goes down the drain. Liquids for hand-washing dishes
aren’t as harmful, but they may contain nonbiodegradable, petroleum-based
detergents. You can find low-impact alternatives at most health food stores
and even in supermarkets. Look for phosphate- and chlorine-free dishwasher
detergents and dishwashing liquids made from plants, not petroleum.
Relentless advertising has convinced us that it takes a small army of
products just to clean the bathroom: toilet cleaners, tile scrubbers, sink
and tub scourers, antibacterial cleaners, mold and mildew fighters,
deodorizers, and stain removers. But not only are these products a cauldron
of creepy chemicals, they’re also unnecessary. You can whip up your own
grime-fighters instead, using a few relatively benign ingredients (and a
little extra elbow grease). Baking soda makes an excellent scouring powder.
White vinegar or lemon juice cleans and deodorizes. Soap and water cleans
as well as it did for your great grandmother.
A Natural Alternative
I’ve used Sunshine Concentrate for all of the above jobs, although I like
the vinegar and water better for glass. Baking soda is a wonderful
cleanser. I add Lemon Essential Oil to the Sunshine Concentrate for a
disinfectant and as a fresh natural scent. These two ingredients last
forever which is great on my budget and storage space for cleaners. I use
Sunshine concentrate for all of our laundry, hand pumps, and I even use it
in the dishwasher. [Note: Not all dishwashers will work with this liquid
concentrate. I use one pump in mine and it does a great job]
WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE FORUM?
Maybe you can help these folks out with a few suggestions? Or post some of
your own questions. LOG-IN TO POST Here’s the link:
http://www.thefrugallife.com/bulletinboard.html href=” http://www.thefrugallife.com/bulletinboard.html “> Forum
Questions Needing Answers at The Forum:
1. I am looking for a home recipie for killing termites…. We have tried
professional help and it is very expensive and the termites always come
back… Any suggestions?
Do It Yourself Forum
1. Hi, We have a mobile home out here in the country and on certain days
the oder from the roof sewer vents covers the area around the house. We
are in a sorta bowl you could say, surrounded by trees, sorta cuts into the
cross breezes. I’m figuring that must be why we have the oder hanging
around, I raised the vent stacks higher, in hopes of allowing the oder to be
carried away easier, a total of about 2 feet off the roof. Still no luck,
we have a septic system, it’s 4 years old, pumped every two years, what can
we do to cut back on the oder? Without having to cut the trees down to get a
better cross breeze, some of the trees are 80 feet tall, this of course is
what I’m assuming is the cause of the problems?? The guy who pumped the
tank told us that was normal, seeing as how we are set-up here in the woods,
he said your in a bowl of trees, and when you get a breeze it just sorta
swirls the wind around and carries the oder all over the place. Any ideas,
or does that sound about right?? The vents are all clear, no plumbing
problems that we could find. What should i do? Extend the roof vents? I’d
hate to have 80 foot roof vents on my house.
2. Found a great tub/shower faucet set, brass with white ceramic handles and
cups that bring the faucets out from the wall. Installed pipes/fittings for
it, then began putting up plastic tub surround. Now realize that the faucets
and water spout will not sit flush against the wall! (about a 1/2″ gap
behind cups!) Any suggestions as to how to fix this so that the job will
still look good? Pipes can’t go back further. Thought of round ceramic tiles
or coasters (would need holes drilled in middle for pipes to come through
and to be glued to surround) or 2 brass plates, one with three holes and a
smaller plate for spout. Caulk? NOT our strong point! Any suggestion is
1. Does anyone have any ideas for a safe and nontoxic way to get rid of
them? I have pulled a ton out but they keep coming back!! I was thinking
of using the recipe mentioned earlier (salt, vinegar and liquid soap),would
that work? *Thanks*
1. My Husband and I are going to be buying a place very soon. I live in the
outskirts of Danial Boone National Forest so I have plenty of trees. Heating
here is either done by coal, wood burning, electic or propane. Anyway my
question is we want to have a wood burner and wondered if anyone can really
say it cuts the costs on heating. I also want Propane for night time use but
don’t want to depend on propane because of the cost. Is a stove really worth
the cost in this case. After all winter is right around the corner!!!!
My Husband grew up with fireplaces only so I know he knows some issues with
this kind of heating. We wondered if anyone had any experience with certain
kinds of stoves and which brands anyone would recommend. Thanks so much for
answering some of our concerns.
HOME-BASED BUSINESS IDEAS
HOME SPA PARTY PLAN – MAKE BATH & BODY PRODUCTS
Have you noticed how popular bath and pampering products have become? The
HomeSpa Party Plan taps into that craze. Guests at HomeSpa parties will
learn how to make bath salts, personalized perfumes, body spritzers and more
using essential oils, while you make a nice income from Nature’s Sunshine.
http://www.theherbsplace.com/essentialspa.html href=” http://www.theherbsplace.com/essentialspa.html “> Home Spa Party
ARE YOU A NATURAL HEALTH NUT?
If you’ve been a natural health nut, you have a lot of information others
need to have. Earn an income selling over 600 natural health products, skin
care, water filters, beverages, essential oils, and more. Earn trips and
car allowance. Websites are also available for $15.95/month.
http://www.theherbsplace.com/busop.html href=” http://www.theherbsplace.com/busop.html “> Nature’s Sunshine
FLINT RIVER RANCH OVEN-BAKED PET FOODS
If you have pets, they’ll love Flint River and you can make an income
providing good pet foods and other pet products to friends, neighbors and
your family. Pets keep eating, so customers keep buying. If you love
animals, this is a very rewarding home-based business. With only 100 volume
a month you can earn 19% on all sales.
http://www.healthypetcorner.com/FRR/busop.html href=” http://www.healthypetcorner.com/FRR/busop.html “> Flint River Ranch
NATURAL PET FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS
Life’s Abundance has great products by Dr. Jane Bicks and Dr. Barry Sears who
developed the Zone Diet for Overweight Dogs. Besides dog, cat and horse
products, you will have a non-toxic line of cleaning products – safe for
pets and children. Visit this website for more information. This type of
site is also available for $10.95/month (plus an initial $20 set-up fee).
http://www.healthypetcorner.com/HPN/busopform.html href=” http://www.healthypetcorner.com/HPN/busopform.html “> Life’s Abundance
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