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The Frugal Life – Living Well With What You Have

The Frugal Life Newsletter

The Frugal Life
November 19, 2001
124th issue

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o A Note From Keren
o Happiness in Frugality –By Doris Dobkins o Harassing Collection Calls — by Gary Foreman o Ways to Save on Life Insurance –by Dr. Charlotte Gorman* o Recipes o Readers Needs
o Readers Tips
o Disclaimer
o Subscription info

A Note from Keren   Thanksgiving is already here, what a great time to share with our family and friends.  It is important to remember God’s blessings in our lives.  I am very grateful to God for our new baby, she is healthy and happy.  I am grateful for my older daughter, she is learning to talk and love to hear her calling me “Mommy”.  I am grateful for my husband, he is a loving and caring husband and dad.  I am grateful for you, every week you send us your comments, recipes, stories, concerns and you make this newsletter more interesting every time.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!  

Blessings,   Keren Wells
editor   p.s.  I have received a lot of recipes.  I am working on setting up the recipe web page, hopefully for next issue.  In this issue I am including 5 recipes.  Enjoy!
~~~~~ Happiness in Frugality
By Doris Dobkins

Are you speaking for real or is the title of this article an oxymoron?
How could anyone be happy denying themselves all of life’s pleasures
and being frugal?

Take a moment to read the quote below:

The three grand essentials of happiness are: something
to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.

          – Alexander Chalmers, Scottish writer

How does one tie happiness and frugality together? For me, the key to
happiness in a life of constant frugality is having a goal, a purpose,
a hope. My long-term hope is a debt free life. No credit card bills
(check), no car payment (check) and no mortgage (no check).

Paying off the mortgage is the toughest one and it takes time. For an
impatient person who wants results now, it can be the most difficult.
It is usually the last goal of most people, as well.

To keep me on track, I establish short-term hopes that I strive for on
a quarterly or semi-annual basis. Travel is my love and I live cheap
to fund my love for travel. It’s a time for my family and I to get
away, forget about the worries and the cares of making a living and
enjoy some quality time relaxing in a tropical paradise of some sort.

Sure I could put that money on my mortgage, but then I’d start to lose
hope and probably give up my quest for financial freedom.

What do you hope for? What makes you happy? You can have it. But work
for it and don’t go into debt for it.

It may take a lifetime to achieve all your hopes. So enjoy the
journey. You’ll only take this trip called “Life” once.

*** == *** == *** == *** == *** == *** == ***

By Doris Dobkins
Publisher of the free weekly ezine $mart Money New$.
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Harassing Collection Calls — by Gary Foreman

Dollar Stretcher,
My husband and I have one credit card debt to the tune of about $3,500. I
cancelled the account so we can’t charge any more.  We have been making
payments of $100 every month, which is well below the minimum payments that
the credit card company requests.  They call nearly every day, most often
more than once, hounding us for the rest of our minimum payment, which has
reached in the neighborhood of $800 a month.  Although we are not paying
what they request every month, we are making a payment. Is there any way we
can stop the phone calls?  Are we breaking the law by not paying the entire
minimum payment?  We do plan on making a large payment when we can, but
with 3 kids and one income, $800 is hard to come by.
Thanks for any help.

Tina’s not alone. In calendar 2000 the average U.S. credit card debt per
household was $8,123 according to The American Bankers
Association indicates that 5.4% of credit card accounts were delinquent at
the end of the year. Recent reports show that there was a surge in bank
card delinquencies in the 2nd quarter of 2001. So a lot of people are
falling behind in their payments and will be dealing with bill collectors.
In fact, in 2000 the FTC received approximately 22,000 complaints about
both ‘in house’ and ‘third party’ collectors.
  To read the article go to:


WAYS TO SAVE ON LIFE INSURANCE –by Dr. Charlotte Gorman*

1 . Shop around for the best prices for life insurance. Talk with a number of agents representing several different companies. The rates can vary significantly from company to company on a given type of insurance. Ask about discounts on premiums for nonsmokers. Also, ask if any other discounts are available. Even a small difference in premiums over many years can be substantial. You could, also, be drawing interest on the money you save.

2 . Check to see if your employer offers group life insurance to employees. Group coverage usually will be cheaper than an individual policy you buy on your own.

3 . When you retire, see if you can continue your group life insurance. Some employers will even continue to pay all or part of the premium for the retiree. Continuing the group coverage should cost less than individual coverage.

4 . Check with professional and fraternal organizations, clubs, various associations, and other groups to which you (or your spouse) belong to see if any of them offer group life insurance plans. It could be to your financial benefit to join one of the above just to qualify for its group insurance if the membership fee is not too high. Group rates should be less than individual rates.

To read the article go to:

=====Advertisement *******RECIPES

CHEESE CAKE CUPCAKES   (Thank you Lora) Preheat oven to 350 Line muffin pans with aluminum cupcake liners.   Mix: 2 boxes softened cream cheese 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla 3/4 cup sugar 1 tsp. lemon juice   Lay 1 vanilla wafer in the bottom of each muffin liner. Spoon mixture on top of wafers in muffin liners until each are 1/2 full   Bake until light brown. Check them continually after 3 mins.   Let cool when baked, then fill to top of muffin cup with pie filling. It makes a beautiful tray if you use maybe cherry on some, peach on some and another flavor in the rest.

******* Rice-A-Roni   (Thank you Denise!)
I buy it by the box on sale, $.99 or less. I brown 1#
of ground beef, drain it, then follow the directions
but I add the beef and only add HALF of the seasoning
packet. It has too much sodium per serving and this
cuts it down. Then next time I want to make R-A-R I
break up spaghetti & add rice & gr. beef and use the
other half of the seasoning packet.
Alternatively I buy beef ramen noodles(I also only use
1/2 a seasoning packet when I make the ramen,due to
high sodium content) and use the seasoning packets
from that to make R-A-R.


This is one of the simplest cakes to make and it is SOOO good. My mom always made this, and I’ve been making it for almost 20 years myself. 

Deb Sawyers

Dark Chocolate Cake   (Thank you Deb!)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cooking (vegetable) oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups BOILING water

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Bake at 350* for 30 min or till done.

This comes out moist every time.


Sausage & Cheese dip –by Kristen  (Thank You Kristen!)   I package Hot sausage browned and drained 1 2lb package of Velveeta 1 can cheddar cheese soup 1 can nacho cheese soup 2 cans Rotel tomatoes   Through it all in the crock pot for a few hours! Great appetizer!   Also… our family loves this one…..   Sorry I don’t measure…but  use cooked chicken breast mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup Layer chicken breast on bottom of pan pour soup mixture over it crumble ritz crackers or seasoned bread crumbs or even the frenchs onion toppers bake in oven for about 20 minutes on 350   Some people season the soup mixture with salt, pepper or garlic or poppy seeds….. Serve it over rice!!

******* Magic Middle Cookies   MAGIC PEANUT BUTTER MIDDLES


1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. soda
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine
1 t. vanilla
1 egg


3/4 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar

In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa and soda; blend well. In a large
bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar, margarine and peanut butter until light and
fluffy; beat in vanilla and egg. Add combined dry ingredients and mix well.
Set aside. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar.
Blend well and roll into 30 1-inch balls. For each cookie: with floured
hands, shape about 1 tablespoon of dough into a flat “pancake.” Place a
peanut butter ball in the middle and mold dough around it to cover
completely. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with he
bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake in 375-degree oven 7 to 9 minutes,
or until set and slightly cracked. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 30 cookies.

******* Old Fashioned Fudge Recipe   2 pounds light brown sugar 1/4 lb  butter 16 ozs of evaporated milk   Combine all ingredients. Bring to boil and cook on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes after reaching boil.  Stir constantly. Cook it essentially until it forms a soft ball in a qlass of cold water and makes a crackling sound while stirring. Then I bring the pot outdoors and stir cold, fresh air into the mixture. ( For the best outcome, I always make this recipe in Wintertime and set the pot right onto the snow on the front porch as I stir the air into it). Have your buttered dish ready and close by outside with you to pour the pot contents into as soon as you feel the mixture becoming solid and getting hard to stir.  Timing is the most important feature to this fudge recipe. The yield is a hard, crunchy but smooth consistency–not a soft, spongy type of fudge.  You can add walnuts if you wish.    Good luck!  This  is a simple but oh so fabulous recipe and it originally came from my Mother in Montreal who is in her eighties now and doesn’t do much fudge making any more.   Maureen and Wayne


Readers Needs
Q. One reader mentioned filling jars with ingredients for cookie or cake
recipies to give as gifts,I have seen these in stores and yes they are
expensive. I would like to make my own also, and decorate the jars and lids
with material ribbon etc.  I would love to hear from other readers what
recipies they suggest to put in the jars. Thanks and Have a Good Day! Dawn
Send your answers to editor

Readers Tips

o Our family now uses the actual grocery store as little as possible!  We go to a bakery outlet for our bread (can’t believe the savings there & not just on bread!), we use the
99 Cent Store for all our cleaning products, deodorant, paper goods, etc.,
we also use PicNSave for the likes of shampoos, soaps, cereals, etc.  It’s 4
stores for my husband on a Monday morning, but it has saved us a bundle!
Anne M.   o Used kitty litter can also be used in the garden to keep rabbits away from your bulbs as cats are a rabbits most feared enemy.   o  I have several friends and relatives
who complain about the high amount
of their electric bill on a regular basis.

Here’s a few “common sense” rules
I go by religiously:

If nobody is in a room the lights
should be OFF. Saying “I’m going
right back” doesn’t wash. I’ve
personally seen that “right back” can
mean an hour or two. MANY times the
whole family is in the LR, yet every
light in the house is on! Usually these
are the same people who are
complaining about how many light
bulbs they have to buy and replace.
TIP: you can now buy small florescent
bulbs to replace regular incandescent
bulbs. If you check carefully, you’ll find
the new “2 packs” for less than $10
at discount stores. These last as long
as 7 years! I use them in almost every

Same goes for the ladies who leave
their refrigerators open while they’re
standing in front of the sink or range.
What you’ve done is let ALL the cold
out of “the ice box” and now it has to
work overtime to cool everything
down again.

With winter rapidly approaching,
many folks tend to use small electric
heaters in areas “just to take the chill
off”. That’s fine, but keep in mind that
most of these “small” heaters use
1500 watts of electricity. That’s the
same as 15-100 watt bulbs! Be careful
that you’re not running several of
these at once, as they can be a fire
hazard. Here again, if nobody is in
that room, no need to run the heater.

Most of the folks I talk to tell me their
electric bill is over $100 a month, and
they feel that’s normal. Believe it or
not, my bill runs about $35-$40. And
when I make the suggestions above,
most get “indignant” and say they’re
NOT going to do this or that, because
“they’ve always done it the other way”.

Another common sense tip…Don’t run
small loads of laundry all the time,
unless you have a LOT of kids. I always
wait until my washer is AT LEAST 2/3
full before running a load. Same for
your dishwasher…wait until you have
a full load. Or, do like me…I wash by

I know that if you publish my letter, I’ll
get all sorts of nasty replies. He doesn’t
have A/C. No, I don’t, I use ceiling fans.
Or our HEAT PUMP always runs so much
a month. Well, my friend, if you can get
natural gas, you need to change over!
Although my gas heating bills last winter
                       Bill R.
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+ DISCLAIMER – Information in TFL has been derived
from sources believed accurate and reliable. In no
event shall *The Frugal Life,* Keren Wells, or the
TFL staff be liable for any damages whatsoever
resulting from any action arising in connection with
the use of information herein.

TFL does not knowingly accept ads from advertisers
deemed detrimental to TFL’s readers, however,
publication of an ad in TFL does not constitute an
endorsement for such product or service.

There is no remuneration for suggestions, tips, or
ideas submitted by readers, other than occasional
prizes offered by TFL and awarded at the
sole discretion of TFL and it’s staff.

All suggestions, tips, and ideas, submitted for
publication in The Frugal Life, become the property
of The Frugal Life, notwithstanding similar rights
of the reader submitting such suggestions, tips, or

TFL publishes readers name with their suggestions,
tips, and ideas unless a reader requests otherwise
at the time of the submission.

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