Skip to content
Home » News2002 » The Frugal Life News – 2/18/02

The Frugal Life News – 2/18/02

The Frugal Life Newsletter

The Frugal Life February 18, 2002 133rd. issue o The Frugal Life* (TFL) is published every Monday by, Keren Wells, publisher. TFL is intended for subscribers only. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or, change your subscriber data, see the instructions at the very end of the newsletter. To view the HTML version of this newsletter please go to: + CONTENTS: o A Note From Keren o Was 2001 Your Wakeup Call to get Debt FREE? –by Greg Moore o Maximize Your Tax Refund –by Gary Foreman o Readers Needs o Last Week Readers Needs o Readers Tips o Disclaimer o Subscription info *******Advertisement Southern Living At HOME(TM). Bring the pages of Southern Living magazine to life! Share beautiful home and garden decor and accessories with friends and family! Be the first in your town to be a part of this exciting Party Plan company. E-mail mailto:Li************@ao*.com" data-original-string="y/1qngxL6Hoks7jyFfrCC4B5uXi+UK/YZKTAww4Dca8=" title="This contact has been encoded by Anti-Spam by CleanTalk. Click to decode. To finish the decoding make sure that JavaScript is enabled in your browser. or call 256-685-2567. ******* ~~ A Note from Keren I am pleased to inform everybody the baby clothes I offered to give away, are going to a very special family.  Also I got the opportunity to learn of a very special person in Kentucky.  She lives in a community where people are very poor, and she is trying to help her community along with her cousin by having a resource center.  They need canned goods, soap, clothes for children and adults (some children don’t even have underware, and that is already a problem at school), baby items, pads, toothbrushes, etc.  Some homes don’t have running water…  they need the basics, things that we (even the frugal people), take for granted. I have been praying for this community and would like to help, and in the meantime if anyone knows or have the resources to help this community on a big or small scale, please let me know (), I know they will greatly appreciate your help and interest. Well, that’s all I have to say for now.  Have a happy and blessed week. Keren Wells editor   ~~~~~ Lessons from My Journey to Debt FREEDOM Greg Moore, CFISL            Was 2001 Your Wakeup Call to get Debt FREE? The journey to Debt Freedom is becoming a race. We can no longer afford a leisurely stroll… racking up debts hoping to pay them from decades of future earnings… if ever. It’s a race against increasing uncertainty and insecurity…      * Layoffs are at a nine year high;      * Consumer confidence is at a five year low;      * 401Ks have become 201Ks;      * War;      * ENRON;      * 1% CDs. Stay focused. Execute your Debt Freedom plan… if you have one. Get one if you don’t. Pick up the pace a bit. In these turbulent times, each debt you pay off:      ++ Decreases the amount of income you need;      ++ Increases the amount of cash you can save. Both of which increase your sense of security and decrease your need to worry. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “You can only give away what you have.” If you have security, then that is what you can give to others.  It’s just like the airline steward says during pre-flight instructions when the plane experiences a sudden drop in pressure and those yellow masks drop from the ceiling…       “Put YOUR mask on first, then help your child.” Which is obviously good advice. But the next statement is of paramount importance…                   “Then breathe normally.” Get to Debt Freedom. Get there as quickly as you can. Then give away security to others — help them get to Debt Freedom, too. It will come back to you. —————–     Greg Moore is the author of the Debt Freedom eCourse, “DebtIntoWealth — Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom”.      For a FREE Lesson 1 of this course, go here:        ~~~~~ Maximize Your Tax Refund –by Gary Foreman Dear Dollar Stretcher, I have 4 children and do not work outside the home. As tax season approaches we are anxious to get that large tax check. As usual, we have it spent before it gets here. There are so many things we need. My washer and dryer are breathing their last, the car has a leak in the radiator. Then there is the desire for a date with my husband. We haven’t had any private fun in such a long time. I know that it would please our creditors to just plunk down the tax check in their lap. There won’t be enough to pay all of them. But when that money is gone, what do we do to buy the high-dollar items that we need? Would it really help to use maybe $1,000 or so of the tax check on one of the loans?  Should we use it on the highest interest loan? Cathy Cathy asks a good question. While it’s tempting to use a tax refund to treat yourself to some special purchase, in many cases it’s more important to use the money to pay off bills or make necessary purchases. The honest answer to Cathy’s question is – it depends. What she does with the tax refund may be less important than what she does with the other bills and expenses that she faces. Using a $1,000 tax refund to pay off her credit card could save Cathy $180 a year (assuming 18% interest rate). So if she’s able to keep the balance down she’d save that much every year for the rest of her life. However, a more likely scenario is that she’ll use the card for an auto repair or other purchase soon after and have the same credit card balance that she started with. In that case, she really hasn’t accomplished anything. She can gain an advantage by using the refund to pay down the account that’s charging her the highest rate of interest. Then put new purchases on the card that’s charging her the lowest rate of interest. Cathy should always be trying to move her debts to the lowest cost credit card. It may not seem like much, but if she has a $7,000 balance and can reduce her rate from 18% to 13% she’ll save $350 each year. What happens if Cathy spends the refund? Again, it depends on what she buys and how she buys it. Anyone who is married with children can appreciate Cathy’s desire for a date with her spouse. But, she might be better off planning a candlelight dessert with hubby at home after the kids’ bedtime once each month. What about the auto repairs or a new washer and dryer? She could visit her mechanic and have him install a new radiator. An alternative would be to have her husband or a neighbor install a radiator purchased at a junkyard. That could reduce the cost of the repair by 50% or more. It’s possible that the IRS refund could give Cathy some buying leverage. Take her washer and dryer for instance. If she waits until they break she’ll probably be forced to buy immediately. Having the refund check available means that she’s a ‘cash’ buyer. That could allow her to drive a better bargain. It would also allow her to look for a good used deal in the paper. Another possibility would be to save the old washer and dryer. Perhaps a $100 service call would buy some time. The trick is not to use the refund to momentarily feel wealthy and pay retail. Use it to give you flexibility to make it go further. There’s still one other option for her tax refund. She could use the money for a cash emergency fund. In most cases it would be silly to keep an emergency fund that earns money market rates (about 2%) while she’s still paying credit card debts at 18%. But, if Cathy could learn to face emergencies without using her charge cards, it could be worth it. Generally, once a family begins to put big expenses on their credit card they’ll always carry a balance. Two final thoughts. Part of every monthly budget should be money set aside for medical, home and auto bills. It might not be easy setting aside $50 or more each month. But it’s essential. In Cathy’s case, she might want to find a part-time job that could generate that much. Cathy and her husband may also want to have his withholding changed. Remember that the IRS doesn’t pay you interest on your withheld taxes. So instead of getting a big refund each year, Cathy could use the extra take home pay and use it to reduce those 18% card balances each month. ________________ ~~~~~~~~ Reader’s Needs Q. Recently my best friend and I, along with our husbands, started a ministry called Great Blessings Ministry, to help the “working poor” and disabled who do not qualify for government programs in our county. We help with emergency services like food, utility bills and doctor visits. When we give out meat like 1# packages of hamburger, chicken, tuna and hams we would like to give out quick and inexpensive recipes along with the ingredients needed. Recipes must feed 4-6 people. Can you please ask your readers for help. They can email us at Gr************@ao*.com. Thanks so much and God bless you.  –Karen Langreder Q.  I was wondering if anyone had a low cost solution to commercial dog food? I have 2 dogs and one is quite large, I feel i spend more on dog food than I do on groceries for my family! I have tried the cheap stuff and they won’t touch it, I do have kitchen scraps but I have a family of 5 and not much in the way of leftovers, any ideas?  Nancy Q.  Does anyone know how to make the scented pinecones that are so popular during the Holiday season and how to make the scent last? –Martha Send your answers to editor ~~~~~~~~~~~ Last Week Reader’s Needs o I have a collection of men, women’s, belts and every color in the rainbow. Do you know of a craft which can be done with these? I do have a clothes closet where upon all my clothing, shoes, and miscellanous items are total free. But i am unable to get rid of these. Thank you Read the Answers at o   Every Mexican food restaurant in the country has the exact same incredible cheese dip (white, bland, drippy, maybe not 100% cheese). I have looked and looked for a retail outlet for this stuff but can’t find it. Nothing else is as good but I calculate by buying it by the dish, I’m paying about $100 per gallon. I can’t buy a gallon can from a wholesaler. Anybody know where I can get this stuff retail? –Jay Read the Answers at ~~~~~ Readers Tips o  When you send birthday cards, etc., address in pencil and advise recipient to re-cycle and send to someone else down the line for similar occasion. –Jackie o  This is truly not bird related, but it’s a bit of important info I’d like to pass along. We all complain loudly to a manager, supervisor etc. when a sales person, customer service rep or such just won’t listen, is snide or such.  But have you EVER talked to the manager/supervisor when you got good service? Until about 2 years ago I occassionally did, but not often.   Now I do every time.  The reason…besides being nice …almost every customer service business in the nation gives REWARDS to their good employees.  I know this for a fact.  An individual in the industry told me and I’ve checked it out.  Sure enough. One company I talked to gave their employees an extra 15 minute break–we could all use that. Another gives out prizes with the company logo on them. ie credit card wallets, pen and pencil sets, tote bags.  Some give monetary bonsus after so many good remarks.  The employees are not allowed to tell you that, but if you ask them, then they can say yes we do.  Then you asked to speak to their supervisor and praise their work. One young lady burst into tears when I told her that I wanted to tell her supervisor what a good job she had done.   It seems she’d had a truly horrible day and it was the first good thing that had happened to her all day. In a store and some one is extremely helpful.  Tell their supervisor.  In all situations it not only gets them immediate acknowledgement it goes on their record for their next pay raise AND encourgages them to be nice to some one else. Just thought I’d let you know. Jan o  This is not exactly a frugal tip in the usual way, but it can save you money and alot of aggrevation.  When I go food shopping, the first thing I do is get a shopping cart and put my pocketbook in the front “baby seat” section of the cart.  I next take the baby restraint straps and wrap those straps in and around the straps of my pocketbook. This way, if someone should try to snatch my purse, it isn’t going anywhere as it is virtually strapped into the cart, and can not be removed without undoing the strap restraints.  I do not live in a high crime area, but an acquaintance lost her pocketbook out of a cart when she was not looking, and we all can imagine the agony of replacing everything in your purse.    emembee in MA. o  Bleach and water are great for shower curtains.  However, to save you some time, put the bleach with washwater and a little detergent in the washing machine, put your shower curtain in wasing macine along with a towel and wash.  Take shower curtain out wet and hang on shower rod.  Piece of cake, works great, everytime. — Louise If you have any frugal tips, please send them to editor + 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 ideas. TFL publishes readers name with their suggestions, tips, and ideas unless a reader requests otherwise at the time of the submission.

Leave a Reply