Published Weekly by Randal Watkins

September 2, 2002


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We Are In The Midst Of Changes
Water Article
Forgot To Give Credit

“Workout” Or “Worked Over”?

Natural Weed Killer
Garden Markers

54 Ways To Conserve Water







Hello Everyone,

I am in the process of changing over TheFrugalLife.com to its own webspace. I had been trying to share a site with TheHerbsPlace.com our other site. However, I noticed the site search engine was not recording my new entries. There is a logical reason why this was happening. It involves discussing directory tree problems. I think most of you don’t want to know the details so I will leave them out.

Consequently, the links I am giving to the articles mentioned in this ezine will be changing in a few weeks. If you have the old links the system should prompt you and give you the correct links once all the changes are made.

We have been enjoying some very cool weather since the few rains we have had. We still need more rain in a bad way. Here in Virginia, the Governor has ordered no more lawn watering or car washes at homes. I have included in the Simplicity/Sustainability column and article on ways to reduce your water bill. I really suggest you look at that article. Hopefully, it will help you save money but also the amount of water you or your family use should be reduced too.

Lastly, the skunk article we ran last week was courtesy of Pearl Sanborn. Credit needs to be given to Pearl because it was left out of last week’s issue. Below is her address you might want to check it out. She has lots of good articles on frugal living I know you will enjoy.

Until next time!

Randal Watkins



Recent economic problems have lead to an increase in mortgage owners falling behind on their mortgage payments, prompting mortgage banks to offer mortgage “workouts” or loan modifications.

A loan modification refers to changing the terms of a delinquent mortgage. These changes may include extending the term of the mortgage, adding the delinquency to the mortgage balance, a reduction in the interest rate, or some combination of all three.

In essence, instead of foreclosing, or the mortgage owner selling their home, the bank lends more money to the already strapped mortgage owner.

For example, say you’ve missed $10,000 in payments and penalties and have $150,000 mortgage balance. A “workout” with the mortgage bank would be an attempt to get your payments into a range that you can afford given your current income circumstances.

They do this by adding $10,000 to your balance for a total mortgage amount of $160,000. Since you were having trouble at $150,000 balance, simply lending you $10,000 more dollars doesn’t lighten the monthly payment load. Something more is required.

If it helps, the term of the loan is extended for the number of years it takes to get the payment into your range. Typically, you’ll start all over at 30 years.

If that isn’t enough, reducing your interest rate is the last variable for changing your payment.

The result is a bigger 30 year loan with lower interest rate but payments you can make… for the time being.

Is this a good deal for everyone involved?
The bank avoids foreclosure, at least for the time being, and gets to lend more money for a longer period of time resulting in more profits.

The mortgage owner also avoids foreclosure or selling their home, at least for the time being, but their equity, if any, is depleted and they will pay more for their home.

So, the bank gets profits and the mortgage owner gets to continue making payments, further delaying the day of true home ownership.
Suppose things get worse again in a few years.
In this case you can try yet another “workout”, or the bank ends up
foreclosing anyway… after pocketing a few more years of profit.
Or you can try and sell your home.
There is, of course, a lot of emotion wrapped up in a home. Such decisions are never easy to make.

But, if you came upon a drowning person in an environment filled with sharks, would you really be helping them if you simply made the ocean deeper, dragged them further out to sea, and gave them a larger pair of flippers?

A “workout” is a warning sign. Evaluate it carefully to reduce the chances of being “worked over”.


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Instead of buying expensive weed killer, use ordinary white vinegar. Put vinegar in a spray bottle and spray away. Weeds will die within 3-5 days. Safer than commercial weed killer for pets and children’s safety. It’s non-toxic. – Kathleen H.


Instead of buying those plant markers at garden and nursery stores to mark your garden rows, we go to the craft store and get a bag of large tongue depressors. They work just as well as the special plant markers but are a whole lot less expensive! – Pam


With droughts so prevalent throughout the United States, I thought it appropriate to make a page on how to save on your water bill. Even though your bill may not be that high, it may become necessary to make changes in our water usage patterns anyway. I have a good article from Dr. Charlotte Gorman on 54 ways to conserve water. The article can be read at https://www.thefrugallife.com/waterbill.html

FRUGAL TIPS – From Our Subscribers

Re the person who suggested tomato juice to get rid of skunk smell – don’t. We did it on our dog who ended up having extremely tangled fur till the day she died (we did not believe in using pet salons on those days). Also, do you realize what happens when a dog shakes with tomato juice in its coat…..? I would recommend “Odor Mute” which we used for our dog when she was skunked many years ago. Very simple to follow.


Forget all the other stuff and just wet the dog down, use the
peroxide/b.soda/dishsoap mix (DO NOT cover or save), keep on pet for 10-15 min. and rinse. The tomato juice will only reduce YOUR ability to smell the aroma. Inside put a little vanilla extract on cotton balls in various places or simmer some vinegar on the stove for a time….both methods will reduce any interior smell. – Debbie

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Q. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get dark hair color stain out of light colored vinyl self sticking tile flooring?

Q. Is it possible to make flavored water (like Fruit 2-0) yourself?

Q. I need some ideas on reusing the plastic shopping bags we get. I’ve heard you can weave a rug from them. I’m writing an article about the problems of plastic bags clogging up storm drains and polluting waterways. I’d like to have some ideas to suggest for people to reuse their bags.
Thanks! – Donna Lee

Q. Help! I have mold spots on my child’s toy play mat. The material is Polyester Fiber. Does anyone have any ideas. I have already used Oxi Clean, but all the stains are still there. Thanks!

Please post your questions/answers to our new bulletin board. You can find directions here.


Q. I need information on how to make a raised garden and how to plant potatoes in containers, Thanks!

A. I have successfully raised potatoes in black plastic bags using a tomato cage. You start out with about 8-10 inches potting soil in a black plastic garbage bag. Put in a piece of potato with at least one large eye (sprout). Push it down in the dirt. Water but don’t saturate, you don’t want it to rot. As soon as it sprouts and is about 8 inches high, add enough soil to the bottom layer of leaves and push a tomato cage around the plant. As the plant grows, add soil whenever you have 3-5 inches of stem above the ground. Water regularly. When your bag is filled with soil about 2 1/2 feet tall, you can quit adding soil. Tape the bag to the tomato cage in a couple of places. The plant will make potatoes all down the stem. After about 3 months, dig down in the soil with your fingers and you should encounter potatoes. You can plant regular potatoes or red potatoes with good results. Newly picked potatoes are wonderful!!! My son who ate no potato products of any kind became a devout potato eater when we visited relatives and my uncle dug new red potatoes, we washed them and boiled them until just tender. – Mary

A. Potatoes need to be planted in “hills” so there is room for the potatoes to form. I would suggest using a container that is at least a foot deep. Cut around the “eyes” out of the seed potatoes so there is potato around each of the eyes (my mother even used regular potatoes that had started sprouting too) and plant them eye up. Make a mound with the dirt and be sure to fertilize them. Miracle Grow or some such fertilizer works well. Don’t mix up white with red potatoes. Try to find blue potatoes too. Purple mashed potatoes make interesting conversation at dinner time! Taste good too!

A. You can go to the library and check out Square foot gardening that give you info on raised beds, as well as containers. Our library also has all his videos. This is how we garden. I think you can do a search on the web for “square foot gardening” and find a lot of info. – Annette


Q. Okay, here’s the problem…I WORK AT A REAL ESTATE OFFICE. Every week we receive flyers promoting properties..anywhere between 500 to 1000 sheets of paper. This is such a waste to just continually throw out in the trash…can anybody come up with a way to reuse this paper in some fashion? And this is
just one office, this goes on at all of them…And I’m not one of those
“greenies”, either, it’s just such waste.. Some of the flyers are colored and some shiny like magazine paper..i know there’s good suggestions out there..please help

Due to the large response, I made a page at https://www.thefrugallife.com/thefrugallife/scrappaper.html


Q. I have mold spots on my camper and have tried everything to get them out. It looks as though its trapped between the inside and outside of canvas. Help!!!!!!

A. I had mold spots on my ceiling in our bathroom. Someone told me to spray equal amounts of chlorox and water on the spots and it worked beautifully! My ceiling is white so the cholorox just whitened it up wonderfully. Try this on the mold on your camper (better spot check first for color). Maybe it will work for you too!

A. Depending on where you live, leave the camper up in the sun or a warm garage until it airs out and dries if still damp. The warmth will kill the mold spores. Use an oxygen based product such as Oxi-Clean to clean and freshen the canvas. It may not remove all the stains but it will lighten them. If you have to do a lot of scrubbing in the seams, you may have to re-seal the seams for waterproofing. Hope this helps. – Lynn

A. Try using alcohol on the mildew stains. – Debbie B

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