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The Frugal Life – Living Well With What You Have

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Published Weekly by Randal Watkins October 21, 2002


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Apple Festivals

What Next? Barcodes on Your Forehead?


Ways To Save On Grooming Expenses






*************** A NOTE FROM RANDAL

Hello Everyone,

This week we have been going to the apple orchard festivals in this area. We have really enjoyed the different activities and entertainment that has been available. Often we have been give samples of fresh apple ciders at each festival and they have all been great. I will say some of them have more of an “apple” taste than others. I guess some may have juicier apples than others. I hope you have access to fresh apples like we do. Coming from Oklahoma and Alabama I had never tasted a fresh picked orchard apple. There is really no comparison to apples purchased in the store and one from the orchard.

I have decided to purchase a laptop for when we travel, because I now need to access the computer while we are traveling on a daily basis. This daily access became necessary due to some changes in our vendor’s computer equipment. Therefore, I am in the process of trying to decide what laptop from Apple to purchase. I have 2 iMacs now and don’t want and IBM compatible. However, if any of you know some good deals and tips on purchasing either the iBook or PowerBook please let me know.

I appreciate all your kind comments and encouragements. As you approach the holidays I really hope and pray that you have a holiday season full of peace, joy and happiness.

Until next time!




If you don’t give a merchant cash, check, a debit card, or a debt card to pay for a transaction… what do you give them?

A finger!

Indivos has developed and is piloting a system in Seattle, Washington, where customers “Pay by Touch.”

Using unique physical characteristics, like a fingerprint, and linking this characteristic to a debt account, customers can become walking debt cards.

No more plastic middlemen.

With just your finger and a machine that reads your particular, so-called, biometric, you can create debt in a completely new way. Which, coincidentally, is about as far removed from using cash as you can get.

You don’t even have to pull out your wallet or purse… where you might see some real money and be tempted to use cash instead.

This is, of course, being marketed as a convenience and security enhancement over other forms of payment. To be fair, you can link this capability to a checking account as well. So now you can have a Debit finger, too.

But doesn’t removing the last physical act of trading currency for goods and services strike you as more “greasing the chute?”

Everything Midas touched turned into gold. Now they want everything YOU touch to turn into debt — or more importantly — gold for them!

————- Payoff All of your Debts in 5-7 Years using the money you ALREADY make! 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:



Fall is in the air! That also means that composting bins should be in your yard ready for the newest batch of fresh compost to enrich your soil and give back to our environment. This week�s feature is�s website on composting. There, you will find everything you�ll need to know about composting: questions, practical tips, and a wealth of information regarding composting. Please visit this web site so that you can give back to your environment!



Simply put, most people have to have at least a minimum amount of grooming. Some require more than others because of their particular jobs or contact with the public.

To view Part 1 of the article go to

To view Part 2 of the article go to

*Dr. Charlotte Gorman is an Extension Agent – Family & Consumer Sciences, Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A & M University System. She is the author of The Frugal Mind, The Little Book of Living Frugal, and co-author of Speak for Yourself: A Handbook on Practical Public Speaking.

FRUGAL TIPS – From Our Subscribers

Regarding the article last week on caulking: Please remember, that it’s the size/shape of the cut of your caulk nozzle that makes the difference. If you have a small fill line, cut the hole of the caulk nozzle with a small hole to match. Also – always make your nozzle cut on the diagonal. – Pearl


Hello! The reader who is getting a new kitten can indeed save money by administering their own shots IF they know how and can do this correctly. You still have to ask your veterinarian for a “prescription” for the proper vaccine medications in order to be able to get them yourself. You can then order the vaccines from one of the many animal mail order companies—Shop around for the lowest prices in costs and shipping. My brother is a show horse trainer and learned many years ago how to give shots to the horses, dogs and cats on the farm. He only administers the shots to his own animals, though, not clients.

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Many pet owners are discovering the horror of what is actually in the pet foods they buy — even the natural ones. What our pets eat makes a big difference in their health and your emotions of seeing them suffer. Good food takes away many common health problems that people are paying a lot of vet bills to solve, such as, skin allergies, dry coat, lack of energy, constant fleas and other parasites. Good food pays for itself in lower vet bills and the animals eats (and poops) less.

Read about Flint River Ranch Oven-Baked Pet Foods. SHIPPING IS FREE! 100% Guarantee or Your Money Back! Healthy Food for Pets


Q. My husband and I are in the process of adopting a child from the foster care system. In the meantime we have our 3 year old neice over and we have spent money on play doh and silly puddy among other things. I remember seeing receipes for both but can’t find them. – Janet

Q. A friend recently told me about the many uses of a product called DMSO. You can buy it at health food stores. She said it can releive just about every ailment you can think of from acne to joint pain and that it works on pets too. I looked it up on the internet and it certainly sounds like a “wonder drug”. Has anyone heard of this before or has anyone used the product? Are there any testimonies out there? I would like to hear from others who may have used it. Thank you. – Ana

Q. We just bought a house that has a well. The well was tested, and came back with good results. Yesterday I got the keys, and started cleaning. The hot water smells like sulfur (rotten eggs)! The cold water is OK. There is a water softener for all water to go through. Why would it be only the hot water? There is a rental house on the property (on the same well), and he has smelly hot water also. His house has a separate filtration system. What can we do about this? Thanks for your help. PS The dirt around here is bright red clay. (Sonora, CA)

Q. I am looking for a natural alternative to the plastic chair mat to be used on hardwood floor at my desk. I have searched the internet and haven’t come up with anything. Do you have any suggestions or know what type of rug would work for this situation? Thanks for any help you might have and for your newsletter also. Thanks – Janice

Q. Help! I think we’ve made a mistake. Some animal was digging up our yard (but not making tunnels so I don’t think it was a gopher or mole). The animal wasn’t touching the plants at all, just digging up the dirt. Someone at the nursey said it was a skunk digging for grubs and suggested a chemical to use to get rid of them that wouldn’t harm the skunk but would solve the problem by removing the grubs. Well, the skunk is gone but now our dusty miller is being eaten by something and we can’t seem to stop it. It’s strange because the insect doesn’t eat through the leaves. It eats the back of the leaves but doesn’t chew all the way through to the other side. Anyone know what insect this is and how to fight it with something that won’t cause harm to the local wild and domestic animals? Thanks so much for any help! – Tracey in San Diego, California

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


Q. The suggestions on Christmas gatherings were good, especially the last one on handmade gifts. I’d like to hear some other suggestions about practical gifts that can be made, other than food. My family is not into gifts that aren’t practical, i.e. they wouldn’t appreciate decorative items.

To see some great non food Christmas ideas go to


Q. Does anyone know how to keep the dog out of the cat’s litter box? I have no place to put it that is not accessible to the dog.

A. I had the same problem but had a high ledge where I was able to put the litter box. If you have a closet/any closet, you may want to use it for the litter box. Fasten a chain or similar to the door and frame and leave the door open only as much as is needed for the size of the cat. You could also use the cabinet under the sink or the top of your washing machine. By the way, I purchased a litter box with a cover. – Erda

A. The problem is caused by the dog not getting enough useable protein in his current diet. Dogs invade catboxes looking for incompletely-digested protein matter in cat stools, and usually end up finding it and consuming it. The correction for this is to have a properly-leveled dog food recommended by a vet (tests will be done to determine the proper level needed). Unfortunately, the basis for this problem is the high percentage of cheap dog foods on the market that use lots of fillers in place of quality nutrutious ingredients–the dog derives nothing useable from them except constantly growing hunger that goes unfulfilled, so he hits the catbox in search of what he needs. Dogs also hit the garbage can for the same reason.

Cat food will not solve the dilemma for the dog–these animals have different nutritional needs, and the foods are supposed to reflect that. The dog food being upgraded is the answer. A broad hint given to me by my vet: if a grocery store can afford to have a stocked shelf and display of a certain dog/cat food, chances are he got it for the high profit margin (meaning the contents are cheap enough to make a certain percentage profit, otherwise he couldn’t afford to carry it in his store). If the food can only be found in a large pet chain store (like PetSmart or Pet Warehouse) or in your vet’s office, it will be more expensive, but contain higher-quality ingredients at proper levels for sustainable life. As to WHICH high-quality food to feed the dog, a vet alone can answer that…but DO ask about brands of food that will accomplish the same thing at a lower cost.


Q. In response to the question about keeping cats out of their childrens sandbox and their horseshoe pits, amonia was brought up as well as something with a citris fragrence. (Mid August 2002 Issue)… Anyway, I actually have a brood of cats, some that I have adopted from the local animal shelter and others, ferals I have taken in because their mother was poisoned, leaving behind a whole litter I couldn’t let starve to death… as well as the “local” strays who come to my house to eat…. and not only do the cats use our horseshoe pit for a literbox, they constantly tear up my flower beds, to which I have given up creating and tending. Thus, my yards, both front and back are an eyesore. Is there ANYthing I can use to keep them from digging where I want to plant? My brother suggested using chicken wire, laid out flat and covered with soil… says you can cut the chicken wire if need be to plant something and it works for him. I thought about it a bit and decided to try it but when I was looking at rolls of chicken wire at my local Home Depot, I noticed this plastic mesh with holes about the same size as chicken wire. It is actually for tacking up against a fence for vine type plants to grow on, but I liked the plastic idea better because knowing me, I would probably end up cutting myself on the chicken wire if I were to cut it to plant something. But the plastic mesh hasn’t worked… they dig all over it anyway. Since the cats dig everywhere and we’re having a drought season, I have let the grass die back and quit planting, but I am hoping to relandscape my yards this Fall and Winter with plants native to the area. But I would love it if I could find something that will keep the cats from digging everything up. – MH

For some innovative ideas to stop cats from digging go to

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Information in The Frugal Life News (TFL) has been derived from sources believed accurate and reliable. In no event shall *The Frugal Life,* Randal Watkins, 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. 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’ names with their suggestions, tips, and ideas unless a reader requests otherwise at the time of the submission.

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