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The Frugal Life – Living Well With What You Have


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SEA HEALTH PLUS by Dr. Barry Sears (Creator of the Zone Diet)
As Seen on CBS, ABC and NBC

Nutrient-Rich Blend of Whole Foods That Includes:

(1) plant source trace minerals to fuel the body’s vital processes
(2) natural antioxidants to protect
(3) certified aloe vera to soothe.

Published Twice Monthly by Randal Watkins
The Frugal Life
January 12, 2004

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Hello Everyone,

Hope you all had a nice peaceful holiday season. We did. We went to visit our Son, My Parents and other close family in Oklahoma. It is always nice to go away and see family and friends.

We have been continuing to switch our site over to the new web hosting company. It seems there is a never ending list of items that must be addressed.

Continue to share your ideas on the forum. I noticed there is some good comments being made on all of the postings. That is exactly what we need. New people can come to the site and search for answers to their questions. Even though the questions were asked several weeks or months back they can benefit from all of your responses.

As always, we appreciate your sharing and subscribing to The Frugal Life News.

Until next time,



Dear Dollar Stretcher,
My husband and I currently have $11,500 in a savings account in a credit union earning 1% interest with no minimum balance restrictions. Our income was unsteady so we liked the flexibility of this account. We have stable income now and are looking at the money market account program. The bank thinks we should switch as it would earn us 1.25% with a minimum balance of $1,000. To me, these rates seem a bit low, however, we are not ready to invest in the stock market. I have heard that regular banks offer more interest but demand higher minimum balances and have more restrictions etc. Are we better off with the 1.25% money market account at our credit union or should we move the money to a higher interest paying institution? Sue

Sue is right that rates are low now. And that makes it harder for savers to get much of a return on their savings.

There are two characteristics that Sue will need to evaluate on any investment. The first is liquidity. Liquidity is the term used by investment professionals to measure how quickly you can get your money. A dollar bill in your wallet is very liquid. A money market fund is less liquid, but still easy. Any ‘timed deposit’ with a maturity date is less liquid.

The second characteristic is risk. Does an investment put Sue’s principal at risk? And, if so, what types of circumstances would have to occur for money to be lost?

Be careful with the term guaranteed. All guarantees are not created equal. In a insured savings account you’re guaranteed that you can go in any time and get $1 for every $1 deposited. Even if the bank fails, there would be FDIC or FSLIC insurance to get your money.

But other investments only guarantee your principal at a maturity date. For instance, if you bought a 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond you would be guaranteed to get your money back when the bond matures. But if you needed the money before then you’d have to sell it. And that could mean getting more or less than your original principal amount.

Let’s look at Sue’s current options. How much extra would she be getting by switching? Earning an extra 1/4 of 1% interest on $11,500 for a year is $28.75 before taxes. Clearly you wouldn’t take too many chances with $11,000 to gain $28 in extra income. Sue will want to find out if there are any additional risks to her principal.

There are actually a variety of money market funds. Some guarantee your principal. Others do not. Since their inception, even non-guaranteed money funds have been considered extremely safe. And the risk to principal has been almost non-existent. But, with lower interest rates, some money funds are finding that the interest earned doesn’t cover the expenses of managing the fund. When that occurs the money market fund shares could actually shrink in value.

Sue mentions going to a bank. Certificates of deposit (CD) could be a good alternative.

Right now a 5-year CD from the bank will pay about 3%. The CD should be just as secure as the bank deposit. You can get $1 for every $1 deposited at any time. You do run the risk of losing six months of interest if you take the principal before the maturity date. So it’s possible to lose $172.50 of earnings if you want to pull your money out early. But the 2% higher interest will earn an extra $1,150 over 5 years if Sue manages to leave it

It’s important for Sue to consider what she wants this money to do. If it’s to provide for funds for the next auto breakdown or home repair, they’ll need to be able to get their money out any time. But if it’s meant for only a serious unexpected emergency, then she doesn’t need the same degree of

One solution would be to keep part of the fund for the next home emergency and the rest could be committed for a little longer period of time.

Finally, there are other options that Sue could consider. We can’t go into the relative merits of each. But if she looks at the potential return and the potential risks she’ll have a framework to evaluate the choices.


(On a Pennypinchers Budget!)

By Kathleen Wilson

In the first few months of every New Year, most of us are thinking about change. One of the fastest, most effective and least expensive ways to change your rooms is to use color! The color forecast for 2004 is one everyone can appreciateit�s all about comfort! Shades from nature, warm rich colors from exotic parts of the world, or well-worn colors are all great choices for a comfort filled home. Here are some great ways to add color to your home, without breaking the bank!

1. Paint. Yes, you all knew I was going to say that, but try something a little different this year! Learn to sponge paint or rag roll, tape off wide stripes in a different shade of the same color, combine a painted wall with stamping or stenciling. Use a rich color in at least one room, and paint your ceilings and woodwork too! Or try that brave new color on a key piece
of furniture.

2. Use fabric. Fabric can be expensive, but there are ways to cut the costs dramatically. Shop your thrift stores for sheets, blankets, and quilts to use as tablecloths and window coverings. Check the bargain bin at the local fabric store, often times they have beautiful fabrics at discount prices simply because they have been discontinued. Use cheap muslin, then add a border of a decorative fabric to save lots of cash. Use worn sweaters to stitch up a throw pillow cover. I once used a �never to be used again� maternity blouse to create gorgeous silk pillows for my living room. Look in your closets and linen chest for items in your color scheme that can be pressed into service.

3. Cover the matting in your wall art with colorful paper or fabric to coordinate with your room. )Or paint your picture frames!) This brings color and interest to your walls, guides the eye upward, and ties your room together.

4. Look for accessories at the local dollar store. Many colorful candles, baskets, bowls, and statuettes can be found for just a buck!

5. Add plants. Every room comes alive with plants, and they add a neutral but uplifting amount of color to your home. Think you have no green thumb? Sprout carrot tops, ivy cuttings from the yard, or potato cuttings, then pot up and put in a brightly lit spoteven if your thumb fails you, they cost you nothing, and can easily be grown again!

Copyright 2003 K. Wilson

Kathleen Wilson is the author of “Quick Decorating
Ideas Under $20:The Budget Decorator’s Bible” and
Editor of the free ezine, The Budget Decorator. To get
more great free ideas on budget decorating, and to
learn about her book and popular workshops, visit her
site here


Visit Healthy Pet Corner for lots of information, products, and links for birds, cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, and reptiles.
All for Pets


by Donna Watkins – Editor of A Touch of Nature

Our bodies need water! Our bodies are made up of 70% water and we need to flush out the old and put in the new. Drinking sodas and coffee and iced tea does not do the same thing as water.

When we began living frugally, one thing that went was all the beverages other than water. It was amazing how much money we saved! We took water with us when we went shopping or traveling and it seemed that giving up all those drinks we bought at the grocery store or while driving about added up to enough to provide more travel time.

Water is better for you than any other beverage and if you don’t like the taste, you can pay for a water purifier pretty quickly when you consider
these prices:

Diet Snapple 16oz $1.29 = $10.32 per gallon
Lipton Ice Tea 16oz $1.19 = $9.52 per gallon
Gatorade 20oz $1.59 = $10.17 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16oz $1.25 = $10 .00 per gallon
Evian water 9oz for $1.49 = $21.19 per gallon

$21.19 FOR A GALLON OF WATER! ….and from what Consumer Reports says, sometimes our tap water is better than the bottled. Yikes! Is bottled water pure or is it hype? Here’s a link to the online version of NRDC’s petition to the FDA and results of the 4-year study of the bottled water industry, including its bacterial and chemical contamination problems.

If you’d like to read why it’s important to drink water and find a link to
an article on “Why I Don’t Drink Sodas,” visit this site: href=””>

Have a family meeting. Decide together to stop guzzling the money guzzling beverages and find a way to enjoy good-tasting, thirst-quenching water. Your body and pocketbook will thank you!

Check out Donna’s free email newsletter: “A Touch of Nature” href=””>


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


I had so many red ants in the front yard you would think I was raising them for sale!  Looking for the most inexpensive way to get rid of them I found this solution online.

Mix orange or grapefruit juice, water and liquid soap together (equal parts) and spray the area.  It seems that the acid is what gets them.  I tried this and it works, but repeated applications were necessary.   Hope this helps someone else.


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: href=””> Forum

Questions Needing Answers at The Forum:

1. Automobile
I am new to leasing, but am coming to the end of a leased Ford Focus in about a year. We will be under mileage, and only have a few scratches. I would consider it normal wear and tear, but who knows. What I am worried about is the fact that I have no interest in buying it, trading it in, or getting a new lease. I want to walk. Even with the mileage and “normal”wear, what can I expect the dealer to do? I am very concerned about them trying to hose me. Is there something I can review or tips on this situation? Thank you

2. Utilities
I know that there are a lot of ways to save money on Utilities.  Please include your ideas.  I know that will help everyone.



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). href=””> Life’s Abundance


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. href=””> Home Spa Party


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. href=””> Nature’s Sunshine


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. href=””> Flint River Ranch


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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