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THE FRUGAL LIFE NEWS
May 26, 2004 Edition
A NOTE FROM RANDAL
Welcome new subscribers and thanks to all of you who have been sharing The Frugal Life News with others!
Some posters are putting in their email addresses and asking to be emailed. This is against our policy and not good for the forum. After all, those answers being emailed can also help someone else visiting the forum at a later time. Instead just click the “Notify of Replies” button after you have made your post. When someone replies an email will be sent to you. You do have to be logged in as a member. Doing this will help us capture the great content we want the forum to have.
Donna and I hope you have a great Memorial Day and we appreciate all your help in making The Frugal Life website and ezine great!
HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
You know that one way to lower your cost of insurance is to raise your deductible. If you have High Deductible Health Insurance, thanks to legislation introduced in December 2003, you can save taxes, too!
allow you to set aside tax-deductible funds to be used to pay out-of-pocket medical costs until you exceed your deductible – at which time insurance starts to pay.
A High Deductible Health Insurance policy has a deductible greater than $1,000 for an individual, ($2,000 for families).
For example, suppose your annual physical costs $200. If you have not exceeded your $1,000 deductible for the year, prior to HSAs your physical would cost $200 out-of-pocket. If you have $200 in your HSA, you can withdraw $200 to pay for your exam.
What’s the benefit?
The $200 from your HSA is Tax-Free money. You are permitted to deduct your HSA contributions from your income, even if you don’t itemize!
Individuals may contribute 100% of their deductible, up to a maximum of $2,600. Families may contribute 100% of their deductible up to $5,150. People ages 55 to 65 can contribute an extra $500 a year. These contribution limits will grow over time.
Unlike a Flexible Spending Account, or Cafeteria Plan, if you don’t use all of your funds in an HSA in a given year, you don’t lose them. Like an IRA, they continue to grow tax sheltered, year after year.
You may withdraw funds from your HSA at anytime without the IRA standard 10% penalty, or income taxes, so long as these funds are used to pay for qualified medical expenses.
After age 65 you may use these funds for any purpose, but you will pay income taxes for non-qualified medical expense use. The 10% penalty is waived.
HSA contributions may be invested and grow tax-free in a variety of investment vehicles. You can find them at insurance companies, banks, and any other companies formerly authorized as Medical Savings Account trustees.
HSAs neatly support the moneysaving concept of catastrophic insurance. If you and your family don’t require a lot of medical care, then low deductible medical insurance is a waste of money.
A well-funded HSA will provide enough funds to pay your medical expenses until you exhaust your deductible.
There are two requirements for opening an HSA:
1. It must be done in conjunction with a high-deductible health
2. A taxpayer must be under age 65 when opening an account.
If you think an HSA is worth investigating, you will need to compare your current health insurance premium payments to the premium payments for a high deductible plan.
The money you save can be used to fund your HSA.
You may then deduct your HSA contributions from your income and save money on taxes, Which you can use for faster debt payoff.
For example, suppose your current low-deductible premiums are $300/month. And suppose you signup for a $1,000 high-deductible HSA for $150, saving $150/month, which you use to fund your HSA to your maximum of $1,000.
If you’re in the 25% tax bracket, you will save $250 in taxes, increasing your contribution to Debt Payoff by $21/month.
And, if you don’t use all of your HSA funds, you’re growing a nice tax-free savings account.
Kinda hard to beat.
Greg Moore is the author of the Debt Freedom Course,
‘DebtIntoWealth — Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom’.
To discover why
‘Americans are carrying more debt than ever before and are
behind payments in record numbers…’ — New York Post
and how to escape the Two-Income Trap, visit this website:
FREE LESSON #1 – DEBT FREEDOM COURSE
Pay off all of your debt in 5-7 years using the money you already make.
Find out why financial guru and best-selling author, Suze Orman, is advising
her millions of followers to “Pay Everything Off as Fast As Possible!”
Free Lesson – Debt
FRUGAL HOME COMMUNICATIONS
LONG DISTANCE, INTERNET ACCESS, & CELLULAR PHONE OPTIONS
1 Cent Long Distance with a 10-10 Access Number
3.9 Cent Long Distance With No Access Numbers to Dial
14.95 Internet Access
Shop The Best Rates for Cellular – Free Phones
Agent Opportunities Available
Long Distance, Internet
Access, and Cellular Phone Options
NATURAL ROACH REMEDY
We have used these roach balls for many years to avoid having to have exterminators spraying toxic chemicals in our house. The recipe was shared with me from another person who had used it successfully for many years and had shared it with others who had great results. It works!
8 oz. Boric Acid [we find ours at a drugstore]
1/2 c. white flour
2 T. white sugar
1/2 small onion, minced
1/4 c. shortening
Cream shortening and sugar. Mix onion, boric acid, and flour. Add to sugar mixture. Blend well. Add enough water to form a soft dough.
Form into balls and place in small cups or lids. If you use cups, place them on the floor on their side for the roaches to crawl in. Lids are convenient to push under things, so you can flatten out a ball for areas like stove, refrigerators, etc.
WAYS TO SAVE ON GASOLINE – by Dr. Charlotte Gorman*
As gasoline prices continue to escalate, many people are looking for ways to reduce the burden of higher prices while still doing the driving necessary to their work and other activities. Below are some suggestions which will save you a considerable amount of money on gasoline. The suggestions are excerpts from my book The Frugal Mind: 1,483 Money Saving Tips for Surviving the New Millennium.
For a limited time Nottingham Books is offering copies of The Frugal Mind to subscribers of The Frugal Life Newsletter at a 50% discount or $10.00 per book. Nottingham Books will cover the costs of packaging and shipping. See www.digitex.net/nottingham for an order blank. Disregard the prices listed on the order blank and mark in $10.00 as the total price per book. Send check made out to Nottingham Books with order.
Ways to Save
1. Ask yourself every time you plan to use your car, truck, SUV, or van, “Is this trip really necessary?” Every mile you drive your vehicle will cost you at least an average of 36 cents. If the trip is not necessary, think twice before using your vehicle.
2. Drive at a conservative speed on the highway. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most automobiles get about 20 percent more miles per gallon on the highway at 55 miles per hour than they do at 70 miles per hour.
For more great savings ideas go here:
Ways To Save On Gasoline
*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 Speak for Yourself.www.digitex.net/nottingham [email protected]
MAKE YOUR OWN HOME AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Bath, Beauty, Perfumes, Cleaning and Air Freshner/Deodorizer
Essential oil kits allow you to make your own safe non-chemical home and beauty products. You’ll save a lot and feel better about making your home less toxic for yourself, children and pets. The Starter Pack has a Recipe Guide with tons of ideas. http://www.theherbsplace.com/essentialkits.html
Make Your Own Home
and Beauty Products
Freshen Your Rooms for Spring(with Quick and Cheap Decorating Ideas)
By Kathleen Wilson
Now that spring has finally arrived, I know many of us are looking for ways to freshen, brighten, and update all the rooms in our home without breaking the bank. So here are some great quick tips and projects for you to use throughout your home, perfect to bring in that charming touch of the warmer months, while keeping your personal touch!
1.Let in that light! Not only does this include taking down the heavy drapes, but also make an effort to keep your windows and reflective surfaces in your home ( tv screens, mirrors, appliances etc.) shiny and clean etc. you would be surprised at how much light is let in and reflected, and how much that can brighten your interior. By the way, one caveat for removing your heavy window coverings etc. if you have a south facing window and live in a hot climate, you may want to consider leaving that window covered well. It will save you cooling bills in the summer to block out that southern sun!
2.Put away your fleece throws and blankets for the season, and create throw pillow covers in lighter brighter colors and patterns. Very cost effective way to update the seasons! Try purchasing flat sheets at spring white sales as fabric for a cost effective way to coordinate the room!
3.Save clear glass jars and bottles, then gather them in groups of 5 or 7 on windowsills, countertops, or shelving. Place one flower in each bottle, roadside daisies work fine! Think of using this not just in the kitchen, but in the bed or bath, or even on your front porch!
4.Make a spring wreath to hang on your front door. Nothing adds such a welcoming touch to your home. It can be as easy as picking up a straw or grapevine wreath for a couple bucks at your local craft shop, then attach a pretty bow or wrap with a ribbon. You can stop right there for a simple look, or add silk flowers, nature items, or even a small handpainted wood plaque with your family name. Give your wreath a theme, such as seashore, cabin, or summer fun. (How about dollar store sand shovels or gardening tools?) A little wire and a glue gun go a long way. Don’t forget to look at thrift shops and garage sales for old silk flower arrangements that can be recycled. Those removable plastic hooks from 3M are a great way to attach them to your door while still being able to safely remove them later.
5.Buy six packs of inexpensive shade annuals such as pansies, fuchsias, and impatiens, then pot up and set in a sunny window inside for some great, cheap color and life in your rooms! Three or five lined up across a windowsill make a great statement! Don’t place these plants in a south facing window, they will burn!
6.Seek scrap wood you can paint with rustic sayings. This is so easy to do since the idea is to look rustic and handpainted, yet boutiques are charging big bucks for something you could make for free! These can be used inside or out, any size, hung on the wall or leaned in front of your unused firebox, and personalized to your own family and beliefs. You can get some great quotes off the internet, from Proverbs, or even from looking through those spring home accessories catalogs. Some of my favorites are “Bloom Where You Are Planted”, “Count Your Garden By the Flowers, Never By the Leaves That Fall”, “Love, Laugh, Live” etc. .ok, I could be here all day!
7.Clear away the clutter. You really want to do your spring cleaning to truly appreciate the bright, cheery feel of the season. Find ways to hide clutter if you don’t have enough storage etc. make floor length table covers and store things underneath, use open top cardboard boxes to store items that can be slid under the beds and pulled out when you need to access the items, use hooks inside cupboard doors and on the laundry room walls to give you places to hide all those utility items.
8.Press a few flowers between paper in a book for a week or two, then place them artfully in a dollar store frame as a terrific spring accent. Pansies are great for this, hold their color well, and dry quickly. Press a few leaves to use within your display. The thicker the leaf or flower, the harder and longer it will take to dry. If you don’t want to remove your present wall art, just lean these floral accents on your mantel, on shelves, or even on your kitchen counter against your backsplash! Once again, for the best statements, use them in groups of odd numbers.
Hopefully, this will get you all started to bringing a bright comfort to your Spring home, especially useful on those Spring days when it seems winter has returned and you need that hope that the sun will return! Remember, it’s not about what you can afford, but putting your heart and your creativity into making a comfortable, secure retreat for your family and friends. (And yourself!)
Kathleen Wilson is an author, national columnist for
Country Women magazine, and editor of her free online
ezine, The Budget Decorator. Visit her here for more free ideas
and information on her ebooks and online workshops!
ONLINE BUDGET DECORATING WORKSHOP
Taught by author and national columnist, Kathleen, Wilson, this workshop
will teach you to decorate on a shoestring inside and outside of your home.
Brings out your own creativity and teaches you to look at decorating in a
new way. Read more about the course and what others are saying about it:
HERBAL HEARTWORM PROGRAM & PREVENTION
Robin Sockness works with pet owners with an individualized program and has
currently worked with over 300 dogs. Herbs are safer and less expensive so
it’s a win-win situation for all. Prevention programs are available also.
Read more about it here: http://www.theherbsplace.com/heartworm.html
Program & Prevention
FREE INFORMATION, FREE eCARDS, AND PET FOODS TOO!
Healthy Pet Corner provides lots of information and links for birds, cats,
dogs, horses, rabbits, and reptiles. http://www.healthypetcorner.com
Healthy Pet Corner – Your Pet
FRUGAL TIPS FROM OUR SUBSCRIBERS
CLEANING ALUMINUM POTS
To clean aluminum pots and pans, simply fill them with water and add 2 T. cream of tarter. Boil for 5-10 minutes, then wash and dry as usual. You won’t believe your eyes!
WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE FORUM?
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:
QUESTIONS NEEDING ANSWERS AT THE FORUM
1. I have a dilemma. My grandmother used to make the BEST homemade fudge using pet milk (evaporated milk) instead of whole milk out of the jug. I have been searching and searching for that recipe for over a year now and I can’t find it, I can’t even find one that even calls for pet milk anymore. Can someone help me? It doesn’t have to be my granny’s recipe, just one that uses the pet milk. I’d appreciate it. If anyone has it please post here in the forum , thank you. –Elizabeth
1. I have a collection agency that has been calling me every day and some times even more than once per day. The main problem, when I answer the phone they hang up. Therefore, I have no idea who is calling. Even with Caller I.D. I don’t know who is calling. Since it comes up as unknown caller and number. I finally found out who it was and asked them to stop calling me and hanging up. If they have something to say, they can’t very well say anything to me if they hang up the phone once I answer it. But that has not stopped them from calling several times a day. In fact they have called here three (3) times today already.
How can I stop this hassle from this people. Nothing I say has any effect. Both my wife and I are disabled and these types of calls upset my wife enough that she has to take meds for her nerves and go to bed. That is not right. my nerves are not the best in the world either.
Please help me come up with an answer to this very bothering problem.
Thank You, Rick, Louisville, MS.
1. Please Help!!Recently my 5 yr old female cat has starting peeing outside of her litterbox. My parents and I think its because of the dogs. They eat in the same room where her litterbox is. She could just be marking her territory. However, this is just a recent problem and my cat has always grown up with these dogs. Her litterbox was always in the same room. Nothing has changed, except one of the dogs. I need help figuring out how to stop my cat from marking her territory as well as getting rid of the smell or else I will have to get rid of my cat. So please help!!!!!
HOME-BASED BUSINESS IDEAS
HOME SPA PARTY PLAN – MAKE BATH & BODY PRODUCTS
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.
Home Spa Party
FLINT RIVER RANCH OVEN-BAKED PET FOODS
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. Websites are not yet available.
Flint River Ranch
NATURE’S SUNSHINE PRODUCTS – HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS
If you’ve been a natural health nut, you have a lot of information to share.
Earn an income selling over 500 natural health products, beverages,
essential oils, skin care systems, water filters, and more. Websites are
also available for $15.95/month (plus an initial $19.95 set-up fee).
LONG DISTANCE, INTERNET ACCESS, & CELLULAR PHONE
1 Cent Long Distance with a 10-10 Access Number
3.9 Cent Long Distance With No Access Numbers to Dial
14.95 Internet Access
Best Rates for Cellular – Free Phones
Agent Opportunities Available – Website included with application package
(no monthly fees).
No hidden fees or tricky charges. Plain and simple. Click on “Agent
Opportunity” link at top.
Long Distance, Internet
Access, and Cellular Phone
Life’s Abundance FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS
Life’s Abundance products by Dr. Jane Bicks and Dr. Barry Sears who developed
the Zone Diet for Overweight Dogs. Besides dog, cat and horse products,
they have a non-toxic line of cleaning products – safe for pets and
children. Websites available for $10.95/month (plus an initial $20 set-up
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.