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The Frugal Life – Living Well With What You Have


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The Frugal Life News
June 28, 2004 Edition

A Note From Randal
Hello Everyone,

Welcome new subscribers and thanks to all of you who have been sharing The
Frugal Life News with others!

I am so glad we have the forum to answer questions we are all searching for. In my everyday life I find a need for different solutions. Often these solutions can be solved with money but being frugally minded, I want to find an answer that doesn’t require money. I get so much satisfaction when I can use something I have on hand. I know you do the same and I am grateful each of you contribute to the forum so we can have a repository of frugal information to use when we need it.

As always, we appreciate all of your sharing of our ezines and websites.

Until next time,


Frugal Finances – A Client Asks A Question


My question is about our current home. Our oldest son will start middle school in 2 years. The middle school our neighborhood feeds into is known for poor academics and a poor environment. We feel we are forced into one of two scenarios:

1. Put our sons in a private school that would run us $350-$400 per month per child. They spent their pre-school years there and we are comfortable with the academic environment.

2. Sell our home and move further into the county. This would mean spending $250-$300K to get into the top county schools. Our current home is valued in the mid $160’s with a balance of $121K. We were planning to have it paid for in 4 years (using your debt freedom plans of course).

My husband thinks we should sell. A nicer home in a nicer neighborhood would bring long-term value with home appreciation. I am inclined to think we should stay and pay off what we have, send the boys to private school and pray the our neighborhood’s home value holds steady and appreciates accordingly.

A third, outside opinion would be nice if you are able. Thanks for the great advice in your newsletters. Also, thanks for the debt plan. We would be lost without it. It keeps everything focused.

— Dawn

If it Walks Like a Trap, Talks Like a Trap, and Smells Like a Trap…

Hi Dawn,

This is a classic “Two-Income Trap” in the making. Research by the authors of “The Two-Income Trap – Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke,” leads me to believe that you are perilously close to falling into this trap. You have all of the factors… kids, the pursuit of good schools, debt, and I assume you both work. I like the idea of paying off what you have first, supplementing your child’s education with either private schooling or private tutoring, and making a few adjustments to your current debt-freedom plan.

I don’t think trading up to a larger Trap is a good idea.

My suggestion is to get Super Aggressive. By this, I mean, heck, if you can be completely debt-free in 4 years using your current debt-freedom plan, how would it have to change to be free in 2? What if you could be debt-free in 3 years? You could postpone private school for 1 year, and pound away at your current mortgage as if your financial lives depended on it.

If you can’t improve your debt freedom date, worst case, you will have to endure 2 years of undesirable middle school. Perhaps you could supplement public schooling with private tutoring at substantially less than $350-$400/month. In my opinion, avoiding this Trap should be your #1 priority.

You can recover from poor schooling.

You can even recover from bankruptcy, but why gamble when the research shows that the odds are firmly stacked against you and you have a proven way to avoid it?

Change the odds. Get Debt-Free Fast(er)! Then decide if you want to move and take on hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars of debt again… or find another education solution.

Thanks for your question!

Greg Moore is the author of the Debt Freedom Course,
“DebtIntoWealth — Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom”.

To discover how to ESCAPE THE TWO-INCOME TRAP, click here:

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!

Frugal Cleaning – Use the dishwasher and don’t pre-rinse dishes

Running a full load in the dishwasher is more water-efficient than washing dishes by hand, because the tap is usually running for long periods of time. So, don’t feel lazy when you let the machine clean.

Don’t prerinse! According to Consumer Reports study, prerinsing doesn’t make dishes any cleaner after they’ve been run through the dishwasher. Skipping this step (and simply scraping any residual particles into the trash) will save about 20 gallons of water a load. That’s 6500 gallons of water per year….. enough to fill several swimming pools!

Frugal How-To – How To Keep Produce Fresh Longer

1. Buy fresh, not already wilting or with soft spots and punctures.

2. Buy locally grown produce. Fresh-picked produce will last so long you won’t believe it. We enjoy shopping our farmer’s markets and supporting the local farmers. A lot less chemicals when it doesn’t have to be shipped across country and picked green.

3. Store vegetables in airtight containers to preserve humidity – add a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

4. Don’t wash vegetables and fruits until you’re ready to use them. Water on the surface leads to cellular breakdown, which leads to rapid spoilage.

5. Know what to refrigerate. Fruits are delicate and may suffer cold damage if stored in the refrigerator. Tomatoes and bananas should be kept out. Peaches and nectarines refrigerated only after they’re ripe.

6. Store some things alone. Onions give off a gas that causes potatoes to sprout roots. Store potatoes at cool room temperature and away from light to avoid greening. Keep bananas and apples apart from other fruit since they release a gas that promotes ripening.

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.
Make Your Own Home
and Beauty Products

Frugal Decorating

5 Best Budget Gardening Basics
By Kathleen Wilson

Decorating the outside of your home very often involves some type of garden. Not only can living plants add value, curb appeal, and charm to your home, gardening has been known to soothe ones soul. Gardening on a tight budget can be a challenge, but with a little knowledge, a little creativity, and a do-it-yourself spirit, it can be much more rewarding than traditional landscaping.

1.Start small. Pick out a small spot in your yard or decide to grow in containers only and pick up a few basic pots. If you spend a whole weekend tearing up your yard your first time out, chances are you will become overwhelmed and find it an unhappy experience, not to mention a waste of money. Let the joys of growing things be a pleasure, not a chore. You can always expand your garden as you gain experience.

2.Learn some basics. It isn’t budget wise to buy a bunch of plants, slap them in the ground without any knowledge, then watch them die. With a little education, you can be assured of a more successful garden, and save money in mistakes from the start! Some great places to get information for beginners is your local library, your nursery, and the internet. The internet is filled with garden information, just type “gardening” into your search engine, and go!

3.Don’t be afraid to use unusual materials. Chunks of recycled concrete can make a wonderful retaining wall or garden border, gravel can be used for a patio instead of flagstone, plastic pots can be painted to look like stone. Plant in unusual containers to fit the style of your home. Use indoor things outdoors. Use paint (it’s cheap!) wherever possible to create an interesting fence or wall, or tie unmatched garden furniture and accessories together. Create luminaries out of tin cans and candles from the dollar store.

4.Use nature in nature. Make your garden an expression of what it really is, a wonder of nature. Display driftwood directly in your garden and let flowers spill over it, bring in large rocks and gravel and create faux stream beds (don’t buy them, there is bound to be a building site nearby where they would thank you for hauling the rocks away!) If you take a trip to the ocean, bring back shells and mementos to remind you of your vacation. Just remember to always know the local laws and have permission to gather.

5.Find your materials in budget friendly places. Grow simple, fast growing plants from seed instead of buying more expensive plants. Sunflowers, cosmos, marigolds, zinnias and alyssum are all incredibly easy to grow from seed, at any time during the growing season. Ask your local building site if you can search their scrap piles for materials. Scrap wood can be used to create simple containers, rocks make great borders, broken tiles can be used to make mosaic stepping stones. Cut down wood can be used to make decorative fencing, old tree stumps can be beautiful with a flowering vine growing over it.

A few containers near your door, or a fenced vegetable garden, or an English garden landscape. For example, all these can be used to create a beautifully decorated outdoor oasis for your family, on the tightest budget. Always remember”Creativity, Not Cash!” TM
Copyright 2004 K. Wilson

Kathleen Wilson
Columnist,Country Woman Magazine
Author, “Quick Decorating Ideas Under $20”
Editor, The Budget Decorator

Frugal Pets


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:
Herbal Heartworm
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.
Healthy Pet Corner – Your Pet

Frugal Tips From Our Subscribers

Energy Facts

* One compact fluorescent light bulb will save you $50 in utility bills over its lifetime, replace one barrel of crude oil, and last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.

* A solar water heater in the Pacific Northwest will save an average of 2863 kilowatt hours per year (varies by geographic region).

* Within the lifetime of a child born today, all of the Earth’s petroleum will be burned, and Earth’s fuel tank will be empty.

Best Freezer Containers

The best freezer containers are sealed plastic containers made of #1 or #5 plastics. #1 plastics are easily recyclable, and #5 plastics contain no PVCs that can leach into food.

Sealable plastic bags are also good options, as long as you wash and reuse them. Gaiam offers a drying racck for plastic bags. They also have a product called a Bag-E-Wash that allows you to wash your plastic bags in your dishwasher:

Personally, my wife went to the craft store and bought a round wood base and two birdhouses on tall dowel rod/sticks. I drilled small holes in the base, she inserted some glue, added the sticks, and then painted it with some leftover paint. We have been using that $1.59 plastic bag dryer for 7 years so far. It has saved us lots of money on plastic wraps and baggies. We use elasticized bowl covers in place of plastic wrap and dry those on the stand also.

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. Hi. I’m new here. Just wondered if any of you have had luck repelling moles. We have lived here about 18 years and never had a problem until now. I was walking in the back yard and noticed streaks in the yard and it is real soft in those areas. No doubt there are some grubs back there – plus the cicadas that WERE underground. I don’t think it is the right time to treat for grubs though. I thought that was later in the summer. I read some info online and the consensus seems to be that we need to deal with whatever the moles food source underground and then the moles will go away. Right now the yard isn’t real damaged, but I don’t want it to get out of hand. Thanks for your help!

Personal Care
1. I dropped a compact filled with blush and the blush itself shattered into a hundred pieces. It’s still good, but it makes a powdery mess when I open it, and of course I can’t put it in my purse, because it leaks. Does anyone know how I can re-solidify it into the chunk it’s supposed to be? I tried water, but it just beaded up. TIA! – Christy

Home Based Business Ideas

Home Spa Party Plan – Make Bath and 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).
Nature’s Sunshine

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 fee).
Healthy Pet

Legal Disclaimer
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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