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The Frugal Life News
December 26, 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! The New Year will be upon us soon. Hope this year has been great for you and next year will be even better.

Hope your Christmas holiday was peaceful and relaxing. As we come to the end of another year, Donna and I want to express to you how much we appreciate all of your sharing of our ezines and websites.

Frugally yours,


Frugal Finances

The Secret History of The Credit Card

Did you happen to catch the excellent PBS Frontline presentation of “The Secret History of The Credit Card?

If not, click the above link and you can watch it online. I learned a few things:

— “Universal Default” is the industry’s name for the practice of raising your interest rate automatically if you’re late on payments elsewhere.

— There is NO federal limit on the interest rate a credit card company can charge.

— Your interest rate may be changed at ANY TIME for any reason, as long as you are given 15 days notice.

Secret History reveals the origin of these and other debt-card landmines, like 0% Introductory Rates, and identifies one of the principal masterminds behind them.

What was most striking was the industry’s depth of understanding of human behavior and how to mine it for profit.

For example, in a panel discussion with typical debt-card users, the moderator discovered some participants had enough cash to wipe out their balances, yet refused to do so.

Their reason, as you already know, is they’re saving this money for the traditional Rainy Day. Small minimum monthly payments were preferred to their “fear” of being without cash.

How is this mined…?

Minimum monthly debtcard payments used to be 5% of balance due. On advice from an industry mastermind, they were dropped to 2% of balance – i.e., payments got smaller.

The result: Larger credit balances, infinite payoff periods, and skyrocketing profits.

Kinda makes you wish you had your own personal mastermind, doesn’t it?

Greg Moore is the Architect of the Debt Freedom System,
‘DebtIntoWealth — Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom.’
If you have children at home, you might be trapped!
Read more 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 Home Communications –
Long Distance, Internet Service and Cellular Phone Service

Long Distance, Internet Access & Cellular Phone Options

3.9 Cent Long Distance With No Access Numbers to Dial
14.95 Internet Access
Shop the Plans for Cellular Phones
No hidden fees or charges!

Frugal Burial

Cremation Burial That Gives Life

Eternal Reefs, Inc. is a company that creates permanent living legacies that memorialize the passing of a loved one.   For families and  individuals that choose cremation rather than burial Eternal Reefs offers a new memorial option that replaces cremation urns and ash scattering with a permanent environmental living legacy built in their loved ones memory and honor.

An Eternal Reef combines a cremation urn, ash scattering and a burial at sea into one meaningful permanent environmental tribute to life.

We have found that  more than 47% of families that take their loved ones cremated remains home still have them more than six months later.  It may be that family members can not bring themselves to do the scattering, or it may be that the family needs and wants a physical location to be able to visit and reflect.  An Eternal Reef can provide the closure for the family that they seek and need.

Read more about this creative and meaningful idea for those who love nature:

Frugal How-To Cut Junk Mail

Why Such a Fuss Over Junk Mail?
(from the New American Dream website)

The world’s forests are feeling the strain of unsustainable demand for wood and paper. The United States consumed 99 million tons of paper in 1997, or about 740 pounds per American. The U.S., with 5% of the world’s population, consumes 30% of the world’s paper.

By weight, paper products comprise nearly one-third of all waste going into American landfills. Bulk mail, a substantial chunk of our paper waste, is especially troubling because it is often unsolicited and thus leaves citizens to dispose of materials they did not choose to consume.

Catalogs and other direct mailings account for 5.2 million tons of waste each year and are recycled at a paltry rate of 19%, leaving over 4 million tons to clog landfills. That’s 340,000 garbage trucks filled to the brim with nothing but bulk mail!

This is a problem not only because of the waste disposal issue but also because it forces more paper to be made from trees, a very resource intensive process. Producing a ton of virgin paper requires 17 more trees, 7000 more gallons of water, and substantially greater energy input than a ton of 100% recycled paper.

Furthermore, chlorine is often used in the bleaching process, releasing the carcinogenic chemical dioxin and other toxins.

Declare your independence from junk mail. Ask Congress to create a national Do Not Junk registry modeled after the wildly sucessful Do Not Call registry. Visit this site to learn more:

Do what you can to cut your junk mail in half with existing tools using a simple online form at this site:

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.
Make Your Own Home
and Beauty Products

Frugal Decorating

Deodorize While You Kill Bacteria and Viruses

Essential oils will make your home smell wonderful without the dangerous air freshner chemicals that have been in the news. The big bonus is that you also get the anti-microbial properties of essential plant oils so you can kill germs throughout your home without bleach and toxic cleaning products.

The AromaBall is a handy plug-in appliance with a ceramic plate that holds a small pad on which you add essential oils. Easy-to-use as a night light.

Get more info and/or purchase here:
AromaBall for
Deodorizer and Anti-Microbial Home Defense

Frugal Pets

Herbal Heartworm Program and 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:
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

Remove Stubborn Burnt-on-Food From Pots and Pans

Add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bring it to a boil on your stove.

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

Utilities Forum
1. Greetings All, I’m very excited to have discovered this group as did a google search re wood stove heating…   Myself and my two children have just moved to a millhouse in central NC. The season has turned cold — and I’m struggling keeping the woodburning stove such that it warms the 3 room house consistently.  Admittedly, I havn’t quite mastered the process.     I’ve been using a small electric heater in one room (the coldest)… this is going to be very costly.   So, I’m researching the viability of using a portable propane heater to supplement the wood burning stove.  Please share your knowledge and experience!     Thank you in advance!  -Regina

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

Long Distance, Internet Access & Cellular Phone Options

3.9 Cent Long Distance With No Access Numbers to Dial
14.95 Internet Access
Shop the Plans for Cellular Phones
No hidden fees or charges!
Long Distance, Internet
Access, and Cellular Phone Options

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

ZoneNet Health Products

ZoneNet products are produced by the same company that produces Healthy Pet Net. ZoneNet products are backed by the research and wisdom of Dr. Barry Sears one of America’s most trusted health and wellness experts. Their mission is to to develop superior functional food products that help people achieve long-term wellness.

Check out his unique products at
ZoneNet Health Products

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.