Skip to content
Home » The Frugal Life News 2005 Index » The Frugal Life News – 03/12/05

The Frugal Life News – 03/12/05


Archived Message of “The Frugal Life News”
Published by The Frugal

Subscribe Here


The Frugal Life News
March 10, 2005 Edition
The Frugal Life

A Note From Randal

Hello Everyone,

We’ve got a whole new look to the site! Hope you like the changes on the navigation bar. If you haven’t been there this month, take a look:
The Frugal Life

We’re still working page by page to improve the format and titles. We’ve been adding content and will continue to do so. By the end of the month, we expect the make-over to be complete.

Thanks to each of you who continually add content also by participating in the forum. Posting questions and responding with answers to questions allows others to search for that information.

We have a lot of traffic on The Frugal Life and we know it’s because you are referring your friends and family. Thanks for making it a community of people helping people.


Frugal Finances

Beware the “Convenience” Check

Have you opened your monthly debt-card statement and found something that looks like a check? Pieces of paper pre-printed with your name and address and blanks to write dollar amounts and affix your signature? If you fill one of these out you can use it to pay for things… bills, groceries, even deposit them in your savings account. They act just like real money… except you can’t use them to pay your debt-card bill. I guess their money is good enough for everyone except themselves.

You’re being tempted with debt-card company “Convenience” checks.

Convenience checks are a convenient way for your debt-card company to induce you into taking a Cash Advance against your debt-card account. Informed debt-card holders understand there are both fees and inflated interest rates associated with cash advances. In other words, they cost big bucks!

Fees for cash advances are typically computed using two methods. Some debt-card issuers calculate fees on a percentage basis, which can range from 1% to 4% of the amount of the advance, or higher. Other debt-card issuers charge a “flat fee.” That is, the fee is not based on the amount of the advance.

Interest rates on cash advances are higher than the standard rate your debt-card company applies to your debt-card purchases. These rates can be as much as 5 percentage points or greater over your standard rate.

As an example, I checked the cash advance interest rate on a popular debt-card and found it to be 20.24%. The standard purchase rate on this card is 14.24%, a 6-point or 42% difference!

Using my trusty Debt Freedom software, I analyzed the cost of a hypothetical $500 debt-card Purchase vs. Convenience Check. In the Debt Card calculator I entered:

Balance: $500 Min. Payment Due: $10 Annual % Rate: 14.24

And clicked, “Analyze.” The result:

Total Interest: $262.73
# of Payments: 77
Total # of Years: 6.42
Total Cost: $762.73

Next, I performed these calculations again, changing the Annual % Rate from
14.24% to 20.24% to reflect using a convenience check:

New Results:

Total Interest: $ 608.25
# of Payments: 111
Total # of Years: 9.25
Total Cost: $1,108.25 !!

As for the grace period… the time you can pay your debt-card balance without incurring finance charges… there’s no such thing!

From the moment you use a convenience check, your debt-card company starts charging interest. Even if you pay your debt-card balance in full the day your statement arrives, you will still be assessed a finance charge for using
their convenience check.

The last big warning regarding convenience checks involves the manner in which debt-card companies apply your payments. Most debt card issuers apply payments to the lowest interest rate items first. Since convenience check
interest rates are generally higher than purchases, payments are applied to purchases BEFORE they are applied to cash advances.

Your payments will be applied to your lower rate purchases while your cash advance balance will enjoy unfettered compound interest growth at an astronomical rate.

If this feels like a trap… it is!

So, when you see these Convenience Checks attached to your statement, rip them off and head directly to your convenient shredder.

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

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 Gardening

Simpler Solutions for Garden Problems

Gardening is a lot like everyday life. We breeze along, day in and day out, and sooner or later, we all hit a snag. The same thing happens in our gardens. Suddenly we notice an infestation of aphids, or perhaps the rose has powdery mildew.

Just like everyday life, there is more than one solution to a given problem; the choices we have, though, have to be made with care so we do not end up creating new problems.

Before you stock up on your spring gardening supplies, read this article/site to get some fresh new simpler ideas.

Frugal How-To

Make Your Own Mixes for the Kitchen

Have you ever looked at the ingredients on packages of salad dressing mix, refried beans, gravies, rice mixes, pancake mixes, cookies, etc.? The ingredients don’t come anywhere near the price they put on the package, so you are paying for the convenience. Hence, the name “convenience foods” :-)

You can make your own! It doesn’t take long and it’s a wonderful concept and art to pass down to your own children. Today’s younger generation seems to be living in so much debt because they haven’t learned how to save money in the kitchen.

Here’s a great place to start looking for recipes. Currently there are 68 recipes for mixes you can make yourself here:

Make Your Own Home And Beauty Products
Bath, Beauty, Perfumes, Cleaning and Air Freshener/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 Home

Recipes, Hints…And So Much More!

Join the free, fun newsletter packed with favorite recipes, easy-to-make craft projects, household hints, 15 minute mini-cleaning challenges, and so much more!

Join over 8000 happy subscribers here

Deodorize While You Kill Bacteria and Viruses

Essential oils will make your home smell wonderful without the dangerous air freshener 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 500 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 Portal

Frugal Tips

Taking Care of Potted Plants When You Travel

Before I embark on a trip, I cover the dirt of my potted plants with plastic bags after watering them well. Cut a few slits in the bags and keep plants out of direct sunlight. The soil will stay damp for about three weeks.

Submitted to “Budget Travel” by Jean Walsh, Wisconsin

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

Automobile Forum
After my recent divorce I went out and bought myself a BMW X5, the same car I had when I was with my husband.  I made this decision out of anger and emotion, not good, and now I have monthly payments of over $1000 that I can’t afford.  I have financed the entire car over 60 months and have managed to make 13 payments.  However, I am struggling to pay my other bills, rent, etc. I have looked into trading the car in for something I can afford and I appears that I will lose about 10 to 12 thousand dollars, but my payments would be reduced by half.  My parents are willing to help me pay some of the different of the debt still owned on the BMW.  Can you please advise as to what is best for me to do.  Thank you very much.

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 $100.00 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 Products

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 are available for $8.50/month (plus an initial $20 set-up fee).
Healthy Pet Net

ZoneNet Health Products

ZoneNet products are distributed 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. Websites are available for $8.50/month (plus an initial $20 set-up fee).

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.

Leave a Reply