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The Frugal Life News
July 27, 2005 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! We received some great ideas on Frugal Watering techniques. I will be making a page for the site and give you the link in the next issue. Thanks to all of you that took the time to write in with your suggestions.

As always, we appreciate you sharing this newsletter and our websites.

Frugally yours,

Frugal Finances

Strategies for Surviving Higher Minimum Payments

In May I notified you about Credit Card companies increasing your minimum required monthly payments from 2% of balance due to 4% of balance within the next 12 months in response to a rule change by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency:

This “Doubles” the required minimum monthly payments for credit-card holders making minimum payments. Based on the questions I received, this caused more than a little concern.

The number 1 question was…

‘What can I do about it?’

Well… One respondent suggested, since this increase changes your agreement with your credit card company, and since your credit card company must notify you of this change, you have the option to NOT accept the terms of this new agreement. Your old 2% minimums should be maintained.

This may be possible. The fine print accompanying your change notice will describe the consequences of NOT accepting. One consequence is your old terms remain in effect UNTIL the current expiration date of your card. At which time your account will be closed and your balance payable IMMEDIATELY.

This option may buy time to pay off your balance… or it may create more hardship.

Fundamentally, the issue is whether you have sufficient free cash flow to accommodate increased payments. If you do, then you’ll simply pay more each month, diverting funds from savings or other expenses.

If you don’t have enough available cash flow, you must either create more cash flow, decrease balances on your cards, or, preferably, both.

One of my clients was exposed to total payment increases of $840/month, divided between several credit card balances. An $840/month increase would have been impossible to handle.

Her available free cash flow was only $155 and there was not enough time to pay her balances down to a level where she could afford the increase.

She did, however, have access to a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) with 5.5% variable interest and an Interest Only payment option.

I don’t normally recommend converting wealth — home equity — into debt — consolidating credit cards — but in this case we declared an Emergency.

She eliminated just enough of her credit card balance using her HELOC to enable her to withstand the increase. The Interest Only option was important because it allowed her to make the smallest possible payments on her new HELOC, freeing up cash flow.

So, by transferring some of her credit card balance to her HELOC, and increasing cash flow, she is now positioned to handle payment increases on her remaining credit cards.

Once this crisis is past, she’ll reconsider her variable rate HELOC. Wouldn’t want to leave that lying around to create future trouble.


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

What the heck… I’ll give it a try!’

‘ I have to say I’m so glad I purchased your DebtIntoWealth System! I was skeptical at first, so I went to the website. It sounded good, so I figured ‘what the heck,’ I’ll give it a try. My goal was to pay off $5000 in credit card debt and a car loan so I could buy a new home, and get me and my 4 girls out of our 2 bedroom apartment. It worked! It’s now 9 months later and ALL of my debt is paid off, and I just signed a contract on a new 5 bedroom house! There is no better feeling than to have NO debts, and a savings account too! Thanks to your system, my family is going to have a better life by not being enslaved to debt.’ — Katrina S. in Houston, TX

Frugal Home Communications

Long Distance, Prepaid Phone Cards, Cell Phones & Internet Service

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

Frugal Gardening

Check your recycling bin for thin polystyrene foam packing sheets or small-size bubble wrap, and attach it to the handle of your tools with duct tape for a cushy grip.

Run an old dinner knife between bricks or cracks in paving to remove shallow rooted weeds with one swift stroke.

These ideas comes from The Frugal Gardener by Catriona Tudor Erler.

Frugal How-To

Bake orange peels at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, to get rid of the awful smell of using a commercial cleaner to clean your oven.

This tip is from Folk Remedies That Work by Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen

Make Your Own Home, Bath and Beauty Products

Essential oil kits allow you to make your own safe non-chemical home and beauty products. Making your home less toxic for yourself, children and pets.
Make Your Own Home and Beauty Products

Frugal Pets

Herbal Heartworm Program and Prevention

Robin Sockness works with pet owners with an individualized program and has currently worked with over 700 dogs. Herbs are safer and less expensive so it’s a win-win situation for all. Prevention programs available.
Herbal Heartworm Program & Prevention

Pet Information, Links and Natural Foods

Healthy Pet Corner provides lots of information and links for dogs, cats, birds, horses, rabbits, and reptiles.
Healthy Pet Corner

Frugal Learning

Singing Success At-Home Study Course

The Singing Success Vocal Training Program, by celebrity vocal coach Brett Manning, is the only vocal training program that guarantees a full octave increase in your vocal range! You’ll learn to sing as easily as you speak, completely eliminating vocal strain, and you will learn to master the techniques of vocal style, including runs, licks and trills. Money-back Guarantee:

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:

On another issue, please remember to use the forum to post the answers to the questions found below. I still get people sending great tips via email to me but due to time constraints we can’t make the posts individually. Upon receipt of those responses, we send out an email with this message and directions. However, some just don’t bother to make the post. This is a waste of those great ideas and causes our forum to be less than it can be. Please take the time to supply those great responses.

Questions Needing Answers At The Forum

Cleaning Forum
1. We melt butter for popcorn and it seems every stainless steel pot [or measuring cup that I use in place of the pot]  gets rust looking stains on it as if the chrome is eaten away.  This has happened on several items in our kitchen.  Does anybody know why or how to get the spots off? Thanks for any help offered! – Donna

Pets Forum
1. 3 New Kittens what do I do?
I recently adopted an male older kitten(7 months old) who is fixed and was doing fine. Then I found a younger female kitten(3 months old). My older cat was ok with the new kitten ,and the new kitten liked him too .and my neighbor gave me a male kitten the same age as my female kitten ,now my female doesn’t get along with him or my older cat. What can I do?

Home Based Business Ideas

Nature’s Sunshine Products – Herbs and Supplements

Earn an income selling over 500 natural health products, beverages, essential oils, skin care systems, water filters, and more. Websites for $11.95/month.
Nature’s Sunshine Products

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 learn how to make bath salts, personalized perfumes, body spritzers and more using essential oils, while you make a nice income.
Home Spa Party

Flint River Ranch – Oven Baked Pet Foods

Make additional income providing healthy pet foods and bones to friends, neighbors and 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 earn 19% on all sales.
Flint River Ranch

Life’s Abundance Foods and Supplements

Formulated 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 $8.50/month.
Healthy Pet Net


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© 2005 Randal J. Watkins

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.

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