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The Frugal Life News – 08/27/05


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s******************** The Frugal Life News August 27, 2005 Edition The Frugal Life ****************** A Note From Randal ****************** Hello Everyone, Looks like the forum has been busy and we have some new questions below. Also, we have a question that has had no response. Please help if you can, this seems to me that many of you have had this same experience and the reader just wants to know a solution. For example, do any of you use a special brand of stainless or grade of stainless that doesn’t have this problem? Any help will be helpful. I suggested this person post her question so please if you can help her out. Here is the question: ************* 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 ************* We appreciate you sharing this newsletter and the website to your family and friends without you we couldn’t do it. Frugally yours, Randal ************ Frugal Finances ************ The Standard Deduction and Interest-Only Mortgages They seem to be all the rage these days… 100% interest mortgage payments. Many in the personal finance arena are associating this phenomena with a real estate bubble — meaning real estate prices are hyper inflated. They claim speculators are using this financing vehicle to minimize their cash commitment and families are using it because they can’t afford conventional mortgages which include principal and interest in the payment. Either way, it’s bad news for future real estate prices. Or so they say. This is the trouble with a bubble, you don’t know you’re in one until it bursts. So, I’m not about to speculate on future real estate prices. My crystal ball just isn’t that good. I will, however, take a stab at one of the marketing benefits suggested by companies who sell these kinds of mortgages: That being the value of the mortgage interest tax deduction. Since 100% of the payments for an interest-only mortgage is interest, there’s none of that pesky principal pay down component cluttering your annual escrow statement. A $200,000, 6%, 30-year, interest-only mortgage’s payments are $1000/month or $12,000/year. As a side note, the mortgage company won’t actually allow you to pay interest only for 30 years. Typically, in 5 or 10 years, this mortgage will convert to a conventional mortgage, amortizing the $200,000 balance over the remainder of the term. Anyway… back to the $12,000 of interest… The sales pitch would go something like this: “You can deduct 100% of your payments from your income, thereby reducing your taxes and the cost of your mortgage. Uncle Sam is helping you buy your house!” Next, you’d probably get asked about your tax bracket. If you don’t know it, you’ll likely agree to 30%. So, taking 30% and $12,000, you would be led to conclude you would save 30% of $12,000, or $3,600 in taxes, making your mortgage cost $8,400 instead of $12,000. And you will have been misled. Remember a little something called the Standard Deduction? This is the deduction the U.S. government gives all taxpayers. This deduction increases from $9,700 in tax year 2004 to $10,000 in tax year 2005 for married couples filing jointly. In order to benefit from the interest deduction, you have to ITEMIZE deductions. You can’t Itemize AND take the Standard Deduction. It’s one or the other. Your total deductions must exceed $10,000 for tax year 2005 BEFORE you start benefiting from itemizing. Otherwise, you simply take the Standard Deduction. $12,000 interest minus $10,000 Standard Deduction = $2,000. Now, take 30% of $2,000 and this will be your tax savings: $600. Furthermore, if both you and your spouse are age 65 or over, you each get an extra $1,000 Standard Deduction for a total $12,000 Standard Deduction. In this case, your tax savings would be 30% of $0.00, which is… $0.00. Yes. You have property tax deductions. But, these are likely dwarfed by 100% interest payments — one of the principal benefits touted for interest-only financing. What to do? Well… I say pay $0.00 in interest. Send the government $3,600 and keep $8,400 for yourself. How? Use a rapid debt elimination system and pay off your mortgage and all other debts. It will only take you 60 – 84 months. And you’ll never need another mortgage. 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 ************** We’ve been learning a lot about attracting beneficial insects to the garden so they can be “on duty” even when we’re not. We like to have birds eating the insects that damage our garden, and love seeing the fluttering butterflies all over, so using pesticides is not an option for us since we don’t want to shorten any lifespans of these beautiful creatures. The Spined Soldier Bug is one of the good guys we look for. Take a look at this guy and then read about how this soldier guards your yard – He is near the bottom of the page: Spined Soldier Bug Description: This speckled, brown bug can be recognized by the sharp points on each side of its shoulders. Its larvae are similar to adults in appearance but without wings. Benefits: Both the adult and larvae of the spined soldier bug are fierce predators that feed on a great variety of prey. Their particular favourites are caterpillars and beetle larvae. They feed on Colorado potato beetles, Mexican bean beetles, tent caterpillars, grasshoppers, aphids, cabbageworms, and cucumber beetles. How Does It Hunt? The spined soldier bug has a thickened beak kept folded under its body when not feeding. When hunting, it extends the beak forward and uses it to impale its victims, inject them with a paralysing substance, and suck out their juices. How to Attract: Add pollen sources, particularly goldenrod or milkweed species. Minimize soil disturbance and provide permanent perennial beds to protect overwintering larvae and pupating beetles. Allow leaf litter to remain on some of your planting beds as a winter refuge for adults. Avoid the use of pesticides. Here’s some more information on other insects and ways to attract more good bugs to your garden. ************* Frugal How-To ************** If you have an ache, try filling a sock with uncooked rice and tying it off. Microwave it for a bit, and voila! You have an instant heating pad that works great and smells like popped corn. From Budget Living, Aug/Sept 2005 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 Travel ****************** Does Rolling Down Car Windows Save Fuel? – By Dani M. Arthur Gas prices have topped $2 a gallon across the nation, and motorists want to know the truth about which will make their tank of gas last longer. Bankrate recently published a story about 10 money-saving driving tips. Number 9 was, “Go easy on the air conditioning….Using the gas-hogging air conditioning as sparingly as possible…. [since] air conditioning can drag down your car’s fuel economy by 10-20 percent.” Bankrate’s e-mailbag filled with letters from people adamantly disagreeing. Read the entire article to find out who’s right on their site. Deodorize While You Kill Bacteria and Viruses Get the anti-microbial properties of essential plant oils so you can kill germs without bleach and toxic cleaning products. The plug-in AromaBall makes it quick and easy. 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 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 ************************* 2 Frugal Tips From Our Subscriber ************************* 1. One of the expenses in my family for any type of boating activity includes the use of the “patches”. We have tried ginger, bonine and the wrist bands to no avail. So……..after many years we have figured out that since there are 72 hours of use for each patch, we replace it on the same non-permeable plastic that it comes on after each use which we have each glued to paper with our name on it and note how many hours are left. Even on cruises this works as on the frequent fishing trips. Hope the manufacturer doesn’t get wise! USED 2. Also………we have all but eliminated funeral costs by signing organ donor documents and having a memorial service and scattering the ashes on the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks for all the tips and time you invest in our newsletter. Fritz Editors Note: Thanks Fritz for the two tips. We are glad you enjoy our newsletter and hope you will continue to benefit from each ezine’s content. ************** 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: Forum Questions Needing Answers At The Forum Cleaning Forum 1. I want to buy new countertops and am concerned what would be easiest to keep clean, the high gloss or matte finish on the laminate?  The colour I am looking at is a dark blue. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I need a easy to keep top.  I have no kids, just not the best housekeeper. 2.  Please help…..  someone anyone   my bathroom sink stinks.  i put  baking soda and vinegar down it.   boiling water.  nothing helps.  i think those rotten little teenagers  (sorry it got away from me)  i think my children may have gotten something in there and won’t fess up   please  we have to poopy to make it smell better.  the rest of the drains in the house are fine – anyone ************************* 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. Life’s Abundance ***************************************************** If you enjoyed what you read today, please forward this newsletter to your friends! ************************************ Copyright, Legal Disclaimer and Reprint Information © 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. 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. Forwarding and Use of This Newsletter You may forward or use this copyrighted newsletter on a website if you include the following credit: Editor, Randal J. Watkins, of, provides this free newsletter to subscribers. The Frugal Life is sponsored by which provides quality Nature’s Sunshine Products at wholesale prices. Visit now to shop or view the list of free newsletters available. The Herbs Place

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