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The Frugal Life News – 04/26/06


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The Frugal Life News
April 26, 2006 Edition
The Frugal Life

A Note From Randal

Hello Everyone,


Guess all of you have been busy this time of year. Here in Virginia, we had 80 degree weather yesterday and now it is in the 50’s. Needless to say, I prefer the warmer weather and hope it will be back soon.

Donna and I had an anniversary the first part of April and we bought a set of chimes for our front yard. Now when we eat on the front porch the chimes make such a melodious sound. We sure have enjoyed them and encourage you to get a set of chimes if you don’t have any. They sure are nice and enjoyable to listen to.

We hope you enjoy this issue and we want to welcome all of our new subscribers. Additionally we appreciate, all of you who have been sharing The Frugal Life News with others! Without your sharing we wouldn’t be growing.

Frugally yours,


Frugal Finances

About Disclosure Notices

Do you read the stuff that falls out of your credit card statement envelopes? Not the ‘free’ pen and pencil set offers. I’m talking about the Disclosure Notices where your credit card company hides changes to your agreement… in plain sight. A recent consumer survey shows that 1 out of 3 credit card holders don’t read these notices or don’t understand them.

Too bad. There’s stuff in there that can hurt you.

For example, starting in 2006, the required minimum monthly payment increased for all card holders whose payments were less than 1% of their balance, interest only, or negative amortization — that’s where you make your required payment but it’s not enough to cover the interest due so the difference gets added to your balance and interest is charged on … interest.

Also in this survey, 44% of the respondents didn’t know their APR(s). There’s a good reason for this. Now that short-term interest rates are increasing, credit card companies are switching their clients from fixed-rate APRs to variable-rate APRs allowing APRs to rise as short-term interest rates rise. Unless you read — and understand — your disclosure notice, you may be operating under the assumption that ‘Fixed’ somehow means permanent…

It doesn’t.

Then, again, this survey may have been imprecise about APRs. Did it mean Purchase APRs, Cash Advance APRs, or Balance Transfer APRs?

Card companies are charging at least 3 different APRs depending on how you use your account. In effect, you have three different loans but are only permitted to make payments on one.

Card companies apply payments go to the lowest APR balance first while you stand by helpless to prevent higher APR balances from accumulating more and more interest charges.

It’s as though your high APR loans are held hostage and abused until you finish paying off your low APR loan.

‘Universal Default’ is still a mystery to 70% of this survey’s respondents. It’s simple, but devastating. If you Default anywhere in the known Universe on any financial transaction which may be reported to the credit bureaus… even if you’re late making your electricity bill payment… the card company has informed you via the Disclosure Notice of their right to jack your APR to the highest level permitted in THEIR Universe. How high…?

Would you believe 35% for some card holders?

How dangerous is 35%?

Well, the average credit card balance is about $8,000. Minimum payments under the new and improved minimum payment rules would be $313.33. Pushing the buttons on my trusty Debt Card Analyzer reveals:

‘The Debt Card Analyzer has determined after 32.58 years and 391.00 payments, you will have made interest payments of $22,809.15 and will have paid a TOTAL of $30,809.15.’


Something’s broken about a business which mistreats its customers and generates record revenues.


Greg Moore is the Creator of the Wealth Building System
‘DebtIntoWealth — Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom’.

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Pay off all of your debt in 5-7 years using the money you already make. Find
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Frugal Gardening

What’s So Important About Soil Testing?

Soil pH

Soil pH is a measure of your soil’s acidity (sourness, a measure of below 7.0) or alkalinity (sweetness, a measure higher than 7.0), with 7.0 being neutral. Most garden plants prefer a pH in the neutral range. Some plants are more specific in their requirements. Lilacs and clematis thrive in sweet soils. Rhododendrons and blueberries like a lower pH. You can adjust the pH in different parts of your landscape.

Generally speaking, if your plants are growing healthy and well, your pH is probably fine. If your plants are having nutrient problems or are not growing vigorously, it’s worth it to test your pH. If the soil’s pH is not

For more specifics go here

Editor’s Note: You may ask why include this (information above) in the Frugal Gardener section. Because, many times we waste money, resources and time trying to get a plant better or bloom more when the problem is in the pH. If the pH isn’t correct you can have the greatest food for your plants but they can’t uptake it with their root system if the pH is incorrect. Therefore, it is just like they don’t have the food at all. I tried this on some crape myrtles that had never bloomed and when I made the change in the pH they started to bloom a few months later. Before the pH changed I had tried everything and spent time, resources and money to no avail.

Frugal How-To Shop Organically

17 Tips for Buying Organic Food on the Cheap

Do you enjoy the taste of organic food but you’re turned off by the price? If you’re willing to do some creative shopping and cooking, you can enjoy the freshness and goodness of organic foods without breaking your food budget.

Frugal Pets

Cat Litter

Making the switch to a safe litter made from wheat or pine adds a greater cost. Then there’s the clumping factor also, but so often we read articles about the safety of those clumping litters because of the ingredients used. We’ve made the best of both worlds. I like going natural and enviro-friendly with the Swheat Scoop Wheat litter, but the cost is rather high for multi-cat households. So, I add the regular clay litter to make it last longer. Alternate the Swheat Scoop in layers with the clay litter, half and half (measure with your scoop to be sure). There’s enough of the properties of the Swheat Scoop to clump the messes, so you can scoop out but use less. Margie

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 Tips From Our Subscribers

Getting Your Good Fats In

A great way to avoid bad fats (margarines) but still have a spreadable “butter” is to melt a two (2) sticks of butter on low heat. When melted, remove from heat and add 1/3 cup olive oil (good fat). Stir and let cool and then pour into containers for your healthy butter spread that is easy to spread right from the refrigerator.

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:

Questions Needing Answers At The Forum

Pets Forum
I have a 3 year old Chiuhauha <--short who really never shed alot but just about 3 weeks ago she started shedding very badly hair is in groves when she gets up or falls out very bad during baths I mean handfuls can someone help me?

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


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Copyright, Legal Disclaimer and Reprint Information

© 2006 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.

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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
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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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