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Frugal Living Tips, Issue #005
April 01, 2009

Welcome to April's Frugal Living Tips newsletter.

Well where did March go? Well for me it went in a cloud of dust and chaos as I have been having some emergency building work done at home. This has left me for the whole month without heating, water, cooking facilities or a bathroom. It has also left my bank balance a little dented too.

Luckily for me being a frugler I had the money in savings and did not have to take out a loan. Horay, I knew all my hard work would pay off and I remain debt free (well nearly).

Hope you are all starting to see spring springing into action and that the good weather gives you a burst of energy and enthusiasm to your frugal lifestyle.

Enjoy this newsletter and I hope you will come and visit us soon at Frugal-Living-Tips.Com

Best Wishes Kate

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CONTENTS

1. What's New On Frugal Living Tips

2. Tip of The Month - Make your own Dog Biscuits

3. Competition - Recipe Competition

4. Coupons. - Money Off Coupons

5 Your Money - Are we having fun yet?

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1. What's New On Frugal Living Tips.com

Downshifting

Many of you may have heard the term downshifting or downsizing and many of will know that it broadly means to live more simply. I must admit to often wondering just what it would be like to get rid of many of the trappings of modern life and not have the financial worries that go with them.

So I thought the best way to find out more was to find someone who has actually downsized their life and to ask them to tell us about the benefits and pitfalls involved.

Richard Cannon is a downshifter with his own website who kindly agreed to answer some of my questions. You can find his Downshifting interview page here.

Earn some extra income

I have been adding more pages to the site about ways you can earn some extra income to top up your monthly budget. This month I have added:

Mystery Shopping

Bar/Restaurant work

Build your own web business

For any of you who may be thinking of trying your own hand at building a website whether for pleasure or for a business, can I recommend that you read my page about how I built my websites. You may find that it helps you to make a decision one way or the other.

How I built my own websites

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2. Tip Of the Month - Dog Biscuits

A tasty treat for your dog and you know what is in them too.

To Make 16 medium size biscuits.

14oz/400g dog food

8oz/225g unprocessed bran

8oz/225g oatmeal

4fl oz/115ml vegetable oil

Preheat oven 120C/250F. Mash dog food to remove lumps and then mix in the bran and oatmeal.

Slowly add the oil, mixing to a consistency that is easy to mold into patties or bone shapes. Bake until hard, then cool before serving.

 

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3. Competition - Your Recipes

olive oilEvery Month we hold a Best recipe of the month competition where you can win a variety of prizes. Unfortunately no one entered last month and so the excellent book Olive Oil, The Good Heart Protector is still up for grabs.

The book is all about the many uses for olive oil from cooking, skin care and health.

Simply Submit your recipe with any serving suggestions to us here and we choose a winner every month. All the recipes will feature on the website.

Click here to submit Your Recipe

 

 

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4. Free Downloadable Coupons

These are just some of the coupons you can download for free this month. Click on the image to see the full range available. Please use Internet explorer to view coupons.

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5. Your Money - Are We Having Fun Yet? Free e-book
by Beth Huber Article from Dollar Stretcher

Spendthrifts often portray us Dollar Stretcher types as grim, green-visor-wearing characters, clutching our calculators 24/7 and counting out squares of toilet paper as we organize the rations for the week. You have to admit that we do sometimes paint a funny picture. Our kitchens are decorated with artistic displays of freshly-rinsed plastic bags, our unwavering assertion that there is always enough in the bottom of the shampoo bottle for one more hair-wash, our confirmed status as the slowest person in the check-out line because of our complex triple-coupon, buy-one-get-one-free deal-making.

But we all know that there are meaningful reasons behind our efforts. We want to have a simpler life, rely less on material things, enjoy a truer sense of contentment, or get off the "keeping up with the Joneses" merry-go-round. We all have different backgrounds and life circumstances, yet we share common values and priorities.

And on those days when cutting coupons or updating the budget spreadsheet is the last thing we feel like doing (when the discipline and details of money management become tedious and dull), we need to be reminded of those priorities. Here are a few ideas to spice up your financial life with a spirit of creativity and fun.

Visualize the end results of your efforts. What are your reasons for making the effort to maximize income and minimize outgo? Maybe you want to get out of debt, send kids to college, increase your charitable donations, live on one income instead of two, or do work you love rather than settling for a higher-paying, but less-meaningful job. Take time to visualize what you want your future to look like. The everyday demands of life can distract us from this kind of big-picture thinking, and before we know it, we begin to feel like a hamster on an exercise wheel that is running furiously without making any progress. Just as you do on your computer, "refresh" your mental page to re-connect with your larger purpose for practicing careful money management.

Create visible reminders of your goals. If you're saving for a vacation trip, post some photos from favorite past vacations on the refrigerator door. If you dream of early retirement, collect pictures that represent where you want to live or what you want to do with your time when you achieve that goal. Let the visual images inspire and encourage you. Or make a list of all the reasons you are pursuing frugality and hang it above the desk where you do your financial record-keeping. Carry a copy of it with you in your wallet and read it over when you are tempted to make an impulse purchase.

Find creative ways to track your progress. The possibilities are limitless. Let's say you have 282 days left before you pay off your car. Set up a "car freedom" countdown calendar and mark off each one of those days. That small physical act will serve as a daily reminder that you are moving closer and closer toward your goal. If you are saving a certain amount per month towards the down payment for a house, create "house coupons" on index cards for each month you need to save. Cut out pictures of all the things you would love about owning your own home (fireplace, garden, nice view, etc.) and paperclip one to each index card. Each time you make a savings deposit, tear up the index card and paste the picture onto a sheet of poster board, creating a growing collage that will serve as a powerful reminder of your dream.

Celebrate your accomplishments. Enjoy the fruits of your money-management labors. And not just the big things, like the long-dreamed-of mortgage burning ceremony, but the small achievements too. Eat your dinner by candlelight on mortgage payment days. When you make a balance-reducing credit card payment, imagine the sensation of a small weight lifting off your shoulders as you drop the envelope into the mailbox. Set aside a percentage of your weekly grocery savings and use it at the end of the month for a small treat or outing.
The art of money management is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. Use your imagination to stay focused on what that "end" is for you. A small investment of time and creative energy can boost your morale and renew your resolve. Then you can just smile to yourself as you put away those recycled plastic bags, remembering what it's all for.

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