7 Frugal Habits Everyone Should Develop

by Guest Contributor · 1,135 comments

Frugal people

One of the most direct way to change your life, you need to change your attitude.

No one else is responsible for what happens to you but you, so you can either complain about the things you don’t like in your life or you can set about changing them. Not surprisingly, this directly relates to the state of your finances.

If you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, having your phone regularly cut off, or making excuses to skip dinners with your friends, then you can use these seven habits to take control of your money situation and live a happier and more frugal lifestyle.

Habit One: Be Proactive

The first habit to develop is to take responsibility; if you fail, you have no one to blame but yourself. Regardless of how you were raised or how you were treated at school, you can choose your behavior now. Being proactive means understanding that YOU are in control of your day-to-day interactions, and thereby, the direction your life takes. This is in stark comparison to a reactive person, who is often affected by their environment and will find external sources to blame for their behavior. For example, if the weather is good, they’re in a good mood, but if the weather is bad, it affects them and they blame the weather for their bad mood.

[Here are 6 action steps to take when you feel financially vulnerable.]

What most people forget is that though you can’t control the stimulus, you can control your response. One of your most important choices is your words; the language you use is an effective indication of how you see yourself. If you use proactive language, such as “I can” or “I will,” you’re starting with a more positive attitude than someone who uses language like “I can’t” or “I have to” or “If only.”

How to be proactive for effective frugality:

  • Take the first step. You cannot take control of your finances until you make the commitment to do so; the more you ignore the situation, the worse it will get. Instead, take a long hard look at your finances — your budget, debts, income, and expenses, and try to understand where your money is going and where you can budget better. (To help you out, here are 25 ways to pay off your debt more easily.)
  • Tell people. Using proactive language to vocalize your hope of being more financially responsible not only helps you crystallize your goal, but it can also help you avoid the peer pressure that makes budgeting and frugality hard. If you explain to your friends and family that you’re trying to live a more frugal lifestyle, they’ll be less likely to pressure you into one more round of drinks or another dinner out.
  • Listen. Listen to yourself and to the reasons you give each time you make a purchase outside of your budget or decide not to put spare money into your savings account. Taking the time to stop and listen to the reasons you give yourself for spending more than you earn will give you the opportunity to hear just how shallow many of those reasons are. This can stop you from making purchases that impede your goal of effective frugality.

Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind

Those who are effective in achieving their goals are able to envisage their desired end result in spite of the obstacles. Effective people adhere to this habit based on the principle that all things are created twice; there is first the mental creation, then the physical creation. The physical creation follows the mental creation the same way that a building follows its blueprints.

If you don’t visualize what you want, then you’re at risk of other people and external circumstances influencing your life – because you’re not influencing it yourself. Instead, begin every day and every task with a clear vision of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Make that vision a reality with your proactive skills from habit one.

How to visualize effective frugality:

  • Define your goal. There are many ways to live a frugal lifestyle, and you need to decide how frugal you want to be. Do you want to be debt free, build a savings account of a certain value, or live on one income in a two-income household?
  • Decide how you’re going to get there. This will again draw on your budget, but you need to be aware of the obstacles that are standing in your way. These may be literal obstacles, such as credit card debts, or they may be obstacles you’ve identified in your behavior. An example of a behavioral obstacle would be spending $10 every day on junk food on your way home from work, because you’re starving. Instead, you could be packing an inexpensive granola bar to keep you going until dinner. Or, do you find that when you go shopping with your sister, she always helps you justify a frivolous purchase, when you could leave your credit card at home?

MoneyNing Tip: Make sure your goals are SMART!

Habit Three: Put First Things First

Knowing WHY you’re doing something is an incredible motivator in helping you transform a mental creation into an actual physical creation of your goal. Ask yourself what the things are that you find most valuable and worthy to you. When you put these things first, you’ll be organizing and managing your time around your personal priorities to make them a reality.

For many people, it’s hard to say no, but this is exactly the skill you have to learn to keep your goals as your first priority. While we are constantly told we can have it all, in reality, having it all is really about prioritizing what is most important to YOU to have, and then focusing on that.

How to put effective frugality first:

  • Recognize the effects of your finances. You may not dedicate as much time as you should to managing your finances and practicing frugal principles because you feel there’s always something more important to be doing — whether it’s work, taking the kids to soccer practice, or getting ready for dinner with the girls. If your finances aren’t under control, however, and you’re regularly spending more than you earn, then they’re having a negative impact on every other aspect of your life, from your work to your family and friends. You need to recognize that being frugal is your first priority.
  • Just say no. It’s easy to spend more than your budgeted amount each month when you’re worried about missing out on a dinner with friends, feel as though you have to cater a birthday party for your son and 50 of his closest friends, or don’t want to wear the same suit to a work conference two years in a row. If you recognize that you don’t have to take on everything and that it’s okay to say no, then you’ll find you’re more in control of your spending and your budget.

Habit Four: Think Win-Win

Most of us are taught to base our self-worth on comparisons to others and competition against our peers. We think we can only succeed if someone else has failed. We’re also taught that there’s only so much pie to go around, so if you get a big piece, then someone else is missing out. When you think like this, you’re going to feel like nothing is ever fair. As a result, many of us retaliate and take the pie before someone else can take it from us.

Thinking in a win-win mindset allows you to see mutual benefits from all of your interactions. By doing this, you’ll see that the pie tastes even better when it’s shared. If you can approach conflicts and problems with a win-win attitude, you’ll be able to express your ideas and feelings with courage, while still maintaining consideration for the feelings and ideas of others. When you have an abundance mentality, you’re able to see that there is enough for everyone, and that by balancing your confidence with empathy, you can achieve your goals while helping others achieve theirs.

How to create frugal win-win situations:

  • Recognize that you don’t always know the full story. As you aim to implement frugal principles and stick to a budget, you may often find yourself thinking “it’s not fair.” It’s not fair that they get to go out to dinner. It’s not fair that they get a new car. It’s not fair that they get to go on vacation, and I don’t. Take the time to realize, however, that you’re only seeing a small part of the finances of your friends and family who seem to “have it all.” And though it’s hard to watch your best friend take a dream European holiday, or your brother buy the car you covet, you’ll get there, too — if you manage your finances frugally. And the best part? There will still be plenty of holiday destinations and fast cars when that time rolls around.
  • Understand the difference between possessions and net worth. While your friends and family may seem to have a fuller lifestyle because their house is bigger or their car is newer, you need to consider that it could just be a facade covering their mountains of debt. True wealth is not measured in possessions, but in assets. When the value of your assets is greater than the amount you owe on mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts, then you have a strong net worth and are truly wealthy. By trying to live a more effectively frugal lifestyle, you’ll be able to achieve true wealth, rather than just a life full of stuff.

MoneyNing Tip: When building wealth, remember to look at the big picture, too.

Habit Five: Communication

At its base, communication is the desire to be heard and understood. Most people will listen with the intention to reply to what you’re saying, rather than to understand what you’ve said. To effectively communicate, you need to first understand. If you communicate with the sole intention of being understood, you may ignore what others are saying and miss their meaning entirely. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk; pay attention to what people are trying to tell you.

How listening can help you be effectively frugal:

  • You are not the only person in your life. Chances are you’re married or in a relationship, have friends or children, or all of the above. As a result, you’re not the only person being affected by your decision to live a more frugal lifestyle. To be effective in your goal of frugality, you need to be able to listen to and understand the goals and behaviors of the other people in your life, too. Consider how effective your frugality would be if you were taking packed lunches to work and avoiding the afternoon coffee run, while your partner was going on shopping sprees during their lunch break. Instead of living a more frugal lifestyle, you’d really be saving on one end and spending on the other.
  • Understand the goals and needs of others. While it’s important to explain your desire to live more frugally, it’s also important that you understand the goals and needs of those around you. This way, you can find a way to be more frugal without them having to give up all of the things that are most important to them. You can’t know what those things are unless you listen.

Habit Six: Synergize

Interactions and teamwork are some of the most important ways you can learn new skills and more effective behaviors. Synergizing is the habit of creative cooperation — working as a team to find new solutions to existing problems. Synergy is not something that just happens. It’s a process where you bring all of your personal experience and expertise to the table, enabling more effective results than those you would have been able to achieve individually. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

When you have genuine interactions with people, you’re able to gain new insights and see new approaches to your problems — ones you might not have thought of before.

How to synergize for effective frugality:

  • Look for new ways. In a society that excels at consumerism, you’ve probably already realized that you need to find new ways of doing just about everything to be frugal. It’s easy to buy your lunch every day, but it’s more frugal to pack it. It’s easy to drive to work, but it’s more frugal to take the train. It’s easy to buy a new cocktail dress, but it’s more frugal to make one.
  • Surround yourself with other frugal people. To be successful in your quest for frugality, surround yourself with like-minded people. Find people who are where you want to be by joining online frugal-living forums, striking up a friendship with a fellow coupon-cutter, or starting a sewing club. When you’re around people with the same goals as you, you’ll be able to share ideas and learn from each other.

MoneyNing Tip: Learn to embrace the positive influence of saving money.

Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw

You’re the greatest asset you have on your journey to achieving the lifestyle you want, so you need to look after yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Taking the time to renew yourself in these areas of your life will give you strength to maintain the previous six habits, which are essential for your success.

How to frugally renew yourself:

  • Physically. By eating better, you’ll feel better. Take it another step further and start your own vegetable patch, which will save you money at the supermarket and be healthier for you. Exercising keeps you fit and healthy, and it doesn’t cost you anything to go for a walk, ride a bike, or skip rope in the backyard. To rest your body, you don’t need to go to a day spa; you can simply relax in the tub at home.
  • Emotionally. Interacting socially with others allows you to make meaningful connections, and it makes you feel good. This can be achieved by chatting with the woman at the coffee shop or by calling your mom once a week.
  • Mentally. Exercising and expanding your mind through learning, reading, writing, and teaching can be done frugally. Visit your local library, or volunteer at a school or retirement home to teach others a skill you may be taking for granted.
  • Spiritually. Spend time close to nature and expand your spiritual self through meditation, music, art, or prayer. Take a quiet moment to center yourself and empty your mind before going to bed. Or, go for a hike and be grateful for the beauty of nature surrounding you.

Frugality doesn’t mean having to give up all the luxuries and things which make you happy. Don’t get burned out by developing habits one through six without taking the time to renew yourself. Frugality is something you want to develop and maintain for the long-term. Follow these seven habits, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a highly frugal person.

Do you consider yourself a highly frugal person? How did you get there? 

This post was originally written by Alban, and a parody of the amazing book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He’s a personal finance writer for Finder.com.au.

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{ 1135 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave March 3, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I have heard many times that simply saving money will never make you rich. I also have saved 10 per cent of every dollar I ever made, and today I save about 36% of my disposable income. I have a two pronged approach today: no matter how hard it is, I always put $1000 a month in savings and also lower my mortgage by $1000 a month. Some months it is quite difficult, but I have instilled the discipline to get it done no matter what else pops up. One other thing I always do is divide how much is in my checking account by the number of days left to the next payday, and NEVER spend more than that amount.

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Anne March 3, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Dave, I think you were very fortunate (and wise) to be able to save 10% of your income and ultimately increased it to 36%. Wow. Just wish I had done that, at least when I could have during the years I was investing in real estate. I don’t know if it would make one rich or not, but if not, pretty close to it depending on how many years one has been saving this percentage off how much ? annual income. And think, how much more additional income you will have when your mortgage is paid off.

Couple #1) I have friends who saved 20% off the top of their earned income from the day they married, without fail. He viewed the 20% deduction for the savings as if he were paying himself for his work before anybody else got paid. They also got the mortgage paid off and refused to ever incur another one. He was a high school teacher (now retired) and she a special-ed teacher, also now retired. At the end he was earning $49K per year as a teacher and I assume she earned comparatively. Also, he earned extra income as an estate auctioneer and part-time real estate agent, which is how I met them.

They lived in the same moderately priced home but tasteful (probably valued at 30K) from the time they married and still do, (now worth less than 100K), always drove moderately priced cars, also raised and college educated three sons there. For the last 20 years they have been traveling the country and the world when the mood hits them, so I’d say they managed REAL well and now live as if they were rich, all by saving off the top then managing on the balance, including paying taxes. That’s not all, they weren’t selfish scooges and helped a lot of others along the way during those years.

Couple #2) I know of another couple who earned and had been saving off the top on a very nice combined monthly income for several years. Now he has been unemployed for seven months during which time they have been living out of these savings and have enough left to make it another four to five months in case he has not been able to go back to work by then. The savings are being depleted. Then what? Obviously, it can go both ways.

I sure hope it doesn’t go the way of couple #2 for you and your good luck (wise planning) holds out! Unfortunately for me, I wound up having to sell the real estate for the equity I had in it, and many other pricey valuables too when times got tough, and in the end no real estate holdings either. Guess the bottom line is that things don’t always go as we anticipate, and now I live on a fixed income and not physically well so can’t depend on working much either in the immediate future, now that my health is failing. Would it have ended up differently had I planned differently? Regrettably, I think it could have.

Oh well, sometimes the best of intentions can go astray due to unforseen circumstances so we just have to accept it that way and go on. Good luck and God bless!

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Michelle March 29, 2013 at 10:37 am

I think you are very fortunate. I am a college graduate who has been in the work force for over 20 years. My net income every two weeks is only about $800. I don’t have cable, have a very basic cell phone plan and eat as frugally as possible. For those in my boat, who live paycheck to paycheck, we aren’t able to put back savings like that. Suggestions?

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deanna clark March 29, 2013 at 11:57 am

I’m impressed by those here who are not just thrifty but full of imagination!!

I live a thrifty life, but my children and grandchildren always want to shop, go to movies, eat out and beg me to fix their car on my one credit card. I haven’t figured out that problem yet!!

They see me (my name is Legion) as Ellie May and Grannie Clampett all in one.

God bless you all. I got rid of cable except for the basic broadcast&Public. Believe me, you aren’t missing anything…it’s more nerve wracking and tasteless than ever.

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Ron August 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Having the backbone to say “No” to selfish ingrates doesn’t take imagination. Fortunately, we started saying “No” early to our children and explaining why, while at the same time splurging a bit on special occasions and sometimes just for fun, so that they know we’re not heartless cheapskates.

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Angelina August 22, 2013 at 10:13 am

Just a word of recommendation… a credit card is not the same as having cash. You are using money that is not yours, so the fact you are handing out someone else’s money should hopefully help you put your money issues in a realistic perspsective. It’s just like when my brother called and asked me “Can I borrow money form you…well not technically borrow money, but use your credit card to make a payment?” That is borrowing money becuase I refuse to keep a high balance on my credit card for that day something might happen. Remember, it is not your money you are spending. I hope this helps you get out of the habit of spending more then you have.

Mind you I am a single mother to 2 young children and am only 29. I grew up poor and refuse to put my children in the same environment. I hope I didn’t coome off too harsh. I just see what you are doing as a dangerous way of thinking financially.

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Jack December 31, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Deanna, MAJOR mistake getting that started!! Giving others money that you should be saving for your old age is not wise. When you can’t hand over money anymore there will be hard feelings and major trouble.

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Michael January 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

The best time to get the kids used to hearing “no” was probably before they had kids of their own, but it is never too late to start. It is time your children and grandchildren learned not to use shopping, eating out and having someone else pay their bills as a lifestyle.

It is not kindness to teach them to be dependent on you all their lives; it is cruelty.

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jen May 1, 2013 at 10:12 am

Go back to the beginning of the article. Your first step is realizing that you ARE able to save. It won’t be as easy for you as for others. It may even require some extreme changes. But it is possible.

What kind of changes? Renting a room in someone else’s house. Temporarily moving in with relatives. Getting a roommate. A radical new menu: Dried lentils/beans, rice, soups made from leftover bones. Less meat. More oatmeal. Lots of eggs. In short, it will mean watching every penny and going outside of your comfort zone.

A second option is making more money. Can you get a promotion in your current job? Pick up overtime? If not, maybe one-off cash jobs: babysitting, dog sitting, mowing lawns, freelancing, or even a part-time minimum wage job at night. In a pinch, you might try barter — perhaps exchange work for food? Life will suck while you build your nest egg. But not as much if you have an emergency and need money that you don’t have.

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Anonymous May 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm

1. Get a Mooncup. I use one myself and it’s saved me thousands of dollars over the long term.
2. Replace your lightbulbs, one by one, with light emitting diode bulbs. I’ve saved a fortune.
3. Replace your toothpaste with straight baking soda.
4. Replace all household cleaners with bakingsoda & vinegar.
5. Toss the makeup, trust me we really don’t need it.
6. Get rid of every credit card except one. Set up the card to be automatically paid in full every month. Now put everything on the card and every now and then you can cash in on your card’s points program.
7. Switch to a credit union and do all your bill payments online. Credit unions almost always have free checking, no fees for paying off loans early, and have no shareholders to distract their attention from members.
8. Make your next car a diesel. With proper maintenance they’ll last forever and get milage comparable with hybrids–but without the pricey battery.
9. Find out if a Flex Spending Account or Healthcare Savings Account is available through your bank, credit union, or workplace. You can put aside pre tax dollars for medical expenses you would’ve paid anyway, then get reimbursed with a lower tax rate.

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bj July 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Straight baking soda isn’t good for your teeth if you use it everyday, it takes off the enamel. It’s good for a once in a while brightener, though.

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Jason February 23, 2014 at 8:58 am

According to my dentist girlfriend, baking soda is the least abrasive cleaner you can apply to your teeth. Colgate is the most abrasive.

dave January 25, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Diesel — If you pay more for a car and more for the fuel — how do you save money?

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David January 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. I agree with the diesel statement. If you are going to need a new car, consider diesel. My sons Chevy Cruze diesel gets 46mpg. He will keep it for a long time. Diesel is much more efficient then gasoline. It packs a bigger punch. Plus Diesel engines make more efficient use of the fuel. We are saving over $100 a month in fuel.

Greekgeek July 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Start writing articles on things you love on a site like Hubpages or Squidoo that pays you small residuals (plus commissions if you include Amazon or eBay widgets and your visitors buy something).

The way these sites work is that they have Google ads on the side and header, which attract income depending on how many visitors your pages get. They split the revenue with you.

So you need to put that graduate degree to use. What do you know? What do you love? What are you an expert on? What are the things that friends and family tend to ask you about, because they know that you’re the go-to person for that? Write articles on those things.

This is not a FAST way to make money. It may only be a few dollars a month at first. However, if you take the time to write one or two articles a week, slowly, you should build up a network of pages that are earning you a little more. Maybe it’s $20 a month. Maybe $50. Maybe, in time, $100-200.

These sites pay you into a paypal account, and then you can transfer from there into a bank account.

You can’t afford to let online writing sites be too much of a time sink, because they may or may not pan out (it depends on whether you can write the sort of articles that people are interested in reading, or at least are searching for because they need an answer, information, or solution to a problem. However, if you spend time on the web anyway, it’s worth setting aside an hour or two a week to online writing-for-residuals sites just in case they provide you with a little extra.

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Mark April 4, 2014 at 6:02 am

Michelle,
Wasn’t that long ago, in a simplier time…women and men loved and relied on each other….complimenting-coupling skills to enhance the experience of life….that appears to have been taken away by the “Combine” [Chief Bromden, one flew over cukoos nest]. Marriage was a great institution…I wish it would come back. The world has lots of untamed men with ridiculous amounts of money…The world has lots of women living on the financial edge. I wish both parties would lower their weapons and help each other….instead of walking off proud…not needing a man, or doing away with the woman. Use to be we shared with each other…what happened?….who will lower their weapons first?

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Dave April 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. The mortgage I cited is on my second house. I have had the other house paid off for years, by doing what Ric Edelman forbade me to do: I never paid the amount due but always added as much to principal as I could. Today I rent that house to one of my sons and another room mate. It has not been a perfect solution, as any real estate requires sometimes big expense for upkeep, but the rent covers most expenses. For all who have said I have been blessed, I gratefully thank you. Every day that passes I thank God for my good fortune. I was just lucky enough to have bought and sold at the right times, and I fear those days are gone for so many deserving people. God bless you all.

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lana April 30, 2013 at 9:03 pm

We didn’t listen to Ric Edelman either. We paid off our home, four cars and three years of college for my oldest. This year we will be paying for two in college and saving 25% of our income. I’ve been an at home mom for over 20 years and hope to get back into the work force and contribute financially this year.

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Ryan McLoone May 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Dave, do you work for other people? Then you are poor. This is not by accident, it is by design. The rich people you know, they have other people working for them, doing all the work. Don’t they? You have some of it right, by saving your money. But until you learn to put your money to work for you, and your kids to work for you, and your spouse to work for you, and your friends to work for you, and employees to work for you… YOU… will always be on the wrong side of the fence, not sure why you can’t get over it. It’s a simple ratio. Your boss has 20 people working to make him rich: you are on of them. Until YOU are the boss, and 20 people are working for you… YOU will always be poor. If you work for yourself, at least the ratio is 1:1… everything over 1 (meaning your boss has more than 1 person working FOR HIM).. the more rich you will become. You missed the most basic lesson in school: slaves stay poor, slaveholders get rich. You are a wage slave. Clueless how to get your head above water. You don’t tip your financial adviser even 2%, but you give 15% to your server for bringing you a dish. One makes you money, the other costs you. If this is you, then you don’t know the difference between an asset and a liability and need to educate yourself. Word of advice, your house is not an asset. If you think so, it is the only asset you will ever own. Your car is NOTHING but a liability. Read: the Millionaire Next Door. It will lay out for you, why the number one profession for millionaires… is JANITOR!!! I kid you not.

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BOB July 4, 2013 at 9:51 am

Ryan: Wow, I can understand your logic if you work the same position. I have not, I have gradually climbed the corporate ladder as a contractor. I am getting more of a raise as I climb and I have paid benefits including 2nd retirement. I work in aerospace industry for about 32 years now. I own a condo that is now rented on a monthly basis. I now rent a small apartment. I accepted early retirement from another company and receive that as monthly income. Your rule?? does not apply to everyone.

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Alena February 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Your savings and financial wisdom are to be admired. I love the simple idea of dividing the amt in your checking acct by the no. of days left til payday, and staying within that amt. I hope you enjoy some of life’s little pleasures too. There are many things to enjoy that are free or cheap.

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Cynthia March 3, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Last year I became ill and subsequentally disabled. I live on $891 a month and $120 food stamps. I canceled my cable, trash pick up and cell phone. I grow my own vegetables and clip certain coupons. I hang my laundry outside and have a compost bin. I recycle. I arrange my errands to coincide with doctor’s appointment to save gas. I have sold, pawned and garage saled everything possible. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

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Jessica March 11, 2013 at 11:11 am

Cynthia,

I admire what you have done to save money. I was wondering about how you grow vegetables and the process of pawning and selling any belonging. Have you seen progress since you have started?

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Cynthia March 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Dear Jessica,
I grow my vegetables in containers. Most anything will do. I started out with free buckets with holes drilled in them. Now I use Earthboxes that were given to me or purchased on clearance. I grow what I like, what grows in area and I purchase seeds/seedlings at Walmart with my foodstamps. The internet is a vast wealth of knowledge.
I have sold my items on Craig’s List and Ebay. My family and friends have donated items for me to sell. Take a pic, write a description and take the money. Have to go for now will write later.
Peace
Cynthia

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Cynthia March 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm

When i purchase a new item I mark the outside of the container with the date I started using it then I know exactly when it will run out. For instance my dog’s food is 4 cups to a lb (I weighed it). The bag is 15 lbs and my dog eats 3 cups a day. I know it will last 20 days.
When I bought my seeds and seedlings I saved the receipts. I put a notepad on the frig door and everytimr I picked another veggie I put a mark under that name. At the end of the season I could see how much produce I grew from how much money. Was it worth it Oh yes! I bought 4 bell pepper plants for $1.75 or .44 each. I planted 2 and gave the other 2 to my Mom. At the end I had picked 37 fresh peppers. I also factor in the cost of the potting mix.
bye for now,
~C

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Cynthia April 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm

I went to the funeral of my childhood friend’s father this weekend made me think of my grandmother and I wanted to share with you. Memaw lived to be 96 years old. She lived in the same house and had the same phone number for 70 years. I was 47 when she passed. As a child I wondered why she didn’t get rid of that “old stuff” and get new stuff. She never bought new clothes, furniture or even a new window A/C. Friedrich a/c was still kickin after 50 years! She never had central air and heat, a frost free fridge or cable TV. Nothing ever changed. When she was 81 we bought her a washing machine that hooked to the kitchen sink. She no longer drove her no factory a/c, no power steering Buick with the blue/green, high/low shag carpet on the dash board. She always had great christmas and birthday presents for us grandkids riding the bus to Foley’s department store in downtown Houston and snail mailed us Halmark cards containing slots filled with 10 shiny new dimes. She never complained about anything. She didn’t have a 401 K or anything but she bought wisely before she retired and planned ahead. I think I’ll be more like Memaw. Thanks for listening.

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Amy Soper May 12, 2013 at 6:39 am

Yours is the first truly inspiring uplifting post I have read on these sites. Too many people want to promote their political views, brag about their achievements, or wallow in self pity. You are an inspiration to us all! If only we had all taken a page from Memaw’s book. Suffice to say, she would be very proud of your courage and ingenuity in the face of adversity!

P.S. Had to smile about the shiny dimes. My grandmother did they same thing and it was so exciting to me as a child!

Take care!

Diane May 23, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I agree with Amy, your comments are lovely. Good luck with your finances, Cynthia! You’re doing what you have to do and I think that’s so admirable!

I struggled back in my 20s and 30s. I was a divorcee with 2 babies, and with little monetary support from my ex. I worked at very low paying jobs so we lived quite modestly for many years, and it was not fun, but we finally turned things around. I bought a house when my sons were just getting into junior high, and after I got a promotion at work. To tell you the truth, at 50 I’m really just now comfortable with my financial situation. FINALLY seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I refinanced my mortgage at 2.5 % with payoff in 5 years, and (finally) I’ve no other debt. My boys are both grown family men with a total of five grandchildren, and they both own their own homes. I’m very proud that they did much better than I ALREADY! I recently gave up cable (again) and am watching my pennies even more — even couponing like crazy so I won’t have to borrow again. We also only buy sale items, use a rainbarrel, grow a veggie garden, and I make things like pancakes and tortillas homemade instead of buying at grocery stores. We had our first garage sale last fall, and look forward to trying that again very soon. I love the idea of composting. What exactly do you use for the bin? I’ve seen suggestions but wonder if you have had good luck with yours and exactly what it is. Anyway, it’s still really hard not to buy things like clothes and shoes and doggie trinkets, but I’m trying to remember my ultimate goal — retirement one day!

Jack December 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Cynthia, check out making your own clothes washing soap. It takes about three ingrediants Fells Naptha, Borax, Soda. Not exactly sure about the ingrediants but it is MUCH cheaper than store bought soap.

Jack December 31, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Cynthia, Many times you can save the seeds from the ripe vegetables and dry them. Then when its time to garden again you start your own plants instead of buying plants.

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jim February 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Cynthia, Jack is absolutely right about saving the seeds from the veggies you’ve already grown. I’ll add one more suggestion – when you root your seeds, do so in the 1/2 egg shells you save from whenever you use an egg. Just put the two halves back in the (cardboard) egg carton, poke the bottom of the shell with a fat needle to provide drainage, fill it with soil and plant your seeds. When the seedlings are ready to be transplanted, just plant it (along with the egg shell) in the dirt and now you’ve got free fertilizer too. Your seedlings will do INCREDIBLY well in egg shells.

Katie May 12, 2013 at 2:22 am

That $120 in food stamps should, if you’re a careful shopper, just about take care of your food needs for a month. You’re fortunate to be able to grow your own vegetables. People living in apartments can’t do that. I’m curious, though, what you do with your trash. Everyone has some trash now and then. And most cities, even small ones, require everyone to have trash collection. Perhaps, though, you live in the country and can get by with just digging a hole and burying your trash.

As to what else you could do, I have a couple of suggestion: Sell some of the produce you harvest, or if you need it all, plant more so you have some to sell. And buy things on other people’s garage sales and resell them on Craig’s List or ebay. I know people who do this on a regular basis and make good money at it. Of course, you have to be a careful and savvy shopper and seller, knowing what will sell and when to sell it (as in holiday and seasonal items).

As for cancelling your cable, many people are doing this because much of TV can be watched on the Net. In addition, getting a library card and using it, and checking out their DVD’s just makes good sense. Why buy something that is already being paid for by taxes??!!

Also, don’t forget the good ol’ barter system. Whatever skill set gave you employment can be bartered for things you need/want. Don’t sell yourself short on this idea. Everyone has skills someone else doesn’t have and needs. You’re no exception.

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Cynthia May 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Dear Amy Soper,
You have made my Mother’s Day!

Dear Katie,
My food stamps have given me a raise – $140. My garden is in 5 Earthboxes. I do use all of my vegetables. I plan to expand some each season. I do share with Mother as a treat. I have given fresh produce as a gift and traded it for gas money. I have enough interest to custom grow veggies for people. That will come with time. While I don’t technically live in the country (I do live in Texas) we do not have HOA here. I built a compost bin in my backyard. Everything but animal flesh and bones go in there, vegetable peels, tea bags, dog hair, paper products etc. We are allowed to burn trash here. I don’t have a barrel but I do recycle. You would be amazed how little garbage you can generate if you try hard enough. I precycle by not buying things in the first place. If you shop the outer perimeter of the store such as meat, produce and dairy buying very little packaging and then leave the package with them. Occasionally I have bones or shrimp shells, they go to the trash at Kroger/county park/my family. Those annoying plastic things that strawberries come in never leave the store parking lot. My fish/shrimp come from the mom and pop place under the bridge – I live 2 streets from the bay -and the meat market wraps in paper. These places are within bicycle distance for me.Of course I bring my own shopping bags.
I guess I’m not that interested in TV/movies truth be told. I would rather brush my dog or tend my veggies. I have been taking in mending, pet sitting, and selling things on line that my family no longer wants. This week I took pics, wrote a description, fielded the emails/calls to sell my neighbor’s trailer for her. I made a commision and dinner. I wish I had enough nerve to sell my refrigerator and use my antique ice box. My mother would kill me. This weekend the American Legion Hall down the street is hosting a free large trash collection. whoopie!

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Rebajoe July 1, 2013 at 11:52 am

Hello… I am in somewhat in the same circumstance as you as far as my inability to work. My good husband was a school teacher for 42 years and is now an adjunct instructor at the community college. I try to do as much as I can to contribute to reducing the financial outlay by gardening, canning, sewing…just whatever. One thing I have started doing that has helped my gardening tremendously, is keeping a worm farm. some of the things in your trash cannot be used, but there is a lot of excess “worm food” …(no dairy, meat or animal scraps)…but,… newspaper, cardboard, kitchen refuse, garden trimmings, grass clippings, shredded used computer paper… shredded toilet paper rolls…etc… there are some excellent instructional videos on YouTube for making cheap, if not free, boxes and instructions all over the web on how to get started and maintain a productive, healthy colony. The compost from the worms is much more nutritional for your vegetables and very easy to manage. Along with your existing compost, your garden will think it is in heaven!!! I get excited just thinking about it! I wish you the best of luck especially with your garden… I love mine!!!God bless you more and more each day…I admire your determination! Rebajoe

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Rebajoe July 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

Oh, and to address your original query, you can sell castings from the worms as well as “tea” made from the castings…black gold!!! Sorry I forgot to say this in my other post!!! Rebajoe

Anne March 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Well Cynthia, let’s look on the brighter side for a moment. If you are totally disabled (doesn’t sound like it since you are able to do gardening, cleaning, hang your laundry, have garage sales, etc.,?) nonetheless you have been classified as being disabled; then you are getting a free tax-ride, no pun intended; but that right there alone is worth another 1/3rd of your monthly income untaxed, plus food stamp income so that’s another big boon to you (not that such a small food stamp increment will feed you, but it IS tax free and it DOES help), so there alone is the equavelant of (modestly) $1,500 per month gross income if you were paying income taxes.

Add to that the fact that you are no longer working and do not have the expense of driving to work, dressing to work, paying to park, and on and on. There IS a cost in working, remember? This is another savings to you, is it not?

Then let’s take a look at all the free medical care you are getting, (also tax free) most likely on medicare/medicaid. Do you realize how much that is worth? Just imagine, whatever medical costs you incur are covered and none paid by you, right?

I don’t know what your ailment is, and whatever it is, I’m truly sorry for you, but I DO know that medical costs are an exorbitant outlay for health and drug coverage insurances, PLUS additional co-pays. Take a look at these huge costs of health care and drug benefit savings to you, likely not less than another $500 in value monthly, at the very least, not including any/all ER treatments and in-hospitalizations; none that you have to pay for. Looks to me like that adds up to at the very least approx $2,000 income monthly in entitlement benefits that you have use of.

I too am unwell and I understand your dilemma as I too have had to sell many valuables to keep up house and home AND pay huge medicals, AND eat, and do NOT receive these same wonderful benefits. So, what was the question again?

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Cynthia March 4, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I was a nurse for 20 years caring for others. That is how I became “unwell”. I put myself through school. When I was younger, it was not uncommon for me to work 2 or 3 jobs at a time. It is my understanding from SSDI that my disability payment is based on all the taxes I paid all those years. My 85 year old mother would like to comment that she has paid in for “just a few years as well”. It is possible to sit in a chair and do all those things I mentioned with the exception of mowing and that takes me literally days to complete and is very exhausting and painful. I use my car to go to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy. Despite my efforts my mortgage company is still trying to forclose on my 900 sq ft cottage. I am grateful but it is better to be the nurse instead of the patient. I hope to recover and return to caring for others. My question again is do you have any more constructive advice on how to keep the roof over my head?I was homeless in ’96 due to another injury and I wouldnt like to repeat that. Then, of course, my car became my home.

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Mike July 6, 2013 at 9:39 pm

I assume refinancing is out of the question, disability benefits not available or borrowing money from family so let’s move on. I will also assume that you cut your expenses down to the absolute necessities. My grandmother and great grandmother pooled their social security checks and rented a small apartment. Perhaps you can do the same or take in a tenant or two. There may be others in similar situations that would appreciate a roof over their head. Just check them out first. If you have a front and back door, you may be able to divide the house into two apartments by locking some internal doors, so each will have privacy. County folk have lived with their whole family in a one room cabins for centuries. If it comes down to paying the power bill, or the mortgage, always pay the mortgage. Here the Utility Company helps those that qualify out with their power bills, check into that by all means. Both got food stamp that allowed them to eat well. Check out food banks and soup kitchens. County folk raise food even if all they have is a small back yard. But you could buy food at a farmers market when there is a bumper crop (cheaper and fresher) and can (bell jars) it for the winter. Library has books to show you how. Maybe you can ask to borrow the stove at a homeless shelter or church if your power is off. Use every part of the chicken, even the bones and can be used for soup stock. A rain barrel or clean garbage can under the down spouts will also save you money on water used for other than drinking. When our water was turned off for a two weeks due to a tornado, we used it for our bathing water and then poured it into the toilet to flush it. Grills can also be a life saver. A solar still does not make much portable water but it will make it clean enough to drink if you can’t find other sources like a drinking fountain or public bathroom. They are easy to make with a piece of plastic and one large container with another smaller container to catch the clean water. Directions are easy to find on the web. If you have a basement they are like caves. They are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer due to the thermal dynamics of soil. When it gets cold buy a warm sleeping bag. They are rated by temperature ratings; they even have them for arctic conditions. Pick one that will see you through the worst of the winter where you live. Just use it on your regular bed. Think camping, but just indoors. Cover windows with thick blankets or insulation to keep the cold out. Without electricity, gas, oil, coal or a wood fireplace, heat is a hard problem to solve without possible carbon dioxide poisoning. Even a kerosene heaters manual says they are not for indoor use. Really!?! Be real carful if you use this type of heater. You can get a free cell phone from the government. Car cigarette lighters can be used to recharge cell phones and with a voltage inverter can power some low amp devices in an emergency. If you do have to move, would an inexpensive used travel trailer be possible? I have even heard truckers cooking food by putting food in tin foil and putting it on top of the engine block while driving. I know it’s tough, growing up we did not have much either, but this covers the bare necessities food, water and shelter. Could you work as a sitter for the elderly? If you are a trained nurse could you volunteer for Peace Corp or other organizations for food and lodging? The US dollar stretches a lot further in some foreign countries. Also, if it comes down to life and death and no government organization or charity will help, if you commit a non-violent misdemeanor it will get you three hot’s and a cot. When jails get over crowded they release non-violent offenders to make room for more violent offenders. Maybe going to a restaurant to stay warm and not ordering much. The owner may call the police and arrest you for loitering. This last ditch trick has seen a lot of poor boys through the hardest times. Here is wishing you the best.

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Mark April 4, 2014 at 6:16 am

Anne,

Enjoyed your commentary….I agree with it.Kind of what you’re saying… Life is harder at the edge, while you are working on the edge and paying for everything yourself. Once you fall into the hands of free benefits….life can actually be easier. Very nice post….well written too.

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Anne March 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

On the flip side Cynthia, about all you and I can do is budget our expenditures carefully and live on the monthly income we do have and don’t complain about it, considering that things could always get worse; keeping in mind Murphy’s Law that states, “anything that can go wrong will”. Yes, I do believe that, because it does; also, that way I’m not so disappointed with the shyt hits the fan. Again.

That is, unless you can find a way to bring in some extra income under the table (which it appears to me that you could since you are able to do many physical chores); and I can start feeling well enough to go back to work more productively than I have been able too for quite a while.

It’s not out of the realm of possibilities for either of us. Other than that, I think we’re already doing about all we can, wouldn’t you agree?

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Cynthia March 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I guess we are doing all we can – just didnt want to overlook something. I am new to this and hoped to get some wisdom from others such as yourself.

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bob April 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Hey Cynthia! Maybe you could go to your public library and look on care . com. A lot of people need pet sitters while they are on vacation. Maybe you could watch someone’s cat while they are away for a few extra dollars. You could list something in your city paper or online.

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Katie May 12, 2013 at 2:36 am

Cynthia, just call your state’s disability office or county’s social services to see if there are services you could qualify to receive as a disabled person.

Also, now that I know your occupation was that of a nurse, and for the fact that you are mobile enough to hang your laundry outdoors and plant and harvest a garden, you could advertise to care for sick children in their home. Many times a parent has to stay home from work when a child is sick, threatening the security of the parent’s job. Of course, I don’t mean the flu-type sickness, but measles, mumps, etc. still occur despite the immunizations given. (My children received the chicken pox vaccine but still got it!) Most parents would feel VERY good leaving the care of their child to a nurse! You’re fortunate to have such an easily transferable skill! Once you get your name out there, you may find yourself with more work than you care to do!

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Angie March 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm

I was married 30 years to a man who made upwards of 100k a year. I didn’t work because I didn’t feel the need for extra income, nor did I want to take a job away from someone who did need it. I thought everything was under control….right up until he died.

That’s when I realized he had no savings, no life insurance, a small 401k and nearly 100k in credit card debts. Since the credit cards were in his name I was not liable for them. But I still had a house with a mortgage, and like Cynthia, I was disabled.

I applied for SSI and widow’s disability and endured an agonizingly long wait to be qualified for SSI, nearly 10 years. I was later found to qualify for widow’s disability. In the meantime, I lost literally everything I had.

During the many years of zero income, I learned many valuable lessons. “Stuff” means nothing. Raising kind and responsible children means everything. When you have nothing, any roof over your head is a blessing. Needs are as simple as a bed, food, and the ability to entertain yourself with nothing at all. Instead of concerts, parties, festivals and movies, I found that simply walking around my neighborhood and admiring the architecture, foliage and flowers etc. was far more satisfying.

A simple walk to the park to watch the squirrels, rabbits and children play can be highly amusing, much more so than watching a lame movie in some $10 a ticket theater. Sitting by a fountain or stream can be revitalizing. Very simple and free things that surround us daily, but we ignore in favor of electronics, TV, smart phones, driving instead of walking, etc.

I am now back on track and getting my life in order. I would not trade the lessons I learned for anything in this world. Even on disability, I have more money than I could possibly spend, and I have no wants, and very few needs. I save money simply because I have no reason to spend it. I live comfortably, simply and very happily. I don’t try to keep up with the neighbors, I cook my own meals from fresh produce, which saves me a fortune.

The money I save will go to my darling son, who sheltered me and cared for me during my hard times. If I had a million dollars, I would not change my current lifestyle of living simply and naturally. Its not a hardship, its a blessing.

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Cynthia March 4, 2013 at 8:37 pm

If they would just quit threatening to forclose my home- my first home ever. Thanks for your input. I am not the complainng type, I just pull up my bootstraps and carry on but this time my spirit is willing but my body is letting me down.

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Angie March 5, 2013 at 2:13 am

They did foreclose on me. That was hard, but it was just wood and bricks. In the end, it seemed other people felt a lot worse about it than I did. I raised my kids in that house, had a lot of good times there, but at the end of the day, it was just a house. I never really looked back or thought about it again.

I stayed with my son for a few years. Two years ago I was able to get an apartment, and for the first time in my life, I lived alone. I LOVED it. Now I have enough to get a better apartment, a house, or even buy a small home. I will probably look for one of the upscale Victorian homes in town that has been converted into apartments, because I can’t physically maintain a lawn and such at this point.

I totally understand what you mean about ‘spirit is willing….” Inside I am an 18 year old girl, full of fun and excitement at life. But I’m trapped in a body that insists that I am much older, and reminds me painfully of this daily…LOL! But I have made peace and am not afraid of the future. The whole experience is probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

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Cynthia March 5, 2013 at 3:53 am

Dear Angie,
Thanks for your kind thoughts. I was homeless in ’96 after a major surgery so this IS my return.
Let me say this. I never blog. I did not write here to receive pity OR to be blasted by someone. I THOUGHT THE SEASONED FRUGALISTS MIGHT HAVE SOME TIPS FOR ME.

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deanna clark March 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I wish I had ideas, but you’ve covered the waterfront. Isn’t there anyone in your family that can help you save your house?

I’m not attached to my little house, but it’s a home for grandchildren and dogs and cats. I do have one idea:
I cook fresh sweet potatoes and mash them with the dog food. Dogs adore sweet potatoes and it is full of vitamins. Take one for yourself!

I think you’re heroic and know it must be difficult. My situation would be similar but my Father left me money which at my request is in my brother’s hands to dole out…otherwise my grown kids would have gone through it. They didn’t learn to just enjoy the birds and other free delights in this world.

Katie May 12, 2013 at 2:47 am

I just thought of one other thing: Make planned leftovers and freeze them. Then, on those days when cooking something to eat seems like too big a task, you have a good meal just waiting to be thawed and on your plate for dinner. There are many sites on the Net with suggestions on what can be frozen, for how long, and tons of freezable recipes. Did you know that eggs can be frozen in their shells? They sure can! So when the store has a special on them, or the egg farmer takes them to the Farmer’s Market and lowers the price towards the end of Market time, YOU can reap the benefits of your new “freezing” knowledge! I know someone who kept track of the $$$ she’d saved and put that savings in a separate jar at her home. Now she has enough money to buy a food vacuum machine to protect her frozen foods from freezer burn. Also, check your local freecycle, thrift stores, and Craig’s List for a food dehydrator. It’s another method of preservation that’s worth checking into, especially for a gardener like yourself.

Anne March 7, 2013 at 5:31 am

Angie, I wanted to comment to you that if you are planning to try to purchase another home you would be wise to first get preapproved. Not just prequalified, but pre-approved. I say not prequalified because a buyer can say anything they want too which in the end may not qualify them at all when the loan app is presented for qualification and approval.

Many agents, myself included, will not work with buyers until they have been preapproved to purchase a home. (I will work with buyers to help them become preapproved by a loan officer/lender prior to showing them homes, if there’s anything there to work with, but I am one of only a few brokers who will do this). Also, now days, most listing agents require that your preapproval letter from a lender be attached to your offer to purchase at the time the offer is made so that they are not wasting theirs’ and the seller(s) time or the loss of another more qualified buyer.

I submit that you should contact a loan officer prior to starting your search, go to his/her office, apply and file an application. You are not obligated just to apply based upon finding the home/mortgage you will be approved for. This is particularly vital to you since you have had a foreclosure that will go against you. You may find that you will be required to pay as much as 30 to 40% down on a purchase, not only because of the prior foreclosure but also because you are a woman alone on a fixed income with no husbands’ income or signature on the loan.

I’m just trying to prepare you that you may run up against some strict guidelines. On my last purchase I was required to pay 1/3rd (33%) cash down payment because I am widowed, a woman alone, with no husbands’ signature on the bottom line, was not on a fixed income and had no bankruptcy or bad credit issues at the time; even though I could well afford the payments on a higher mortgage amount.

Also, on an investment income property (apt rentals) such as you are considering, you will be required to escrow a certain percentage of the projected gross rentals to defray monthly mortgage payments in case of vacancies. The required cash downpayment plus the rental factor monies will have to be on deposit and verified by the loan officer at the time you apply for the preapproval letter from the lender.

As a general guideline, I wanted to tell you that the average purchase amount of a home is still based pretty much on the same simple rule of thumb that it always has been. Here’s how that works: Provided you have no bad credit issues and no major outstanding debt issues (income taxes you will owe the IRS, car payments, bank loans, overloaded credit cards, utility or unpaid bad medical debt collections, etc); on a conventional loan you should qualify for a home purchase in the amount of four times your annual income; that is to say 25% X your monthly/annual income. Example: If your combined annual income (free of debt) is say $50K, then you should qualify for a home purchase in the amount of $200K. $25K unencumbered annual income would qualify you for a home purchase of $100K. (In multi-million$ home purchases, buyers are frequently required to pay as much as 50% cash down).

Loan committees take into consideration that you will have other expenses and inflation, annual income taxes, costs of living, unexpected medicals, utilities, food and auto costs and maintenance, including maintenance and upkeep on the home, and that you should have 75% of your income freed up to cover these expenses PRIOR to obligating yourself for a mortgage. If you have obligations for debts that are in good standing, then your mortgage amount could be lower to be able to cover the payments on these debts in addition to these other factors.

Teachers and first time buyers on special loan programs, VA and FHA loans can cut a better deal with a higher percentage ratio on mortgage payments, and are allowed a higher ratio of debt, but it doesn’t sound like you would qualify for one of these loans. I do quick prequalification preapprovals so that I know what I’m working with before we even get started; HOWEVER, loan officers have more knowledge about their special programs than I do, which is why I ALWAYS work with one.

I thought you might want to know some of the rules for mortgage financing qualification. There was a person named Loan Arranger who posted here for a while, who might possibly be able to give you more up to date info re the various loan programs than I can, so hopefully he will show up to give you more indepth guidance in the event he is mortgage loan savvy. Good luck!

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Diane May 23, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I think it’s good to get an opinion from a broker, but trust me, find a local reputable FSBO listing and do it thru your credit union. I just got a 2.5% refi with only $130 closing costs. Since you’ve got the cash, put down the max you can, pay it off on its equity, and bypass the exorbitant financial fees. Just my very humble opinion.

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Anonymous May 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hi Cynthia!
You mentioned you’re a nurse. A lot of hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies have an “ask-a-nurse” phone service where people can phone in basic health questions and concers. Have you tried contacting your local hospital and asking if they could use a nurse for that kind of service? I’m not sure but maybe even the VA has a service something like that.

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CeciliaJayne May 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Hi Cynthia
I too have been on disability since 1999 when my right ankle was almost completely severed in a car accident. My doctors knew that I had asthma(severe)now COPD…never smoked in my life. They never expected me to ever walk again especially since I also had a bulging disc in my upper back too. But guess what, even though I was labeled totally and permenately disable I had no choice but to suck it up an GO back to some kind of work. I can’t even stand for ten minutes and I have found companies who HIRE disable people thru Vocational Rehabilitation. Being that you were a nurse, I assume a Rn, I am surprised you don’t know about these services offer to disabled people with skills. Futhermore, the social security office even sends people who tell them they want to work to this federal agency. Lastly if your are on SSDI then the federal government allows you to work and make at least 1k extra a month with NO penalties and you don’t lose your disability payments. My opinion is that you should be able to make out quite fine on this extra income. I did and I was in a wheel chair taking care of business. You need to ask more questions at these agencies they are there to get you back to work. Its all about if your glass is half empty or half full…. your disability is all about what and how you let define you. I know plenty of people that get a check every month in wheel chairs with serious life ending disabilities and they work til the end.You can not set limitations on yourself ,if you can garden,wash and hang up clothes then there is something you can do.I know Wal-Mart hires disabled people to be door greeters.

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Katie May 12, 2013 at 1:50 am

“Full survivor benefits are available to a widower at full retirement age (reduced benefits are available as young as 60). A disabled widower can collect benefits as young as 50.
Read more: Who Qualifies for Social Security Widow’s Benefits? | eHow http://www.ehow.com/info_7767114_qualifies-social-security-widows-benefits.html#ixzz2T47a2C3S

Either you were under the age of 50, or you didn’t provide the correct paperwork to Social Security because it does not take 10 years to qualify for widow’s benefits! That, in fact, is one of the easiest ways to qualify for benefits. All one has to provide is a marriage certificate and a death certificate. I know becauseI helped my mother collect those benefits. And if you were disabled and receiving SSDI, the Social Security Administration already had your records. Assuming you actually did have to wait 10 years, then my question to you is: Why didn’t you get a Legal Aid attorney to help you? As for having NO income, if you are disabled, there is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for those who don’t have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The SSA works slowly, but ten years? If you were disabled simply because YOU said you were, that doesn’t count. One must be disabled according to the SSA. But still, the process does not ten years.

I’m sorry you had to go through such hardship. But I truly think there are circumstances that we haven’t been told. And actions you could have taken to have cut through the bureacracy. Sorry, but that is my experience having worked with scores of people receiving SSI, SSDI, and/or widow’s benefits.

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Angie March 5, 2013 at 4:13 am

Cynthia, I have been giving your situation much thought. I, too, was ‘new to this’. Having spent a lifetime having everything I wanted and then some, to suddenly find myself with nothing was a shock, and having no idea where to turn even more shocking.

The first step, which you have taken, is “don’t be afraid to ask for help”. People can’t help you if they don’t know you need help. Most counties have ‘food banks” and such for those under a certain income level, here, it is $300 a week or less. Food is not a luxury, it is a necessity, don’t be shy to accept it.

You can get a free phone thru a gov’t program called “safelinks”. Its not fancy, it rings, you answer, and you do have limited minutes. But if you need to schedule doctor appointments or call the police, its a lifesaver. Sure, some people will say “dang liberals and their entitlements”…so what? Let them live on zero income for a year, and see if they accept the phone or not. You can apply online for this.

Some local churches offer furniture and free clothing, go..take what you need and only what you need. You’d be amazed at what people donate to these places for give away…I have seen furs, entire bedroom sets, every kitchen appliance imaginable, crafts, anything you can think of.

If you are disabled, you may qualify for HUD housing. Its not ideal, but for the short term, its better than living in a car, safer, too. There is generally a waiting list and families and couples come first. But if you apply and keep at it, eventually something will open up for you. Rent is based on income, no income = no rent. SSDI people usually pay around $150 a month.

If you look around in your area, you will find groups that give away everything from computers to mobility aids. You have to look for them and ask around, but they are out there and ready to help.

The main things to remember are 1.) don’t take advantage. Only take what you need. 2.) When fortune does smile on you, give back generously to those who helped you. There will always be an individual or family in need of the same kind of help.

The economy is stressed and only getting worse, but people do give generously. There is no shame in finding yourself in a bad situation through no fault of your own. When we can help each other, not only does it take some of the strain off of public assistance programs, but it builds friendships, compassion, and helps us understand our priorities, what is a need and what is a want.

I hope this helps. Good luck.

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Katie May 12, 2013 at 1:55 am

Yes, there is a lot of help out there. But the person needing the help must ask for it. It is NOT going to come knocking on their door. No one needs to live in their car. Disabled persons are put on a list BEFORE families with children. Did you know that??!!! However, someone other than the “disabled” person needs to make that determination, i.e. a doctor, psychiatrist, etc.

I’m all for helping others but I absolutely expect them to help themselves as much as they can!

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Carolyn May 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm

It is not true that disabled people get put on the top of the housing lists. Laws are changing and they are being considered equal with everyone else.

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Adria March 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Good luck, Cynthia RN.

It seems you are doing what you can. I am happy you still have your mother.

Anne, you are not in the same situation as Cynthia. You can afford cigarettes. Cynthia is correct that her SSDI is paid by her hard work for all her years. Your judgement of her is not nice.

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Anne March 6, 2013 at 2:15 am

Correct you are Adria; I am not in the same situation Cynthia is. I have never mentioned specifically what my problems are while I’m sitting here dying of cancer, but I have no need to compare myself and the status of my health condition or finances to anyone else. There have been millions and millions of others who have suffered and died with the big C, and worse; whether they smoked or not, so I am not unique, nor am I in a panic. Consider all the many billions who have gone on before us. I am no exception, nor are you. I accept my fate without question and with peace. Can you do that?

I seek no pity or assistance because I already know there isn’t any out there. I have rejected chemo and radiation and live with my struggles daily, just trying to make it with a very weak body and on exorbitant supplements and alternative treatments; trust in, believe in, and walk with Jesus daily. I live a very peaceful life Andria even if I suffer great pain all over my body and have reached the stage where I can barely walk, or breathe, many days. Ahhh… but I have the knowledge and perseverance to KNOW that He alone can turn my life in a different direction in a heartbeat.

Now, what was your insult to me? Smoking? Are you the one paying for it? I smoke because it relaxes me. End of subject. Let’s boogie on. I have no desire, time or strength left to counter a strangers insults on the interwebs, when I’m trying to remain stress free; further, if you were to reread everyone of my posts you would find that my ONLY goal, EVER, was and IS to lead one to turn the eyes and heart towards the Gentle Master who gives us ALL our daily bread, strength and knowledge whether we smoke or not; frugality has only been a part of it. God bless.

Hi Owl, I hope you are well. You too, Cessy.

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Cynthia March 6, 2013 at 4:39 am

Dear Anne,
I respect your right to smoke and as a nurse I understand your choice to not receive chemo /radiaton. I do have a relationship with God. I will look into all of the suggestions above. Frankly after my first experience I quit looking at the blog. I do find it puzzling that in my area, they will pay your rent but not mortgage. My mortgage is smaller than most rents!
When I approached the blog initially, I assumed that people were frugal by choice not by necessity. You know like living off the grid or without a refrigerator (thinking Mother Earth News).Indeed all my life I have marched to a different drummer anyway – this is just more intense. I am on my 6th attempt at mortgage assistance program from Chase who must be Satan spawn :). Let’s boogie on as you would say to my container veggie garden (Gardening is cheaper than therapy AND you get tomatoes). This season I am growing tomatoes, okra, green beans, bell peppers and squash. I live in Texas. Thank you all for your advice. ~C

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Anne March 7, 2013 at 6:06 am

Mornin’ Cynthia. I just wanted to say that not everyone who posts here is living a grandios lifestyle. Many of the posters are living a frugal lifestyle because they have too and are offering advice based on their own experiences at learning to become more frugal, and ways they have discovered that helps them to be more frugal; also are struggling to find other ways to cut corners on lower incomes and in a couple of cases no income at all. Then there are some who always lived frugally and tell us how they did it to accomplish their goals, then others who never had to be frugal who now find they do after some calamity struck them. IMO, they are all very worthwhile.

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TheOwl March 6, 2013 at 7:25 am

Hi Anne,

Yes, I’m very well. Thanks for asking. I’m now in Sarawak Borneo. Yesterday I saw as many as 16 large and one young orang utans in their natural habitat (you can only see these precious primates in their natural habitat in Borneo and Sumatera islands).

I’m sorry to find out about your health. I did not know.

I don’t want to make comments here any more because I don’t want to be attacked from all sides. Often times I’m misunderstood, and I get into trouble with people who are out to pick a quarrel. Bye and do take care of yourself.

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Anne March 7, 2013 at 7:38 am

I’m sorry, I could never get back to you yesterday but was happy to see a response from you, Owl! Yes, you CAN still post here hon. We just (many of us) had some differing opinions that took a bad turn, with most of us taking you literally at your word so far as meaning some of the things you said and did not see that your words were not necessarily what you meant to say. But nobody is out to get you Owl. It’s over.

Mr. Ning did a much needed job, went back and deleted a LOT of our posts and rightly so. Not just you; a lot of us got out of line, myself included, in some of our posts that became too personal that should have never happened and should have been deleted. It is next to impossible not to get somewhat personal between posters who have been posting together for a while, but some of us did let it get out of hand which led to bickering, and derogatory and insulting comments between some of us.

However, please take note; very much the gentleman with a kind heart, Mr. Ning did NOT tell a single one of us we were banned or to get off the thread. That includes you my dear. All he did was spend considerable time cleaning it up and getting back to the subject at hand; even then he left a lot of our nicer personal posts that he also could have deleted had he chosen too. Welcome back Owl; Good to see ya!

Nice to hear about your trip to Borneo and the places you are traveling. How did you get there, drive, boat, plane or train? LOVE hearing about your travels. Like I said previously, I have never been out of the US of A other than a short trip into Canada once and those few one-day gambling cruises I made by (what seemed like cattle) boat out into the international waters that scared me crazy that last time and I swore never to go again; and where I only enjoyed being with my friends, the great food and entertainment and the men who snuck around behind their wifes’ back and tried to flirt with me.

I could have gone on many free, all expense paid business trips with my husband including to China but the timing was never right for me. Now I can’t, too tired and sickly at the moment. Oh well, I hated flying anyhow, now won’t fly at all, and begged God that if he’d get me off that last flight which nearly crashed, that I’d never get on another one and haven’t, (which wasn’t my first warning); so guess now those opportunities are over.

Except that I do have a ‘boyfriend’ up in Cincinnati (OH) who would fly me all over the world with him if I would go. Nah…. he’s been down here a few times, but I’m not interested in traveling with him at all, and not all that interested in him either. I was engaged to him once for a week almost forty years ago when he was a struggling law student but met my husband at the same time and dumped him. We did remain friends all those years, he later married and the four of us all became friends while he handled all my real estate legal work and closings; now my hubby is deceased, his wife is deceased so we hooked up purely as friends again, at least that’s my take on it, only I can easily read more into it than he’s saying. Now he’s wealthy and I’m not and I will NOT ever again marry another selfish self-centered wealthy man who throws his money in my face (then leaves me broke) like I did once some years ago. Won’t even risk it. Been there, done that, learned my lesson. (Also, he doesn’t realize how sick I am but I do).

Thank you for your well wishes, Owl. I know you didn’t know. I never mentioned the seriousness of my health condition because I wanted to keep it to myself, mostly because there’s nothing anyone can do about it anyway so what’s the point? Also, I don’t want anyone thinking I am seeking financial help when I am not. There are a lot of kind and generous people in the world, of lesser means, who would probably help me if they knew, but these are mostly people who should be holding onto their money for themselves and their own families and not doling out to someone where they would never get it back.

If I were to ever ask anyone to help me it would be someone who is generous and wealthy and it wouldn’t matter to them at all. Otherwise, I do not want any help from anyone, nor would I accept it, not unless it would be from someone who is very wealthy; since none of it will save my life anyway. Not in the longrun. I do appreciate all kind thoughts and well wishes Owl. All I ask for is prayer; not even that I might be healed but that I can make it easier without all this pain, can feel better so I can get back to work, and can make it on my own a while longer. That’s all. You know Owl, I’m still thinking I might meet up with you in the heavenlies in the sweet bye and bye. Don’t throw that possibility under the bus, my friend! I haven’t.

I was sad for Hugo Chavez yesterday, so sad. I liked that man, we had a lot of prior childhood issues in common, as well as his helping the poor in his country, also his take on Geo Dubya Bush, particularly a speech I heard him make on alcholoic devil Bush where I agreed with his every word. Please peeps, I don’t want to open up a political can of worms, but for that one, we shared the same views. Our politicos can whiplash him all they want too, but they sure didn’t mind taking his 40% of our gas/oil supplied by Chavez at Citgo Stations and at a huge discount. I’m sure sorry to see him have to die the way he did. Such a loss to his people.

Good to see you back, Owl…. xx00xx Have a blessed day and a lovely trip!

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TheOwl March 7, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Hi Anne,

Thanks for your kind words. I agree it is important to live and die with dignity. Also, people should be allowed to state their own opinions or there would be no freedom of speech. Most times I ask for clarification, not to accuse anybody of anything. I also do not like to be coerced into agreeing with things I do not agree with. I do not like to be condemned because I’m not of a certain race or religion.

I flew into Borneo because I have to go over the South China Sea. Borneo is a very wild island with great smaller islands off its coasts, wildlife and plants. It’s full of birds and sea life. Sarawak alone has like 24 parks, each thousands of acres/hectares in size and filled with exotic species of birds, snakes, frogs, mammals and all varieties of creepies/crawlies.

Luckily I did not choose to fly into North Borneo because there’s some security breach there as the eastern coast has been “terrorised” by some Sulu gunmen. The “war” is over but they are still searching for the escaped “terrorists”. Anyway, the other parts of North Borneo is safe.

Stay safe and take care.

Anne March 6, 2013 at 1:40 am

Cynthia, there are some good suggestions above where you might be able to find a little assistance, although I don’t know of any churches right off the bat who will give you furniture, etc., (some have a little food pantry you can call on for a very limited sustinance assistance, with little to no financial assistance), but all I see and have knowledge of are churches having yard sales and the like as they also need to raise money for whatever purpose, when many churches can’t even make their mortgages payments themselves; and it certainly will do you no good to contact the big televangelists’ ministries since all I see them doing is increasing their own coffers with their gimme gimmicks, so good luck with that. I have no personal knowledge of any who are on a mission to help the widow and the orphan, nonetheless we cannot allow this to dampen or question our own faith.

I do know there is an organization called F.I.S.H. (or R.I.D.E) that is operated out of a church (or churches) in many communities and is run by volunteers who will give you a free ride to your doctors, labs, and to physical therapy appointments. They operate on donations only. Also, most communities provide a service called Meal-On-Wheels (usually out of a church), and also operated by volunteers and on donations only, who will bring you a hot lunch every day, five or six days a week. Some are government sponsored and some are not. They ask for a $3.00 donation but will bring the lunch anyway (for your mother too) if you can’t afford it. I think you and your mother would be qualifed for this generous daily lunch service.

I am sorry for your disabilities and anyone else who is in this position, but happy for you that you are still able to do some of your chores and hope that you can continue too even though it is a struggle for you. My point was not to offend you but was to point out the few pluses to the situation we are in, minute as they may be. Also, I see a situation (and live it), where we have to learn to manage on what we have NOW as that is ALL we have to work with, unless and until the day we can figure out a way to increase our monthly income, as there certainly is no line out there waiting to help us.

Your little cottage sounds charming and I hope against all the odds that you are able to hold onto it. I don’t know of any other way you can do this (unless you executed fruadalent truth and lending law closing documents), other than to keep up the payments as there is no refinancing for you under the strict credit and mortgage requirement guidelines we are presently under; also it could be that your home was overinflated when you executed your existing mortgage so now you have no equity that you could draw from even if you were otherwise qualified, which, with your present income I’m sure you are well aware that you would not be considered credit worthy.

If your home was a little larger I would suggest that you rent out a bedroom but since it isn’t you don’t even have that recourse. IMO, the conclusion to the matter is that we have no other choice than to learn to live within the means we presently have, however meager that may be, as that is what we have staring us in the face; but remember that every day we have that we can walk and talk with Jesus and can see His glorious beauty and wonder all around us is beautiful, that nothing in life is permanent and that God can AND DOES move mountains when we least expect it.

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Anne March 6, 2013 at 2:25 am

Excuse all my errors and misspelled words. It is very early in the morning in Fla and since I sleep a few hours when I can, that is why you see so many inaccurancies. Sorry. Forgive.

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Anne March 6, 2013 at 5:45 am

Cynthia, am in a slow hurry this morning, so will respond briefly for now.

If I might suggest; quit spinning your wheels with Chase and try Wells Fargo. I have been a realtor and licensed real estate broker for approx 35 years. Other than my wonderful experienes with several private mortgage brokers over the years, (most, no longer in business) my best resource for loan approvals was/is Wells Fargo, definitely not Chase or any other NA bank, especially not BOA. Make an appointment with a loan officer with Well Fargo and go in for an eye to eye contact meeting; one who will take up more time with you than an anony phone call. They may have more financing programs than you are aware of. Whatever you do, you’ve got to hold onto that lower monthly mortgage payment.

I understand about not receiving any assistance to help pay your mortgage OR your utilities. Forget that too. They’re not out there my friend!

Like in my case, there is not a single foundation or non-profit organization in the country who will help me pay for my drug and related medical copays that have nothing to do with me attempting to treat myself through alternative treatments, also very expensive. They do not exist. I’ve already researched them all so I just hope no one comes back and asks have I tried The American Cancer Society. Yep, sure did. They will only help you during the last two to three weeks as you draw your last breath in Hospice, or will send you a nursing assistant for $70 an hour. They are ALL in the business of collecting $$$ for cancer research, which of course they will never find a cure, causing themselves to put themselves out of business. And why would they? The entire medical community, pharmaceutical companies AND research organizations are ALL one big money making scam to keep themselves in a thriving business. The foundations place their money in trust accounts to defry the taxes of the wealthy and donate little dribbles of the interest to more cancer research.

LOVE hearing about your little garden! I can’t grow one out here in the boonies where I live as there are too many wild animals roaming out here. I wish! Not only cannot I not bend to take care of it, also the heat would be too much on my shortness of breath, but with the wildlife it would last about one night. Later…

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Cynthia March 6, 2013 at 6:38 am

Dear Anne,
As a nurse I know that the medical community is…well…POOP. As an indigent patient, I get whatever bone they toss. Hard to make lemonade out of bones hehe. I also do what I can to heal such growing my own veggies. I live in the boonies as well by the bay with the seagulls and pelicans ..let me stop. My garden is grown in Earthboxs (google that). They are outside my door where I can sit in chair and garden away. I can see them from the window as well. Some were given to me for gift, some bought before illness on clearance. Color me frugal. I have 5 boxes. One box with 2 tomato plants produce almost 50 big juicy tomatos. The boxes are UV resistant and you dont change the soil every season. Last fall I got 37 bell peppers out of 2 bushes. yum! Once the dirt and plants are in the box all you do is water- no bending no brainer. I buy the seeds and seedlings with food stamps. It is still exciting to see the seeds grow into food.
Chase mortgage was assigned to me. I did not choose. My credit is now poop so I guess Well Fargo would not have me?

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Anne March 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

Cynthia, I have tried to respond to your question about applying to Wells Fargo TWICE on two separate days, going indepth about your mortgage and both times I was unable to submit my posts. Once I was all ready to submit my post when I had a power surge and lost it; the other time my post just disappeared into thin air. Will try again.

Google: “Federal Truth and Lending Laws, is it legal for my mortgage to be assigned such that I cannot reapply with a different lender?” Follow the links and research it for yourself. I have studied many and varied Civil Real Estate Laws (but not in the State of Texas); also Federal Truth in Lending Laws, Cynthia, and I can tell you that it is NOT. For someone to tell you that you “have been assigned to Chase” is illegal as it falls under the mortgage steering laws, also it smacks of mortgage fraud. Many lenders are in trouble for commiting fraudulent violations of these and similar federal laws.

Who told you that you/your mortgage had been reassigned to Chase? And why? Do you mean for servicing your loan? That’s possible, but that does NOT mean that you cannot reapply for refinancing with another lender. SOMEONE needs to look over your mortage loan documents with an eye to whether you executed fraudulent mortgage documents in the first place. I seriously question what you excuted without your full knowledge at the time you incurred this mortgage as I know FOR A FACT that you can apply or reapply to any lender you wish too. We are not under a commie dictatorship.

I would definitely go to see a loan officer at Wells Fargo and inquire about their different loan programs, etc. Whose to say you can’t? Big brother in the sky? Most importatnly, I would bundle up all my mortgage documents and take them to a real estate attorney in your area; those too you can research under Google in your area. Normally, the first consultation is free if you are near a large city where there is competition among attys. I don’t want to give you any false hopes, but you may find that you don’t owe a mortgage at all.

I caution you however, do not EVER EVER turn over your documents to ANYONE without first making a copy of every page for yourself and KEEP them in a safe place, including your closing statements. Don’t trust ANYONE to give them the only copies you have. Do not think that every little piece of paper and document is not important because it is. Yes my dear, copies DO get pilfered and changed, signatures rearranged, altered and modified, even some “lost”. I know this to be a fact. Good luck.

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Cynthia April 4, 2013 at 5:30 am

Dear Anne,
Thanks for your advice. Chase was the first and only lender assigned to me at the closing. Since my health has declined so has my credit score. It is in the low 500’s. I am sure no one will touch me. I have actually called Wells Fargo and they have never returned my calls. Recently I have acquired a free foreclosure/bankruptcy attorney. I have been denied mortgage assistance for the 6th time. I have a binder with all my original documentation. I also keep a medical and bills binder. Organization is everything. My real estate neighbor has completed a new BPO on my home. It reflects a home value of about $20,000 less than it is now. Here in Texas you can get a disabled exemption on your property tax as well as homestead.

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Angie March 6, 2013 at 10:48 am

Cynthia,

I LOVE gardening. If you’re lucky and get decent crop, it can save you a fortune. I’m not sure I can do it anymore, I have nowhere to put a garden or boxes in this apartment I’m in now, but it’s one of the things I’ll be looking for when I move. I just hope I am physically able to do it.

I hear what you’re saying about the medical community. My last visit to ER was a nightmare. Some young punk doctor screamed at me that he couldn’t give me narcotics, he didn’t even listen when I told him I need anti-inflammatory. I let the idiot yell for about 45 minutes, then asked him if he was done acting the fool yet. Then asked again for an anti-inflammatory. He was like “Duh, oh…ok.” What a moron!!

I’ve stopped going to doctor or hospital altogether. Even tho I have Medicaid, they either can’t or won’t help me, so what’s the point? They say “What you have there is no cure for, so lets try THIS!” I changed my diet and I try to get some physically activity in, and mostly just learned to “enjoy the pain”. I never liked their silly drugs anyway and felt as though I was being used as a guinea pig for the newest (untested) drugs available to them, which I didn’t take anyway. One doc tried to give me cholesterol meds, which I didn’t take, next visit he proclaimed proudly “The medicine seems to be working!!” I just rolled my eyes. It’s hard to keep from laughing at these people sometimes.

Everyone on this site seems pretty nice, and I wish all of you the best. I know I’ll be ok, because I’m too darned stubborn not to be. Heck, three months after I’m dead I’ll still be arguing with some doctor about it. Good luck, all of you!

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TheOwl March 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Hi Angie,

I agree with you some doctors can behave like idiots. They think they know our bodies better than us. Only we know how we feel and if we feel good or otherwise. Gardening is therapeutic and so is baking bread. Knead the dough by hand. All the best.

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Cynthia March 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm

They used to urge us to take the patient’s blood pressure with the automatic machine on wheels. I refused to, always using the manual cuff and my stethoscope. sometimes my hands were the only touch these people received. I agree. By hand is better. Peace.

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Mike March 9, 2013 at 1:08 am

I would have no trouble implementing the above and save money only problem is that my wife would have trouble with it. Last year we were spending more than we were earning so I decided to do a budget. I know exactly where the money was going, my wife does grocery shopping every day she could go into as many as 6 shops in a day. I compared our grocery spending with others on the internet and the result were that we were spending 48% more than the average family similar to ourselves. I suggested to her that we track the grocery spending for 2 weeks and see where the money is going, the result was a big row followed by my wife sulking for the rest of the day. She went on a holiday last year for 1 week and I did the shopping, only 2 shop visits in that week and we spent a fraction of what my wife spends and we didn’t go hungry either. Any suggestions about solving the problem? Ps getting rid of the wife is a non runner.

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TheOwl March 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm

I would have suggested getting rid of the wife LOL but since it’s a no-brainer (I hope she does not come on this forum to lambaste me!) I suggest you take over the grocery-shopping.

It is NOT A MYTH that the more shops we enter the more we will buy and if you go to the supermarket everyday you’ll have something to buy every time. I tested this out myself and found that it is indeed true. I only go when I can’t hold on any longer.

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Mike March 10, 2013 at 12:27 am

Thanks for the reply. It seems to be the only solution alright to take over the shopping myself.

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Jewels August 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I would give your wife a budget and put it in CASH in an envelope. I find when I’m handing over cash it is much more painful that charging something. I’d also encourage her to make a menu for the week. Then when she sees how much money she’s saving put it in a little fund for her to buy something special. She needs a reward until this becomes a habit.

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Anne March 10, 2013 at 9:37 am

Mike, I’m thinking that one reason you did not find it necessary to go to the market more than a couple of times while your wife was on vacation was because she had already stockpiled groceries/food and essentials before she left, making it necessary for you only to need fresh foods like eggs, milk, etc. However, it does sounds to me like she’s making a career out of running up and down the road shopping.

Not only that, if she’s dashing in and out of several other shops on these trips then she’s in something of a shopping frenzy, likely running up charge cards and/or dipping into the debit card for cash expenditures; also requiring unnecessary amounts of gasoline and frequent maintenance on the auto as well.

I do the same thing Owl does and hold out shopping or burning up my gasoline as long as I can. Every day that I think I need something I decide, do I really have to have this today or can I put it off one more day? Usually I can put it off another day and another and another. But I do put these things on my list so that I am ready to pick up all essentials and necessities on ONE trip, and then don’t go until I can’t put it off any longer. I now have it narrowed down to only having to shop once or twice a month.

Having said that, I do agree with Owl’s perspetive. It is ludicrous to go to the grocery store every day or so, I don’t care how many fresh-food meals your wife is attempting to prepare. Totally unnecessary. She needs to make up weekly menus and know in advance what she’s planning to prepare, get her grocery list ready, THEN make only one trip per week and get all her food shopping done in one foul swoop. She could even cook all these meals in one day (I frequently do this) and put most of them in the freezer for using as she sees fit, including most of her baking. That would leave her very few cooking/fixing chores to have to do on a daily basis.

However, I don’t see you (peacefully!) being able to take over all the shopping yourself. Your wife is a woman who loves to shop, maybe even a shopoholic. Good luck with that! My other suggestion would be that you encourage her to get a job if she doesn’t already have one. ANY kind of job beats her blowing shopping money unnecessarily on a daily basis. Yes, I would put her out to work regardless as to her possible other responsibilities at home, and learn to compromise on those other chores; even if only a few hours daily or during the evening. Maybe then she could learn the value of a dollar, work ethics and appreciation of money hard earned and how to handle it frugally instead of wastefully.

I’m sorry to put it this way, but this is just not right. (Obviously, I would not have made a good husband, knowing someone is running up and down the road blowing the money I earned every day and I can’t do anything to stop or curtail them. AIN’T NO WAY…….. he he)

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Angie March 11, 2013 at 4:18 am

Mike…….sorry to say it sounds like what your wife needs is counseling. People who shop as she does are generally trying to fill a void. Many things can cause this, losing a spouse (obviously not in this case), losing a child, or friend, or close relative, loss of job, isolation from friends (IE: if you live in the country or in a big city where socialization can be difficult), being unable to work,..as I said, many things. Your first priority would be to find out what’s missing in her life. The fact that she fought and pouted when approached about the subject shows an addiction. Same as a junkie would fight and pout if you took their needles away. Try to take my coffee and you’d have a WAR on your hands!

Find an appropriate, peaceful time to talk with her about this subject, gently and respectfully. Simply ask her if she is unhappy, or bored, or if something in her life is unfulfilling. Don’t allow it to turn into a fight. If tempers flare, leave it and move onto a topic you both enjoy. If this has no result, or if the fight is inevitable after many attempts, suggest counseling. Most counties have services that are income based. She may resist at first, but insist. Your financial future depends on it.

Once the problem is solved, and ONLY after the problem is solved, there are ways to save on grocery buying. For instance, I love tomato and onion, but can’t always run out to the store when I want them, and I want them daily! I found a site online that seems to cater to “survivalist” mentality. Most of it I have no use for, but they sell large cans of dried onion and tomato powder very inexpensively. In a pinch, this stuff is great. A can of dried onions lasts me at least a year. Its a fraction of the cost of store bought, tastes better and, even tho it won’t replace fresh onions, its perfectly fine for baking, soups, etc. I use the site “emergencyessentials.com”.

For spices, I exclusively use a site called “myspicesage.com”. I no longer buy spices in the store. This site has everything you’d ever need at a fraction of the cost and fresher by miles. One example is vanilla beans, which can cost $5 – $6 dollars EACH at the grocer. I buy them from Myspicesage for approximately 75 cents each and they are so fresh and lovely. Spices can make any simple food taste like gourmet, even mashed potatoes with a little rosemary, or chive can be a real treat. Never buy spices from any grocery store.

I highly suggest you rein in your lovely wife’s spending habits before turning her loose online with a credit card, tho. Any savings you gain could potentially turn into just another avenue for spending, and a one way ticket to bankruptcy.

I speak from experience on this topic. After my husband and two best friends died within a year, I found great comfort in spending. I blew through nearly a million dollars in three years, and have pretty much nothing to show for it now. Sure, I learned a lot from the experience but it ruined me financially. I sought counseling, found out what my issue was and now everything is fine. Do yourself and your wife a favor, and find out why she is spending.

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Anne March 11, 2013 at 7:19 am

Excellent post Angie. Hats off to you, I didn’t think about the possibility of counseling, which can be vital to both our mental and physical health in many ways. I was wondering if you went to grief counseling after your hubby passed on? I didn’t but should have; at the least I should have taken our fifteen year old son to counseling, as to this day (24 years later) he has never been able to accept his father’s death, which has affected him in so many ways, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

In fact, neither of us has been able to put our grief and sorrow into what others might refer too as a normal perspective; since his sudden death still eats away at us when we least expect it, we see our failure in not seeing it coming on earlier when we (I) might have been able to prevent it, (particularly I do), and the realization of how much we lost in losing him never completely leaves our mind. One thing that does help; we live an entirely different lifestyle now and in another area so that helps to keep us focused and not living in the painful past.

It was a big mistake on my part not to seek counseling but at the time I had so much going on and so many irons in the fire, that all I could think about was keeping our heads above water while I tried to keep my older son in college, finances in order, keep the home running smoothly and maintained, which at the time was a rather large ‘estate’ type property, and keep a business running; that in itself a huge responsibility I had carved out for myself. All while I cried and my younger son raged. Also at the time, I felt like I could not add on one more bill that I would be responsible for; all which somehow I did manage to keep afloat. Then within three years I had both sons in college and still felt I could not add on one more debt that I could live without. It was a mistake.

Counseling now is even further advanced than it was then, with specialists in every area of mental health problems and issues, including in financial management and planning. I even saw ‘hoarding’ professional counselors on a tv reality show yesterday. A few of their tactics I couldn’t agree with, but that’s just me; but then I have no professional mental health training past psych 101 and my own lifes’ personal experiences.

In Mike’s case, he too is probably looking at a situation now where he can’t afford counseling, possibly not even on a sliding scale. I could be wrong but I think he may have his hands full with his wife’s spending habits, her lack of consideration for him and the family budget, and without regards to how her spending habits are ruining any future plans for their financial future; then acting childishly with her pouting and having a hissy fit when he tries to reign her in. I don’t know of course, but he may be carrying all he can carry.

To be honest, I don’t have an ounce of sympathy for anyone who can’t function rationally just because they are lonely or uninvolved in the community, or some other such ‘oh poor pitiful me’ depression they coddle themselves with; not when we have so much technology to occupy ourselves with, and many wonderful things these days that we can involve ourselves with.

One ought to be able to heal themselves, so to speak, unless they have suffered some deep psychological trauma; say, like rape, years of incest, witnessing a murder, abuse, wives who have suffered years of psychological and physical abuse, and many other childhood warped emotional traumas, etc., where these people require years of counseling just to function. But with all the counseling in the world, how does one ever get better from their self-destructive emotional issues unless they accomplish it on their own? This includes behavior modification, anger management, alcoholic & drug addiction rehabilitation and the like. The right counseling helps, but in the end they ALL, everyone, have to make up their mind and do it all on their own.

So you see, my patience runs short for these people who hold onto their self-centered selfish demands while they blame others and everyone else in their path suffers for it; when there are some real issues out there where people need serious mental health treatment just to cope with life on a daily basis. If nothing else, plant a rose garden and watch its’ beauty unfurl, or clean out the garage, hose down the driveway, visit a sick neighbor, befriend an elderly person, many who are still very intelligent and lively, do a paint-by-number bird painting if you have no natural talent, rearrange the furniture, make more pleasurable time with the kids, WHATEVAH; there are hundreds of productive and nice things one can do to fulfil their lives without being despondent and blowing money.

Life is simple and beautiful, which leads me to think however, that Mike might want to prepare himself for a possible bombshell, that is, if he can get his wife to agree to counseling at all; and that just might be that she does not truly love him, that if she did she would be HELPING him plan for their financial future together instead of destroying it; otherwise her actions may be saying that she either isn’t anticipating them having a future together or doesn’t care one way or the other. Maybe he would be opening up a can of worms? Actually though, she appears to be self-entered only caring about what SHE wants and fancies herself as already being the captain of the boat, has it runing just the way she wants it and why rock it; so I’d be surprised if she ever agrees to counseling in the first place.

I still say WORK is the best cure for most of what ails ALL of us; that is, IF and when we are physically and mentally able. How quickly everything falls into its’ rightful place when we GO TO WORK and keep our minds occupied on the job at hand. Counseling too, but definitely work, then she could pay for it herself since she seems to be the one with the problem.

Just throwing some thoughts out here as possibilities, Angie (and Mike), when I really don’t know what’s going on there and probably shouldn’t be saying anything at all. Just trying to second guess people we don’t even know, and could be entirely wrong.

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Wally1 March 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Very good article, unfortunately most people learn this lesson late in life rather than early. I learned my lesson early at age 16, both parents dead, at 17 I was homeless. attempting to support myself, never finished high school. However, the school of hard knocks was the best education I ever recieved, never forgot a lesson. The most important lesson, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, that is very true. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I got to work. I worked any job I could get and never complained to my bosses, was working three jobs, taking naps when possible. Always put personal feeling on the back burner and was determined to be the best employee I could be without asking for more. I was never fired or laid off, because the boss always could trust and depend on me. Never owned a new car, always paid cash, thus never incurring debt. Worked any job from being a janitor, mechanic or horse manure shovler, it all is a learning experience which benefited me throughout life. The result, paid cash for my first house at 23 YOA, invested and read everything I could get my hands on. Retired, with no debt and steady income at 53. So, when I see people driving new cars and paying for a cup of coffee with a credit card, I think they are spending on borrowed time. Really, buying a cup of coffee on a credit card! So when they lose everything because they are living with champagne taste on beer income, my sympathy meter is empty. If you are waiting for God or luck to fulfill your life, you will be sadly dissappointed, it’s just my opinion, but trust in yourself, you will be surprised what you can accomplish when you get off your ass and just do something, anything.

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TheOwl March 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Can’t agree more. I only have one credit card for emergencies and will only use it to pay for gas for the car. If supermarket amounts are big I will use it, otherwise it’s cash all the way. My people have a saying – those who try to poo like the elephant will burst their ass-holes LOL and that’s so true. Many people today show off and live beyond their means. To me, that’s the beginning of one’s fall. Soon they become indebted and get tempted into committing crimes like corruption and the like.

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Loan Arranger March 14, 2013 at 5:57 am

Awesome! Everyone would benefit from reading this post. Thanks for sharing your story.

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Anne March 14, 2013 at 6:11 am

I agree LA. Bravo for this smart fella! Truly self-made (with no help from anyone other than God) in every aspect. Even then, he had to make wise decisions and did. Yeah for you Wally!! Hope you are enjoying your hard-earned retirement….

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Eugenia March 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm

@wally1, what a smart, hard working and responsible man you have grown to be. My hat off to you; it’s amazing when you’re in a sudden situation like yourself, how quickly you have to grow up and make the right decisions so you could survive. You were determined to make it, because there is no other choice but to make it. It is very sad that you lost your both parents at such a young age when you need the guidance by your parents, love and support. If you have your own kids, I assumed they would turn out just like you and that you taught them well and will have good understanding that it’s a necessity to be a frugal especially in this tough economy we’re in now. You should be an example to today’s young adults, the “ME” GENERATION… BTW, I’m so glad I came across this article, enjoyed the comments and replies.

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Cynthia April 14, 2013 at 3:33 am

Good Morning Wally1,
I totally agree with you that Americans live beyond their means. I most always make my coffee at home. (1 cup a day) Sometimes as a treat I get a Senior Citizen coffee from Mickey D’s for 39 cents and pay with my debit card because I am afraid to carry cash. My car is a 2008. I wondered if you considered that new. I live alone and I can not repair cars nor is there anyone to save me if it breaks down. I do make sure the air and fluids are correct and clean the car myself.

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renee March 13, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Cynthia,

When you submit your modification documents to your servicing mortgage company, keep your living expenses low, giving you more allowable income to qualify. Know what’s on your current credit report, they are looking at any current revolving and installment debt, student loans etc. If you haven’t been paying it doesn’t matter, but, if you can afford to keep credit card debt current, then that’s better. The less expenses, the better your chance for approval. Also, if they know your income is now fixed and still will not assist you, contact your County foreclosure mitigation representative. The service is free, your county court house foreclosure area should be able to guide you to the correct contact info. If not, then google it.

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Anne March 14, 2013 at 6:21 am

Renee, it doesn’t matter what Cynthia reports or doesn’t report, it will ALL show up on her credit report, including her monthly/annual income as well as all unpaid debts and collections. Lenders aren’t stupid. Trying to be deceitful with a lending institution leads to mistrust and complete failure for the applicant.

The worst thing she can do is try to hide something. The best thing she can do is keep up with and never be late on her present mortgage payments no matter what else falls behind. Credit cards can be dealt with later, OR NOT. Credit cards don’t foreclose on your home but your delinquent mortgage DOES. See the picture?

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Teresa March 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I’ve lost control. I am not the maker of my fate.
I am disabled and partner of 14 years, who worked every day, 60 hours a week. We live in a “right to work state” and his employer did not offer insurance.
In November he had a stroke. No insurance, no therapy, no hope.
We’ve always lived a frugal life. We were comfortable with our savings. Now its gone. Just wanted to say there are huge catastrophic things that happen in life that you don’t expect and which makes one lose peace, hope, and happiness.
It is like the world exploded in 15 minutes. I love your work and mission, though.

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Loan Arranger March 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Has anyone considered moving to Mexico? Living is very cheap there, and medical care is so much less expensive. There really are safe places to live in Mexico. That would probably only be for those who have a retirement income, or some other form of unearned income. I myself have seriously considered it.

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Diane May 23, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I would love to move to Mexico but would be so afraid for the safety aspect! Are there actually safe places to live? I’d gotten the impression the violence was spread all over….

Good luck to you if you do choose to move there!

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TheOwl March 30, 2013 at 7:47 am

I’ve met many Americans living a very relaxed, easy-going lifestyle in most of the South-east nations I’ve visited e.g. Thailand,Cambodia,Vietnam,the Philippines and Indonesia because the cost of living is so cheap in all these countries. Many of them are retired or work as teachers of English. All you need is a college degree to teach English in Thailand. Beer is dirt cheap in most of these countries. There’s no bone-biting cold winter. It’s summer all day long and you just need cotton T’s. Life is so laid-back, especially in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Malaysia is not so popular because the cost of living isn’t that cheap but Borneo Sarawak is worth exploring as it’s still wild and people still live close to nature. North Borneo is particularly wild. Singapore is very expensive but highly urban. Brunei is not popular because it’s too boring. The people in Brunei have to go into Miri, the border town in Borneo Sarawak for entertainment. I would choose to retire to either Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam because of the relative peace and safety in these countries. Food in most of the South-east Asian countries is so varied. You get great food in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries are technologically well-developed enough so you would never get cut off from the rest of the world. The internet is easily available in most of the South-east Asian countries except perhaps for some of the less-developed islands of Indonesia and also perhaps the rural interior of Thailand. Banking is very well-developed too.

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Loan Arranger March 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Owl, I wish I could have traveled to see all the places you’ve been. Thank you for your in-depth posts.

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Loan Arranger April 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

Owl: Yes, I so much agree! I wish I could have traveled like you during my life, but I have been a single parent for 45 yrs, including a disabled son who will never be able to live independently, so that limited my ability to travel. Plus, I never could have afforded it anyway. I have a sister (retired now) who spends 3 months a year in Paris. She has been single many years, but works a part-time job just to be able to afford a very tiny apt. in Paris. She fell in love with Paris years ago. Her next trip will be to Ireland, which I so envy her for. I will watch your posts, as well as hers. I just like to hear about all the special places. Regards to you. Stay well.

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TheOwl April 3, 2013 at 8:54 am

Thanks for your kind response. I raise my hat to you for being such a responsible father. We must fulfil all our responsibilities before we live fully for ourselves. Any time is a good time to start living for yourself,travel and experience the world. Perhaps you could travel on and off if you could get someone to watch over your son. 45 years in service to him is a pretty long time and nobody would grudge you the holiday you take once in a while. Go off and have a good time when you feel you deserve it.

Travelling alone could be fun though expensive bcs sometimes company can be quite a chore,especially if you have a partner/partners who is/are a real pain in the ass. The people going with us could really make or break our enjoyment of a trip. I get put off by spoil-sports and those who do not know how to enjoy themselves bcs they have too many inhibitions,too many irritating beliefs that stop them from letting go/letting their hair down. I’m not suggesting anything wild but letting your hair down when you’re on holiday should be refreshing. Some people are so uptight even while on holiday LOL. Such people do not know how to relax and be happy. I truly know how to be happy and I know exactly what makes me happy so I reject company who upset me.

I’ll post here whenever I have something useful to write. Thanks again.

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YuetChing July 5, 2013 at 6:56 am

Dear Lone Arranger,

I am sure you are not alone. God is with us every single moment. (and no, I don’t have a religion). I have been working for 4 years since graduation, and am in my late twenties. I pretty much agree with the posts here on being frugal because spending with what we have gives us peace of mind, and actually teaches us responsibility. I used to take everything for granted when I was young.

I live in Singapore, and have never been to the United States. So in a way, our situations are reversed! You never know, perhaps one day, u will be able to travel to exotic locations as well, not necessarily Asia but any place you want.

Like from Chicago all the way to Singapore, Asia, it’s about 1600 singapore dollars, which works out to less than 1200 usd I think; so that’s the biggest outlay you need to have. Travel insurance is at a low cost within tens of dollars. The American currency is still stronger than the Singapore currency, so you can easily afford food and things here. The only thing is accomodation. You need to shop smart. Like search for quality budget hotel chains which would be around 150sgd per night, or around 100 usd per night.

And things are so different from the States I think, in terms of culture and cuisine and weather. Our common daily foods everyday is so different from your pasta and mac n cheese, though it’s all highly urbanised now.

Love and care xxx

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TheOwl March 31, 2013 at 12:04 am

You’re welcomed. I know because I live here in South-east Asia and for the moment I travel around this region and Asia. For the moment I’ve put Australia on hold as it’s too expensive and so is NZ.

My next project will be Europe and lastly the Americas. Frankly, I’m keeping the US to the last, not the because it’s the best but because the US does not attract me much for its lack of history except for the history and culture of the Indians. I don’t really care if at the end of the day I don’t get to see the US. Canada is also not in my plans. I would rather go to the Scandinavian countries compared to Canada. If we go to the Scandinavian countries at the right time we can see the aurora borealis/the midnight sun though the aurora can also be seen in Canada.

However, I would love to visit Peru, Chile and Argentina but South America is such a long way from here so I might not make it there either. Europe is more realistic for me as it’s more “doable”.

I have plans to cruise the Yangtze River in China in September or October this year. It’s cooler in autumn. I don’t want to travel to temperate places in summer because we’ve summer all day long so I always choose spring,autumn or even winter to travel to temperate countries. China is big and is so rich in history and culture that even though I’ve been on tour there twice I still feel like I’ve just touched the very tip of the iceberg.

Next year it will be Turkey and Egypt and perhaps Morocco before I hit Italy, Greece, Austria and then the rest of Europe in the future. Old countries in Eastern Europe like Hungary and Macedonia are worth visiting. I’m only interested in countries with long histories because they will be culturally rich. Iraq is one country anybody should visit once it is politically stable and peace returns because it is a country so steeped in history and culture.

In order to fulfill my plans I’ve to stretch my money by strategic spending and wise investments. We must also be in perfect good health because traveling is an exhausting hobby,both to the body and the pockets LOL. Truth is if we want to travel in comparative comfort we need money. I want a proper guide, air-conditioned transportation, a 3-4 star hotel and proper restaurant food. If we travel in South-east Asia or Asia we can get all this at a very reasonable price but in Europe what I am used to might cost an arm and a leg, hence the need for wise investments and strategic spending. Do you agree?

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Brooke April 3, 2013 at 5:55 am

Wow, wonderful blog layout! How lengthy have you been blogging for?
you made blogging glance easy. The overall look
of your web site is magnificent, as smartly as the content material!

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Pismopal April 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Only suckers save money and do without in America….stay on unemployment For years….take food stamps.( hey you can buy liquor and cigs too).. Save money on gas by not driving to work..all in Obama’s country. All those dirty rich people are going to pay for this…you know the people who work for a living and have to pay for their kids lunches with their own wages..and we have another crop of voters addicted to hand outs waiting in the wings….newly arrived Mexicans..I mean undocumented Democrats!

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David April 4, 2013 at 2:37 am

Lot of truth in what you post!

What do we who saved for retirement now get?

Less than ONE percent interest on the money we banked for retirement!

Travel outside the USA and find out the greenback is down in many cases 25 to 30 percent against foreign currency!

Air travel costs are up 300%!

Will we have sufficient funds to pay Digger O’dell to bury us?

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Diane May 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Less than 1%? I just got my 401k statement, 8.5% for the last year, and I invest ultra conservatively. I get 1.9% on my checking account, 1.5% for my Christmas club, and just got a mortgage refi for 2.5%. I also invested in gov’t bonds years ago, and am getting 4% on many.

The greenback is notably HIGHER in the last month, surpassing the yen, and doing quite well, thank you very much. Stocks are at an all time high, thanks to our so-called socialist America-hating President. Unemployment keeps dropping, lowest since 2008, and since this President was sworn in, the deficit has been cut in half.

Too bad you not only have your facts wrong, but you’re a miserable negative and racist person. I feel really sorry for you. And I’m not here to debate you, because you obviously haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about.

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Vincent April 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I grew up very poor. My parents didn’t even have money to buy whole fried chicken or grapes. I was fortunate to attend one of the top university in the world. Today, even though my income put me in the top 2%, I still live the same life style as I did when I was in high school. My net worth is in the 7 figures. The wealth accumulated factor is 1.8. But I don’t feel wealthy or think that deserved the luxuries. My car is always certified pre-owned. I still own the same bike I bought 20 years ago. I maintain it regularly so it still looks new. I do my own yard work and my own house cleaning. The skills I learned during my stint as a janitor during summers in high school. My role model in life is Warren Buffet because of his frugality and simplicity. My two favorite books are Covey’s 7 Habit and “The Millionaires Next Door.”

We can still be millionaires through frugality. We don’t need to be investment bankers or strike rich with lottery. It’s through hard work, living a simple life, always remember one’s root, and be proactive in the matter of spending. Fortunate or blessed is also an important factor.

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TheOwl April 4, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Agree with Vincent. A friend of mine always insists it’s the way a person spends,not how much he earns that counts. It’s the lifestyle but I don’t want to be such an extremist either so I always argue that it also depends on how much a person earns. If a person does not even earn enough to sustain basic living how is he going to save and later invest? Frugality helps such a lot in such cases I guess.

Now you live an extremely comfortable life, free of financial worries when the rest of America is mired in debts, foreclosures of homes, and loss of jobs. I raise my hat to you! Blessed is he who pays off all his loans before retirement age.

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Vincent April 23, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I do agree with TheOwl that frugality alone does not translate into wealth or financial security. Being blessed or lucky is a key factor. I was extremely blessed to receive scholarships and grants fully paid for college education at a top private university since we were very poor. I am sadden seeing the state of our society today. I feel the pains of people who lost their jobs, their homes, and sometimes, their families through such crisis. It breaks my heart to read the stories of individuals who, through no fault of their own, suffer financial hardship. Rather than looking up to the multi-millionaires, I tend to identify myself with everyday hardworking folks. I don’t live in an extremely state of frugality. But, I don’t even live the lifestyle of the upper middle class. I am uncomfortable to shop at luxury stores like Bloomingdale or Macy. I shop at Target and Walmart. Sometimes, I also shop at discount dollar stores. I apply the same principles to my children. I still have my first pay stub from Wendy’s showing I made $3.35 an hour 29 years ago. I still have my first bank statement when I got my first job after college showing I had $1,000. I told my kids that as long as we are blessed with a functional body, we will make things happen in life, including creating wealth.

I am 20 years away from retiring. When I retire, I plan to volunteer for the Peace Corp in a developing country living a simpler life. Then, when I am gone from this Earth, I will donate all my wealth to foundations to help those who are not as blessed as I have been.

Money and wealth are just temporary. I don’t see it as a source of everlasting happiness. Interestingly, this is the philosophy I learned from college, the only lesson I came away with that has proved useful for 23 years.

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TheOwl April 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Vincent,

Blessed is the world if everyone is like you! The super corrupted politicians in my country can’t stop enriching themselves and will kill to continue super-enriching themselves. Since they can’t take all the billions with them when they kick the bucket I guess the only reason beside super greed is that they don’t want any of their descendants to work at all. How would these spoilt brats live life just having a good time?

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Susan April 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Cynthia:
I am so sorry about your situation, and hope you can keep your home. As a social worker, I know that recipients of SSD can earn some money (roughly 1000) a month and stay on SSD. Are there ways you can use your skills to do this? Sell other people things on ebay for a percentage? Have vegetable yard sales? Or possibly use your nursing background a very few hours a week?
Susan

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Cynthia April 14, 2013 at 3:47 am

ve been substitute teaching and last fall I gave flu shots for $19 an hour sitting in a chair – sweet. I have been selling things on ebay and craig’s list. Summer is coming and I have been attending disabled people job fairs. No one will hire me even at minnimum wage. Oh yes, I do personal assistant work for a neighbor for cash and gas. I do visit the 2 local food pantries every other month. My family and friends have decided to help me by purchasing things I need every month like, toilet paper, toothpaste and soaps. This has proved to be very helpful and it doesn’t put such a large burden on any one person as they are not rich either. When I do work then they stop my foodstamps, monthly discount on my utilities and take away my “Obama phone”. Then I need to work even more hours. I can physically only work so much at this time. I now have a free foreclosure/bankruptcy attorney. Well, tommorrow is another day.

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TheOwl April 14, 2013 at 9:44 am

The law that takes away your food-stamps and discount on utilities etc is most unfair. If the govt won’t allow you to work at all then they should give more but since they can’t why can’t a person work to supplement welfare? By the way, what is an “Obama phone” (sorry that I have to ask silly questions. I’m not American and live on the other side of the globe so I do not understand many American cultural matters/practices). In my country people with a disability get extra tax relief, discounts for many things and free public services as well as financial aid. These few years they have been quite well-taken care of compared to the taxpayers. Many of them don’t pay tax.

You’re lucky to have generous family and friends so count your lucky stars. It’s a good thing you’ve been given a free attorney to fight your case. How could the bank be so heartless since you’ve a disability. They should not take away your home. Where are you to live then? It’s worse as you’re not only a woman, you’re also wheel-chair bound! They should consider all these factors and write off your debts as well as restructure your present loan or if they can’t write off your debt they should give you time to repay without additional interest. In good times, banks make tons of money from ordinary folks like you and me.

Hi Anne, I’ve been wondering what happened to you. Taking exams at your age? Never mind, look at it positively. Such challenges keep the mind alert. Cessy has not posted for a long long time and I hope she’s okay. Our “quarrel” was childish and so unnecessary. Take care.

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Diane May 23, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Many countries do fall over themselves to help their fellow countrymen in need. I think it’s great; very kind and actually what Christianity is all about, or not even Christianity, but just plain doing what’s right, especially considering we’re the richest and most powerful nation on earth. In this country, there’s a bit of a difference. Folks use the term “Obamaphone” as a derogative term. It’s implied as an “entitlement” even tho’ SINCE WE ALL PAY TAXES, we EARNED support in our time of need. I don’t have one, but I was on welfare when I was struggling in my 20s and I know most of us don’t want to accept help but we do when it’s absolutely necessary.

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Anne April 14, 2013 at 4:56 am

Cynthia; PLEASE google: “New mortgage financing for low income persons”. There you will find links to financing and refinancing for low-low-income people, including upfront financing of all closing costs and in some cases money for improvements to your property.

I know for a fact that Wells Fargo has one such program and there may be others. Goggle Wells Fargo Loan Programs for Low income people and see if there is anything there that might benefit you.

Google and read carefully: “USDA Mortgage Loan Financing”. This is a federal loan program regardless as to which state you reside in, with special consideration being given to very low income with poor credit scores.

Some will tell you that you can only obtain USDA financing if you live in certain approved rural areas. This is not true. You can apply for approval in an area that is NOT on the USDA approved areas for financing. This was on my continuing education exam requirements recently when reapplying for renewal of my broker’s license, (even though I am located in Fl, USDA is a Federal Program and applies to all states). You might also want to google “Federal Truth in Lending Laws”. There is a wealth of information there that your average citizen does not know, that applies to them and their mtg loan.

I am glad to hear that you have obtained a foreclosure/bankruptcy atty. I hope he enlightens you that you are entitled to file for chapter 7 which forgives you of all debts, allows you to (EXCLUDE), keep your home and one automobile and personal affects. Yes, chapter 7 does still exist, most people do not qualify but you do. Also, your bankruptcy/foreclosure atty may not be familiar with all the new loan programs so you’ll have to research them for yourself since he is not a loan officer, then tell him your findings, and ask his legal advice, or not. L ook out for yourself. Do the thing that benefits YOU and don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do.

I understand what you are saying about losing your food stamps and other benefits when you work for a salary. You can only work for cash and keep quiet which makes it very difficult for you to obtain any kind of salary paid job whether part time or whatever. I might also add, that it can cause you to lose medical copays on your drugs as I know someone it happened too who had only earned an additional $330 that year but deposited the check in their bank account so there it was; reported as additional income. Now that person has at least an additional $50 a month to pay in copays that she did not have prior to this piddly little extra income; and THAT was after dropping two extremely expensive meds that now would have no coverage at all. It’s unbelievable what just a few dollars can cost you. Insist on cash only and don’t deposit it in your checking account else you’ll rue the day you did.

Good luck Cynthia; I think of you and your situation. Hello to Owl and everyone; I have been keeping up with reading the posts as they come in, just haven’t been taking the time to answer. For one thing, that friken broker’s exam had me bound up for weeks of studying and aggravation, so now that’s over (and passed before the deadline), I should be back soon….

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Cynthia April 23, 2013 at 5:15 am

Dear all,
I have had an ad in Care.com for years. I have never gotten a job through them however I made my own flyers and put them at local veterinarians. I have gotten several dog sitting jobs but usually for holidays. I now qualify for Medicare after 2 years of disability. I have been paying cash for my RXs unless there is a patient prescription program from the pharmaceutical company. My home loan IS a USDA home loan with Chase. I have been denied mortgage assistance program 6 times. So I will go bankrupt Ch 13 as my credit is no good and no one with take my loan. I will keep my house and car and apply for student loan forgiveness which rarely happens unless you can prove undue hardship. I am 56 y/o. Paying $600 a month until I am 66 is hardship and my unsecured debt will go away. My SSDI is $891 a month. My veggie garden is booming with baby veggies. Sunday I went fishing( I live 2 streets from the bay ). I have dusted off my solar oven for another season of free cooking. Most recently I have landed a personal assistant gig with someone and a clinical research trial for $50 a visit. I will keep your advice in mind. Thanks

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Lynn May 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

You mentioned that your mortage payment is smaller than the rent. If your house has two bedrooms or more, I would try to rent out the room to someone. That would help quite a bit on your mortage. If you go Ch 13, do you still have the mortgage on your house?

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Cynthia May 9, 2013 at 4:53 am

Dear Lynn,
My 1 bedroom apartment was over $900 a month when I bought my house. I hear now it is $1,000.00 a month. My cottage is a 2 bed, 1bath and has 836 sq ft. It is very small ,however ,in the past I did rent out the second bedroom for $300 a month. The first fella brought roaches to my new home and I had to pay dearly to get rid of them. The second was a young man referred to me by friends. He skipped out in the middle of the night oweing me hundreds of dollars and I had to change the locks. Number 3 was a female college student. She drug strange men home from bars to spend the night and I awoke to find the bumper of a pick up truck touching my front stairs they were so drunk. Three strikes you’re out. My personal safety is most important.
Ch 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization plan. I will still have to pay my mortgage and car (secured debt). The arrearages will be paid over a 5 year time period and my unsecured debt( 1 credit card/medical bills etc) will be canceled. The balance on my car loan will be “crammed down” -true value of car and lower interest rate and divided into 60 payments. Ch 13 is traditionally used as a tool to prevent foreclosure. Don’t forget to add Disabled to your Homestead exemption for your property taxes. I picked my first squash yesterday from my garden and cooked it in my solar oven for dinner. Have a good day.

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Lynn May 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Having a roomate would have more interference to your own life for sure. And people wanting to rent a room are usually not in a very stable situation, or don’t have much money. You could choose to just live in one of your properties, and rent the other one completely. The tenant would usually take care of the utility bills as well in this type of arrangement. There would always be bad tenants out there. The key is to do rental screening to avoid getting a bad tenant, and get a security deposit to cover the unexpected. After you get the hang of it, renting is easy and the income is as stable as a monthly pay check. In your case, it would probably double your existing income.

I could see that you are very good at being frugal with spending. But you would never be able to save more than what you earn. There is a limit to how much you can save, but there’s no limit to how much you can make.

Also, I look at frugal in a different way, it is more than about money. Being frugal is to maximize the value or usefulness of all your resources including money, time, energy, assets e.g. your properties, and social connections. Make them to help working towards your goal.

I am glad you are getting help, and you still have your house.

TheOwl April 23, 2013 at 7:26 am

Hi, I’m sure everyone here is glad for you. I certainly am that things are looking up for you. All the best.

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TheOwl April 28, 2013 at 10:09 pm

If we live like your Grandma we would have no financial worries. I look at the way the young today spend money and it worries me. Thanks for sharing,Cynthia. I agree with her lifestyle though I’m not that extreme.

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jan May 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Cynthia….
I have been reading about yr life and noted the comments. Perhaps in a post earlier than march someone suggested this..but I am wondering about the value of yr home. I was living in an expensive city on the w coast (Usa) when I got sick in 2009. I decided my best bet was to sell my house and move to a less expensive area. I moved to az. My house is not perfect but I own it and that is very helpful emotionally. I amhoping to go back to work this year but don’t know how successful I will be.
Anyway…..I think u have done amazingly well.

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Cynthia May 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Dear Jan,
The cost of living here in Texas is cheap. My brand new 2009 cottage is $580.00 a month including taxes and insurance. I can’t emphasize enough to the young folks. Buy quality (if you can) with cash and take really good care of it. My 27 year old bankruptcy attorney says I should give a frugal seminar. He was shocked to hear that I think paper towels are a luxury item but then he is just a puppy. :)

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Anne May 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

To Ryan McLoone;

Dear Ryan, although your recent post isn’t showing up here, I did receive it earlier today via my email, and I just wanted to say that your commemts are WAY out of perspective and out of line. You are stating that if an individual doesn’t own their own business and don’t have their friends, wife and at least 20 people working for them in their own business they are poor. Ryan, you obviously have not been around much.

You need to look a little further before you go insulting everyone who works for someone else. There are millions of people in this country who have earned very cushy upper-class lifestyles while being employed by others and still wound up becoming millionaires and better. There are so many executives, presidents and CEOs of large companies and their subsidiaries and umbrellas who earn into the mid-six figures and million dollar+ salaries annually that it would make your head spin; also many professionals, specialty educated, career minded and even lower level individuals who earn excellent salaries and come out better than the average busines owner; many of them becoming millionnaires.

Heck, I have a friend who worked as an office clerk-typist for Proctor & Gamble for 32 years and retired. She took her little pay raises as they came up and took her tiny little seniority steps up the ladder but never moved higher than clerk typist. For all of those 32 years she and her husband lived (well, but middle class) entirely on what he earned; paid off their home, remodeled and redecorated it a few times, took trips, ate out frequently, and bought cars whenever they needed one. She wore nice clothes and jewelry, rode the bus to work so she did not have to pay to park, and took a lunch box from home so didn’t have to eat out.

She never cashed a single one of her paychecks, instead deposited them and bought stocks, mostly P & G stocks. They never invested in any real estate or anything else. Shortly after her retirement they decided to pull in their resources, got an accountant and calculated they were worth over two million dollars; ALL THIS ACCOMPLISHED BY A LITTLE CLERK TYPIST who only worked from 8 to 5, five days a week. I know for a fact this is true.

Ryan, not every business survives, many bankrupt for lack of capital, many don’t even make it to the two year point while many fold during recessions or high inflationary periods; nor does every business owner become a millionnaire, many earn even less than some of their employees. I know and am in a position to know. I am and have been a real estate broker operating my own brokerage for quite a number of years and have had my iron in many fires along the way. No offense meant, but are just so SO out of touch Ryan.

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PJ May 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Hi Anne

Wow….after your comment, I had to see Ryan’s post, thinking that he must have said some horrible things. Although he could have said it in a more gentle way, I understand what he meant. Right now I am one of those who is working for someone else, and two years ago I tried to go “on my own” and got burnt and lost a fortune, but the principle that Ryan is preaching I think is quite true – those that have an entrepreneurial streak and stick to their guns no matter what, will often make it. And make it big. The $ 2 million dollars that clerk made is fantastic, but that is also after a life-time of work and being frugal. Yes, there is merit in hard work, but in all honesty, it does make your boss richer than you. What money truly follows is creativity. The wealthiest people in the world are the most creative ones. They make money without even trying to. Yes, many of these may be working for someone else, but how do you land that 6 or even 7 figure job? Not only via an MBA from Harvard. Sometimes a new kid on the block who runs his own company (maybe with no qualification) gets onto the radar of an established company. Instead of trying to put the small business out of business, they tend to buy him out and give him a senior position in the large firm. So life can go either way…..you can work for the same company for 30 years (which for me sounds so boring) or you can be a bit more adventurous and try something different. The bottom line is, if you are good at what you are doing, you will make money. Whether you make it as the owner of the business or working for someone else, that is the $ 64 000 question. One disclaimer, though, is that your own business can, if you dont notice it, start to control you. It is tough to manage an own business and have a “normal” family life. I guess the average CEO of a Fortune 500 company has the same problem. There is no point to gain the whole world and lose your soul in the process.

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TheOwl May 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Hi Anne. Yeah, I received that too in my email. The writer’s tone was so condescending/patronizing.

If everyone opens his own business where is he going to find the 20 people to work for him? He can’t get his spouse etc to work for him because they would all be running their own businesses too. Everyone knows that it’s best to work for yourself but how many can be successful? It’s also true the business could consume you in the end.

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Anne May 21, 2013 at 3:44 am

Hi PJ, finally I decide to scroll up and see your post. Sorry about that. You make many excellent points. I didn’t mean to imply that Ryan also didn’t make some excellent points since he did; however, I was trying to point out that owning your own business isn’t the be all and end all to being successful or happy, in particular since it can consume our lives. I, like nearly everyone else I’ve known who owned their own businesses, became a work-a-holic to such an extent that it was ahead of nearly everything else in my life.

I didn’t have to do this and now wish that I hadn’t; or at least that I had stopped at a certain point where I could have devoted myself to our lives at home. That time would have been after I got my investment business of buying, remodeling and reselling low-end properties up and going, then I could have at least taken week-ends off, but it never occured to me. I had such an excellent brokerage going and making money, with some very good agents (a few women but mostly men), and was so good at it, that I never thought of pulling back. I was on a roll and happy with it.

During all those years I was in real estate, before and after, (beginning in real estate when our son was about three years old), my life was very comfortable. We had beautiful homes and a higher style social life. My husband was an executive with a large corporation and I certainly didn’t “have” to do it. I did it because I knew I could, and I loved it, not for competition with anyone else, or to see how rich I could become. In fact, I never paid attention to what other brokers were doing, I couldn’t have cared less. I only ever concerned myself with what I and MY office was doing.

As you pointed out above, your business can start to control you. Mine certainly did, even to such an extent that once I didn’t even take off a week-end for six years. I could have traveled with my husband extensively, all over the country and the world on numerous trips at no cost to us as all of my expenses would have been covered by my husbands’ company. But, that’s water over the dam now. Besides which, I hated to fly.

Just to cover a few of the basics; in a real estate brokerage business, the broker must make sure the office is open at the appointed time and is being manned by a licensed agent at all times the door is open. If an agent doesn’t show up for whatever reason, you’ve got to cover it yourself if you can’t find another agent to run on a moments’ notice, which you usually can’t. Open houses are set up and advertised in advance; there again, if an agent doesn’t show for whatever reason, you’ve got to quickly get yourself in gear and man it yourself. No matter what else you might have been doing, you’ve got to drop it and run.

There’s also the matter of advertising, which is very costly. If the listing agent isn’t available to answer questions or show the property, you’ve got to do it yourself. Moving the real estate is the name of the game, you’ve got to move it, move it, move it. You can’t slack off. Your expenses and dues don’t slack off, and you can’t leave your clients sitting high and dry with no coverage. Then there’s the matter of contracts. Every contract that came through my office, be it a listing or sale, was read, modified where necessary, approved and signed off by me. At NO time would I allow a contract to be finalized and executed that I had not made certain was entirely legal, satisfactory to all parties involved, was above board and contained no sneakly little loopholes. Also, you cannot trust loan officers, you cannot trust the lawyers involved, you cannot trust appraisers and inspectors. You’ve got to stay on top of the deal every step of the way. So you see, I never had free time. But that’s the nature of the beast in real estate PJ, if you expect to stay in the business longer than a week and don’t get yourself sued, or lose your license; that’s the way it is.

To my knowledge, the majority of businesses that I am familiar with have to operate this way or in a similar fashion, according to their business practices, otherwise they find themselves quickly out of business. There is a LOT of mind power going into any business, and you depend on no one but yourself, always staying one step ahead. No, I don’t regret being in real estate and I still love doing it and do it well, I just regret that I didn’t pull back a little when I could have; OR that I didn’t stay with my cushy gov’mt job in the first place, then I could have relaxed and spent more time with my family and still could have come out on the top side finanially.

But real estate comes second nature to me. I can also tell you that there is no business in the world where an individual can make more money than they can in real estate if they know what they are doing and are totally commited. It is the only busines I know of where a person doesn’t have any capital tied up in the inventory, they have no investment in the product they are selling, they do not have to purchase expensive equiptment, they are selling something that doesn’t even belong to them, they get paid whether anyone else does or not, and they earn the cream right off the top, so to speak. Try beating THAT for an excellent business venture.

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Cynthia May 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

The last couple of emails I received had NOTHING to do with being frugal. They were creepy. So I’m out.
Good Luck,
Cynthia

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Loan Arranger May 20, 2013 at 12:06 am

Cynthia: please don’t give up on this site because of a couple of odd postings. Yes, some of them veer far off course, but most of them are on-point. Try to see the bigger picture. I think you will see (as has started to happen now) that the more thoughtful posters will start responding/clarifying to the odd posts and help to clarify things. I would give it at least one more chance. I have given up on the site, though temporarily, for the same reason. But I did come back.

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Cynthia May 20, 2013 at 4:28 am

And what does that have to do with habits of frugal people? – you know the topic of this blog?

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Anne May 20, 2013 at 5:03 am

Cynthia, not every post that comes along can pertain to your/our individual lifestyle inasmuch as we all live differently and can only apply those principals and practices of others that might pertain to us as individuals. For instance, I personally have owned outright four different businesses that likely would not accomodate anyone else here but each were successful in their own way. The point being, that no one single poster can tell us individually how to manage or live our individual lives or how to manage our lifestyle frugally.

1) When I was very young and first married, my first husband (a run-around player) loved to go fishing and hunting all week-end; I was just 19, had a new baby and a lot of time alone because he also had a full time job. Consequently, I decided I needed to own my own business that he might take an interest in and make money at the same time. We lived on a shoestring but I managed to eeek out enough to rent a building and set up and stock a bait & fishing tackle business. This included setting up minnow tanks & beds of boxed earthworms. I set up a fridge, hotplate and playpen for the baby at the bait & tackle shop and took him with me. I discovered that I had to be there by 4:00 a.m. because that’s when the men like to go fishing & hunting. Then I learned I had to be there on week-ends as late as midnight; again, because sometimes the men liked to pick up their supplies late in the evening so they could be on their way early, some even liked to fish all night. My husband refused to get up and go even once. I had every kind of rod & reel, hunting rifles and ammo, and everything else needed in that litle shop, which has a huge mark-up. My hubby never did show up to help me after he got the minnow tanks set up and I was strictly on my own, even having to package the earth worms by hand. I became so exhausted that sometimes I had to lock the door and lay on a mat in the back room just to get a short nap. Can you see the mess I got myself in? I was making m0ney hand over fist but had to sell out due to my sheer & utter exhaustion, had a beer-drinking player husband I couldn’t manage, and sold my stock cheaply to a woman & her hubby who just loved my business; for barely nothing down just so I could go home, get some rest and divorce the no-good rat. Long story short, the lovely couple I trusted and sold too also had several other businesses, went bankrupt and never did pay me.

2) Then I became a secretary. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to take care of my son myself having gone through a few lousy baby-sittters/nannies/housekeepers; so I borrowed $800 from a friend, rented a house and set up a darling nursery/day care business. It was hugely successful and full-house before I even got the doors open; operating 7/24/365 days a year, with 5 housekeepers, a cook and child care workers around the clock, but a HUGE responsibility. I was divorced and 23 years old. My God, I made money every day because many days I got paid everyday. I had a lot of men after me because I was smart, intelligent, beautiful and making lots of money. I was flying high, the only thing was I became exhausted and frequently heard babies crying in my sleep; because sometimes I couldn’t leave that place for days and even weeks at the time because I could not depend on my hired help to always show up, show up on time, or show up sober. I was taking a huge risk every time I left that place. I only ever had one employee I could actually depend on. Finally I’d had enough, called it quits and went back to being a secretary.

You see what I faced on both of the above ventures? No one I could count on to help carry the load, both businesses a successful (mom & pop type) operation but not enough gross income to carry two individual partners.

3) I went back to being a secretary, this time as secretary to the postmaster in Atlant, Ga. A sugar plum steady paying good government job with nice benefits. I stayed a number of years, had remarried, had another son, but decided I wanted to go into real estate; quit the good govm’t job, went to college and eventually became a real estate agent. THEN I saw the huge potential of buying undermarket properties, remodeling and reselling them, still working as a real estate agent while adding on a real estate investment business. This became business number three. Risky, but yep, made money there too, and lots of it. (However, keep this in mind: No commissioned job provides any type benefits, not even health insurance or unemployment benefits. You are strictly on your own).

4) Then I decide the heck with splitting my commissions with brokers; I studied the brokerage business including real estate law, applied for and got my brokers license and opened my own office. Great move on my part! I had good agents, even had my own in-house builder/developer and added on marketing new homes. Then tragedy struck. My husband died suddenly, and with it my heart died. He had been everything worthwhile in my life. Sure I was independent and a successful business woman, but little did I realize how vital he was to my life in every way. We had a 15 yr-old son together at the time. In time, I merged my business with Coldwell-Banker and remained as a corporate broker but could never get my heart set in the right place again. It just simply didn’t much matter anymore. Over the next six years I sold my properties , cashed in the chips so to speak, and moved to Fla. It was only after this that I was able to pick up and go on, living off the money I had, but finally deciding to get my Fla brokers license and regroup, which I eventually did, and now have an office down here. Fifteen years later, I have made money, yes, but I’ve never had the same heart for it.

BUT, if I had it to do all over again, what would I do? Long story short, I would keep the good paying government job with good benefits; would have moved up and retired from it a long time ago with a pension of approx $3,000 a month. That pension added to what my husband left me in the way of fixed income and his retirement pension would be more beneficial to me today than ALL of the above hassels and would net me more money in the long run as well. If you’ve got one, I say don’t throw over your good career job for a business venture, that, while it may have more potential, can also turn around to bite you in the butt!

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Anne May 20, 2013 at 6:24 am

Hi Owl! Hope you are well, enjoying life and all good things coming your way! Any trips coming up soon? I’m still perking along, coping, relaxed and greatly peaceful. Not much stress, not doing much these days, per se’, just laid back and doing my own thing, good days and bad days, mostly feeling pretty good. Haven’t been to the office for a while, just biding my time, living frugally and enjoying it. I have most of my meals delivered to the house so don’t even have to cook much or go out to eat either. Afraid to rock the boat since life is going along pretty good, for fear things could always get worse. Know what I mean? I figure when it’s time to make a move I’ll know it, having a higher faith than just in myself, knowing this is where my strength comes from.

Yeah, that particular post had everybody in business for themselves, then whose left to support their business, those service industries that this poster calls the poor people who have no value? Yep, it was rather bland and implied “using” others to ones own personal gain; which couldn’t possibly apply to everyone here, especially that part about having your wife work for you! Having been a career woman and a successful business owner myself, how dare any man try to tell ME that I need to be working FOR some husband.

If I ever met one who is smarter than I already am, it might (I say “MIGHT”) be a horse of a different color, but since I never have, and in the end had mostly MEN working for me; then that is where I’m off the merry-go-round with some man telling ME to work for a husband. God perish the thought. Even my dear departed husband had better sense than to ever interfer in my business or try to tell me what to do in such a manner that might have had me groveling to him. In my experience, most smart men I’ve known appreciate having a sharp woman and will do everything they can to stand by and help promote her. My husband certainly did.

Heavens to betsy, I’ve even had successful (male) business owners and lawyers tell me that they would only work with or list their properties with me because I was a woman, sharp, knew what I was doing, and was successful; these very same men highly recommending me to their clients and others thereby increasing my busines even though I charged some very high fees. They gladly paid it. Bottom line, many men have failed because they could not see the potential a sharp woman has at her disposal. I need to work for some husband? Spare me! Sure, Ryan made many good points, but I hope every woman on here took note of that business of “working for a husband”; will gather up their self-esteem, and will have the courage to make their OWN decisions, no matter how big or how small, because whether right or wrong, THEY/WE are the ones who are left stuck with these decisions in the end.

Good to see ya, Owl!

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TheOwl May 20, 2013 at 7:09 am

Hola Anne. I’m very fine, thank you. Since my trip to Sarawak Borneo I haven’t had the time to travel far,just to the highlands and local casino. Will go somewhere from June because the weather on the east coast will be very good until August so island hopping or beach holidays would be good. Later in September or October when it’s cooler I might want to visit north Vietnam (perhaps south Vietnam too but it’s always hot in the south and I don’t like very hot weather) or perhaps Taiwan. I don’t want to visit the northern hemisphere in the summer months because I get summer the whole year through.

Agree that the best job is a good,safe govt job with a life pension and a lump sum gratuity at the end of the day. Running your own business can be such a hassle and life can be too short to take all that trouble. I don’t agree about making our spouse and family work for us. Sounds unpleasant.

If we see working for someone else as foolishness we must remember that our boss carries a very heavy burden. Many people look at their bosses and envy them,thinking that they are making their bosses rich. Then they venture out to work for themselves to make themselves rich. Later, they find that it’s not a bed of roses without thorns. Like you mentioned you could end up with nothing after all the stress and hassle.

Take life easy and enjoy it. I am. Good to know you’re doing fine.

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Anne May 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Cecelia(?)Jane,

I just read your post on my email although I don’t see it here, but I can tell you I know of several cases where you are right in the disability issue. It is true that many disabled persons are allowed to work limited hours and in some cases even full time jobs. I haven’t seen any disabled employees working at Walmart, but, I haven’t been to all Walmarts so possibly they too allow disabled door greeters. Also, Wendys’ hires disabled persons and some who are mentally handicapped; I came across one at Wendys’ who was operating the drive-thru chashiers window, a neighbor of mine who was selling Avon, severely retarded. Imagine my surprise! She told me that Wendys’ trained her. She LOVED the job. Now, I’m not suggesting that Cynthia go to work for Wendys’, knowing she is a skilled nurse. This is just one example and there’s got to be others according to the way you describe the possibilities in your post.

I haven’t looked into the laws regarding employee hiring practices and employee discrimination, but I don’t believe it’s legal to discriminate against someone anymore who is disabled but are otherwise competent to do the job.

My sister was a telephone operator/supervisor who got very ill and gained up to 320+ lbs due to a glandular/thyroid disease which caused her to have other debilitating diseases, all to the point where she could no longer walk the long corridors at AT & T, nor could she stand to do any work. AT & T provided her with a wheelchair and all handicapped benefits including full medical benefits after her retirement. She worked on until she retired and was able to obtain proper medical care later on. Now ten years later she is doing quite well.

Also, I had a friend who was totally wheelchair bound and deformed; she had been in a wheelchair all of her life. She got a degree in engineering and went to work in the administratative offices of the U.S. Post Office Dept and rose to a level 14, with a department under her supervision. Point is, I know there are good jobs and not so good jobs out there for people who are disabled.

I sympathize with Cynthia, but I do believe she will find other possibilities for helping with her living expenses without losing her home, and without her getting upset and disgusted when other posts turn up here that don’t pertain exclusively to her living situation.

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Angie May 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm

It’s been a while since I checked out this site again. A lot of good info being shared. Also a few snarky comments that made me laugh. In particular the one about “democrats collecting hand outs”. Funny, but misguided. I live in a building set up for disabled people. All collect SSI or Disability Benefits. I believe the majority also get food stamps. And we all have an “Obama phone”. (thanks Prez!) During the last elections I learned that around 85% of them were Republicans. LOL! Reality is, politics don’t determine who will have an accident, disease, disability of some kind. If that were the case, I would join the party that’s disability free!! I honestly don’t need or like my disability..lol.

Anne, thanks for your advice on home purchasing. Since I have been foreclosed on once, and really have no idea what my credit rating is at the moment, I will just pay cash for the house. I know some people think that’s a mistake, but it’s my choice. I can afford it, and I won’t have a mortgage to worry about, or interest. All I ever really need in life is a roof over my head, a garden out back, so why not buy it outright and be done with it? Your advice was VERY good tho. My realtor had suggested the same things. So thank you, I’m sure some of the others here can benefit greatly from this advice.

Anyway, it’s been a long and interesting journey from rich to poor and now to comfortable. I learned so much, and I hope to share some of it with others who have experienced this kind of change in lifestyle. I still say, finding myself desperately poor was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

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TheOwl May 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Hi Angie,

Yes I learn so much from this blog. I experienced poverty as a kid and never want to be desperately poor again like you wrote. That’s the reason why I come to such sites – to learn how not to fall into traps or make mistakes which can cause us to suffer when we grow old.

Thanks for sharing. Btw,what’s an Obama phone? This is the second time I’m asking this question so could someone kindly enlighten me? Anne? Someone please? Thanks.

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Eascc Campo May 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Dear Owl,
Your top paragraph on your 5/20/13 comment caught my attention and I want to tell you to be a skeptic but you must be that.

An Obama phone I think I learned from the comments under Yahoo news stories is a phone Obama now has control of meaning federally funded. It’s more of a joke or insult than an item to look for to buy.

Good to find you people here.

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TheOwl May 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Hi Eascc,

Thanks for taking the trouble to explain. It should be cheaper as it’s federally funded. Oh,I didn’t know it’s a joke. I don’t live in the states so I’ve no idea. I had thought we can buy an Obama phone in America.

Also thanks for the advice. It’s safer to be sceptical about many propositions and offers.

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Anne May 21, 2013 at 2:16 am

It’s not an insult or a joke, Eascc (love that name!), it’s a fact. See my post below for detailed explanation.

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Anne May 21, 2013 at 5:10 am

Hi Angie… Wheeee! When it comes to politics I try to stay out of it because it’s a no win situation; although I believe I could win it if I really tried. Let me just say this about that; we would have no social programs had it not been for the democrats. I don’t think we would even have de-segregation or equal rights for women OR minorities had it not been for the democrats; for which they’ve had to fight the repugs every step of the way. NOR would we have had the ungodly wars we’ve had. Can I prove any of this? You BET I can! It’s all a matter of studying our political history.

You’re welcome to the real estate advice. I will agree with you too, that it is VERY wise to pay cash outright for a home if you are able to do so. I have advised every buyer I’ve ever known to do this, or to at least pay as much down on the property as they were able to come up with, regardless as to their age. I’ve also urged and BEGGED buyers not to take out sub-prime mortgage loans that had no interest rate cap on them, or a high one, or that could balloon at the end of a certain time frame. I’ve never had but one buyer who insisted on taking out one of these loans, he said because he was retiring from EI Dupont in two years at a retirement of $7,500 a mon and he could afford it. I don’t know if he ever did because I dropped him with his hateful whiny attitude and his snotty wife after the closing; which I will do if they become unreasonable and too much trouble and this particular couple did.

I’ve never had but three clients that I have dropped and he was one of them. Another one because he lied to me and I won’t do business that way. All the cards have to be on the table. No lies, tricks, schemes and devices, no sneaky-poo. Somebody like that can get you sued. The other one I dropped was a buyer who became so evil towards the seller that I wouldn’t speak to him on the street if I had too. Oh, and two more sellers because they wanted me to cover up something for them illegally, and I won’t do that either. Not for one client or fifty clients would I risk losing my brokers’ license. Believe me, I could have made a lot more money than I did had I been willing to stoop down to illegal or underhanded dealings.

Re the sub-primes, it was stupid, stupid, stupid to obligate oneself for these sub-prime loans that the buyer had no control over, even if credit requirements were not as restrictive; while so many were doing this who could not qualify to purchase any other way, then all these mortgages came due at one time and there was no money for refinancing them, PLUS property values had fallen and now they had no equity, and were underwater with their mortgage. For this reason alone many have fallen into foreclosure, plus all those who lost their jobs during the bubble recession.

Also, I urged my buyers never to incur a thirty-year mortgage loan or to finance their taxes and insurance payments in with the mortgage payment, not if there was any other way around it. Sure, it’s convenient to pay your taxes and insurance in with your mortgage payment, but what you are actually doing is paying for a year in advance and all this time the mortgage broker is using YOUR money when you could be using it yourself. I am aware that a lot of people do this because they cannot come up with the 20% required down payment that allows them to pay the taxes and insurance payments themselves; otherwise, they are required to escrow these payments in advance with the lender.

The HUGE cost of the thirty-year mortgage loan as opposed to the twenty-year mortgage loan, is that you are GIVING the last ten years of mortgage payments to the lender, when IF, you’d only paid just a few more dollars monthly, you could have gotten a better interest rate and had been done with your mortgage payments at the end of twenty years. I did this once, way back when I was stupid, knew nothing about mortgage financing and nobody showed me the difference. Calculate it. It is a HUGE amount of money. The amount of additional money you give that lender for the last ten years of your thirty year mortgage is in the MANY thousands of dollars you could have saved and been debt free! Even better is the fifteen year mortgage loan if one can afford an additional few more dollars monthly, which is SOOO worth it to chop fifteen years off your mortgage payments that you are flat out GIVING AWAY when you don’t need too! Believe me, mortgage lenders will NOT encourage you to take out shorter term mortgage; he!!, they want you on a FORTY year mortgage.

But you my dear, have hit pay dirt if you can come up with the cash to pay outright for your home and have NO mortgage. Just wow. You go for it girl!

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Anne May 21, 2013 at 1:57 am

Hi Owl, sorry I never got back to you yesterday. I fully intended too right after your gracious response to me, then had to drift away doing something else. Thank you for accepting my apology. Good for you! Sounds like you are having a good spring and anticipating a nice summer and fall so far as it concerns your travel plans. You never told me Owl, what was/is your career or did you ever have one? I’d really like to know because I’m interested in your life, but if you don’t want to mention it on an open forum, I understand.

Anywayz, to answer your question concerning what we call the Obama phone; it was enacted by the Federal Gov’mt to ensure that all poorer classes of citizens are able to have phone usage, including dependent single parents, children and the elderly. It has a limited scope as to who is qualified to obtain one. (For example, I am not qualified although I am widowed and presently living primarily on combined fixed amounts of retirement incomes until I am able to get back to my office and get to work; but even now my income is way too high to qualify). It is calculated on ones income, not their expenses or obligations.

First, one has to apply and be approved according to required low income levels, e.i., living on SS I Disability, food stamps, low Social Security retirement benefits, or other minimum subsidy, and etc., that do not exceed a certain maximum combined monthly income. I forgot what that amount is, although I do know that it is very low; I believe there is an 800# one can call to determine their eligibility and they can apply over the phone or by computer. It has a very small down payment, I believe something like $5 and a low payment of approx $5 for the first 250 mins. (All of the charges are plus tax).

My granddaughter, whose absconded mother does not pay child support, is qualified and has one and it is very cheap; however, 250 mins is nothing in the big picture. My son who was right in the middle of a big project had to borrow it from her once for about three days and that 250 mins suddenly died on him and he had to quickly get it reinstated by paying another $5 which also did not last long. It was like spitting in the ocean hoping to create a river. Long story short, he quickly decided to pay the $30 for the unlimited mins every mon so that she not get stuck with no phone, just in case.

It was created so that all could have use of a phone in case of an emergency. I’m not real sure I am correct in these figures although I did know at one time and I am trying to recall it from memory. The phone is automatically shut off at the end of the (quick usage) 250 mins; one can pay an additional $5 for each additional 250 mins, or they can pay $30 for unlimited mins for thirty days. There is no rollover at the end of the mon and one must start over.

IMO, it really isn’t all that big a deal as one can purchase a cell phone outright at Walmart for less than $50 and can have unlimited mins all the time for under $50 a mon. On the other hand, it can be highly beneficial to those who do not have access to another phone, to dependent children, the elderly, disabled and handicapped or others who can only afford such a low cost and can stay within the limitations. The truth is, I’m sure there are many people who would not be able to have a phone any other way, and it is likely all they can do just to eeek out these minimum amounts.

So there, I hope this answers your questions re the Obama phone program. Sorry Owl, but you wouldn’t be qualified! he he….

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TheOwl May 25, 2013 at 3:30 am

Hi Anne,

Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to explain the Obama phone in such great detail. The terms of service sound complicating but I think it’s very helpful for people who are really in financial straits.

Referring to para 1 of your post, please do not worry because I was equally “naughty”. Life is more rewarding when we make friends. It doesn’t pay to keep grudges. In fact,I have nothing in my heart against Cessy. If she comes here I would still acknowledge her. The thing is not to be sensitive about small matters and try not to take sides/put fire and make people mad. There’s nothing to gain from quarreling at forums.

To answer your curious questions in para 1 (and thanks for being interested in my life. So am I in the lifestyle of Americans and other westerners) I’m in a cushy govt job (like you put it). We have a lot of allowances and I’ll retire with a comfortable life pension and golden handshake. As it is I’ve planned carefully and invested conservatively so I’m very comfortable.

Btw, we don’t have spring, summer or fall {we call it autumn here. I’m very British-influenced – Irish education for 11 years,then 2 years pre-university at an all-boys’ school founded and set up by the British (it’s only c0-educational at pre-uni level), 4 years’ university education at a university set up with British help. The course I studied was based on the Cambridge university syllabus so I’m very British-oriented. I use British spelling, not American} here and it’s summer all day long so when I travel in the northern hemisphere I would choose spring or autumn months. I avoid the height of winter which is too cold for tropical people but I also dislike hot summer months. Here in the tropics I either choose the highlands or the islands.

See you here again.

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Angie May 23, 2013 at 8:53 am

Anne, you are mostly correct about the “Obama phone”. You can get them thru “safelinks.com”, or “assurance.com” online. 250 minutes with no international calling and no rollover of minutes, 60 minutes if you want international calling, and 180 minutes with a rollover. As you said, 250 minutes a month is not much, but if you need it only to make doctors appointments, call a cab, text your kids so they know you’re still alive….its very handy. 911 calls are free, and won’t take any minutes. Some people who have hit rock bottom don’t have the $50 to buy a phone at Wal-Mart. And this free phone option is fantastic for them. But they must be able to prove that they are already getting benefit from SSI, Disability, Food Stamps or some other program. They must have an address also. You can apply online or on the phone, they will send a form, you sign it, add your proof of benefits, mail it back, and in about a week, you have a phone. Easy. I dislike phones, personally, and wouldn’t use one for years. But when my disability worsened, I needed something to call 911 or my doctor, and as the neighborhood I was in at the time declined, I needed access to police on occasion. Safelinks gave me one 4 years ago and its still the only one I’ll use. I believe I will no longer qualify once my current eligibility days run out, you get 450 days between having to reapply.

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Angie May 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I had to share this story. This is a perfect example of people helping people in rough times.

A guy, I’ll call him “Fred”, just moved into the building I live in. His wife passed away recently, he is elderly, retired, disabled and was living on his wife’s SS payments until she died. I don’t know the circumstances of why he didn’t have SS payments of his own.

In any case, he found himself alone, living down south, his grown children live up north, in my state. As the months went by he was getting more and more into poverty until he finally lost literally everything. He moved in with his son, who quite honestly didn’t have room for him, as he has a family of his own. Eventually an opening came up in this building and he moved in.

He had NOTHING when he came here a month ago. His son gave him a bed and some linens, and that was all he had. He has applied for Food benefits and SSI, but it could take quite some time to see any of that. Seeing his plight, the residents started to take dinners to him, what was left from their own. One girl, so sweet, she gave him a sofa, air conditioner, table, chairs, dinnerware. He thought he had died and woke up in Paradise.

Today I find out that someone gave him an old 52 inch screen TV, not a flat screen, some console kind, I don’t know what they are called. Last I heard he was watching the Detroit Lions game on it, grinning from ear to ear. Daily there are bags on his door early in the morning, some anonymous residents have left, with apples, rice, coffee, canned goods, etc. in them.

This man went from destitution to thinking he has the world by the….you know what. I recall when I moved in, I had very little, I had sold or given away most of what I had and moved to New Orleans with just two bags and a laptop. I came back up north eventually because NOLA isn’t a great place to live right now. Within a month, I had a sofa, a nice TV (I don’t watch TV but I do have an obsolete Gamecube I still like to play), a new laptop, a desk, a lot of bookcases, so much that I finally had to say “Thank you but I am full up already.” I like to live simply, not much furniture, I don’t collect “things” or have much interest in “knick knacky” items. What I got that I couldn’t use was passed on to someone who could.

Months went by when I didn’t prepare a meal myself or go to the store. Someone was always bringing me dinner, bags of food, toiletries…Just like they do with “Fred” now. This is America at her finest. All of these people are under the poverty line, and yet their capacity for giving and sharing is boundless. No one here goes hungry, they are comfortable, have some source of entertainment, pictures on the walls, everything they need. All for free.

It’s easy to be “frugal” when there is a community system that steps up to support one another. In this case it’s the residents of one building that take care of their own. Simple things like sharing information about where help can be found, having someone who knows the SS and benefits process helping fill out forms, people who give rather than sell unwanted items….these all make a difference in any neighborhood. And it costs nothing to help.

Ok, I don’t know if this really fits the topic at hand, but it made me happy to see this tired, struggling old man grinning and visibly amazed at the kindness of his new neighbors. I just had to share. :)

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TheOwl May 25, 2013 at 2:11 am

Thanks for sharing this story about “Fred”, bless him. It’s indeed more blessed to give than to receive. The Chinese have a saying which goes like this – the generous will prosper.

I hear a lot of stories about destitute old folks in the US and Western Europe. This could be a disease of so-called progress. In the East it has been the tradition to take care of our old folks but slowly the trend is going west so much so in Singapore the govt has already enacted a law to force children to provide financially for their aged parents and if their parents lodge a complaint against them they can be fined or jailed. In fact, China is thinking of enacting laws to make the young visit and upkeep their parents financially as there are 30 million old people in China, more than my country’s population.

When life becomes a struggle or a rat race the old get abandoned. That’s why I settled for a cushy govt job where I will retire on a comfortable life pension which can be inherited 100% by the spouse or by any disabled child (if the spouse is still alive then 50-50). We followed the British civil service pension system which is among the best in the world.

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Loan Arranger May 24, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Angie: Thanks for sharing this story. No one yet has mentioned what we can get from the generosity of others. I myself hit yard sales as often as I can, especially if there is something particular I have in mind. Yesterday I got, for 50 cents, a huge stack of new greeting cards for all occasions, that someone just didn’t need I guess. I will use them instead of spending $2 to $4 apiece on greeting cards. I also bought a new kitchen towel for 50 cents. I will be looking for a lamp and table at future yard sales. But the generosity of Americans is legendary, and your story is a fine example, and very heart-warming. I also believe in “paying it forward”. When someone helps you, good – and when you get in a better situation, then you help someone else in need. Good post my friend.

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MARY May 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Where is credit to Stephen Covey in this piece…. all 7 are part of his brilliant work.

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james maddux June 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Rule #1: Stop trying to impress people with your possessions.
Rule #2: Don’t go shopping for recreation of out of boredom.
Rule #3: Wear only black. You’ll look elegant and slightly mysterious and will never again be tempted to buy the same shirt or blouse in six different colors.
Rule #4: Learn to cook.
Rule #5: Cancel all of your catalogs or throw them away immediately when you get them.

But mostly, follow Rule#1 and it will all fall into place.

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Loan Arranger June 17, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Mr. Maddux: Good rules. I never read the catalogs that come in the mail/in the paper unless I am looking for something specific. Right into the recycling they go! Wearing all black though is a bit beyond me. Learning to cook is one of the best things you can do. You don’t have to plan to be a master chef. Many things are super easy. Only eat out on special occasions.

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Angie June 18, 2013 at 1:21 am

James Maddux, I love the “wear all black” idea. I laughed when I saw that because i was ordering some new dresses just last night and I had a friend here with me, and she kept saying, “Oh, I like that green one, that’s a nice shade of blue, also.” And I kept ordering black or gray. I LIKE black and gray. Any black or gray dress I order will already match the sweaters, shawls, or whatever that I already have. This isn’t new for me, I have always worn black and gray for as long as I can remember.

And rule #1…YESSSSSS! Why try to keep up with the Joneses when the Joneses don’t give one hot damn what you have anyway? And if they do care, that’s just creepy. Last night I served coffee to my friend in a pink cup with a rose on it, she said, “I really like this cup.” and I told her, “Oh really? Take it, I don’t need it.” Honestly, I am the only thing in my apartment that can’t be replaced. None of this stuff has any importance to me. (except my coffee pot, I NEED that!) If it all disappeared tomorrow I’d just be happy that I don’t have to move it again.

As far as eating out, never did like that. I always imagine some spotty faced kid in the kitchen cooking, and who knows if he washed his hands after he touched himself. YUK! It puts me right off. Besides, I’m the best cook I know, why would I go anywhere else? I have a gazillion recipes, if anyone needs some, just ask.

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Anne June 18, 2013 at 3:35 am

I must say, you peeps have me in a state of mystery as to “why the all black” clothing? Is it just to save money by always being able to interchange every piece of clothing you wear? Otherwise, I don’t get it, and wouldn’t want to do it even if I did. Don’t you realize this is ‘dated’ and can make you look (and feel) older than dirt and poorer than a church mouse? Heck, I’d try the thirft stores (where we actually have higher end boutique gently worn sales) for updated colors, patterns and styles before I’d walk around looking like the living dead.

Having said that; I live in south Fla where it is hot and humid; the last thing one would want to do is go around decked out in all black, stinking from clothing that are in need of dry cleaning and sweating up a storm! I wouldn’t do it even if I lived up north, which I did before moving down here, and even then all black was not in vogue other than say, for a funeral.

Here, we’re into tropical fragrances, white and light colors, light clothing, nothing heavy and nothing dark, particularly not black, burgandy, navy and brown. We also like bright festive colors and styles worn with expensive jeans, (personally I don’t care for heavy jeans) with sandals, classy footwear and good jewelry. Black is reserved for strictly formal attire and then very rarely.

Most Florida women I know are well dressed but casual, sharp, sassy, will spend money on our cosmetic appearances in a heartbeat. We think nothing of getting face work, keeping our hair highlighted, nails done and staying toned when possible. We will take out a bank loan and plan a frugal scheme just so we can afford to update ourselves. No offense meant, but why would we go with the all black, dowdy, washed out looking nonsense? Somebody enlighten me please!

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TheOwl June 18, 2013 at 3:54 am

Hahahaha Anne, I agree wholly with you. I live in the tropics and I avoid black like it’s death. Here we like bright, breezy colours. I’m ethnic Chinese living in south-east Asia and being Chinese we’re superstitious about wearing a lot of grey and black. In winter, the landscape could look even more dreary LOL though we’re always summer here.

Life is so short, make it worth living. Be happy. Why be so thrifty and die without enjoying any of your money. Then even before your grave is dry (the saying of the Malay people) the kids will be blowing your money away hehe.

You fine Anne? I’m having a good time here. Lots of activities planned – trips,an outing to the philharmonic,eating out at Tony Roma’s etc. You take care.

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Angie June 26, 2013 at 5:57 am

Anne, lol. I started wearing black way back when I was just a kid. Not sure why, but I am just so comfortable in it. I have to admit between the ages of 24 and 40 I did own and ride Harleys and black does seem to be standard issue with that lifestyle. I had three old Police Special Trikes, two of those were black and my favorite one was a pretty Daytona Blue. Ohhh, those were the days!

I have tried wearing “color” and I am not comfortable in it at all. I feel like a peacock. I was never much for wearing what was “trendy” or in fashion, whatever. I wear what I like, and what I feel comfortable in. That being said, my closet consists of long dresses, lace over dresses, floor length jackets and coats, even floor length hoodies, which are wonderful in Ohio winters. Hard to find, but worth the effort. I do own a couple pair of leggings, but those are worn under the dresses on very very cold days. Once I did step downstairs to check my mail in a pair of leggings and a kurti (long shirt) and my neighbors didn’t recognize me. They seemed surprised that I actually had legs.

Whether or not I look washed out or dowdy is not an issue for me. I dress to please myself. My dresses are lovely, really. Some are plain, but most have a lot of embroidery, sequins, bling and sparkle. One of my favorites is a floor length (they all are) black dress with intricate silver beadwork on the front and sleeves. It’s gorgeous. And the lace overdresses are delicate and very Victorian looking.

I HOPE this fashion statement doesn’t catch on. You all can have the jeans and colors and what not. I would be very disappointed if I woke up one day to find everyone dressing like I do. That would be my nightmare.

I think another reason for the long dresses and sparklies is that when I was a booking agent/music producer, which I did for many years, I had to make visits to various venues across three states to “sell” my bands to the venue owners. Cold calls are the worst thing ever. The sheer amount of confidence it takes to approach some usually gruff and impatient man, a total stranger, and convince him that the bands I am offering to play in his club are the best in the area, is daunting. Fortunately, my bands were really that good, so I had no worries about that. But there I was, a lone woman, tiny, no bigger than a minute, and I HAD to make a fast impression, or be categorized with the million other agents who claimed to have “the best bands ever”. So, I’d going floating in like some Victorian/Middle Eastern princess and confidently TELL him he wanted my bands. I never asked, I told. 100% of the time I only had to introduce myself once. They remembered me forever. I was as unique and memorable as my bands were. I’m not sure if I could have done that, or achieved the amount of success that I did if I had wandered in looking like 10,000 other people. I truly believe that if I had wandered into some venue mid-day wearing jeans and a colorful shirt, I would have been escorted out faster than I came in. These guys have zero patience for booking agents.

In any case, “washed out and dowdy” are not descriptions I have ever heard. True, sometimes I hear someone say “That one with the long dresses” but what I hear more is “OMG! You look beautiful!!” or “I love your clothes, where do you find these?” Either way, its ok, I love my clothes, too, and I love my unique style. And I can wear black and gray, look fabulous and still be fit, manicured and wonderfully groomed.

I hope this helps you understand, Anne. While I do appreciate color, I don’t want to wear it. My personality is colorful enough to make up for any lack of it in my closet…lol.

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Anne June 18, 2013 at 4:38 am

Hey Owl! Good to see ya!! Glad to see you’re well, happy and enjoying life; AND DRESSING (AAND EATING) WELL! Tony Romas’ sounds good; love the philharmonic too. Miss those days when my hubby and I did all those fun things together. But that was in Cincinnati (Oh) and eons ago.

Haven’t been getting out much lately, however; and having most meals delivered. Haen’t been able to go to the office for a while either. Right now my youngest son is with me. He cancelled some appointments (professional photographer in Sarasota, Fl) and came home for a couple of months to ‘help his mama’ so to speak (and himself) for awhile, and my granddaughter went to Cincinnati for a couple of months with my step-daughter. She is quite talented at only eleven and is heavily into the various arts this summer and having a great time.

I had the tumor removed from my throat last week; right now have no voice, but my voice does give appearances of being able to come back in some fashion. I know we don’t have the same religious beliefs, Owl; but say a prayer for me anywayz. You’d be surprised what God hears and sees, AND answers. Just go with it for me, okay friend?

You are SO right in your attitude of making yourself happy and comfortable while you can. What’s the fun, or even relaxation in having to watch and curtail every penny you spend when your kids will blast thru every dime as fast as they can after you’re gone regardless as to how hard you sacrificed; or even set your stuff out on the curb to be pitched. Ha….! I’ve already heard how “I don’t want this and I don’t want that…” and yada yada, and how drawers and boxes are going to be dumped for the trash pick up.

I wouldn’t put it past my two sons to dump things without even looking to see the valuables I had stashed amongst the crap that looked like junk, even tossing out good jewelry, silver, antiques and good paintings. My other son in Cincinnati also seems to feel the same way! Alls I can say is they’d better be paying attention to that they’re doing else they’ll walk away with nothing as there sure isn’t going to be much money for them to fall back on! Particularly now with my medical copays eating me alive, with more yet to come.

BTW, I did read your post a few weeks ago about your govm’t job/career, just couldn’t get back to you right then. Congratulations, you were wise to hang in there with a good stable govm’t job that increased in salary and benefits as the years rolled by. Very wise Chinese thinking! I’ve had quite a few Chinese clients, you know, whom I admired; they were very loyal to me as I was to them, while we built a great repore’ amongst ourselves. I recall such great stories they told me and how generous and grateful they were to me for looking out for their interests. Wonderful people! Glad to hear all is well for you….

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Anne June 18, 2013 at 5:13 am

Haha Owl…. I was remembering how some of my Chinese clients came over from Tiepai (sp?) to meet with me and some of their local Chinese friends to purchase an apartment building. We met at length and I knew exactly what they wanted and their price range; had also worked out sugar-plum financing for them. I picked out the best of buildings for them and had already laid the ground work to negotiate the price down tremendously.

I set up all the good buildings within their range, saving the best for last, the one I knew they would want. I was right, we toured the units we could get into, explored the building at great length, went over the arent rolls, the prospectus, and everything was in order to their liking. At the end and hours later, we are walking back to our respective automobiles, heading back to my office to write up the contracts, when the wife of the major buyer suddenly darted over to her friend and whispers something to her and they both quickly jumped back.

I went to her and asked, ‘what is wrong’? (We had an interputer with us) She says “ess snake skin, we not buy”, and points to the ground where it lay. I did not question this as I did not think it was my place to questions a clients’ beliefs for whatever reason; but I’ve always wondered: What is wrong with an old dead snake skin lying abandoned on the grass? I mean, the snake is gone and the skin is dead, what harm could it possibly cause? (BTW, yes, I did sell several of them homes near their friends but they decided not to buy an apartment building in that area after the dead snake skin incident).

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TheOwl June 18, 2013 at 6:44 am

Hahahaha Anne,you talking of the Taiwanese from Taipei. They are also ethnic Chinese. Asians are full of superstitions. A dead snake is a negative sign. if it’s just the skin it’s a sign that snakes come to the area. I would love to have you as my real estate agent,whether I’m selling or buying. Those here know nuts. All they care about is the commission they’re going to earn. All very unprofessional and most of them are ethnic Chinese.

Thanks for liking us but when it comes to business and money there’s very little to like about us. King Mongkut of Thailand called the Chinese the Jews of the East. If you know Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice then you’ll know the character Shylock. Many Chinese businessmen are like him haha. We go to China and they will also slaughter us. they don’t give a damn that we’re ethnic Chinese. We’re foreigners to them,despite our yellow skin and slitty eyes. If you’ve white skin,blue eyes and blond hair you’re the western devil or barbarian hahaha

If the US or any country has no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate these Taiwanese (Chinese living in Taiwan),Hongkees (those Chinese living in HK),the Chinese living in the south-east asian countries of Singapore,Malaysia, Indonesia,Thailand,the Phillipines and Vietnam as well as the mainland Chinese will buy everything up. The Israeli PM said that if the Jews (the richest in the US and Australia are Jews) and the Chinese join forces and control the economy of the world it would be better for everybody. I find that beyond my understanding. They are both now almost in control of the world’s wealth but is everybody having an easy time?

The Chinese love real estate (land and buildings. Mark Twain says to buy land bcs they don’t make it any more). I think the Jews and the Chinese are the two races having the greatest propensity to make money. I too love investing in real estate,both land and buildings. I do not own shares,bonds or precious metal. Real estate is the best hedge against inflation.

I didn’t know you had a tumour in your throat. As long as it is benign it’s okay. Your voice will come back but as it is I hear you,loud and clear. if you cannot speak,just write. It’s best you take care of your health. Throw away that ciggy. you’re already in your 60’s so go for the healthy lifestyle. eat as little meat as possible. Fish is fine. Replace meat with vegetable protein like tofu (we eat a lot of that) and legumes.

Yes,enjoy life as there aren’t many good years left to have a good time before game’s over for us. However,do not go into debt just to eat,dress and live well. Being in debt will reduce your quality of life as you’ve something to worry about. And why burden the kids after we’re gone? We do not need to leave them anything but neither should we leave them debts. Did your son have the heart surgery already? Take care and have fun playing with your grand daughter bcs kids grow up so fast these days. After 12 they think they’re adults LOL.

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Anne June 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Dr. J, we’ve had this discussion several times. You’d have to read back to find these old posts. David has given credit to Covey; if I had time to go back and find it for you I would, but don’t right now. Just look, you’ll find it. Anne-

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Anne June 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Loved your response Owl! Planning to get back to you real soon… Love, Anne

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bh June 25, 2013 at 6:28 pm

What a stupid article. Here is one habit, never pay retail, unless in an absolute emergency. Plan ahead, buy meat on sale and freeze it, buy a car a model year late, buy clothes and overstock places or even used clothing stores. It is so easy…..

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Marcus July 9, 2013 at 11:18 am

I actually disagree with “tell people”. It really depends on who you tell, and in my humble experience, announcing your intentions to other people many times brings on confusion. A good example of this is trying to diet. I’ve found that for me personally, it’s better to just do it than to tell people you are doing it. If you decide to crash your diet one day that’s on you; you won’t have 4 different people take notice and point it out.

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James July 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

My grandfather always used to say watch the little money. The 5o cents here and there adds up at the end of the month. I got rid of my cable television . With digital broadcasting I get 47-52 free channels depending on the weather from my Channel Master 4228 antenna I have mounted in my attic which cost me $140 and paid for itself in 2 months. I also buy everything I can in dollar stores.

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Luisa July 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Congrats to all who ignore the Joneses, buy cash and make every inch of stuff they own work for the “real estate” it occupies. Most important: pay CASH as much as possible. The credit card trap is difficult to break. Leave the house without plastic, and do not believe a 5% off your purchase of $30.00, a mere $1.50, makes up for paying off the balance for what seems like an eternity. Can anyone really afford feeling good for a short time, vs. sleeping well with no debts every night?

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Chris July 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

The way I have always thought about this is: live like people that make 20% less than you. We all kid ourselves that if we just could make a little more, we would finally save. But it never happens. We spend our raises, we spend our bonuses, and ultimately convince ourselves that we “deserve” whatever it is we want to spend our money on. One reason we do this is that most of us are surrounded by friends making about as much money as we are. They aren’t saving any money. So when we compare ourselves to them, we feel justified in buying what they are buying and then we don’t save any money.

Whatever you are making (a little or a lot) there are plenty of people making 20% less and they are perfectly happy (or better said – happiness is somewhat independent of the amount that you make/spend). Start comparing yourself to them and modeling their behavior. Start consciously cultivating them as friends instead of people that make the same or more than you. You will automatically find that you start to have more money to save.

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mikeb July 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm

You Don’t pay retail for ANYTHING

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Unegen August 1, 2013 at 7:31 am

It’s scientifically proven that people’s moods are affected by a lot of factors, including good and bad weather and other things well beyond our control. You don’t have to be a jerk to someone else just because it’s raining, but pretending that it is possible to have control over every tiny aspect of your life is both uniquely American and a completely adolescent mentality. Worthless advice.

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butcherbaby October 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I have SADD, so this is especially true. I get depressed in the winter, and have since I can remember (long before ever even hearing of SADD.)
Seasonal allergies can leave me feeling as crappy as having a bad cold or flu, very hard to stay cheery when your sinuses won’t stop draining.
I’m generally a happy & optimistic person, but there are MANY things one has no control over that can negatively affect ones day.

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Holistic Jen August 1, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I have a lot of things to add, and I do really relate to so many comments here. First, I came on here looking to save money myself, and was reminded of so many things I knew already. One is, read the book, The Millionaire Mind, by T Harv Eker. He discusses how to save money by only spending half of what you earn, and the other half gets invested. There are lots of things people can live without, but most people won’t go a day without a TV or phone if they are in a pinch. I’ve lived without a TV for about 10 years, but do use the internet wisely. I have a Magic Jack for a home phone for $40 a YEAR. And it works great.

As for other things, start a blog in your spare time and choose a few really good affiliate programs that you can stand behind, and promote them on a few of the pages, but not pushy.

If you need cash, buy a used vending machine on craigslist and start a small route. I also run a website that makes affiliate income, and I am able to get the tax write offs, and that is really nice, it does add up. I don’t abuse it though, like I don’t write off a portion of my home. Strictly online expenses.

You can be creative to make the money you want to save, as I am doing. And anyone can do it. You just have to remember that abundance is there, just be open to receiving it, and do everything you can to tell yourself repeatedly that you only deserve good in your life. Do not criticize yourself, only compliment, be grateful, stay positive that you have this moment (all from Louise Hay’s ideas), and you can build an abundance consciousness.

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TheOwl August 3, 2013 at 2:33 am

Jen,

You remind me of Extreme Cheapskates. The programme is now on cable tv in my country. You’re rather normal compared to them. I don’t think I can live with such a person bcs they go to extremes to save like USD10 a year and say it all adds up. That would get on my nerves. At times it’s just not worth going to such trouble to save so little.

People talk about saving the environment. Sometimes they destroy the environment even more in their efforts to save it e.g. producing environmental-friendly bath soap bars could very well use up more energy and resources than producing normal soap bars.

Imagine dumpster-diving. Food poisoning can kill and can cost you even more in medical bills. The outside of the food containers would be dirty already and what if some of the dirt gets onto the food and the food can’t be washed. That’s disgusting!

Imagine people peeing in a bottle so that they save water as they don’t have to flush the toilet. Washing after peeing or taking a dump (wipe with toilet paper first before washing with bath gel) is the cleanest. There’s an American family (with little kids) in the show Extreme Cheapskates which saves money on toilet paper and the whole family uses recycled pieces of cloth to wipe themselves after peeing (the mother cuts out pieces of cloth and sew a few pieces together). I wonder if they wipe themselves on cloth too after taking a dump. Then when she washes the whole load in the washing machine wouldn’t the faeces contaminate the cloth. She should calculate the cost of water,electricity and detergent used in washing these pieces of toilet cloth. I can’t imagine doing such a ridiculous thing. Living in a Muslim country is good bcs we have pipes in public toilets and hotel toilets to wash ourselves each time we pee or take a dump.

It’s good to save and be frugal but no need to go overboard as life is so short. Money is to serve our needs so if we save/invest every cent then money would be of no meaning to us. I believe spending money brings us some thrill and happiness so I will spend some of my money on experiences and things that bring me joy and happy memories.

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dargonflymoon August 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I was so fascinated by this comment thread that I spent the afternoon here instead of working on my crafts to sell. I have lots of thrifty ideas to share, and a few conundrums of my own that need perspective.

And did Cynthia ever come back?

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Anne August 13, 2013 at 6:06 am

DargonFlyMoon; enlighten me? I could be wrong; however, my observations are that by the time you spend so much money on purchasing the materials to make your little (costly) stockpile of crafts and eventually sell them each one by one; where’s the profit in this? And, your personal time in making these items and hauling them back and forth to these sales? Does your time have no true value compared to the ratio of time you expend making and fiddling around with these crafts? I’m serious. I’d really like to know.

I have stopped in at many yard sales, flea markets and church bazzars and seen these tables of hand-made crafts piled high and with very few customers milling around, with minimal sales being made; that I can’t help but wonder “what is this person thinking?” Also, have checked out the internet offerings of hand-made crafts and see millions of these items being offered on different sites, many at prices so cheap it wouldn’t cover the costs of the materials and shipping. Where’s the profit in this?

May I ask, where’s your repeat business coming from? Pray tell, how many cutesy little hand-made pieces can one person use? Please, no offense; I wish you well, I do; but I’d really like to know how these equations add up to being a true and worthwhile profit and not just a costly self-fulfilling habit.

As to your question about Cynthia; no, she never came back. A lot of us here were in Cynthias’ corner and really tried, offering her every kind of helpful advice we could come up with, and really cared about her circumstances; however, one day a few posts weren’t ‘all about her’ plight so she walked off in a snarky self-centered huff. So much for Cynthia. She isn’t the only one here with issues that need addressing .

I hope you will come again and share your conundrums with us. You never know who might be able to help you with your perspective with just a few words of encouragement or a different outlook that perhaps you hadn’t thought about; or some enlightenment you may be able to share that might help another poster.

Hi Owl, Dave, and all! Have been out of town and busy but have read all the posts I missed. Hope to see you all again real soon. xx00xxx… Anne.

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WOB August 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm

” Spend time close to nature and expand your spiritual self through meditation, music, art, or prayer.”

Yes, by all means spend more time with trees and bees … they will provide for your salvation – NOT. God gave his son, Jesus, to die for ALL of mankind’s sins. Christ rose again, showing his victory over death and the grave. He requires mankind to accept him as sole Lord and Savior. Nature not only won’t, it can’t.

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Anne August 13, 2013 at 6:27 am

High-Five WOB!

However, may I suggest? Go back and reread The Book. LOOK for the scriptures. It is God who requires that we find, follow and serve Jesus. It is GOD who is angry at our rejection of Jesus; the one so pure he sent to us.

Don’t underestimate that close walk with nature. It is there that you will find God in all his glory. It is THERE that it is so easy to find Jesus in everything you see, hear and feel, if one will look and listen with an open mind. One can HEAR Him rustle the leaves and gently speak so softly, calling to us with pure love and divine compassion… PLEADING to let Him lead us, help us, guide us. There are no words to define His divine magnificence.

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Angie August 14, 2013 at 7:29 am

WOB, I have to disagree here. I’ll leave our obvious religious differences aside, as it is too hot a button for this particular thread. But I will say this, spending time with nature, and with the right frame of mind, can be an enlightening experience.

Back when I was physically able to I would go up to the Keweenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan. I had a spot near a small village called Eagle Harbor that I would camp. It was right on the shores of Lake Superior. I planned my trip to come after the “tourist season”, so that the fishermen and hunters had all left the area.

This spot had no amenities. No water, no electric, no nothing, just a little spot of dirt on the shore of the lake. And there I would stay for at least two weeks, no phone, no radio. I would sit and look at the lake, watch the eagles soaring and diving each morning, watch fox come to the lake to drink, look at the stars at night and listen to the various sounds around me.

I’d build a small fire to make simple meals and coffee. At times I would hike into the woods where I would find abandoned miner’s cemeteries, rock piles from the old copper mining days, deer trails, etc. Once I happened upon a bear digging through a rotted log looking for grubs. I stayed pretty close to my camp after that experience. Bears and moose can kill you easily, and the times I was there was during moose rutting season, when they are especially aggressive.

Long story short, when I would finally emerge from my isolated little campsite, I was a changed person. And no, I don’t mean because I smelled like open rotting camel a$$, which I suppose I did, but it was because I was completely centered, self aware, humbled by the experience, closer to God. All of my God gifted senses had been awakened. Sight, sound, smell, touch, hearing, etc. This time of solitude by a magnificent lake had made all the modern, man made troubles I thought were so important just drift away. They seemed cartoonish in a way.

To sum it up, nature reminds us of all the gifts given to us by God. Water, weather, wind, stars, our senses, the other creatures of God, nature’s beauty. We can also be reminded of the short time we have here to enjoy these gifts. Just like those long forgotten miner’s in the abandoned cemeteries, we will step aside for future generations to enjoy God’s gifts and as the years pass, we too will be forgotten, except by God. Its a good lesson to learn as we toil and struggle for position, wealth, admiration…..at the end of days, only God will remember us. And its nature that reminds us of this fact.

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dargonflymoon August 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Hi Anne,

Well, where to start. First of all my time is my own, as I do not work outside the home. Secondly, I am an artist, a writer, a singer/songwriter, designer and crafter and an amateur gourmet cook. If I didn’t ‘fiddle’ around with various creative outlets I would implode.

I make very high end table toppers, handbags, jewelry, what ever I am in the mood to create. I have a following. One woman drives from another state and spends hundreds of dollars on my wares. I also sell vintage/antique/collectibles at a Flea Market once a month. I’ve been a dealer since I was 18 years old, a lifetime ago now lol, and I have several lifetimes worth of things to sell.

The materials to make my things were bought ten or more years ago so don’t cost me anything now. I had money then. The reason that I am here is that my husband and I were both in telecom….we all know the fate of thousands of techs, and engineers and customer service reps, outsourcing, offshoring, blah blah.

My husband now works in a grocery store and we makes approx 1/8 what we used to. The most intelligent thing I ever did was realize, after my 3rd layoff (Qwest, in 2002) that I needed to sell my townhome in the SF Bay Area while the market was still hot, and get the heck out of dodge.

My husband had already had his division at Lucent Technologies dissolved and was working selling pool tables, he quit that job and we finished remodeling the townhome, sold, moved to a far cheaper area out in the woods.

The biggest mistake was not paying cash for the new place, so we have a mortgage….the next was investing in a business right before the economy hit the skids. Our quirky little art gallery/vintage/crafts shop managed to limp along for 5 years…a long time for this small community, but in 2009 we had to face the facts. But it ate up a huge amount of our funds, and that money is just gone, never to be replaced.

We get along ok, and have absorbed some hefty setbacks, my truck broke down in April, the mechanic tried to repair it, and it ran for a bit, but is now collecting dust in the driveway. The repairs were a bit over 800 dollars and we still owe the mechanic 79.00. That was a big setback.

We are making payments on our property taxes and will be caught up in November. Just in time to start on next years taxes.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that I can start early SSI in April. Then we can catch up on everything, start saving and pay down on the mortgage. Two months ago we finished paying off all our credit card debt, which was approx 25,000.00…..it took a bit under 5 years, but we did it. That has freed up 400.00 per month, but it is now August and winters here are cold, so the Power bill will go back to 300.00 a month, ouch!

I can totally relate to the person who’s husband refuses to see how he is affecting their finances by smoking so much. Only it’s not my husband, and it’s not cigarettes, it’s wine and it’s me. Even cheap box wine gets expensive, and we would save a ton if I just quit. Which is what I’m going to try to do (yet again).

Long story short…I’ve tried AA, yuck, I’ve tried on-line and actually made it 42 days, yay. But what I need to get through my stubborn thick head is that we CAN’T AFFORD my habit any longer, (we are not upper middle class any longer ) and really haven’t been able to afford anything extra for years now. I have to admit that I really didn’t see the connection until I read her (smaking husband) posts. Mea culpa, I am the one that is the reason we are so broke, and bless him, my husband is such an enabler that he just wants me to be happy…..so when I say honey can you pick up some wine he DOES.

He can cheerfully have just one glass…I want to drink the whole thing. That’s where the $$$$$ get blown. Remember the scene from the movie where the little women drinks the big guy under the table, that’s me. Not bragging but I can drink a whole 750 ML bottle of wine and you’d never know it. A bottle? To me that’s a good start…….

Anway…I am here to share my tips and thoughts on life in the thrifty lane, and to get some advice and maybe support for cutting out the money sucker in my life. I fell in love with Owl’s posts….shook my head, but smiled at yours, Anne, felt so bad for Cynthia and hope she comes back.

Sorry this is so long, I just had to get it all out there while I still had the courage. Hope everyone is having a good day.

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Angie August 14, 2013 at 8:27 am

dargonflymoon, I was always told “Its better to be poor doing something you love than rich doing something you hate.” Obviously most people strive to be rich doing something they love, but, to be honest, money brings as many problems as it does solutions. Having been quite wealthy, and then quite poor, and now back to a comfortable situation, I know all the different angles society can come at you from concerning “wealth”.

I applaud your “craftiness.” I would rather invest in a well made handcrafted handbag than purchase a cheaply made bag that a million other people have from the department stores. One of my favorite bags is a beaded clutch in the pattern of peacock feathers. I am always asked where I got it and am proud to respond that it is handmade. (not by me!!)

I used to dabble in the folk arts a bit. I liked to cross stitch. It was nice quiet time for me. I also made some “sock dolls” in the fashion of Native American Indians. I used deer hide for the clothing, tiny little moccasins, bead work and fringe. They were actually very cute. I donated them to the local Girl Scout troops. A man had asked to buy some and offered $80 each, but I declined, as at the time, I was doing it for fun and didn’t need the money.

As for the wine, I also had a real passion for the bottle, but for me it was Jagermeister. I LOVED it, still do. But now I only have it on special occasions, maybe twice a year. I may also have been very close to an addiction to narcotic pain killers. After my accident, I was prescribed them in massive amounts. When that ended, I did miss them. They had become my “comfort zone.” But I have managed without them just fine. I do believe that if I had been prescribed them for a few months longer, they would have become a problem for me.

In any case, best wishes on your craft business, and I hope with time and good reasoning you will find the right balance between earning and spending. Best of luck to you.

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Tony August 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Here is a simple philosophy that I follow:
1) Never buy anything that you do not need – if you cannot live without it buy it!
2) Never pay more than 50% of the retail price – 30% of retail price is even better
3) Carry no debt on the credit card
4) In a restaurant, eat only those items that you cannot make at home. Skip wine.
5) Exercise 4-5 times a week – you do not need a Gym membership.
6) Skip cable/satellite – there is enough free stuff out there
7) Don’t skip on your posion – mine is chocolate – I only eat the best.
8) Appease your senses – do not regiment them ( I read this somewhere a long time ago.

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TheOwl August 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Hi Anne,

Long time no see. I’ve been busy too. Went for a holiday at a coastal town for a few days. Ate a lot of seafood but the weather was so hot (it had not rained for ages) so I downed quite a bit of cold beer during my trip to the coast. September-December will be cooler bcs those months would see the the tail end of the south-west monsoon (winds originating from the deserts of Australia so that’s why there’s little rain from late May-late August) and the beginning of the north-east monsoon from early Nov-late March (winds coming from the China mainland). There’ll be some rain in September and more in October through December. The east coast will normally flood in November and December. The only relief we get from the heat would be if it rains.

Hope you’re fine and dandy as always. I’m forever dandy.

Hello dragonflymoon,

Thank you for falling in love with my posts but what made you shake your head? My ideas aren’t extreme. I’m reasonable and practical but I will not compromise when something goes against my principles and conscience.

You’re a very artistic person and that’s good. It’s good to feed the soul and do things that make us happy but do not forget that your body needs nutrition too and that’s where money comes in. Good luck in your “crafty” business. In business we need to be a little crafty but in a good way. Ask Anne.

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dragonflymoon August 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm

No no Owl…I wasn’t shaking my head at you at all….the head shaking was at some of Anne’s comments. Laughing at the same time, though.

And I agree about the nutrition, both soul and body. I became an amateur ‘gourmet’ cook because all of a sudden we were poor, but still foodies. We used to be able to eat out all the time, now maybe once a month, and split an entree, etc.

So I did the Julie/Julia thing and literally cooked my way through one ethnicity after another. I can now do Thai, Chinese, some Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Greek and more. I also learned to cook from scratch…crepes, tortillas, breads, even hamburger buns. Noodles, soup bases, jams, syrups, jerky (wrecked my stove with that one though, cost 30.00 to replace the element…hubbie was a bit peeved).

I collect old cookbooks, and found quite a few with amazing thrifty recipes. It’s been a fun journey. Some things work and some don’t but I have 3 dogs who cheerfully snarf up the ‘failures’.

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TheOwl August 14, 2013 at 3:44 am

Hi dragonfly,

It’s good to know that you’re cooking from scratch. We Asians have always cooked from scratch. I would never go to a supermarket to get a ready-packed meal bcs such meals are full of fat and empty calories. I never buy chicken or eggs from the super as well. I eat free range chickens and eggs and if possible buy organic veges. Planning to start my own veges garden once I shift into my new place bcs the present place has clay just a few inches below the surface. The new place has shale but it’s easier to grow on shale bcs it’s slightly porous compared to clay which is impermeable (water can’t enter and roots also can’t enter). I plan to remove around 1-1.5 feet of the shingles and fill this out with garden soil.

Despite the financial straits you’re in you come across as a very cheerful person. Just try curbing that drinking habit. Do you get high or drunk or you can carry any amount of drink? Two people should finish a standard bottle of wine in two sittings but even if they finish it in just one sitting,one person only drinks half a bottle. I just drink to celebrate an occasion. But if you can finish a 750ml bottle at one go and a bottle everyday you could be having problems. If you let this love of wine run away you could end up with a very expensive liver ailment bcs of the amount of alcohol consumed. The problem with the human being is that despite knowing our weakness most of us won’t do anything about it LOL.

Cheers and all the best!

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Jackmeggy August 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Could this article be any more vague, or any less helpful? This advice could be given for just about anything, whether it be becoming a better fisherman or JV football player. Waste of time.

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dragonflymoon August 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Actually Jack, the comments are what’s good about it. Lot’s of good advice, some angst, but an interesting read IMHO.

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Angie August 14, 2013 at 8:35 am

Jackmeggy, I agree with dragonflymoon, the replies are very helpful. Think of the article as a diving board, and the replies as a pool….a pool of insight and experience. I’d be interested in hearing your own ideas on frugality, as it would seem you perceive your own knowledge and writing skills to be superior to those of the writer of the article. I welcome any tips you have to share with us.

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dragonflymoon August 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

Hey Owl, I buy veggies from the Farmer’s Market when I can get to town, sooo much better than the store. I want to get chickens, but my husband does not, maybe next year I will talk him into it. We have about an acre fenced in so predators would not be a problem. Except eagles and hawks.

Next year I am also going to seriously try an herb garden and some veggies too. The problem is that the climate here is cool and my garden is shaded. Maybe spinach? I tried arugula on my deck and it didn’t even leaf out.

It was a weird year here again, a very long cool wet spring, then no rain for about 2 months, started raining yesterday, thank goodness because the fire danger was extreme. Our temps here haven’t gotten above 74 so no tomatoes yet again. No self-sufficiency happening here!

I agree with you about the health issues with too much wine/alcohol….another good reason to cut back. And I do get a bit buzzed sometimes, but do not like the feeling of being drunk at all, so I don’t get there. Well, not often, and I just go to sleep. I don’t like hangovers either….lol.

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TheOwl August 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Hi dragonfly,

Are you in the US? Where exactly if you don’t mind telling? I’ve no idea about the weather you described bcs I’m living very near the equator so it’s hot and sunny the whole year round except when it rains. The weather is only cooler during the rainy season so if it rains outside the rainy season it’s still as hot and humid. Luckily we have a few hills and highlands to seek out the “spring” you described. The coldest we can experience when it rains up in the highlands would be perhaps 15 deg celcius.Thanks.

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dragonflymoon September 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Hi Owl…I am in Oregon, near the coast, lots of hills and trees and water.

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Kdramalover August 19, 2013 at 12:02 am

Hello there,
Saw n read your interesting blog…
Especially hello to TheOwl – if I may hazard a guess are you a Malaysian perhaps?
Well, anyway I am one but living in the Great USA! USA is the greatest country ever :)
It is truly the land of opportunity and of free – if one is willing to work/look and be resourceful…

Hello to Anne as well : I am sorry to hear about your illness. I am sending you thousands of virtual positive thoughts n warm wishes! You are amazing in choosing a route without chemo/radiation!!! I would do the same if ever I was in the same situation as you are.
May I pose a mortgage question to you: perhaps we could take it offline? I was wondering about paying off my mortgage loan since I took a 30 year loan and I was thinking of being aggressive and paying it off within the next 12 years… at the expense of saving more, etc… IS this a good idea?
Much thanks for any suggestions! Love this blog.
Keep up the great work :)

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Anne September 1, 2013 at 6:11 am

G/Mornin’ to you, Drama Lover, OWL, and others, also to those who might also be interested in the mortgage question posed by Drama.

First, KDL, I want to thank you for your kind thoughts and well wishes.
They mean so much to me; also those who chose to pray for me. I know, some do not ‘believe’, as it were, but that’s okay too; God hears our every thought and knows our heart. It is He who puts the kindness in our heart and not we ourselves, so I am thankful for this too.

True, I did take the alternative route as opposed to any radiation/chemo conventional treatments, and recent physical exam showed no return of the bladder cancer. YEAH! However, the bad news is that the cancerous tumors are now on my vocal cords; sorry to say, yes, I have no other choice but to take the radiation treatments in an effort to save my voice. I have four more weeks to go of radiation therapy. I will spare you all the gruesome details but will just say, it is not pretty. But I’m okay, I am, and going with the flow….

As to your mortgage question: YES, YES, YES; pay OFF that mortgage as fast as you can. For one thing, we do NOT know what is going to happen in our economy. It looks good on the surface, now that we appear to be bounding back, but this is deceiving: IF the US Dollar deflates much lower, while we continue to create massive debt with foreign countries, debt that we CANNOT repay; and if we continue printing money (which continues to deflate the dollar value) and we lose our place as the leading world currency, which is quite likely to happen; then we are ALL in deep do-do with no way to shovel ourselves out. I won’t even go into detail as to what can happen to us economically, but it will be an inconceivable horror upon us all. GET THAT MORTGAGE PAID OFF!

Secondly, and most pertinent to you for now is that: Mortgage brokers and lenders will not tell you this, they paint a pretty picture of their lengthy mortgage loan and how much cheaper it is for you ‘monthly’ to pay a smaller payment; but they do not convey to you the excessive lending COSTS to you, which sounds good rather than making a larger monthly payment based on a little higher interest rate; so now you have dug a hole for yourself by having a 30-yr mortgage note. One should NEVER carry more than a 20-yr mortgage on their real estate, with fifteen years being even better and costing way less.

It is very simple: put a pencil to what you have agreed to repay over the life of your loan: You have agreed to repay three times the value/cost of your home purchase at the time you bought it. First, get your ducks in a row, take the amount you borrowed, add to that the amount in interest you will be paying in total on the loan, and you will see that you are repaying nearly three times the amount of money you borrowed over the life of the loan.

Calculate what a 20-yr mortgage loan would have cost you and compare it to what the 30-yr loan is costing you and how much you would have saved by having a 20-yr loan minus the 30-yr loan. You will quickly see that the first ten years of your loan applies nearly zero dollars to your home loan/value, but instead is nearly ALL applied to interest; or put another way, subtract the last ten yrs of your mortgage loan payments from the initial amount of the 30-yr payback mortgage note, and you will see that you have GIVEN ten additional years in payments to your bank.

In the case of a 15 yr mortgage repayment plan, you have given your bank over TWELVE years of payments by having a 30-yr mortgage. There is so much more I could explain to you in regards to these 30 yr mortgage payback plans but only so much space to try to drive the point home to you and others who do not realize how they got reamed out by the lender by making the 30-yr loan appear attractive to them.

Make as many extra payments as you can, but be SURE to always write a separate check for these extra payments and mark on the check “apply to end of mortgage”, with your account number clearly written on the check. DO NOT add the extra payment to the normal payment. The bank will not post it at the end of the life of your loan but will only make it appear that you have paid the next payment that is due, which does nothing to reduce the life of your loan. Always follow through and make SURE the lender has applied your extra payment to the END of your loan. You can pay down as much as you want too on the end of your loan, it does NOT have to be the amount of the regular payment. Just, BY ALL MEANS, get that 30-yr mortgage loan PAID OFF any way you can and do NOT ever incur another one.

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Martin August 23, 2013 at 7:10 am

Some frugal steps that I have taken after being laid off –

Cut your own hair. It isn’t easy doing this in the mirror or with two mirrors but it can be done.

Walk to the shops instead of driving. It’ll get you fitter also.

Learn some exercises in your bedroom instead of working out in the gym. I use a hard cushion to punch against a wall, then squash it for an arm exercise. I can’t do many push ups so I push against a wall instead. I have a chinning bar in the doorway for pull ups.

Do you all those subscriptions? Cancel them. Become more resourceful. Sell some things you don’t use much on ebay.

If you buy something – is it multipurpose? Better if it is. Do you need it or want it – there is a difference. If you get excited about wanting to buy something then wait at least 24 hours to cool off.

Also – about making money from investing – don’t rush into things you don’t understand or that have a salesman promoting it. Particularly if you have lost your job. I have learnt that smooth talking, slick financial salesmen are the most devious creature created. They will fleece you then dissapear.

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Jeannie August 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Many years ago, my late husband bought a small cottage in a beach community about 40 miles from where he lived. He paid only $15,000 for it [financed the balance]. He rented it out, and the income from it always made the mortgage payments. Many years later, he remodeled it and built it out larger and more modern, but continued renting it out.

He died 10 years ago [40 years after the house was purchased], and for tax purposes I had to have that rental house appraised. It’s value at the date of his death was $1 Mil. All this time, the rental income has paid the mortgage, and the asset appreciated from $15,000 value to $1 Mil.

The secret to success for that investment was: Location, location, location [it was near the beach], and it was continually rented out and always bringing in income.

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Jeannie August 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm

The apostrophe in my post [“it’s value”] is incorrect. I never typed it that way. There are some gremlins on this site who think they know how to use an apostrophe, and they’re WRONG.

It’s means “It is.” In my case, I was talking about ITS VALUE. [No “it is” indicated there….]

Some of these “spelchek” programs make me angry. [I certainly would hope that was not corrected by a living PERSON!] If so, that editor needs to learn about apostrophes.

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jack b August 31, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Some valid points in article, but way too much nonsense along the lines of “The Secret.” Also, a lot of forced content in an attempt to conform to Covey’s Habits. Just silly.

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Anne September 1, 2013 at 4:55 am

No Jack b, not silly. This is not to be demeaning to anyone, but there are different levels of intelligence and educational backgrounds (or lack of) who read and post on these articles and not just MENSA candidates and members.

The writer has humbly attempted to reach everyone on their own level with some info that might appeal to each individual wherever they may be coming from intellectually. You see Jack b, if you were really all that sharp yourself, you would have immediately acknowledged and understood the depth the writer has gone too in not just appealing to the few who think they are cleverly above all others, but also to those who might benefit from some of the helpful suggestions posted here; but also to those who only skim the surface as well, looking to find some fault. That would be you, right, Jack b?

The silliness is that you would sit around, read, critique and get your bowels in an uproar over the good faith work of someone else who is trying to reach people on many levels and not just the chosen few such as yourself who already know-it-all and can’t be pleased anyway, no way, no how.

BTW, you did not tell us; what are YOU doing that is worthwhile other than attempting to stoke your own ego by slamming and demeaning someone else? I await your enlightenment, if you have any.

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jack b September 1, 2013 at 9:13 pm

You seem to be just a bit biased there, Anne. I agreed there were valid points, but apparently your bias seems to have prevented you from processing that compliment.

What is unequivocally rude is Internet yelling via all caps. You seem to be good at that. But you laid down some valuable info…that I could “just skim right on by.” That stopped me dead in my tracks…such wisdom…no, it never occurred to me. You should start a Change.org petition to get the word out. You really should.

When there is an article and it ends with a “Comments” section, it means exactly that. Who do you think you are playing Comment Gatekeeper.

Worthwhile things I’m doing with my life? I got one…helping get the word out that nonsense like “The Secret” is crap. I think I have an idea of what you’re doing with your life…the number of posts you have here are pretty indicative. You’re petty, duplicitous, rude and undeserving of any further correspondence.

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Anne September 2, 2013 at 4:16 am

Well. Whatever you say, Jack b.

How little of you to go back and count my posts. Did you bother to read them? Hope you got something out of at least one. No?

However that old Irish saying goes; “…. may the road rise up to greet you, may the wind blow always on your back… and yada yada, and God Speed…” Not being Irish, not real sure how it goes… Have a good one.

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Anne September 1, 2013 at 5:06 am

KDramalover: I am posting a response to you above, ref your post of Aug 19th. I’m sorry, somehow it got past me as I do read most of these posts when they show up on my email inbox; it’s just that I can’t always get back to responding right away, then procrastinate. Now I’ve fallen way behind to many (OWL particularly) that I should have (and wanted too) respond too. Forgive. See comments above under your post.

P.S…. What does “ramalover” mean? NOT your last name? tee he he…..

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Kdramalover September 17, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Hello Anne,
Apologies for my delayed reply to your posting!!!
I was involved in a car accident last month. My car is totaled and my weekly life is visiting multiple doctors…
Actually to answer your question wrt my alias name : I love watching Korean dramas and movies :)
Nope I am not Korean :)
Thank you for offering your view on the 10 vs 30 yr mortgage question! I totally agree with your view and I will do my best in readjusting my loan!
My prayers to you in overcoming cancer!!!
Stay positive and know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers :)
Peace be with you always!

AW

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Anne September 1, 2013 at 5:09 am

Or maybe you were identifying yourself as “Drama Lover”?

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TheOwl September 1, 2013 at 6:58 am

Hi Anne,

I haven’t been here for a while. Been a little busy. So sorry to hear about your throat and all that chemo. Have heard chemo is nasty.

I absolutely agree with what you said about taking long-term mortgages. I normally take 12 or 15 years. The best is if you can afford to buy the property cash. The longer the loan period and the more the loan amount the more interest we pay. I took a 15-year mortgage and after paying for like 8 years the amount left is about half the principal amount borrowed. It is obvious that the first half of the repayment period is mostly to repay the interest. Even if you settle a 15 year loan in 5 years you would have paid much of the interest bcs the bank’s argument is that they have already disbursed the loan. A lot of people always say take the max amount for the max loan period but they forget they’ll be working their whole life to service interest.

Take care. All the best.

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Anne September 1, 2013 at 8:25 am

Hey OWL! Where’ve you been?! I did miss reading your posts recently and wondered where you had wandered off too!

I hope all is well with you my dear! Do tell us about your recent trips, or were you working some overtime as well?

BTW, it is not chemo I am having, it is radiation, quite different than chemo but still VERY painful. Radiation is my first step in trying to save my voice box. What I am trying to do is avoid surgical removal of the tumors (now on both vocal cords, which could result in removal of the vocal cords); the object being now to kill (burn) the tumors without surgical removal or chemo as either one would destroy the vocal cords. Then what?

OMG, perish the thought of what would come next! This is why I relented and settled on the radiation, seeing no other recourse considering the rapid spread that was occurring and the risk I was taking in allowing them to completely shut down my voice, which was quickly fading! See my dilemma? I had no other choice. Just keep your good thoughts in mind for me; God sees your good intentions and will reward you for them. You’ll see.

About the 30-yr mortgage: When my husband and I first married, I was not in real estate and knew little to nothing about finance matters, just like most others don’t unless someone makes them aware. Our realtor, in pre-qualifying us, pointed out that we could better afford the payments on a 30-yr fixed mortgage, which would also qualify us for a more expensive home. I did ask what the difference would be in a 20-yr fixed mortgage payment and she blandly pointed out that not only would the payments be higher but so would the interest rate and that would put us in a lower pre-qualification bracket as to the home price we could afford to purchase. Made sense to me so I didn’t even bother to calculate what the difference would be in the long term life of the mortgage, which was very stupid of me.

It was not until after I went into real estate and had some finance knowledge, that I sat down one day and figured out what we had done by taking out a 30-yr mortgage loan. It upset me so much that all I could think was, OMG, we’ve got to get RID of this house. I no longer even wanted the house! It was a lovely home but I just couldn’t WAIT to get rid of it, buy another house and this time take out a 20 yr mortgage loan. The new home was not any nicer than the one I got rid of, but at least I didn’t feel so stupid anymore by giving the lender all this money in mortgage payments for basically NOTHING for a good twelve years.

I might add, that after three years we had basically little equity built up in the home as we had paid it all into interest payments and very little towards the principal. The lender does not care about your equity; they want their interest (up front) in the early years of the loan because they know statistically that the average length of stay in a home usually does not exceed six to seven years, and quite frequently is less than that; then the mortgagor will sell and start their new 30-yr loan all over again. It is all gravy for them.

But from then on, every buyer I worked with sat down with me and I showed them in black and white what they were doing in taking out a 30-yr loan. Most of them, but not all, I was able to talk down on the 30 yr mortgage before I ever took them to a lender; whom I might add, automatically tried to throw them into a 30-yr loan without realizing I had already talked them out of it. I admit, I did get a few dirty looks for some loan officers, but that’s okay. I stayed on top of every loan I placed anyway, including closing statements, not trusting anyone but myself.

My last mortgage was a 15-yr loan, but that is because I am widowed now and am required to pay 1/3rd down on any mortgage I incur, due to having less income from a husband to show on the bottom line. I could have gotten a 20 or 30-yr loan, but why bother since I am required to make such a hefty down payment anyway; which would apply to any length of loan I might carry. A little higher interest rate and a few more dollars a month means little to me, but knowing I’ll be out from under the loan fifteen years sooner and will save a ton of money in the end, DOES matter.

Good to ‘see’ ya, Owl!

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TheOwl September 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

Hi Anne,

Good of you to write me. I have been a bit tied up. I’m fine,thanks. I haven’t been abroad since my trip to Borneo in early March. I’ve been making short local trips either for food (we have lots of exotic food here) and trips to the casino and the philharmonic theatre.

I avoid travel or moving around unnecessarily during the Chinese lunar-solar 7th month. You could say I am superstitious LOL. We believe the gates of hell are open for the whole of the 7th month (this year it is from 7Aug-4Sept) so the “lost souls” (those with no families and are known as “hungry ghosts” have to be appeased with grand offerings and even Chinese opera and modern-day singing/dancing shows,something like America Got Talent kind of programmes but the so-called talent are professional entertainers. The fees for all the celebrations are paid for by local merchants. A temporary sheltered stage will be set up normally at the marketplace all over the country for these shows and offerings on the 15th day of the month which happened to fall on the 21 Aug) are at liberty to play the fool with normal folks LOL and at times cause havoc – many fatal road and other accidents would occur during the month. We do not like to leave the house at night during the whole month. Countries where there are lots of Chinese people will celebrate this festival on the 15th day of the 7th month – Hong Kong,Taiwan,China, Singapore, Malaysia,Thailand,and on a smaller scale in Indonesia,Vietnam and the Philippines.

I wonder why you did not accept chemo for your bladder cancer. If you had hopefully your throat problem would not have happened. I had a relative who discovered his bladder cancer in the early stage. There was a growth outside this bladder,not inside. It was in the shape of a bunch of grapes. He went for a checkup after noticing blood in his urine. The doctors cauterised the growth and gave him chemo but I did not ask how many courses. It had not relapsed in 12-13 years. How did it spread from the bladder to the throat? Is your bladder in good health now? I hope you will give up those ciggies and dun touch alcohol.

Have a positive attitude and believe that you’ll overcome this the way you overcame so many challenges in your life. Drink a lot of fresh fruit juices and if possible go vegetarian. If possible,eat organic. Avoid meat,esp’ly red. Good luck and all the best. You’re a fighter and survivor. From the way you fought with me and others I know you’re a fighter. The way you put Jack b in his place sounded like you were looking for another fight hahahaha. Hang in there. It takes time to heal. It’s good to write you. Keep us updated on your progress. Thanks. May God be with you.

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Anne September 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

Ha….! Delighted to hear from you Owl. Yes, I do recall you saying you were not planning any trips until later in the fall. SOO interesting, your explanation concerning the Chinese lunar-solar seventh month. I had no idea you all do all this during that month. Wow, this just blows me away; all this about appeasing (the ‘gods’?, the lost souls and the gates of hell being opened…?

One difference is, I believe the gates of hell are always open and enlarge their bowels daily as the judgment is passed on to those souls who are sentenced to spend all eternity in hell. However, the thing that strikes me as most interesting, is, how could one believe in a hell if they don’t believe in a God? Not trying to stir up a religious controversy, I really wonder about these matters. It sounds like this celebration is quite an affair to behold. Glad to know you protect yourselves tho, by staying in after dark during this lunar solar 7th month! I think I’ll look into these religious practices for myself as I find them very interesting. I’m not into seeing “ghosts” but I do know for a fact, that evil demon spirits do exist; seems to me like you all do too, just under a different auspices.

Glad to hear you’ve been having some relaxing times; going to good restaurants and watering holes, taking in some shows, casinos and symphonies. Ain’t life grand!~? It sure is.

Owl, I did not go for any further treatment after the bladder cancer was removed from inside the bladder. The urologist who removed it said that if it came back then I would need to have additional treatments and a second removal. That was Feb, 2012. It did not return. I had reasonable checkups thereafter and there was no sign of it. I had no idea what was happening in my throat until after I incurred an earache that for a year+ I could not get rid of no matter how many different prescriptions I tried, and then eventually a sore throat that would not go away, and then a cough that seemed to be choking me at all times, but more so while trying to sleep.

I thought it might be coming from my lungs so I went to the pulmonary physician and this is when he said no, this is something wrong in your throat, not coming from your lungs. It was then that I went to an ENT physician last May, 2012, he did a procedure, told me it was non cancerous and had me thinking it was all gone and no follow up treatment was necessary. WRONG! Liar. It was not until this June that I learned the real scope of the problem from Johns Hopkins, NOW on both vocal cords.

I ought to sue the earlier ENT b’stard, and might. But for now, I’m just trying to get it under control, and maybe rid of it entirely. THANK YOU for your kind thoughts and asking that God be with me. I know that He will bless you for that. With all my heart, I do believe your sincerity Owl. I will keep you updated on the progress, which I won’t know for a while. Yes, meanwhile I KNOW that He is with me no matter the outcome.

Haha on Jack b! His initial post was very insulting to the writer of this article, rude and so unnecessary. This I just HATE; seeing someone else being insulted for no reason. I just happened to pick up on it sitting here in the wee-wee hours of the early morning. I see that Jack bs’ first post and my initial response has been deleted. Alrighty then. I’m okay with that. But just in case he thought it would land on deaf ears or a weak mind, he learned differently. Still waiting to hear from you Jack b!

It is Sunday afternoon here in Florida, Owl, approx. 2:20 p.m. So what are you doing this afternoon?

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Anne September 1, 2013 at 11:39 am

BTW Owl, I almost forgot to thank you for your good dietary tips and advice. But for now hon, I can barely swallow thin soups, nutritional supplement drinks and other liquids and some very soft foods such as very well done veggies and over cooked rice, or fruits, etc., that have been pureed in the blender.

Everything through a straw, which is not painless either. My throat is too swollen inside, which is very painful and burns when I have to swallow. Guess now I’ll be dropping these pounds I wanted rid off anywayz; only the hard way. But thank you sweetie, for your kind and wonderful advice. Yes, I’ll be sure to follow up when I can.

dragonflymoon September 1, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Anne, I had no idea that you are in such bad shape. I will offer blessings to the Universe for you.

Owl, it was very interesting reading about your customs, it sounds a bit like our Halloween, but lasts for a whole month? Wow.

On the financial side of things, my husband and I went through some bad times recently with our mortgage company because we were making payments on the property tax and they didn’t like that, and threatened us with a tax lien sale.

We were able to scrape the remaining money together, thanks to a wealthy relative, made that payment and have sent the proof off to the mortgage holder. Hopefully they will back off now.

Anne, I have a question for you about paying down a mortgage. On our statement there is a section for paying down the principle. Is this the same as what you suggested, writing a separate check and stating to take it off the end of the loan? Doesn’t it have the same effect? Please let me know because with a bit more $$$$ in our pockets we can start seriously paying the #$%$%’s off. My new goal in life!

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Anne September 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Thank you dragonflymoon, for your kind thoughts and well wishes. I apologize for the last time I addressed you and spelled your name incorrectly as “dargonflymoon” but that was the way you had spelled it initially; nonetheless, I should have realized it was a typo error.

I’m okay dragonfly; really, I am. Just taking it all in stride and letting the days go by. What bothers me most is that my energy is low, my throat burns and hurts, and my voice is weak, so now I can’t go to work at all. This is costing me a mini-fortune not being able to work while my med co-pays are sky rocketing through the roof. But I’m dealing with it; I just thank GOD my husband provided well enough for me so that I am able to sit here idle for a while.

BUT, even worse could happen should I lose my voice entirely. Now THAT would be the pits. THAT would finalize any hopes I could have of ever being able to go back to work or being able to do many other things either. Nonetheless, I am NOT sitting here worrying about it, not at all. Really, I’m not. Still, I see that life is good and I’m a happy camper!

In re your question: I’d have to see that statement you mentioned to be able to determine it’s authenticity and how it would apply towards paying on the principal ONLY of your mortgage loan. Without seeing it, I do not know the inference as to it having the same affect as it would have in making separate payments. Does the statement tell you NOT to make separate payments?

Was the statement ‘robo signed’ (meaning rubber stamped), or was it executed by a mortgage loan officer or an atty at closing, or just how and when did you come about receiving this statement? You know, a lot of banks in this country have been in serious trouble with the Feds for giving out misinformation, erroneous info, robo loans and making bad loans? Many mortgage loans have had to be forfeited because of Banking fraudulent errors made in closing docs that led to unlawful foreclosures.

Since I have no way of knowing what your bank did, or what you may have legitimately executed, I can only get back to my original advice, which is: Write and send a separate check payment on every extra payment you make, (not an automatic internet payment, remember a cancelled check is legal tender and your proof positive); regardless as to the amount whether it is $50 bucks or the amount of your normal payment (its’ irrelevant how much you actually pay down on the principal of your loan, just pay as much as you can, typically the amount of one mortgage payment); write your mortgage loan account number on the check, and state: “Apply this payment to the back END principal amount of my mortgage loan balance”. (I may not have expressed this as explicitly in my earlier comment, but now I am, as this is very important). Just that amount alone will save you years of amortized interest payments and will drastically reduce the amount and length of your loan.

(To my knowledge, this is the only way you can be CERTAIN your extra payments have been properly applied that I’m aware of, unless I were to see some properly executed legal document that advises you otherwise). THEN be sure to follow up to be CERTAIN your payment was properly applied to the BACK END of your loan balance, which will then bring down your loan balance and automatically reduce that portion of the interest you would be accruing/paying years later. This is why a mortgage loan is reduced so sharply just by making extra payments on the BACK END of your mortgage. No loan officer can deny that this method when done consistently sharply reduces years off the life of your loan.

You could take this document you mentioned and go down to your lender and ask a loan officer, but I wouldn’t count on his/her response as being the right one since his/her response would be verbal and NOT in writing in a legally executed and notarized document. Besides that, no matter what a loan officer might tell you, original loan documents cannot be modified other than by court order or thru the payoff and satisfaction of the original mortgage note and mortgage deed (two separate documents).

One note (mortgage loan) encompasses the amount of money you owe to the lender and the other document (mortgage deed) encompasses and encumbers the land and improvements (a home is an improvement ON the land) that the loan covers and entitles it to be repo’ed (or foreclosed by the lender) if you do not honor the mortgage note. Technically, the lender is the owner of your real estate until your mortgage note and mortgage deed is satisfied in full and cancelled. You just get to live there, make the payments, maintain it, insure it and pay the real estate taxes until such time that it is paid in full. Good luck!

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Jess A. Person October 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Hey, isn’t this just the Covey 7 habits of Highly Effective teens, translated for financial purposes? I learned those in my high school. Interesting to see them applied to other things!!

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TheOwl November 18, 2013 at 8:34 am

Get a job. You’re old enuf to have sex,you’re old enuf to work. Why bring a life into the world when you can’t even jolly well take care of yourself,left alone a girl and a baby? Are your brains in your pants,kid?

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Anne November 18, 2013 at 8:55 am

he he… You tell ‘im!!

I couldn’t agree more, Owl!

Actually, it’s disgusting when you think about it.

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TheOwl November 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

Hi Anne how have you been. Good to see you here. That means you’re alive and kicking and so am I. Am very alive and kicking and looking forward to some exciting times ahead,making money in real estate. The next 10 years belong to Asia. It’s boom time for us. Properties I bought cash for a pittance 20/12 years ago have gone thru the ceiling. Sprucing up to sell one and getting ready to build another to sell also. Then will buy again. I never tire of real estate.

As per the kid above,yeah agree it’s disgusting. Feel sorry for the poor mom. She should have taught him better. I always say if you don’t do a good job with your kids at the end of the day you yourself will face the music. Should just kick him out into the streets to make him learn a lesson. These genY kids think the world owes them or what? Nobody owes you nothing. Whatever we have now we worked hard,we saved,we invested wisely and walah we deserve to have a good life now. We sponged on nobody and we cheated on nobody so put your house in order,kid and stop blaming your poor mama LOL.

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Anne January 1, 2014 at 6:58 am

Where are some of the more recent updates that were posted for this thread? I get notices of them then when I click on this thread they aren’t here. What happened to them? Thanks for your response, David.

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Anne January 1, 2014 at 6:58 am

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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Yvonne January 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm

I taught myself how to live frugally because coming from a family of seven children I found it difficult to ask for anything from my parents when my father had a large family to support. It never even crossed my mind that my parents owed me anything, I had a warm bed and my dad always made sure we went on vacation every year. I worked hard, sometimes had 3 jobs and paid my own way through school, invested part of my income for the company I worked for and saved as much as I could I have always lived below by means and by the age of 50 have paid off my home and have no debt, credit cards, car, etc and have over $300K in my 401k. Sure I may not have an Iphone but really don’t need one. No, life didn’t work out as planned being a single parent and didn’t receive much in child support but as the article says, I had a vision to be debt free and unlike many people who make alot more money that me I know I can retire today and be ok. Unlike myself, my son has the opportunity to go to an out of state school because I have the means to fulfill the educational gap opportunity that I didn’t have. Sacrifice has and will always be a big part of this accomplishment and the best feeling is not wanting anything and thinking of how to grow your fortune to help people fulfill their dreams and give people hope.

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TheOwl January 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Hey Anne,

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s not too good for us bcs the new year brings spiraling prices and inflation. I’m not really affected so thank God for that. Hope you’re in good health. How’s the throat coming along. I’m very well.

I too cannot find the latest posts. methinks David has corrected it. Thx.

Yvonne,

Congrats,keep it up. Just one advice – start taking care of yourself now. You’ve done your duty to your kids and being a single parents that’s doubly admirable. it’s time to enjoy yourself now. Travel,eat,take it easy. Time to visit Europe if you have the means or come to the tropics. It’s forever sunny except during the monsoon (Nov-Jan) and it’s cheap for the US$ to travel in south-east asia,esp’ly in thailand,vietnam,cambodia,laos,myanmar and malaysia. singapore might be expensive as the SGD is almost there with the USD. There’s nothing to see in brunei which only has oil. Without the oil they will become a sitting duck LOL.

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TheOwl January 8, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Corrections – by your children (to your children is wrong use of preposition I guess)

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TheOwl January 8, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Oh I forgot indonesia. It’s very cheap and there are many sunny places and islands to visit. It’s a huge country with many many islands.

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Alexa February 9, 2014 at 9:38 am

Cynthia, I am also a nurse. They have alot of companies that are now having Registered Nurses provide health advise or manage special cases over the phone. One of those is Carenet. Also, alot of insurance companies are having nurses do work over the phone. You may want to check this out. Good Luck.

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Girard February 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm

When the opening commentator of this blog talks of “synergies” he is out of sync with the people here. They are more in tune with their situation than that. First off, having “pets” are to your disadvantage, unless you intend to eat them , preferably when they are young and tender. Broadcast radio is cheaper than cable TV, Landline phone cheaper than cell phone. Radio will get you all the news that internet will. Eliminating unnecessary expenses will save you more than keeping what society considers “essential”. Most posters are demonstrating this, if you can look back to the life of those in the 1940s. Move to a neighborhood with a grocery store nearby if possible. Bicycle or walk for your own health, no gyms necessary. Tap water is actually a viable beverage by itself. Avoid hamburger and pizza joints. Don’t use tobacco products. Plan ahead and don’t use “convenience stores.”

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TheOwl March 12, 2014 at 8:26 am

Yeah,businesses make us think that their services are essential which is actually rubbish.

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Molly February 25, 2014 at 6:00 pm

FYI, riding a bike does cost money because you have to have a bike & those aren’t always cheap.

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Anne March 12, 2014 at 7:37 am

Come on now Molly; you know riding a bike is the cheapest mode of transportation there is. You could try riding a mule, donkey or horse but then you’d have to feed it and that ain’t cheap either, not to mention keeping it watered, hosed down and brushed, stable shoveled out, diaper contraction on its’ big uncontrollable hinny in public places that YOU have to change and clean up (ewww!); as well as penned up so there goes your costs in fencing and hard labor of putting up the fence. Also, horses, mules and donkeys aren’t legal for riding on many streets and roads. I think you’d best get back to thinking positively along the lines of buying a cheap used bike, get a headlight for it and keep the tires inflated. Good exercise too. There you go!

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TheOwl March 12, 2014 at 8:32 am

Riding a bike is so cheap and it is good exercise except that in my country it is too dangerous. Keeping a horse,donkey or mule as Anne mentioned is too much work and they could cost a lot to buy. We don’t have horses,donkeys or mules. We have water buffaloes but they are used to plough the rice fields. These days most rice farmers use machinery. The bullock cart pulled by a single bull has long been replaced by lorries etc.

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Anne March 12, 2014 at 7:23 am

Mornin’ Owl ( and all)! I haven’t forgotten you hon, and hope your New Year has become everything you wanted it to be and that all is well with you. I have especially been thinking of you these last past several days, what with the Mylasain (sp?) plane missing with 239 souls aboard. It is my understanding that there were only three Americans on board, with the rest of the passengers being made up of thirteen other foreign national countries, many of those Chinese. I hate to think of anyone not making it, but just wanted to say Owl, I hope you, your family, friends and loved ones are all safe.

If the latest speculation turns out to be true, the plane may have veered hundreds of miles off course, which leaves the possibility open (in my mind) that it could have gone down in some remote jungle/forest and may even contain some survivors. Anywayz, I hope this turns out to be true, although rather doubtful at this point. Still, for some unexplainable reason I feel some hope.

You take care Owl; hope to hear from you again soon….. BTW, thanks for your well wishes to me in your last post. (Have thought of you often). Love, AB

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TheOwl March 12, 2014 at 10:00 am

Happy new year,Anne. It’s good to hear that you’re fine. I’m fine,thank you. No,none of my family or friends were on the Malaysian 777 aircraft MH370 (MH=Malaysian Hospitality) thank God. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel upset. I think of the 2 infants on board.

It’s such a scary mystery. So far there has been no trace of it. A Malay bomoh (shaman) said it’s held up in another dimension and I would like to believe that. There’s so much in science mankind still do not know despite having studied it for centuries. The universe is huge and there are so many universes,beside ours. A Chinese temple in Klang (a town near Port Klang,a port on the west coast of Peninsular/West Malaysia in the state of Selangor) says that the 239 will return unharmed after 6 days.

Some speculate that they have been hijacked to Mongolia (it is as if the Mongolians are taking revenge for the death of the interpreter Altantuya some years ago. It was rumoured that their present Prime Minister and wife were directly involved in her death – sordid affair/pregnancy/jealous wife) and the aircraft is parked somewhere in Mongolia,waiting to be used as a weapon of destruction. There are so many theories and this one is the most scary. It seemed the plane flew very low at 1000 ft above sea level to escape radar detection. Logic would tell us a plane that size cannot fly so low. It seemed the plane refueled at Nanning,a city south of Beijing. It had 7.5 hours of fuel and it only needed 6 hours to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing so I guess they would need to refuel if they were to continue on to outer Mongolia (inner Mongolia belongs to china). Could it escape the radar of China? Well,unless it flew all the way over China at 1000 ft asl. There are some huge mountains in China yo LOL.

Or it could be hijacked by the muslim terrorists of China’s Xinjiang province and the plane is now sitting there. The plane was rumoured to have turned back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and if that is the case it should be sitting somewhere in Pakistan (the Al-Qaeda is very active there). There are so many conspiracy theories. If it had plunged into the South China Sea there must have been debris and oil slicks. The pilot and co-pilot were very experienced at their job. The plane was serviced just 10 days b4 the flight. There were rumours that it had plunged into the Gulf of Thailand which is also huge and deep. It’s almost the 6th day bcs as I write this it’s already past midnight so it is now Thurs’ 13th March.

It’s frightening bcs nobody knows what happened. A Boeing 777 200 that just disappeared into thin air like that is upsetting to those who have used the airline b4. If it’s some airline I know I will never use it won’t affect me at all and this one is so near to home. I’m even more jittery bcs I had flown the airline at least a dozen times but almost all the flights were smooth except for one very choppy flight from Kuala Lumpur to Penang in 1996 and that was scary. The last time I used the Malaysian Airlines was when I flew return from Kuala Lumpur to Bali in Dec 2012. The flight to Bali was a bit choppy but the return flight was smooth. I have family in Kuala Lumpur,Ipoh and Penang in Peninsular/West Malaysia (none in Borneo/East Malaysia) and also in Singapore,Hong Kong,New Jersey in the states,Toronto in Canada,London and Cambridge in England and in Sydney,Australia. Therefore,there tends to be a fair bit of flying but I got tired of going around so much I only flew once in March last year and don’t plan to fly at all this year. Also,I will not want to use this airline for a while.

I remember that a Thai Airway Boeing 737 crashed into the Andaman Sea off the Thai resort island of Phuket in 1987 killing 83. I only had the courage to fly to Phuket in 1993 but I took a cruise there again in Jan 2012. For many years I was afraid to fly there LOL. This fear of flying if not overcome could develop into a phobia.

We have had no rain since before the lunar new year and it has been almost 2 months now. There is water rationing and haze from our own bush fires. It’s HOT,HOT,HOT at 33-35*C these days. Dry yet humid too. In the desert countries of the middle east it is very dry and hot but not humid so it is a bit bearable. With no clouds we can’t have rain unless we do cloud-seeding and for that we need clouds too. As a result of cloudless skies the night is cool which is a relief. Electricity costs more now as the tariff has gone up and we switch on the aircond more. It’s a vicious cycle. The more we switch on the air conditioner the hotter the atmosphere gets. The dry weather brings lots of mosquitoes too. Living in the tropics can be troublesome at times. The only respite is to drive up the mountains for a few days. Luckily there are a hill and 2 mountains within driving distance. We get haze normally in the later part of the year from forest fires in Indonesia bcs of the wind that brings the smoke to us. It seems they constantly burn the forests the whole year round to open up land for oil palm cultivation. Indonesia has huge tracts of jungle on the huge island of Sumatera.

I read that the winter in the states and in many of the northern hemisphere countries had been brutal this time. Is it true that Florida snowed for the first time?? I read that Europeans have been warned about a scorching summer. Australia is going thru a terrible summer. After the 2004 tsunami it looks like the world’s weather has gone mad!

You take care too,Anne.

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janet June 27, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Just found moneyning.read a lot of 2013
Cynthia if you still read I too live in texas. I went through a divorce. 02 to 04 to finish. I tried going back to school. I have been considered disabled sense 02 because of what is called major depression reacurring. I take my meds. Go to consulling. Do this this is not AL that I am supposed to. I have had back surgery and at times have to use a cane to get around. This I am telling not for anyone to feel sorry for me because I am at peace with myself and my beliefs. In 04 when my divorce was final like many women 22 years of marriage and two children I got the very short
End of the stick. I had to find somewhere to live at that thing to live on 525.00 dollars a month. I found 5 acres in another county had to put my young in a dorm at college she was 16 at the time. My Mother gave me the 500.00 dollars down payment and 1,500 for and old motorhome. I used old lamps for lite, hauled water in gallon jug. Kept milk cold with ice in a Styrofoam ice chest. Ate a lot of potatoes and eggs after 6 month I got electric and a little frig. Heat for that first winter was from oil lamp and a 5 gallon propane tank. I qualified for Medicare on 05 and womb paid my medicare copay then medicare got a raise and I did not get we anymore. Had to pay my medicare premiums, meds. Abdul copay out of 550.00 a month. Getting help is not always there. Food back were hurting, though places where you are suppose to go to get help with electric and meds were out of money. I sat many hours waiting for help to be told they did’t have any funds left. I asked a neighbor if I could buy water from them and they said no.
Things were hard. I still have all may medical problems and a few more. That land that I got has become a home for my Mother since 06 when she lot her home through divorce and the short end of the stick. For my daughter and grandson. What I guess I am trying to say is that no matter how bad thing same they are not that bad when you look but and youl see how much you have grown and how strong you really are. How when it seems like you have nothing there is more there. I know there are those that will say we’ll you had land. Yes I did have land. I did not have the strength to garden it. This year I was final able to start a little patch. And on the 13th I was reared ed while stopped waiting on traffic to clear. Back on bed rest oh well I will try to be up for the fall garden. You just keep going. There is always hope. Faith. And love. It has always kept me going even when I could not see it for the depression, a chemical embalance. Have not invented the right drug for yet. One day maybe. Just watch the cents and all no matter how bad it seems. You are doing the right things. I truly hope you for a way to save your home. I have been. It takes time, watching, and doing what you can and you will recover. You will be happy, because these are only thing that we have and care for, for a time. May your faith carry you though and the knowledge that hope will lift you up.

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