Written by Brett McKay
Photo by DRB62
Law students not only need supplements for their classes, they need supplements for their health.
Law school is taxing both on your mind and body. A law student can easily put in a 12 hour day of non-stop studying. When I was working on my law review article last semester, I often worked from 7 AM to 10 PM to get it done. If you’re not taking care of your body, all this work and stress can land you in the hospital. (Note: That’s what happened to me last year.) A law student cannot afford to miss a week of classes and studying!
In addition to exercising regularly and eating well, law students should consider taking a few nutritional supplements to help them make it through the law school experience. Vitamin/herbal supplements used in conjunction with exercise and diet can not only keep you from getting sick, they also might help you perform better come exam time.
Here’s a run down of supplements that I’m currently taking to keep me healthy and to boost my brain power:
- Vibrant C. Vibrant C is a drink mix full of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. I start drinking this during cold season in order to boost my immune system. I don’t have time to be sick in law school, so any way I can prevent coming down with something is welcomed.
- Daily Vitamin Supplement. While eating a well balanced diet to get all the vitamins and nutrients you need is ideal, sometimes law students don’t have time to eat healthy. That’s where a daily vitamin supplement can come in. You’ll get all your daily recommended vitamins in one little pill.
- Ginkgo Biloba. Studies have shown that regular consumption of Ginkgo helps improve thinking, learning, and memory. In law school, that’s all you do. Taking Ginkgo won’t turn you into a super genius, but every little thing helps. Studies also show that ginkgo helps ward off depression. This is particularly useful in law school where depression is unfortunately quite common.
- Fish Oil. Fish oil is full of omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown omega 3 fatty acids have several health benefits. The benefits that law students should be interested in include better brain function and less depression. Omega 3 improves memory, recall, reasoning, and focus; all important skills on law exams. There is some evidence it boosts the immune system as well.
- Yerba mate. Yerba mate is a tea made from a shrub in South America. The benefits of yerba mate are similar to those of green tea. I’ve been able to kick my soda habit by switching to yerba mate. I get the benefits of the energy boost from the natural caffeine, along with health benefits from all the antioxidants. Plus it energizes you without the jittery feeling coffee or energy drinks can give.
- 5 Hour Energy. If this stuff was cheaper, I would take it everyday. It is an energy drink that actually lives up to its claim. It makes you feel energized, focused, and ready to take on the world. All without the jitters or the crash when it wears off. I take one of these shots before all my final exams and they power me through those stressful 3-4 hour periods.
Written by Mrs. FLS
One of the biggest expenses in a women’s budget comes from beauty and cosmetic products. Here are ten ways you can keep looking great without spending a fortune:
Shop at drugstores like Walgreens or CVS. It may seem that it is necessary to shop at big box stores like Wal-Mart to get the best price on cosmetics, but this is not typically true for the following reasons:
- Drugstores offer great sales. Each week, scour the advertisement flyers that come with the Sunday newspaper. Drugstores will often have “buy one get one free” or “buy one get one half off” deals. When a product you use regularly goes on sale, stock up and save big bucks.
- Stores like Walgreens, CVS, or even ULTA, can save you money because of their return policies. These stores allow you to open a cosmetic product, try it, and then return the used product if you don’t like it. Cosmetic products can be hit or miss. It is a huge waste of money to buy something and then abandon it with 90% of the product left.
- I am not sure about other drugstores, but at Walgreens the “beauty advisors” cut out the Sunday coupons themselves and have a stash behind the counter. Buy your cosmetics at the specific beauty counter and ask the cashier if there are any coupons for the products you are buying. Some of the cashiers are lazy and won’t offer them unless you ask.
If you find something you like, stick with it. The cosmetics aisle sings a siren song. There are a myriad of products found there, and each trumpets a different claim (Anti-aging! Anti-acne! Sunscreen! Moisturizing! Firmness!). The endless options can absolutely paralyze you. You will find yourself confused and vulnerable to an impulse buy. Just keep picking the old standards. You know they work. A new product will probably not change your life.
Use a concealer brush instead of your finger. The concealer will go on smoother and offer better coverage. Yet you will use 1/2 to 1/3 the amount you would with your finger.
Buy products that offer “2 in 1” features. These products can save you both time and money. Here are some examples:
- Moisturizers or foundations with sunscreen.
- Facial cleansing wipes that remove your eye make-up and also clean your face.
- Foundations and concealers that offer “shade matching” properties. These are foundations like Covergirl Trueblend that are able to change color to match your skin tone. This is useful because you may typcially have fair skin, but might occasionally be out in the sun and get browner. With a shade matching product, you don’t have to have different foundations and concealers for your changing skin tones.
In most cases, store brand products work just as well as the pricey department store brands. Cosmetic products are not required to prove their efficacy or undergo scientific testing or approval from the FDA. So much of the higher price comes from sleeker packaging, marketing, and ingredients that apparently come from deep water springs in the tropics.
- For example: According to the NYT: “A study of wrinkle creams published last month by Consumer Reports concluded that there was no correlation between price and effectiveness. The study, which tested nine brands of wrinkle creams over 12 weeks, also concluded that none of the products reduced the depth of wrinkles by more than 10 percent, an amount “barely visible to the naked eye.”
- The Consumer Reports study also found that “a three-step regimen of Olay Regenerist products costing $57 was slightly more effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles than a $135 tube of StriVectin-SD or a $335 combination of two La Prairie Cellular lotions.”
- Even pricey Proactive doesn’t work any better than a drugstore benzoyl peroxide product at taming acne.
Put your face on a skin care “diet.” Many dermatologists say that putting too much gook on your face is counteractive. According the NYT, Dermatologists are “prescribing simplified skin-care routines requiring at most three steps: soap; sunscreen every day, no matter the weather or the season; and, if necessary, a product tailored to specific skin needs, whether a cream for pimples or pigmented spots, or a vitamin-enriched moisturizer for aging skin. Each product, they say, can be bought at drugstores for $30 or less.”
It is okay to have a couple of splurge items. There are some rare cases where pricier products do work better than the drugstore brands. For example I once tried a friend’s MAC eyeliner and was hooked. It is by far the best eyeliner I have tried. Yet it costs twice as much as the drugstore brands. My solution? I ask for it as a stocking stuffer each year at Christmas. And it is such a great product, it lasts all year.
What are your tricks for saving money on cosmetics and make-up? Drop a line in the comment box and join the conversation!
I’d like to thank my sister Suzanne, a Walgreens beauty advisor and all-around beauty product guru for several of these tips. Check out her blog for more tips about make-up!
Written by Brett McKay
Yesterday, I wrote about 13 ways to kill a cold without killing your budget. Washing your hands was number one on that list. That got me thinking. Most people really don’t wash their hands like they should. Next time you’re in a public bathroom watch how people wash their hands. First, you’ll notice that many people just don’t do it (eeewww). Second, those that do stop at the sink just run their hands under water quickly. That’s not going to do anything to get rid of those germs. If you want to get the germ fighting benefit of hand washing you have to do it right and no one washes their hands better than doctors. Here’s how you can wash your hands just like them.
When To Do It
- preparing or serving food
- eating food
- inserting or removing contact lenses
- treating a cut or wound
- brushing and flossing your teeth
- picking your nose (just kidding! But seriously, most bacteria from our hands infect us after coming into contact with our nose)
- using the bathroom (no brainer)
- being around someone who is sick
- blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing
- handling uncooked poultry
- changing a diaper
- picking your nose
How To Do It
- Wet your hands with warm water.
- Get some soap and rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds. A doctor friend of mine said 20 seconds is about the amount of time it takes to hum “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Make sure to wash all the surfaces of your hands, including wrists, palms, fingers, and underneath fingernails.
- Rinse hands thoroughly with warm water.
- Dry hands with a clean paper towel. Turn off sink with paper towel to prevent reinfecting your hands.
Bonus Tip: When you’re in a public bathroom, dispense your paper towel before you wash your hands. The handle on dispensers is probably one of the most germ infested areas in a bathroom. By having the towel ready before you wash, you can avoid touching the dispenser with your clean hands.
Bonus Bonus Tip: When you’re in a public bathroom, don’t throw the paper towel away immediately. Use it to open the door. Door handles in public bathrooms are covered with bacteria, so protect your newly clean hands by opening it with the paper towel.
Written by Brett McKay
Cold and flu season is upon us. You don’t have to let getting sick get in the way of your financial goals. Here’s a list of 13 things you can do to save money this cold season,
The best way to prevent spending money on treating a cold is to avoid getting sick in the first place.
Wash your hands. Most germs, viruses, and bacteria are spread through our hands. Sick people wipe their runny nose with their hand and go on to touch their infected hands with other hands or places where other hands will touch. Wash those germs away by washing your hands frequently.
Get enough sleep. When you’re not well rested, your immunity system wears down and makes you more susceptible to sickness. Make sure to get your 8 hours each night.
Exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can build up your immunity system. But don’t over do it. Too much exercise can wear you out and consequently your immune system. All you need is 2o minutes a day to get the health benefits of exercise.
Eat Right. If you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap. Stop eating junk food and start bulking up on whole grains and fresh produce. Produce is full of immunity strengthening vitamins.
Stack up on vitamin C. If you don’t think you’re getting enough vitamins from your diet, try taking a supplement. My favorite is Vibrant C. Just add to water and drink!
Fluidize. Most people are walking around dehydrated. Proper hydration will make you feel better. Get your recommended 8-9 glasses of water a day.
Sometimes no matter what you do, you still get pegged with a cold. Here’s how you can treat it without spending a fortune.
Spice it up. If you’re congested, spicy foods are great way to unclog your nose. Rummage around your spice rack and bust out the curry and cayenne pepper on your food. Add some jalepenos to your potato or eggs. You’ll be breathing easier in no time.
Linger in the shower. When you’re feeling under the weather, jump in a hot shower. The moisture from the steam will help reduce throat inflammation. It also helps break up mucus in your sinuses and lungs which helps ease congestion.
Tea time. If you’re coughing up a lung, try sipping on some tea. The hot water will help reduce mucus in your throat making you less likely to cough. Bump up tea’s cough suppressing ability by adding lemon and honey. The honey will help soothe sore throats and the lemon has vitamin C and antioxidants to help fight a cold.
Savor some soup. Your mom was right. Chicken soup is good for you when you’re sick. Like tea, soup can help reduce mucus and help suppress coughs. Additionally, a study from the University of Nebraska Medical Centers found that chicken vegetable soup reduces the activity of inflammatory white blood cells, called neutrophils, that can cause cold symptoms.
Gargle Salt. Is your throat feeling tender? Put a 1/2 teaspoon of salt into some water and gargle it. It will help reduce inflammation in your throat.
Fluidize. When your body is sick, it needs more fluids to get nutrients to cells faster. Increased water can also help reduce the thickness of mucus, which can help ease up congestion.
Suck a mint. If you don’t have a cough drop on hand, substitute it with a mint. Sucking on the mint will help reduce the coughing reflex when you’re having a coughing fit.
The best way to beat a Cold is not to get it, because despite advancements in Modernized Medicine a there is still no cure for a cold. The best things you can do it take proper preventive Health care. If you catch a cold, visit Medical Sites for tips on getting better faster.
Written by Mrs. FLS
Do you ever get knots in your back? I have perhaps one of the knottiest backs in the world. I hate them as they are rather uncomfortable and make my back feel tense. The only remedy for the knots is a good back rub. We obviously can’t afford for me to have a professional masseuse work them out (although I certainly fantasize about it and especially about having one of those hot stone massages, ahhhhhh). But that is just a knotty fantasy. And giving yourself a backrub is about as effective as tickling yourself. So my only other option was to have Brett rub them for me. But he was none too happy to remove his nose from the books to administer a backrub, and his thumbs are weaklings; they have no real rubbing stamina at all. He could never rub the knots long enough to really destroy them.
I have however discovered a solution to my knotty woes. A friend showed me how to do a truly effective and completely free self-massage. First, you take a tennis ball and stick it into a long sock. Then, swing it over your shoulder so it is hanging down your back. Next, lean into a wall so that the ball is between the wall and your back. Finally, move your back up and down and side to side so that the ball rubs your knotty places. Don’t be afraid to really dig them out, but you should only experience “good” pain (the “ooooh, ahhhh” pain) and not bad pain (the “ouch” pain). Keep rubbing until satisfied. You’ll look pretty funny (much like a bear itching himself on a tree) but it is really effective and feels fantastic. I can seriously stand there for 20 minutes doing it. After a few days of this “treatment” my knots were almost gone.
So as the semester heats up and the stress lodges in your back, take time out for a free massage!
Written by Brett McKay
My wife and I are fortunate enough to have our own health insurance. We’ve been paying about $250 a month for health and dental insurance for the both of us since we’ve been married. We’re thinking about adding a little Frugal Law Student to our family soon, so this past week we added maternity insurance for my wife and our health insurance went up another $100. So we’re now paying $350 a month on insurance. Boo. However, with my new job at Westlaw and the extra money I’ve been taking in with my blog projects, we’ll be able to afford it.
My wife and I have seriously looked into using state welfare in order to cover the cost of having a kid. It blows my mind what the cost of child bearing is. You can easily rack up a bill of over $10,000 for the birth of one child. Yikes! With our maternity insurance, it should cover most of the cost. However, we were reluctant to go the welfare route because of the emotional charge that goes along with being a married professional student on welfare. Here are some common things we hear about it.
Programs like WIC and Medical Assistance were not designed for graduate students who will be making a decent living in a few years. They are for the truly poor.
These programs are only for people who have hard times because of unforeseen circumstances. One should not plan on using them.
People have no business having children if they can’t afford to bear the cost of bearing and raising that child themselves.
As you can see, the decision to take government assistance is not only an economic one, but also a moral one for many people. But should it be a moral decision?
Take the first common thought about graduate students using welfare: Programs like WIC and Medical Assistance were not designed for graduate students who will be making a decent living in a few years. They are for the truly poor.
This thought carries the assumption that welfare programs were designed only for people who we feel deserve them. Many people feel soon-to-be-lawyers/doctors/MBA grads who will be making tons of money after they graduate don’t deserve welfare. The problem with this thought is that welfare programs are designed for people that qualify for them. If the government wanted to exclude people with certain circumstances, it could do so. It could exclude married people seeking advanced degrees, but it doesn’t. If you match the criteria, the program is designed for you. This thought also carries the assumption that all students seeking advanced degrees will be wealthy when done with school. As I’ve written before, that’s not necessarily the case.
I find it odd that many people who condemn married students using welfare to subsidize the cost of having children don’t have a problem with the government subsidizing their college education. We can make the same arguments about taking student loans that people make about taking on government assistance for child bearing. People have no business going to college unless they can pay the costs for it themselves.
Some may respond, “But an educated person is an asset to society.” So are children. Especially children who are highly likely to pay a lot of taxes over their lifetime, such as children of graduate and professional students.
But government investment in my education was just smart economics. So is government investment in the bearing of children and their subsequent health care and nutrition. More children mean more potential tax payers. Our current tax model in a large part depends on new tax payers being born each day.
In the end, I don’t have a problem with professional students taking on welfare in order to raise a family. To me, it’s an investment that we as a society make into individuals who are likely to contribute more much more to our economy in the long run. The reason Kate and I decided to pay for our own insurance is that we’re on the edge of missing the qualifying monthly income requirement. To be on the safe side, I’m planning on our income to continue increasing. I don’t want to be in a position where we don’t have any insurance at all.
What are your thoughts? Should professional students use welfare? Drop a line in the comment box.