i The Frugal Law Student | Tips

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How to Give an Impressive Handshake

Written by Brett McKay


As an attorney, I’ll be shaking lots of hands: clients, potential clients, other attorneys, and judges. During that brief contact with that person, they’re going to form opinions of me. My handshake could give them the impression that I’m warm person or cold and aloof. Maybe my handshake indicates that I’m an overbearing ass or a wimpy McWimpsalot. We want a handshake that creates a favorable impression. We’re going to talk about how to do that.

There are three keys to a successful [tag]handshake[/tags]

  1. How you do it
  2. When you do it
  3. Where you do it

How you do it

  • Make sure your handshake is firm, not a dead fish grip. However, you don’t want to crush the other person’s hand.
  • Make sure you don’t have food or grease on your hands. You want the person to remember you, not what you ate.
  • If your hands are sweaty, give them a quick nonchalant wipe on your pants.
  • When you off your hand, look the person in the eye and smile.

When you do it

Handshakes involve timing. Many people avoid offering handshakes because they’re afraid of being left hanging. If you’re not sure if someone will notice your offer, extend the handshake anyways. Most of the time people will notice your handshake offer and quickly grasp your hand.

Be aware of different social customs. Most cultures have different customs for shaking hands. Some find it inappropriate for a man to shake a woman’s hand and some cultures find shaking hands completely unacceptable. Be sensitive to these situations.

What if you’re left hanging?

I hate when this happens. I always feel dumb, especially when everyone but the person with whom you were trying to shake hands saw the rejection. Don’t feel embarrassed. The problem isn’t that the other person doesn’t think you’re important, you’re timing was just off.

  • Don’t offer a handshake if the other person is engrossed in conversation with someone else.
  • Don’t approach someone from the side with your extended hand. It’s hard to see.
  • Do audibly greet the person first to get their attention and then offer your hand.

Where to do it

Handshakes are good every where. Make sure to shake plenty of hands when you go to a social gathering. Make sure to shake the hosts’ hand when arriving and leaving the gathering.

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[tags]career, job interviews, personal development[/tags]

10 Ways to Get More For Your Grocery Dollar

Written by Brett McKay


Kate and I’s biggest monthly expense is food. We try to spend less than $325 each month. Sometimes we do it, sometimes we don’t. We’re always looking for tips on how to save money on our grocery bill. Here’s a list of simple things you can do to save.

  1. Check unit pricing. What looks like a deal, might really not be based on its unit price. Compare how much each ounce, lb, liter costs and buy the product with the cheapest unit price.
  2. Try store brands and generic products. There’s absolutely no difference. In most cases, the same company that makes the brand name food products also makes the generic brand.
  3. Make tasty meals from leftovers instead of tossing them out. Try planning meal left over friendly meals. Roast beef can be turned into sandwiches or a stew. Spaghetti can be turned into a quick baked pasta dish.
  4. Clip and use coupons wisely. Only use coupons for products you actually use. Don’t buy something just because you have a coupon for it.
  5. Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. You’ll buy more then you meant to.
  6. Think small. Buy only what you will use. Throwing out food and unused household products is throwing out money.
  7. Be creative with substitutes. Use powdered milk instead of whole milk and dried peas or beans instead of meat occasionally.
  8. Make a list to prevent impulse buying.
  9. Season your own rice, make your own sauces, bake your own cakes, and steam your own fresh vegetables.
  10. If you have kids, leave them at home whenever you can. They’ll use their kiddy influence (i.e. begging and tantrums) to get you to buy things you don’t need.

What do you do to save on the grocery bill? Drop me a line and let me know.

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[tags]grocery, frugal, coupons, saving, money[/tags]

5 Ways to Use Your Old Credit Cards

Written by Brett McKay


One of the fist steps of getting rid of your debt is getting rid of your credit cards. However, instead of just cutting them up immediately, extend your old credit cards’ uses.

  1. Ice Scraper. If you don’t have an ice scraper on hand, try using your credit card. This will probably only work if you just have a light frost on your wind shield.
  2. Door key. If you accidental lock yourself out, press the latch into door by sliding your old credit card between the door and the frame. If the bevel faces the other way, cut the card into an L-shape, insert, and pull toward you. WikiHow has an entry on how to do this. [via Lifehacker].
  3. Guitar Pick. Can’t find your pick? Use the corner of a credit card instead.
  4. Manicure tool. Clean your finger nails with a credit card.
  5. Ruler. When I read, I underline. To make sure my lines are straight, I use my old credit card like a ruler.

What other useful things can you do with an old credit card? Drop me a line.

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[tags]credit cards, tips, money[/tags]

Make Extra Money by Becoming a Mechanical Turk

Written by Brett McKay

The New York Times had an interesting article on Sunday about businesses paying people to do small tasks that computers can’t. For example computers can’t look at a picture and count the number of happy people in a picture. Neither can it easily recognize the difference between a picture of an oak tree and a maple tree. These differences can be important when organizing information. What many search engine companies are doing is outsourcing this work to humans, who can do these kinds of things easily.

Amazon.com has created a site called Mechanical Turk (a mechanical turk recalls a famous 18th-century hoax, where what seemed to be a chess-playing automaton really concealed a human chess master.) where people can sign up to take on Human Intelligence Tasks (HIT). A HIT might consist of looking at a photo and telling if it contains a pizza parlor. A computer would have hard time doing this, but a person can do it in a matter of seconds.

Most HIT’s reward just a few cents for each task, but it all adds up. The article discussed a disabled former military officer spending two hours a day on HITs. He earns about $100 a week. Not too shabby.

Being a mechanical turk seems like an easy way to earn some extra cash while in school. It’s not going to make you rich, but it can at least give you some extra money to pay those bills.

Hat tip to my lovely wife for telling me about the article.

How To Make Money Online, With Some Help From Net Business Blog

Written by Brett McKay

Increasing income is an important step for law students, undergrad students, or anyone to beat debt and become financially free. Many people, however, don’t have the time or energy to take on a second job. That’s why internet revenue is an awesome solution to increasing your streams of income.

Despite all the hype, making money online is difficult. Only a few people will ever make six-figure incomes blogging. That shouldn’t stop you from trying, though. With time and some work, you can make $50-$100 a month from blogging. That extra money adds up quickly, especially if you invest or save it.

If you don’t know how to get started with making money online, head of to Matt Codington’s Net Business Blog. While his blog is only three months old, he’s already making $1,000/month in ad revenue. He provides excellent tips on how to make money online. Some of my favorite posts include:

Matt is genuinely interested in helping others make money online. That’s why his blog has been such a success. Another sign of Matt’s genuineness is that he’s offering a free link back to anyone who reviews his site. In the short time it takes to write a review, you can have a link on a high traffic blog, thus increasing the chances more traffic comes your way. Matt, I salute you.

77 Tips to Learn Faster

Written by Brett McKay

Law school requires students to learn huge amounts of information quickly. Good thing the Online Educational Database has created an awesome list of methods to increase how quickly you learn things.

In Hacking Knowledge, 77 Ways to Learn, Faster, and Deeper The Online Educational Database offers several knowledge hacks that will have you memorizing future estate rules in no time flat.

Some of the useful categories for law students include:

  • Recall techniques
  • Visual Aids
  • Verbal and Auditory Techniques
  • Self Motivation
  • For Students and Self Studiers

Check it out. You can definitely spend a lot of time reading this. All of the tips are really good, but just pick a few you want to use. Trying to implement too many too soon will definitely cause your brain to overload.

Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better by Online Educational Database [via Dumb Little Man]