i The Frugal Law Student | Simplicity

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Hack Your Pocket Moleskine Into A Wallet

Written by Brett McKay

If you’re like me, you love your Moleskine, but hate having to lug around one more thing in your pants pockets. With a cell phone and wallet already occupying valuable pocket real estate, the addition of the Moleskine can make your bottom half start to feel bulky. I thought about getting one of David Allen’s NoteTaker Wallets, in order to combine my wallet with the note taking functionality of the Moleskine, but they’re $90! As a law student who’s taking on student debt, I can not bring myself to drop $90 for a wallet.

So, here’s the next best thing. Hack your Pocket Moleskine into a fully functioning wallet. The Moleskine already has a folder in the back that serves as a great place to keep paper money and receipts. What it’s lacking is a convenient place to store your credit cards. This hack fixes that. By combining your wallet with the Moleskine, you’ll have one less things to carry.

What We’re Going For



Pretty cool, huh? Let’s get started on your Moleskine wallet.

The Materials


1. Print off the credit card holder template that I’ve provided. Cut them out.

2. Fold the tabs on the cutout. I usually fold the tabs around a credit card to make sure I get precise and snug fold.

3. Apply glue on the side of the tab facing out, like this.


4. Place the first holder at the top of your Moleskine. I placed my credit card holders next the folder on the back cover. You can put your’s where ever you want.


5. Layer the subsequent holders in a stagnated fashion until you get to the bottom, so it will look like this.


6. Let dry. You’re done!

Here’s what it looks like closed:


It’s a little full, but has worked out for me pretty well for me. Now, I never forget to have my Moleskine with me. If anybody else has suggestions, please feel free add them to the comments.

How The Frugal Law Student Saves On Shaving

Written by Brett McKay

People are willing to fork over tons of money for a good shave. First, they’ll buy the latest 5 blade razor. A cartridge of four blades will set you back about $10. Yikes! Then, you have to get the shaving cream that was specially made for the 5 bladed razor. Cost-$5. You’re looking at spending between $15-$20 just on shaving every 6 weeks. Well, my friends. There is another way.

gilletesafetyrazorvig.jpgThe razor. The first thing I did to start saving money on shaving was dump the Mach 3s, and pick up an old fashion Gillette safety razor. I found mine at an antique store in Vermont this summer. Ask your Grandpa if he still has his old safety razor and maybe he’ll let you borrow it. If you can’t find a used one, you can still buy one new. You can buy a new Merkur Classic on Amazon for about $30.

Once you make this upfront investment, your shave will be cheaper. Safety blades cost about $.40 each. I go to Albertson’s and buy a 10 pack for about $4. Each blade lasts about 10 days if you shave every day. In addition to saving money, you’re reducing the amount of waste you produce. It’s frugal and environmentally friendly.

One caveat on shaving with the safety razor. When you first start out, you’ll probably slice the hell out of your face. Shaving with an old fashion razor requires more skill than today’s modern 5 edged contraptions. Some dude who’s a old school style shaving aficionado has put together a series of videos on how to shave with a safety razor. Here are the videos:

Shaving cream. I use Barbasol shaving cream. A can of it costs $.99 and lasts for weeks. I figure if it was good enough for my Grandpa, it’s good enough for me. To make the lathering experience more enjoyable, I apply it with a boar brush. Not only does using a brush make you feel manly, it also does a better job in getting the cream under your whiskers for better shaving. Note to ladies: My wife has started to use my Barbaosl shaving cream to shave her legs. Her report was that it gave her the best shave she’s ever had. So, you too can skip the gel and go with the old $.99 can.

I’ve been shaving like this for the past two months. I’m happy to report that I’ve been having the best shaves of my life. Holy cow! I’m smoother than a baby’s behind! The shaves are so close that I can often skip a day and still look clean shaven. Besides saving money, shaving the old fashion way makes me feel like a bad ass. It’s nice to take part in a morning ritual that bad asses like my grandpa, John F. Kennedy, and Teddy Roosevelt took part in.

Symptoms of a Frivolous Purchase

Written by Brett McKay


One of the best ways to save money and invest in your future is to cut back on frivolous shopping with your disposable income. Instead of having so many CDs that you don’t have time to listen to them all, you could have an index fund earning you a nice return for retirement or a big purchase like a house.

But how do you know when you’re making a frivolous purchase? Our mind can play tricks on us and make us think what we’re buying is exactly what we need. Well, here are two symptoms or warning signs to look for in yourself to see if you’re making a frivolous purchase.

Physiological signs

While you’re cruising the mall, you see a shirt you would like to buy. It’s the perfect shirt. You know if you have it you’ll be sexier and more confident. This is when the adrenalin starts rushing through your body. Your pulse quickens. You’re heart palpitates. Your palms start sweating and you start salivating. To our brain, shopping is like hunting. Instead of mastodons, the prey is a CD or a piece of clothing. Because shopping is like hunting, our brain prepares our body for the shock by pumping out adrenaline. That’s why you see these kinds of physical symptoms.

Psychological signs

After the physical signs, come the psychological ones. You’ll find yourself listing all the reasons you should have this shirt. You’ll rationalize. You’re basically trying to convince yourself that you have to buy this shirt, despite knowing you don’t.

The Prescription

If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms while in a store, put down the item, and walk out the store. As soon as you leave the store, bust out your “I will buy this in one month” list, and add that item that had you drooling to the list. As you delay the purchase, two things will either happen. The feeling that you need to buy that item will either stay or go away. Most of the time, you’ll forget that you even wanted to make the purchase. If you still have desires to make the purchase, start making a plan so you can afford it. When you do purchase the item, it will be much more enjoyable to own. By delaying gratification, you’ll not only increase your buying pleasure, but also save money in the long run.

Ideas for Homemade Father’s Day Cards and Beyond

Written by Mrs. FLS

Father’s Day is Sunday. Have you bought a card for your dad yet? Well I hope not….because you should make one instead! I have always been really into making homemade cards. Not just because it is frugal-which it is-but because they are so much better than store bought cards. Why buy someone a card with a canned sentiment that doesn’t really express how you feel? “Dear Dad, my heart swells with love and gratitude as deep as a rolling river on this Father’s Day.” Ick. Most people, both those who buy the card and those who receive it, barely even read the inscription because they know someone they have never met, toiling away in Hallmark’s offices, wrote it. A homemade card allows you to write your own message and most importantly it tells the recipient that you cared enough to take the time to make something yourself with the person in mind. People seriously love homemade cards. No joke.

I think I have a knack for homemade cards. But I know that some people struggle to come up with good/funny ideas. So I thought I would share some ideas I have used in the past. Some of them are good for Father’s Day, and some are for other occasions or any old time. These cards are so easy, you will be finished making it in the time it would have taken to drive to Walgreen’s and back.

The easiest way to come up with a homemade card idea is to think of a funny pun. Don’t worry if it is cheesy or silly, the cheesier and sillier the better. Then you just build the card around that pun.

For example: Cut out a gray circle from construction paper. Glue a little string to the “top” (inasmuch as a circle has a top). Then draw a little flame, cut it out, and glue it to the top of the string. On the back of the circle, write “I hope your Father’s Day/Birthday is the BOMB!” Or, since bomb is rather “out” these days, write “I hope your ____is a BLAST!” Cheesy and delicious.

The easiest source of puns is food for some reason. I have this non-realistic dream of manufacturing a line of greeting cards called “Comfort Foods.” Since this is never going to happen, here are some of my ideas you can make at home. Note: for all these ideas, you can either cut the actual card into the shape or object mentioned, draw it, or what is even easier for the non-art inclined, simply find the picture online, print it, cut it out, and paste it on the front of card.

1. For example cut the card into the shape of a pickle or draw or paste a picture of a pickle unto the front of folded paper. On the inside write “You’ve always been there to help me out of a pickle. Happy Father’s Day!”

2. Cut/Paste/Draw a picture of a bunch of grapes. Then inside write “Hope you have a GRAPE Father’s Day/Birthday/Ect.

3. Cut out a white circle. Color a yellow circle in the middle. On the back write “Hope you have an Egg-cellent Father’s Day/Birthday/Ect.

4. Cut/Paste/Draw a slice of pizza. On the back write “You’re the best slice of life! Have a good……”

5. Cut/Copy/Draw a wedge of cheese. Write on front “I know this may sounds cheesy…” and then on the back write “but you’re the best dad/husband/friend in the world!”

Or for a more complicated variation on this theme: Draw a cob of corn on yellow construction paper. Cut it out. Cut out some green paper husk leaves. Attach them to the bottom of cob so they cover the bottom and the corn cob sprouts out. Write on the outside of the leaves “I know this may sound corny….” And then they bend back the husk leaves, and on the inside of the leaves or on the part of cob that was covered you have written “But you are the best __________ in the world!”

Current Events and Pop Culture are also fertile sources of ideas for puns for your card. For example for a love interest:

1. Find a picture of Kim Jong Il, dictator of N. Korea, print it, cut it out, and paste it on the front of folded paper. Draw a red heart around him. On the inside write “I just wanted to tell you that I’m CRAZY about you!”

2. Or print and cut out a picture of Mr. Peanut. Paste it, and on the inside of the card write, “I’m NUTS about you.” This would also work with a picture of a squirrel.

3. When the “The Secret” had just hit it big in the news and on Oprah, Brett made me a card in which he drew The Secret’s symbol on the front and wrote inside “It’s no secret I love you a lot.” Or when I was into watching the Bachelor reality show (it was a guilty pleasure, so sue me!), he made a card with a rose on the front, and inside it, it said “Kate, will you accept this rose?” Funny, ironic, sweet. What more can you ask for?

If you want to do something more involved, here are a couple of ideas:

1. A good Father’s Day “card” for kids to make is as follows. Draw a very little picture of your dad and cut it out. Stuff it inside a blue balloon. Blow up balloon and tie it off. Tape some green construction paper continents to the outside. Present the balloon to dad to pop. When he does, the little picture of himself will fall out and you will have written on it before insertion, “You are the best dad in the world!” Classic.

2. Here is a good one for a love interest. Cut/Draw/Paste a picture of a fisherman. Attach a string to his “pole.” At the end place a construction paper fish. On the fish write: “You are such a catch! I love you!”

For a Thank You card to someone for sending you money:

1. Cut/Draw/Paste a picture of a cow. On the back or inside write “Thank you for the Moooooola.”

2. Cut/Draw/Paste a picture of someone spreading butter on a slice of bread. Inside or on the back write “Thank you for spreading the love.”

So here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Give dad something funny, personalized, memorable, and from the heart this Sunday. And save a couple bucks in the process!

Frugal Tips From Ralph Nader

Written by Brett McKay


You might not agree with his politics, but you have to agree that Ralph Nader is one frugal guy. While Nader has assets in the millions, he still lives like he’s a starving law student. Here are a few tips we can learn from Mr. Nader’s life

  • Don’t own a car. Ralph Nader hasn’t owned a car since 1955. I guess he swore off them after he wrote Unsafe At Any Speed.
  • Live in a boarding house.
  • Don’t upgrade your technology. Mr. Nader still uses a black and white television. I can’t remember the last time I saw a black and white TV.
  • He isn’t married and he doesn’t have kids. I plan on having a family. The money savings don’t outweigh the joy of family life. However, I can see how not having kids would save me a ton of money. Clothes, sports camps, food, and education costs can add up. As my father-in-law says, “Kids are money sucking leaches.”
  • He buys clothes at the Army Surplus Store. Nader wears socks that he bought 20 years ago an Army surplus. Not only are the clothes cheap at surplus stores, they’re made to last.
  • He buys his clothes at thrift stores. Sure, Ralph doesn’t have the latest fashion, but he never looks like a schlump. You always see the guy in a suit and tie. However, instead of spending hundreds of dollars on his wardrobe, he’s only spending a few bucks.

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[tags]Ralph Nader, frugal[/tags]

Do You Suffer From Digital Pack Rat-itis? Here’s Your Prescription.

Written by Brett McKay


Talk of the Nation had an interesting segment yesterday about pack rats. Neal Conan interviewed Mark McCluskey, products editor at Wired magazine, about how hoarding has gone digital.

Unlike analog pack rats who love collecting things, digital pack rats love collecting content. Analog pack rats love the tactile experience of holding an old vinyl album or smelling an old book. Analog pack rats generally don’t even listen to the records or read the books that they hold on to. Digital pack rats on the other hand love collecting information. They like knowing that somewhere in their computer or external hard drive lies a golden nugget of information.

I know I’m guilty of both, but more so with digital hoarding. I have emails from three years ago still on my account. I know I’ll never read them, but I just don’t have the heart to delete them. It’s like my little collection of letters tied with a digital bow that I keep in my digital attic. Instead of old drawings from kindergarten, my computer is overflowing with undergrad papers that I wrote years ago. I have no desire to read my research paper on the philosophy of language, but I don’t want to delete it.

However, analog and digital hoarding can cost people time and money. Important things or information can get lost in the clutter of stuff that you hold on to. That bill that was due yesterday is probably lost in the huge piles of paper sitting on your desk. My computer is starting to slow down because of all the crap that’s on it.

GTD: Just What the Dr. Ordered

My prescription to you is buying a copy Getting Things Done by David Allen. GTD will help you eliminate clutter and focus on the important things in your life. Below is a short list of resources about GTD and decluttering that I have used to cure myself of pack rat-itis.

Warning: Take productivity in moderation

In your quest to heal yourself of pack rat-itis, don’t replace your obsession with collecting “stuff” with an obsession of productivity. My own experience has shown me that one can get so obsessed with GTD and life hacks that you end up less productive than before. If you take productivity in moderation and you should be alright.

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[tags] GTD, life hack, productivity, NPR, Zen Habits[/tags]