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Winner of The Chambermaid Giveaway!

Written by Brett McKay

Last week, I ran my first contest on The Frugal Law Student. I offered the chance to win a free copy of Chambermaid by Saira Rao to every person who submitted a post idea for the Frugal Law Student. I ended up having 7 entries and all of them provided great ideas. Thanks to everyone who participated!

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the winner of The Frugal Law Student’s Chambermaid giveaway is….

Joshua Pettigrew! Congratulations, Joshua. I’ll be e-mailing you to ask for your contact info so I can send the book to you.

For those of you interested, I picked the winner by using The Random Number Picker.

Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Could Identity Thieves Be Any Dumber?

Written by Mrs. FLS

I was checking my email tonight and in my inbox I had email purportedly from Paypal.com. The subject line was: User Agreement Violation (ID PP133320) . Since it had not been filtered to my junk mail I thought it might be the real deal. When I opened it, it said that someone from my IP address had tried to change my password 3 times, and thus my account was blocked. I was then instructed to log into my paypal account to unblock it. For a second I thought it was real until I noticed that is said “We apologise for the inconvinience.” The 2 spelling errors had me smelling a scam. And when I clicked on the link to log into my paypal account the website it took me to was not paypal.com but: http://hvttp-www-paypai.com/us/cgi-bin/webscrcmd_profile_credit_card.php

Clearly not the real deal. The page told me to put in my credit card number and pin number and such to unlock my account. Pretty clever of them no? But then again I noticed spelling mistakes…it said that while my account was blocked I couldn’t ” transfer funds electronycaly.” Electronycaly???

What I don’t understand it how the scammers could put so much work into creating a fake website that looks almost identical to paypal (they did a great job with graphics and colors, and reassuring small print, very convincing) and then not bother to do spell check! How dumb can you get!

I have seen this scenario before, and spelling errors can be a great way to detect a fraudalent email. Also check the website they link you to. It is another dead give away.

A Broccoli Floret a Day Keeps the Doctor, and the Debt Away

Written by Mrs. FLS

Today there was a interesting article on “MSN Money” about how adopting a vegetarian diet can save you money. The article notes that this sometimes seems counter intuitive since produce can seem pricey and the Junior Whopper on the dollar menu, is only, well, a dollar. But generally speaking, while chicken breasts and ground round cost around $3 a pound; beans, lentils, and rice cost less than a $1 a pound.

Of course man (or woman) cannot live on lentil soup alone. And fruits and veggies don’t come cheap. To save money the vegetarian shopper should choose produce that is in season, look for deals on locally grown food, and buy frozen items because they can be cheaper, and best of all do not go bad before an urge to snack on those asparagus spears strikes.

Vegetarian shoppers should avoid products that are meat product posers-you know the veggie “hot dogs” that wouldn’t even fool someone who’s sense of taste had been horribly managled in an accident. In all honesty there are some tasty meat replacements out there (delicious BBQ “riblets” anyone?) but many can cost more than $5 a pound! The meat may be fake, but the hit to your wallet is very real. Also, if you have been free basing “Chik Nuggets” it is worth looking into the dark side of too much soy.

By sticking to the basics-things like oatmeal, rice, beans, and lentils bought in bulk-and accented with fruits and vegetables, a vegetarian can live frugally and deliciously. And what really saves them money in the long term are the benefits to their health. Some studies have shown that a plant based diet can add years to your life, and ward off ailments like cancer, heart disease, and dementia. By not having to pay the big hospital and doctor bills that come with these diseases, you can save a ton of money in the long term.

So put down that drumstick buster! Your wallet, and your body, will thank you.

The Frugal Law Student Month In Review-July 2007

Written by Brett McKay

July was a good month for The Frugal Law Student. We had 6,851 visitors during the month of July. This was a decrease from 12,000 we had in Jun, but that was expected given traffic has died from the hoopla the Massive Personal Finance Resource List caused. On the plus side, we reached the 300 mark for RSS subscribers. Thank you to all my readers as well as fellow bloggers who have helped spread the word about The Frugal Law Student

Most Popular Posts

Here are June’s most popular posts based on the number of visits:

  1. Massive Personal Finance Resource List– The Massive Personal Finance Resource List was the top post again. This is what helped generate the 12,000 plus visitors last month. I’m glad so many people still have found it helpful.
  2. Festival of Frugality #84- I hosted my first blog carnival this past month. It was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but it was fun reading all the great frugality posts.
  3. 180 Money Saving Tips That Will Turn Your Life Around 180 Degrees– I wrote this in May, but it’s still a popular one. Again, I’m happy that people are still finding this post helpful.
  4. 10 Ways To Make Money and Save Money On Facebook– I wrote this back in June. Facebook applications have gotten a lot of press lately, so I’m sure that has something to do with the popularity. If you want to learn more about Facebook applications, make sure to check out my other blog Best Facebook Applications.
  5. The Best Personal Finance Advice I’ve Ever Received- In this post, I write about the personal finance advice I received from my friend and mentor, Charles Smith.

In Case You Missed It…

Here are a few of my personal favorites from the month:

  1. Top CEOs Don’t Read Getting Things Done– If you want to be an innovator in your field, read other books besides Getting Things Done.
  2. Crouching Debt, Hidden Credit Card Fees– Learn about hidden credit card fees and how you can avoid them.
  3. Why Personal Finance Books Suck– A rant on why I find personal finance books so annoying.

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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!

Cheap Treat: Mexican Sweet Bread

Written by Brett McKay

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As many of you know, I lived in Tijuana, Mexico for two years as a missionary for my church. During that time, I developed love for Mexican food, especially pan dulce. Pan dulce is a delicious sweet bread. I ate this stuff like it was going out of style while I was on my mission. If I ever found money in the streets, I would stop what I was doing and head directly to the nearest panaderia to buy something. Thankfully, because I walked all the time, I didn’t gain any weight from eating so much sugar, flour, and egg.

Since I’ve been home, my consumption of pan dulce has decreased dramatically. It’s hard to find a good panaderia in town. Thankfully, last night my wife and I found a great panaderia close to where we live.

It felt like I was right back in Mexico. The setup in this panaderia was just like the ones I frequented in Tijuana. Their selection was amazing. They had everything: conchas, mantecados, chilendrinas, and my personal favorite, puerquitos. The quality of puerquito is how I judge a panaderia. A puerquito is a ginger bread cookie in the shape of a big. They’re big, soft, and chewy. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

We picked out about a half dozen items. Pan dulce was cheap in Mexico. Because I was on a super tight budget as a missionary, it was a cheap, albeit unhealthy source of food. I figured because we’re in the States, the prices would be more expensive. To my surprise, they weren’t. We left the store spending $1.90 for six BIG pieces of pan dulce. That would be about 19 pesos in Mexico. If I remember correctly, that’s how much I usually spent on pan dulce while in Mexico.

Pan dulce makes a great desert. It’s also a delicious breakfast and goes well with a glass of milk. Pan dulce really fills you up because the portions are huge. You won’t find any dainty overpriced pastries like you do at Panera Bread. So, next time you have a hankering for something sweet, but you don’t want to spend too much, go buy your local panaderia. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

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[tags]Mexico, Tijuana, food, pan dulce[/tags]