It’s clear that the decision’s already been made to attend law school and that those sleepless nights are bound to happen, but living frugally and being happy about it is doable for the next two to three years that one beats their head against their books. How? Consider it elementary.
Here is a list of law student do’s and dont’s for living frugally:
- Use the law school library’s wireless server for email and web work. Remember, students foot much of the on-campus operating costs through tuition dollars. The same goes for entertainment like movies and sporting events.
- Brown bag lunches and snacks whenever on campus and take advantage of free food events.
- Close that personal TV cable account. Who has time to watch Season 2 of anything anyway?
- Simplify when it comes to the latest and greatest gadgets to pop on the market every 3 to 6 months. There’s really no need to update that cell phone model once a year when the one in the backpack still works.
- Caffeinate yourself by brewing coffee at home rather than walking into the corner coffee joint every morning and forking over $3.00 bucks for a weak ‘cup of joe.’ Besides, who has time to stand in line?
- Go generic. Shampoo is shampoo is shampoo. Who cares what your hair looks like at 2 in the morning?
- Budget before buying anything. Try to budget for the next month’s expenses – rent, groceries, unexpected school expenses – before the month starts. Even better, budget for the semester as soon as that student loan refund check hits the mailbox.
- Hang up clothes that can be worn more than once like jeans, jackets, and dress shirts worn only a few hours. Doing so will save on laundry and dry-cleaning costs.
- Cook meals at home and buy staple foods: pastas, breads, eggs, whole meats, fruits, and veggies.
- Opt for student-run services such as haircuts and teeth-cleanings.
- Avoid impulse buying. Write a list of needed items before going to the grocery store, the drug store, and yes, the department store too.
- Just say no to credit card companies on law school campus that lure wide-eyed students in with a free T-shirt and bottle-opener key-chain.
- Think twice about driving to the corner market that is within walking distance from home. Gas isn’t cheap. Besides, walking or biking around the block can clear the head and it’s great exercise.
- Limit paid memberships to health clubs, movie theaters, and sporting centers. Those extra fees add up and are a waste when services aren’t rendered continually.
- Quit the vices like smoking, drinking, and gambling. If this is too much trouble, allow yourself one vice and limit activity.
- Don’t waste water, electricity, or gas, especially when paying utilities separately. If it’s chilly, throw on a sweater and socks. If there’s a pot of water on the stove from boiling potatoes or pasta, reuse it for dishwater.
- Stay clear of vending machines. These money-munchers do nothing but empty pockets and add to waistlines.
- Avoid banking fees by using approved ATMs, paying credit charges on time, and keeping a positive bank balance.
- Don’t own a pet. They’re expensive and demand attention. Volunteer at the human society to be next to man’s best friend.
- Try not to buy anything new. Use freecycle instead.
Living frugally as a law student is as possible as passing that bar exam and reaping its benefits after months of studying.