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Your Budget

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The financial choices that law students make while enrolled in law school have a long-lasting impact. We strongly advise a conservative borrowing approach.  Here are some suggestions:

Position Yourself Financially Before Beginning Law School:

  • Don't make a "big ticket" purchase prior to attending law school that requires financing.
  • Save, don't spend. Stop using credit cards altogether and get a part time job to pay off credit card balances.
  • Write down the financial goals you have for your future:  after law school graduation, what kind of lifestyle you want, where you plan on living, whether you hope to get married and/or start a family.
  • Keep track of the resources you expect you'll have throughout law school-income from work, savings, or money you receive from other sources. Resources technically do not include student loans; the money you are living on while in school is not your own if it comes from student loans or credit cards.
  • Estimate your expenses. Be honest and be realistic. Don't forget to keep track of both monthly expenses (such as rent and utilities) as well as miscellaneous expenses (such as cups of coffee and slices of pizza).
Planning Financially While You Are In School:
  • Apply for outside scholarships.
  • Write it down! Keep track of your budget on a spreadsheet, using an online budget tool, or even a spiral notebook. Stick to your budget by keeping track of everything you spend.
  • Law students should be prepared to live on a tight budget. As the old saying goes, "Live like a student while you are a student so you can live like a lawyer when you are a lawyer".
  • Avoid impulse use of credit cards; just because it is on sale doesn't mean you need to buy it.
  • Avoid purchasing everyday items with credit, instead, use cash on hand that you have budgeted for that purpose.
  • Live with a roommate.
  • Bring your lunch and/or your coffee from home.
  • Eliminate the extra costly features on your cell phone and cable TV.
  • Clip coupons and buy extra grocery items that you regularly use when they go on sale.
  • Get a summer job and work over vacations (such as winter break). Save your money, don't spend it.
  • Have "free fun" such as attending free university events, having a movie night at home, or host a pot luck dinner with your friends.