Ms. JD

Money Matters

Ed Note: This summer, Ms. JD solicited myths and truths from law students across the country. Many students discussed student loans, budgeting, tuition payments, and other “money matters.” A common theme? Create a law school budget—and then stick to it.

Jennifer Paige Friend, Walter F. George School of Law, writes that student loans are awesome. Well, sort of.
Yes, student loans are awesome! I would not be in law school without them.  However, every dime you spend, you have to pay back and a lot more.  Resist the urge to go shoe shopping with those loans, even if the perfect pair of stilettos is calling your name.  Remember, you will be calling yourself something else later when your shoes are long gone and you are paying for them at 4 times the price.  As much as I love spending money, I have realized upon reflection that I probably did not do myself any favors by acting like loan money is free money.   I am not saying that you should never go shopping, eat out, or have fun.  In fact, you absolutely should do all of those things!  But, try to live modestly and minimize your debt.  You will thank yourself in the long run.  

A student at the University of Michigan Law School suggests creating a budget:
Don’t start the year without creating a budget, and don’t forget car insurance, holiday presents, plane tickets to weddings, and the cost of study guides. It is easy to believe all that money will last until the next school year begins, but it won’t. Plan ahead.
Nakia D. Hansen, Temple University Beasley School of Law, says that there are a lot of little things to consider when making a budget:
Even though you have scraped together enough money to cover tuition and room/board and books, you still need to spend bucks on things you probably didn't consider. For example, you better get in on that Bar/Bri payment. Don't forget your student membership to the ABA and other organizations. You probably need some new suits. Everyone is going out drinking...
A Pepperdine University School of Law student, completely agrees:
The biggest myth I ran into this year was the financial myth.  When filling out the financial aid applications, you get the distinct impression that as long as you watch your spending, you will have enough to survive.  This is not the truth in many cases.  In my case, I had a child to provide for.  Student loans are not meant to provide for anyone other than just the student, so it became necessary for me to take jobs tutoring and playing the piano whenever possible to keep the bills paid.  In addition, things like state bar fees, interview outfits, supplements, and health insurance were not part of the financial spreadsheet.
Megan Rodgers, University of Michigan School of Law, comments on the "myth" that law students are broke:
Actually, this one is true.  Offer to buy one a cup of coffee the next time you see him or her.

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