Ways to Avoid Debt

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LawStudent1988
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Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby LawStudent1988 » Wed May 02, 2012 4:22 pm

Law School is Expensive, of course everyone should take this into account. However, I am generally suprised when I talk to my classmates who have 150k-200k in debt with no plan on reducing it or paying it off, so here is my advice.

Disclaimer, I got to a school ranked in the bottom of T1, this is an alias because I didn't feel like angering my classmates, and I will have no debt for a combination of the reasons below:

(1) Don't go.
(2) Get a scholarship and keep it - this is involve getting good grades as an undergrad and a good LSAT score. You may pass up a good school to get a better scholly, but in law school verbatim this is a sliding scale test, so balance the scholarship v. school's employment propsects wisely.
(3) Do really well your first year and get a better scholly - enough said. Don't bank on this because it probably won't happen
(4) Join the Army JAG - assuming you can get it, which you won't they will repay up to 80k of loans, plus you get to serve.
(5) Join the military before going to law school i.e. get the G.I. bill
(6) Join the ROTC while in law school, that will cover the last two years (if you are going ROTC-reserves, you will incur an 8 year drilling obligation)
(7) Join the National Guard. Depends on state, some states offer loan help, others do not. Some states offer up to 50k.
(8) In all military methods to avoid loans (above), there will be federal tuition assistance as well, so that will be $4,500 per year for your costs.
(9) Don't go to bar review every week on your loan money - this will add up and double with interest quickly
(10) Don't buy a new car - suprising how many law students do this with their loan money
(11) Get a public interest job and don't get fired for 10 years
(12) Get your parents to help
(13) Get paying jobs during law school
(14) Don't go
(15) Sell all your useless items and pay down loans - i.e. sell surfboards, bikes, things you don't really have time to use in law school
(16) Be mindful of interest - loans will quickly get larger with interest especially if the loan subsidies expire
(17) Deduct your education expenses if you can, or carry forward if possible (there's a limit to this I just don't remember it)
(18) Live at home if you can
(19) Eat in.
(20) Eat at home if you can.
(21) Start a bikini car wash
(22) Rent books
(23) Don't buy a new laptop every year
(24) Cancel porn subsciptions
(25) Use your tax return to pay down loans
(26) If financially available, ask your parents to loan you money at a lower interset rate that is non-compounding
(27) save some money by working before law school and use it to pay tuition (even 20k will be equivalent to 35k or more once interest is taken into account)


There are more I am sure. Most of all, do not bet on getting a big law job. You probably won't and if you do, you will likely quit before loans are actually paid down.

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dingbat
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby dingbat » Wed May 02, 2012 4:52 pm

Awesome post - this should be stickied

Use redbox instead of going to the movies
Get a library card
Pay your bills on time (no late fees)
Know the price differences at your local gas stations
If in NY - don't use cabs, no matter how late it is / drunk you are
Go to cheap supermarkets and buy generic
When visiting parents, raid the fridge (if they come to visit, get them to pay for groceries)
When going somewhere for thanksgiving/Christmas/Passover/etc dinner, take leftovers

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PARTY
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby PARTY » Wed May 02, 2012 4:54 pm

dingbat wrote:If in NY - don't use cabs, no matter drunk you are


lolololol drink and drive!

Mal Reynolds
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby Mal Reynolds » Wed May 02, 2012 4:56 pm

LawStudent1988 wrote:(24) Cancel porn subsciptions


This is a bridge too far my friend.

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annet
Posts: 218
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby annet » Wed May 02, 2012 4:57 pm

Kinda trolling? Kinda not? Hard to tell. But because I did see people do #10 while in a humanities MA program, there is a full range of human stupidity to be explored.

1. Really figure out interest, how it compounds, and how miserable it will make your life. Make sure you really understand the math.
2. Live in the cheapest possible place where you still feel safe. (Roommates are optional because, holy fuck, people are crazy and your sanity is worth an extra couple grand a year, even with interest).
3. Figure out a cash only budget and stick to it. Unless you are 100% sure of your ability to track/do math in your head/not over-spend, do not carry credit cards with you unless traveling.
4. No vacations. You do not need to relax on a beach using borrowed money. You know what makes a great vacation? Sleeping in for several consecutive weekdays.
5. Do get some kind of health insurance (mandatory at most law schools?) and use it occasionally. A co-pay and antibiotics is cheaper than the emergency room.
6. If you're going to have pets in law school escrow their estimated annual bills so you don't have to pay the vet with loan money (I'm currently working on this one).
7. Do not buy nice things with your loan money. Seriously. Second hand/clearance/freecycle or don't buy it. The only exception is clothing for interviews/work and even then, try to be frugal. Try to buy a laptop before your first year (cash if you're working, otherwise ask for donations toward one for graduation) and then keep it going for three years. This is a reasonable life span for all but the crappiest laptops (don't buy one of those).

I'm sure there are more, those are just the ones I've witnessed first hand.

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dingbat
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby dingbat » Wed May 02, 2012 4:58 pm

PARTY wrote:
dingbat wrote:If in NY - don't use cabs, no matter drunk you are


lolololol drink and drive!

Any self-respecting New Yorker had an unlimited ride subway card.
noonly super-rich self-respecting New Yorker owns a car

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PARTY
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby PARTY » Wed May 02, 2012 5:00 pm

dingbat wrote:
PARTY wrote:
dingbat wrote:If in NY - don't use cabs, no matter drunk you are


lolololol drink and drive!

Any self-respecting New Yorker had an unlimited ride subway card.
noonly super-rich self-respecting New Yorker owns a car


subways are 24/7?

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dingbat
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby dingbat » Wed May 02, 2012 5:02 pm

annet wrote:)
6. If you're going to have pets in law school escrow their estimated annual bills so you don't have to pay the vet with loan money (I'm currently working on this one).

buy pet insurance - you don't want to know how expensive vet bills can become

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dingbat
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby dingbat » Wed May 02, 2012 5:02 pm

PARTY wrote:
dingbat wrote:
PARTY wrote:
dingbat wrote:If in NY - don't use cabs, no matter drunk you are


lolololol drink and drive!

Any self-respecting New Yorker had an unlimited ride subway card.
noonly super-rich self-respecting New Yorker owns a car


subways are 24/7?

Hells yeah

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boredatwork
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby boredatwork » Wed May 02, 2012 5:05 pm

Sell your car. Seriously, operating a motor vehicle is expensive. This is especially true if you go to Ny/Chicago/La

Sirius
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby Sirius » Wed May 02, 2012 5:11 pm

1. Take toilet paper from school
2. Get as much free swag from westlaw and lexisnexus as you can
3. Eat as many free lunches at school (student groups as you can)
4. car pool
5. donate blood when possible
6. donate plasma
7. if guy, find guy to cut hair (every school has 1 guy at least who can cut hair)
8. tutor UG's for LSAT

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Samara
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby Samara » Wed May 02, 2012 5:11 pm

LawStudent1988 wrote:(10) Don't buy a new car - suprising how many law students do this with their loan money

People do this? :shock:

Most of this is stuff I already do, on DINK income. When I start law school, I will be reinstating the frugal practices I let slide under dat double income. I never understood how people went out drinking all the time though, especially in a big city. Bars get crazy expensive really fast.

I may be severely overestimating people's will and ability to manage their money.

Sirius
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby Sirius » Wed May 02, 2012 5:12 pm

9. Sell good outlines etc to 1l students
10. dont splurge fora great apartment!!! - This one shocks me, kids on full loans paying $400-$600 more p/m to live in a beautiful apartment. I live in a 3 bedroom, Rent with utilities is $400 p/m

rglifberg
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby rglifberg » Wed May 02, 2012 5:18 pm

OP-

Do you have any fellow classmates who are in ROTC while in law school and getting tuition assitance? I'm curious b/c I want to do JAG, but I would definitely need some help with tuition. Thanks.

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Jaeger
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby Jaeger » Wed May 02, 2012 6:23 pm

annet wrote:Kinda trolling? Kinda not? Hard to tell. But because I did see people do #10 while in a humanities MA program, there is a full range of human stupidity to be explored.

1. Really figure out interest, how it compounds, and how miserable it will make your life. Make sure you really understand the math.
2. Live in the cheapest possible place where you still feel safe. (Roommates are optional because, holy fuck, people are crazy and your sanity is worth an extra couple grand a year, even with interest).
3. Figure out a cash only budget and stick to it. Unless you are 100% sure of your ability to track/do math in your head/not over-spend, do not carry credit cards with you unless traveling.
4. No vacations. You do not need to relax on a beach using borrowed money. You know what makes a great vacation? Sleeping in for several consecutive weekdays.
5. Do get some kind of health insurance (mandatory at most law schools?) and use it occasionally. A co-pay and antibiotics is cheaper than the emergency room.
6. If you're going to have pets in law school escrow their estimated annual bills so you don't have to pay the vet with loan money (I'm currently working on this one).
7. Do not buy nice things with your loan money. Seriously. Second hand/clearance/freecycle or don't buy it. The only exception is clothing for interviews/work and even then, try to be frugal. Try to buy a laptop before your first year (cash if you're working, otherwise ask for donations toward one for graduation) and then keep it going for three years. This is a reasonable life span for all but the crappiest laptops (don't buy one of those).

I'm sure there are more, those are just the ones I've witnessed first hand.



While I understand the reasoning behind this, I think it's silly in today's credit-driven society. You're basically telling people to not build up credit so when they graduate and try to buy a house they will soon find the only thing they have on their CBR is massive student loans but no real history other than that. Yes, if you're bad with money, CCs are probably a bad idea...but I've heard so much anti-CC bashing from financial courses and people pushing budgets that just don't realize the importance of good credit.

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annet
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby annet » Wed May 02, 2012 7:33 pm

dingbat wrote:
annet wrote:)
6. If you're going to have pets in law school escrow their estimated annual bills so you don't have to pay the vet with loan money (I'm currently working on this one).

buy pet insurance - you don't want to know how expensive vet bills can become


$760 on teeth today, so it's top of mind; and that's a cat, I've heard that it's typically double for dogs. But yes, every pet from now on from the moment I bring them home.

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annet
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby annet » Wed May 02, 2012 7:36 pm

Jaeger wrote:While I understand the reasoning behind this, I think it's silly in today's credit-driven society. You're basically telling people to not build up credit so when they graduate and try to buy a house they will soon find the only thing they have on their CBR is massive student loans but no real history other than that. Yes, if you're bad with money, CCs are probably a bad idea...but I've heard so much anti-CC bashing from financial courses and people pushing budgets that just don't realize the importance of good credit.


Nah, I think it's more a matter of knowing yourself. Most people just spend more on a card than they would if restricted to cash on hand. I'm talking only about groceries, going out, etc. Automating important bills to a card is awesome to build credit and not risk forgetting something crucial during finals :)

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boredatwork
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby boredatwork » Wed May 02, 2012 7:37 pm

Jaeger wrote:
annet wrote:Kinda trolling? Kinda not? Hard to tell. But because I did see people do #10 while in a humanities MA program, there is a full range of human stupidity to be explored.

1. Really figure out interest, how it compounds, and how miserable it will make your life. Make sure you really understand the math.
2. Live in the cheapest possible place where you still feel safe. (Roommates are optional because, holy fuck, people are crazy and your sanity is worth an extra couple grand a year, even with interest).
3. Figure out a cash only budget and stick to it. Unless you are 100% sure of your ability to track/do math in your head/not over-spend, do not carry credit cards with you unless traveling.
4. No vacations. You do not need to relax on a beach using borrowed money. You know what makes a great vacation? Sleeping in for several consecutive weekdays.
5. Do get some kind of health insurance (mandatory at most law schools?) and use it occasionally. A co-pay and antibiotics is cheaper than the emergency room.
6. If you're going to have pets in law school escrow their estimated annual bills so you don't have to pay the vet with loan money (I'm currently working on this one).
7. Do not buy nice things with your loan money. Seriously. Second hand/clearance/freecycle or don't buy it. The only exception is clothing for interviews/work and even then, try to be frugal. Try to buy a laptop before your first year (cash if you're working, otherwise ask for donations toward one for graduation) and then keep it going for three years. This is a reasonable life span for all but the crappiest laptops (don't buy one of those).

I'm sure there are more, those are just the ones I've witnessed first hand.



While I understand the reasoning behind this, I think it's silly in today's credit-driven society. You're basically telling people to not build up credit so when they graduate and try to buy a house they will soon find the only thing they have on their CBR is massive student loans but no real history other than that. Yes, if you're bad with money, CCs are probably a bad idea...but I've heard so much anti-CC bashing from financial courses and people pushing budgets that just don't realize the importance of good credit.


I put everything on my CC and then pay it off at the end of the month. It has really helped me build credit.

LawStudent1988
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby LawStudent1988 » Wed May 02, 2012 10:21 pm

rglifberg wrote:OP-

Do you have any fellow classmates who are in ROTC while in law school and getting tuition assitance? I'm curious b/c I want to do JAG, but I would definitely need some help with tuition. Thanks.



Yes, I do have some friends doing ROTC and Law school at the same time, ableit not at my school. Here's the skinny on that. I can only speak of Army ROTC. ROTC typically takes 4 years to do; however, there are two-year programs for it which will give you scholarships which will cover tuition/books/living i.e. 2/3 years will be paid + the $4,500 federal tuition assistance for service members. You will incur a service obligation. If going active army it will be 4 years active duty + 4 years IRR. If you are going national guard ROTC it will be 8 years one weekend a month two weeks per year. Going the ROTC route does not guarantee JAG, you will be a line officer like everyon else, you can of course apply to jag though through a branch transfer. If you are going to NG route, you will serve one weekend/month as a line officer...really not the end of the world plus you're a lawyer most days anyways...have some fun doing Army stuff.

Typically, people do this during the 2L/3L year. 1L is simply too much. You will likely have to work out four days a week in the mornings, spend some weekends doing normal Army like things, etc. Not all bad, working out is good for your health. Talk to a recruiter early, i.e. during your 1L summer to do this.

The other option if you don't want to work out with ROTC guys 4 days a week etc., is to join the NG as a line officer and take the state loan repayment, which is less. Furthermore, the loan repayment will count as income so you will be taxed on it.

annet wrote:Kinda trolling? Kinda not? Hard to tell. But because I did see people do #10 while in a humanities MA program, there is a full range of human stupidity to be explored.

1. Really figure out interest, how it compounds, and how miserable it will make your life. Make sure you really understand the math.
2. Live in the cheapest possible place where you still feel safe. (Roommates are optional because, holy fuck, people are crazy and your sanity is worth an extra couple grand a year, even with interest).
3. Figure out a cash only budget and stick to it. Unless you are 100% sure of your ability to track/do math in your head/not over-spend, do not carry credit cards with you unless traveling.
4. No vacations. You do not need to relax on a beach using borrowed money. You know what makes a great vacation? Sleeping in for several consecutive weekdays.
5. Do get some kind of health insurance (mandatory at most law schools?) and use it occasionally. A co-pay and antibiotics is cheaper than the emergency room.
6. If you're going to have pets in law school escrow their estimated annual bills so you don't have to pay the vet with loan money (I'm currently working on this one).
7. Do not buy nice things with your loan money. Seriously. Second hand/clearance/freecycle or don't buy it. The only exception is clothing for interviews/work and even then, try to be frugal. Try to buy a laptop before your first year (cash if you're working, otherwise ask for donations toward one for graduation) and then keep it going for three years. This is a reasonable life span for all but the crappiest laptops (don't buy one of those).

I'm sure there are more, those are just the ones I've witnessed first hand.


No troll - just baffled as to how some people live like kings on their loan money.

Morgan12Oak
Posts: 451
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby Morgan12Oak » Wed May 02, 2012 10:38 pm

This is all pretty good advice, but this leads to a beta as shit life style.

Here is M12O's advice:

1. If you take out significant debt => 2, if not => 10
2. Realize you need a good job to pay this off
3. Live an alpha life style in law school (see 4-9)
4. Go drink a lot and party it up meet some cool people
5. Study when you need to (really not until the end of semester, last few days if 2L/3L)
6. Buy shit and live like a king
7. Realize that 10k you have today makes you feel like a millionaire whereas having to pay back 10k+interest (likely 20-25k) in 10 years doesn't mean shit because by then you're either ballin or broke as shit so 25k won't matter either way
8. Realize these are the best days of your life and balling it out now even if you can't afford it is killer
9. Fall back on student loan bailout as a safety net if you fail*
10. Profit

* way too much student loan debt in America at unsustainable default rates. Some bailout will happen - unclear whether it will be income based, apply to graduates, etc. but even the slight chance that it will makes it stupid to pay back more than minimum. Don't want to be the idiot who paid back all his loans when the hammer comes down and all the TTT's are freed from debtor's prison.

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annet
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby annet » Wed May 02, 2012 10:53 pm

LawStudent1988 wrote:No troll - just baffled as to how some people live like kings on their loan money.


Sorry about that - your advice does seem solid and the lols are lollsy. Maybe if I found really hot friends and organized a bikini car wash...

Also this calculator has been getting posted a lot and is probably relevant: --LinkRemoved--

VincentCruise
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby VincentCruise » Thu May 03, 2012 12:15 pm

annet wrote:
dingbat wrote:
annet wrote:)
6. If you're going to have pets in law school escrow their estimated annual bills so you don't have to pay the vet with loan money (I'm currently working on this one).

buy pet insurance - you don't want to know how expensive vet bills can become


$760 on teeth today, so it's top of mind; and that's a cat, I've heard that it's typically double for dogs. But yes, every pet from now on from the moment I bring them home.


First time poster; be nice, guys :)

I spent over $750 last week in vet bills, none of which was covered by my pet insurance.

Trust me. Rather sign up for a vet discount program, which usually don't have exclusions and things like that. Two companies I heard good things about are United Pet Care and Pet Assure, though I'm not sure if UPC is available in all areas. Might be worth checking them out. Good luck!

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dingbat
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby dingbat » Thu May 03, 2012 1:37 pm

I'd say get better insurance.
I've never had a claim denied, and Coyote's got more health problems than a pensioner
To be fair, the deductible is $250, so several vet visits were too low to claim, but, so far so good

Edit: that just might be a matter of luck, more than anything else

Geneva
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby Geneva » Tue May 08, 2012 10:43 am

thanks for the tips!

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fashiongirl
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Re: Ways to Avoid Debt

Postby fashiongirl » Tue May 08, 2012 5:58 pm

This thread makes me feel better about moving back to my hometown and living with my parents for law school. At least I'll be eating saving money and eating healthy.




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