Minimize Your Law School Student Loan Debt

I can remember my classmates elation on that marvelous day at the beginning of each semester. No, not the day grades came out, the day their student loan was disbursed. Most of them celebrated by going out to dinner, running up a bar tab, or buying some new piece of technology they did not actually need. That type of spending will make law school fun, and the rest of your life a nightmare.

Live like a student, not a lawyer

The best advice I got was from a friend of mine, who went to law school years before me. He said “live like a law student during law school, otherwise you will live like a law student after law school.” The implication is that if you overspend in school, your debt load will be so massive you will eat Ramen noodles for twenty years.

Make a budget and take out what you need

Loans are not free money. If you can take out $35,000 a year, but you only need $20,000, take out $20,000. If you like having a security blanket, then take out an extra $1,000 for emergencies. Make a budget before school starts so you know what you need to live. Way too many attorneys will tell you their biggest regret is overspending in law school because they did not know how to budget.

Bring your lunch

I remember going to Chipotle almost everyday my first semester of law school, telling myself I was too busy to make a lunch. Then I realized I spent probably $1,000 on those massive burritos. On top of that, your paying interest on that money. That is not good spending. Bring your lunch and save some bones.

Get a job

You can spare 5-10 hours a week, it is very doable. Not only will you make some beer/grocery money, it will force you to be more efficient in your studying. Instead of spending half your study time on Facebook, you might only spend a third.

Every small change adds up in the long run

Bringing your lunch saves hundreds a month, which adds up to thousands over the course of your law school career. Earning a hundred bucks a week will also add up to thousands. There is still life after law school, and it is much better when your debt load is less then your mortgage.

1 Comment

  1. Good advice, Randall. I would add getting a roommate and working an extra job in the summer. Even more radical, depending on where students are in school, is to get rid of your car.

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