Written by Brett McKay
When most people think of social security, they think of senior citizens collecting a paycheck. That’s just half the story. A lot of people also receive social security checks due to disability. Due to the poor job market, suddenly more and more are seeking this assistance. This is putting additional strain on the social security system.
Between the ponzi-like finance of social security, the aging baby boomers, and now more and more people being disabled, young lawyers can pretty much count that they won’t be getting social security payments until they’re very, very old (if at all).
Via: Disability Lawyer
Written by Brett McKay
The benefits of staying in shape have been espoused numerous times. I don’t want to focus too much on that here. Though, it is worth keeping in mind that studies have shown thinner, more attractive-looking people receive preferential treatment in the job market. While that might be “unfair” or “discriminatory”, the fact of the matter is, human nature responds better to people we view as being attractive. Remember this little fact as you near potential job interviews or important meetings. “Looking good” never hurts and exercise certainly helps your looks.
So assuming you have an interest in exercising and saving money, what are some options? Gym memberships can cost a small fortune in some parts of the country. Yoga studios charge hefty prices to join their classes. Other forms of exercise, such as biking, require a large up-front investment in equipment. Is there any way to exercise cheaply? Worry not. There are ways.
Walk As A Means of Transportation
Look at your daily schedule. How much driving or use of public transportation is there? Have you considered that by walking rather than driving or taking the bus, you can kill a few birds with one stone. Not only is walking incredibly healthy and good for burning fat, but it can also help save money on transportation costs. Depending on your situation, you might be able to get rid of your car completely if you’re able to accept walking as a reasonable substitute. In times when walking won’t cut it, you can always call a taxi. You’ll have a surplus of money to use for the occasional taxi from the money you’re saving by not having a car, insurance payments, and fuel costs.
Use Your Own Body to Lift Weights
The notion that you need weights in order to build muscle is purely a myth. Some of the best looking men on the planet never touch a weight, they simply use a combination of their own body and gravity in order to build muscle. Last I checked, gravity is around in plentiful supply. It’s cheap too!
How do they do this? By challenging themselves in a variety of ways. Lunges and squats can be done without weight. By doing more reps (to account for the lack of weight), your body will build more lean muscle and less bulky, meathead, gym-rat muscle. Take a guy like Matthew McConaughey. I think most men could agree that looking like him would be acceptable. Do you think a guy like that only got that body thanks to dead weights? Nope. He did it by mixing cardiovascular workouts (jogging) with resistance training (pushups, squats, situps, etc). None of these exercises require anything other than a decent pair of shoes and he looks better than 99.9% of every man in the country who visited a gym today.
Use Free Resources
If you live near a high school, there’s a gigantic piece of exercise equipment that is totally free to use. Wanna know what it is? The football stadium bleachers. And believe me, there are few exercises that will do more for getting up your heart-rate and burning calories than running stairs.
Or maybe you live near a beach. Jogging along the coast is a fantastic way to build strength through your legs and gluts; the added resistance provided by the waves, water and sand gives you a more challenging workout than simply jogging on a track.
The point is: be creative. Look around at all of the different ways you can exercise that don’t cost a single thing. Staying in shape doesn’t have to cost anything at all and it’s one of the best investments you can make.
Written by Mike
Although it may seem a bit out-of-context blogging for meals can actually be a great starting point. For those who are seeking alternatives to high-priced recipes, usually found in mainstream recipe books, a good blog-spot can be worth more than a barrel of high-end recipe cards. On the contrary, and for the general purpose of seeking out low-budget foods, you may find a treasure-trove waiting to be discovered.
Simply searching the right phrase can lead you to mountains of easy, inexpensive recipe alternatives. Thousands of bloggers have dedicated their time to reinvent “cooking on a dime”. Sites such as ‘Cheap Eats’ have tons of archived goodies waiting for the average chef to devour. One of the best parts is the flexibility that comes with today’s interactive recipe blogs. Not only can you find exactly what you need to feed your family in a pinch but the tricks of the trade are included free of charge. The blog-spots that I have visited have such great recommendations along-side their recipes. The comments enable the reader to see what others are saying, as well as displaying different variations of the original recipes. Pictures are generally posted, if not in the original recipe then at least by one of the adventurous chef’s, in order to display a recipes appearance and alternative spreads.
You may find that blogging can be a very interesting way to “meet & greet” with others who have the same tastes and preferences as you do. Individual circumstance such as vegan/vegetarianism, diabetics, gluten-intolerance, and so on can lead many people to a host of accommodating blogs. Specific dietary needs can be seemingly impossible to those who are affected. Diabetics and gluten-sensitive individuals may feel as though they can’t enjoy tasty meals, much less tasty and inexpensive foods. When it comes to dietary specifications you need not fret over tasteless and expensive meals; blogs have made this a worry of the past. I recommend that everyone sit down for at least ten minutes and search for recipe-blogs that fit their tastes and preferences. I have scavenged several online search engines for almost every dietary preference and sensitivity imaginable only to find accommodating and delicious alternatives for every one of them.
If you have some trouble beginning your search I recommend that you use the search engine’s ‘related searches’. Every search engine offers related searches and they can be very helpful when choosing the wording of your search. An example for vegetarians would be to look-up “cheap vegetarian recipes” then scope out the blogs pertaining to the results. You want to find a blogging community that focuses on your dietary preferences. Once you find one that suits your needs you’ll have everything you need to create inexpensive, wholesome meals.
Written by Mike
Given the economic crisis that is going on, the difficulty new lawyers are having getting jobs, and the soaring cost of law school, I’m doing a little analysis to see if law school is worth it for many prospective students. A lot of people go into graduate or professional school believing the debt and time spent will pay off in a more rewarding/higher paying career. While this may be happen for some, it’s by no means a guarantee.
Let’s break this down by numbers:
Cost of tuition (three years): $60k up to $140k depending on the school.
Opportunity cost of not working (three years, let’s assume $50k a year, which is by no means a guarantee but I think is a fair average assumption): $150k
So if you’re going to a state school, you’re looking at about $210k cost, and most private schools closer to $300k. Assuming a 30 year career (again a major assumption), it would seem law school would have to make you $9-$10k+ over a regular job to justify the cost. Of courese, this doesn’t assume the interest on the debt (and the interest you could theoretically make from your savings working a normal job), so it’s likely more around $15k+ a year.
The thirty year horizon also neglects that people often shift careers a lot. If you end up just using that law degree for 10 years, you really need to be making $35k+ a year from law school. That’s something that just won’t happen for most people.
Going to law school isn’t just a brunt calculation of future earnings. Most of all, it matters if you want to actually be a lawyer (or at least go to law school). But I think it’s a good question to ask yourself if that law degree really will open significant doors for you to justify that sort of cost.
Written by Brett McKay
In this guest post, Steve Schwartz, a professional LSAT tutor in NYC and blogger at LSAT Blog, gives 7 tips on how you can save money as you prepare for the LSAT.
1. Download free LSAT PrepTests from LSAC’s website
Two LSAT PrepTests are available to download for free from LSAC:
LSAC also provides an overview of the LSAT with sample questions and explanations (PDF).
2. Use Freecycle to get LSAT books for free
You can search your local Freecycle group’s message board to see if anyone recently offered LSAT prep books. You can post a wanted ad for LSAT prep books as well. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to give their (sometimes-unused!) LSAT books away.
3. Form an LSAT study group
Find people in your workplace, college, or community who are also studying for the LSAT. Craigslist and LSAT-related Facebook groups are great places to find potential study partners. Ideally, you’ll find study partners with strengths and weaknesses that complement yours. Even if you can’t find anyone studying for the LSAT, simply having a friend read or study with you can keep you focused, much like a workout buddy.
4. Only use books containing real LSAT questions
Don’t waste time or money using books with fake LSAT questions. If a book doesn’t explicitly say that it uses real LSAT questions, it doesn’t use them. It’s virtually impossible to write full exams that accurately mirror the complexity of real LSAT questions. These fake books contain several mistakes and cause students a great deal of frustration. Steer clear.
5. Only take the LSAT when you’re ready
Make sure your last few timed practice test scores are at or near what you want your actual LSAT score to be. You’re unlikely to see a significant jump on test day. Instead, postpone the exam until you’re in the ballpark of your desired score. Many students want to take it before they’re ready simply because they’re eager to get into law school. However, it’s often worth it to wait an extra year in order to get into a better law school.
6. Read reviews of LSAT test sites before registering
Not all test sites are created equal. All the preparation in the world won’t help if your test center is disorganized, uncomfortable, or noisy. If you have to retake the exam a few months later, you’ll have to get back “in the zone” and devote several additional months to preparing. This would cost you a great deal of time and money. This wiki contains reviews of several test centers to help you find the ideal LSAT test center. Read the reviews and post your own!
7. Read my LSAT Blog
This last tip is a bit of shameless self-promotion. I run an LSAT blog with free LSAT tips and tricks that I update every week. It includes sample schedules and tons of tips to help you tackle each section of the LSAT. Check it out!
Now it’s your turn. What tips, tricks, and strategies have you found to be most effective in saving money as you prepare for the LSAT?
Written by Brett McKay
I started blogging at the Frugal Law Student during my first year of law school. When I started it, I just thought it would be a fun way to share with my friends and family the ways I’m saving money in law school.
But my foray into blogging has actually helped advance my legal career. That’s why I think every law student should have a blog. Here are two specific ways a blog can help you.
1. It’s a great job marketing tool. A blog is the ultimate marketing tool for law stuents. When you go into a job interview, employers are looking for what distinguishes you from the dozens of other applicants they’re interviewing. On paper, most applicants look the same, especially when you apply for large firms. You and everyone else will be in the top of your class, you’ll all be on law review, and you’ll all be active in extracurricular activities.
One of the questions you’re guaranteed to get during the interview is “What do you do when you’re not doing law school?” You could give a vanilla answer that everyone gives like “I like to exercise” or “I like to read.” Or you could give an answer like this: “I author a blog that focuses on international environmental law; I’ve done guest contributions to the blogs of several environmental law scholars; and I’ve managed to attract a large enough following that I have commercial sponsorships for my blog.” Which answer do you think will stick in your interviewer’s mind?
The second answer packs in a lot more information than the first one. By blogging, you tell your interviewer that 1) you’re serious about environmental law; 2) you’ve networked with other attorneys and legal scholars in that field; 3) you know how to leverage technology; and 4) you know how to market yourself.
When you leave, the person who interviewed you is going to check your site out. They’re going to be thinking about you after the interview, which is good. By checking your blog out, they can get a better idea of who you are because your personality will show through your writing. They’ll probably send a link to the other attorneys in the firm.
All things being equal, who do you think is going to get an offer for a summer job? The person who just said they like to read or the person who said they blogged? I think the answer is obvious.
A blog can be a successful marketing tool even if you don’t write about law related stuff. Find something you’re passionate about and start writing. If you like to run, (one of those vanilla answers) start a blog and track your progress and share your tips on running. Then when you’re asked what you like to do outside of law school you can say, “I enjoy running and I write a blog offering tips on how runners can improve.” Your interviewer will be impressed with your tech saviness. When they check your site out, they’ll get a better idea of who you are.
Of course the effectiveness of a blog as a marketing tool depends on a few factors. First, while you can be less formal on a blog, remember that potential employers might be reading it. So don’t use vulgar language, don’t post pictures of you after a Thursday night partying, and don’t discuss your sex life. Be personal, but stay professional.
Second, edit! Your blog is basically another resume for employers to use to determine whether to hire you or not. If your blog posts are full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, it reflects poorly on you.
2. It improves your writing. Blogging has definitely helped my legal writing. When you write for a blog, your audience consists of internet users who have the attention span of a gnat. You have to capture their attention and maintain it through good solid writing. When you write on a blog, you want to use short sentences and paragraphs; you want to tell a story that draws people in; and you want organize your writing with headings that make it easier for the reader follow.
Do these tips sound familiar? It’s the exact same thing you’re supposed to do in legal writing! By blogging consistently, you can improve your legal writing immensely.
Also, knowing that hundreds or even thousands of people may be reading your posts forces you to edit it carefully. Producing content that’s free of mistakes shows you respect your reader. When you prepare a trial brief or a research memo, you’ll want to show that same respect. Blogging can help you get in the habit of editing more carefully.