i The Frugal Law Student | 2006 | December

Law School
Personal Finance

It is finished

Written by The Frugal Law Student

It’s over. I’m done with finals. Now the waiting begins to get my grades back.

Now that I have free time again, I’ll be able to post more often. I’ll be starting a series on how Pre-law students can start saving money before they even step foot into law school. So, check back daily for that.

Posts I liked this week

Written by Mrs. FLS

It’s the time again. Time for my weekly favorite posts roundup.

Law School Posts

Personal Finance Blogs

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Finals Update

Written by Mrs. FLS

I’m in the middle of my first law school finals. I had my torts final on Wednesday. I’m paranoid that I totally flubbed it. I think I did alright on my essay; however, I’m worried about the multiple choice part. I wish professors would just post the answers after the test so students can get an idea how they did on the multiple choice.

Tomorrow, I have my civil procedure test. I feel pretty good about it. I’ll be finished with it all on Tuesday. I can’t wait.

On Not Shopping at Wal-Mart

Written by Mrs. FLS

I had long been opposed to Wal-Mart for a variety of reasons that I think don’t need to be explained. But despite the sick feeling in my soul shopping there gave me, I continued to patronize their stores on the assumption it was too expensive to shop elsewhere. But after I saw the great documentary “Wal-Mart: The High-Price of Low Cost,” I decided to quit Wal-Mart cold turkey.

In the last year and a half I have only been to Wal-Mart a handful of times (only in a emergency situations where the Wal-Mart was really close by). What has been truly surprising is that my grocery bill has gone down, not up as I was worried it would. So I need to declare to the world: “Shopping at Wal-Mart will not save you money on groceries!!” I cannot speak for cosmetics and electronics and such, in which Wal-Mart is sometimes the cheaper choice (although sometimes the price rollbacks are laughable), but I can speak decisively about groceries.

Recently we got a very late wedding gift in the form of a Wal-Mart gift card. So I swallowed my scruples and went to the newest Wal-Mart in town. Wal-Mart is definitely trying to class up their stores-this one was humongous (the biggest Wal-Mart I have ever seen), had a light green color scheme as opposed to blue and red, and the employees were decked out in their new classy uniforms.

As I checked the prices of the food products I realized that the prices simply were not cheaper than where I shop now (Reasor’s). I have long prophesied that as the Wal-Mart empire pushes more and more grocers out of business (which has certainly happened in our town), they will be able to raise their prices. Simple economics: less competition, higher prices. I seriously think this is already happening… Wal-Mart prices do not seem as low as they once were.

But what really stood out was that they had almost no “Bonus Buys,” or special sales. Reasor’s always has products that are specially on sale that week.

That is how we save money by not shopping at Wally World. You just buy the products that are discounted that week. This almost always works-there is always one brand of cheese, or one brand of soup, that has a special low price and you just choose that one brand over the other.

I think just as important as the weekly specials though, is that not shopping at Wal-Mart makes you a more careful shopper. When you shop at Wal-Mart you shop with the mindset that everything is a bargain (although this is not true). So you are liable to throw more things into your cart that you hadn’t planned on buying. But now we carefully plan what we need to get and are not tempted by 5 acres of other goodies.

And the best part about ditching Wal-Mart is that the shopping experience is 100 times more pleasurable. I remember one of the last times I shopped at Wal-Mart and the aisles were so clogged that both “lanes” were filled with carts and you had to slowly “wait in line” to even get through the aisle. Yuck.

Bottom Line: Wal-Mart is bad for the soul. And it ain’t so great for your wallet either.

My New Favorite Website

Written by Mrs. FLS

Last month I discovered Lifehacker. Ever since then, my life hasn’t been the same. I can spend hours looking through their archives at all the cool tips to make my life easier and more productive. Because of Lifehacker I’ve learned to

Go check out Lifehacker today.

An Ounce of Prevention

Written by Mrs. FLS

Some religions recognize two types of sins-those of commission (things you actively do-ie, stab someone) and sins of omission (something you didn’t do, ie, saw an old lady, and didn’t help her across the street.) There are frugal sins of omission and commission too. We all know to be thrifty one should avoid plunking down $600 smakaroos for a new Play Station 3. But we can also not do things that will cost us later. Here are some things to not not do.

1. Oil changes. Yeah, they’re annoying and expensive. But not as annoying as expensive as replacing some $1000 part that broke because it wasn’t properly lubed.

2. Dental hygiene. This is something I have been trying to impress upon Mr. FLS, who before he met me was not a regular flosser. Twice daily tooth brushing and flossing may not be fun or spectacular, but knowing that you can prevent a $100 cavity filling will give those pearly whites something to really smile about.

3. Exercise and Eat Right. JD does a great job outlining the monetary benefits of staying fit on his post, “Extra Weight, Higher Costs.” Basically by avoiding obesity you can avoid higher medical costs and the loss of money from employers who discriminate.

4. Take Care of Your Clothes. Clothes are expensive. Every time you wash them, you wear them out. And the sooner they wear out, the sooner you have to replace them. So whenever I take off a shirt I smell the pits for odor. No odor, so washy. Fight the urge to just throw it in the laundry basket. And I don’t wash my pants for a couple of weeks. They seriously don’t smell. Now as a caveat, I am not sweating profusely or shoveling manure in them, and I am not wearing them every day. If you are, please wash more often. Also note that you will save energy costs by doing less laundry.