i The Frugal Law Student | 2010

Law School
Personal Finance

Exercise for Cheap

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.

Blog for Bites

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.

Is Law School Worth The Cost?

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.