i The Frugal Law Student | Tips

Law School
Frugality
Personal Finance
Productivity
Nutrition

Applying To Law School? 7 Ways To Save Money

Written by Brett McKay

This is a guest post from Ann K. Levine. Ann is a law school admission consultant and proprietor of www.LawSchoolExpert.net and http://lawschoolexpert@blogspot.com. Since starting LawSchoolExpert in 2004, Ms. Levine has helped more than 500 applicants gain acceptance to law school. Ms. Levine works one-on-one with law school applicants nationwide, calling upon her expertise as the former director of admission for two ABA law schools. She reviewed thousands of applications each year and was primarily responsible for making all admission decisions at Loyola Law School and California Western School of Law. She now uses this expertise to the benefit of applicants, helping them create applications that maximize their chances for admission.

1. Ask each law school on your list for a fee waiver. (But be wary of law schools that voluntarily offer you an application fee waiver)

2. Don’t buy the worst law school admission book I’ve ever read.

3. Don’t take the LSAT without preparing adequately for it, otherwise you’ll waste the cost of taking the exam, the opportunity cost of having missed out on the benefit of rolling admissions, and the potentially increased cost of having to sign up late in the game for LSAT prep courses. While some people are good standardized test takers and/or skilled at self-study, I’ve found that most law school applicants benefit from an LSAT prep course. Sometimes you have to spend money to save money.

4. Choose your schools wisely. Don’t waste application fees on schools that aren’t right for your qualifications and/or goals. Analyze location , apply to the appropriate number of schools, and choose some schools where your LSAT and GPA are at or above the 75th percentile for that school so you can (hopefully) receive some great scholarships and save some major money down the line.

5. Put 100% effort into the quality of your applications. Avoid having to re-apply to law school. Every year, I work with people who tried to apply the previous year and were disappointed with the results. Don’t let this happen to you – apply wisely so you don’t have to spend money to re-apply the following year, and you don’t want to delay the year of post-law-school income either.

6. Participate in one of my Free 1-hour Webinars. The next one, entitled “I’ve taken the LSAT; Now What?”, will be offered twice in October – October 1st at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST and October 6th at Noon EST/9 a.m. PST. Each webinar is limited to the first 15 registrants to assure that everyone has a chance to ask questions. To sign up, e-mail me at alevine@lawschoolexpert.net

7.Hire a Law School Admission Consultant. Seriously. Good advice is worth a lot. And that advice could save you from wasting money applying to the wrong schools, buying the wrong law school admission related books, taking the wrong prep course, using a letter of rec that kills you, submitting an inappropriate resume, and writing a trite or cliched personal statement. Hiring a law school admission consultant means doing it right the first time and saving money by increasing your chances for admission at more of the schools on your list, and increasing your chances for scholarships at more of the schools that admit you. Here are some tips for choosing a law school admission counselor.

Thanks, for that great post! If you’re interested in guest posting on The Frugal Law Student, please feel free to contact me.

The Best, Most Frugal Way to Freshen Your Breath That You’re Not Doing

Written by Mrs. FLS

No it’s not toothpastes, mouthwash, breath mints, breath strips, gum, or Bianca (do they even make that anymore?). The cheapest and best way to get fresh breath is by using a tongue scraper. I was skeptical of the power of the tongue scraper until a friend went on and on about how effective it was. So Brett and I decided to try it and we’ve become true believers too.

You see, the majority of bad breath is not caused by the food that you eat, but rather originates from the back of your tongue. There bacteria, decaying food particles, and even discharge from your nasal cavities, breeds and emits a foul odor. Brushing your teeth won’t get rid of it. Even brushing your tongue with your tooth brush won’t get it all. And breath mints and gum don’t remove it either. Your tongue is like a lush carpet and the germs hide in the nooks and crannies. You need a tongue scraper to sweep them out. A mouth post-tongue scrape is remarkably clean, and the results are instantaneous. You can tell the difference right after you scrape.

If you are afraid of waking up to your significant other with monstrous morning breath, just make sure you scrape your tongue before bed. Your morning breath will be significantly tamed. And you won’t have to employ the old back of the hand sniff test.

And the best part is that it is frugal. One tongue scraper, which will last you years and years, costs $5. Or if you are especially frugal you can even use a spoon. In contrast if you bought mouthwash or breath mints every week at $1.50 a pop you’ll end up spending $6 a month or $72 a year!

Of course if you’re on a date and you just ate a garlicky meal, then you may want to freshen the mouth with some mint gum. But generally speaking the most effective and frugal way to freshen your breath is giving it a good scraping.

Featured Resource

Having fresh breath also means regular Dental Care. If you have neglected your routine Dental Visits because you don’t have Dental Insurance look online to find out about all of the Affordable Dental Plans available

How To Open An Online Store With WordPress In Less Than 30 Minutes

Written by Brett McKay

A while back ago, I asked for reader help on what to do with my wife’s and I’s side business, Kate’s Calendars. I got some great feedback from several of my readers. One of the things I decided to do was revamp the Kate’s Calendars site. Because I’ve fallen in love with WordPress ever since I made the switch from Blogger, I decided to create the Kate’s Calendars store using the WordPress format. It took me all day Saturday, but that was due mainly to looking for plugins that will help. I thought I’d give back to the WordPress community by showing how they can easily create an online store with WordPress in less than 30 minutes. I have all the links and steps you’ll need to create an online store in less than 30 minutes.

  1. Downloand and install the WP E-Commerce plugin. This is the backbone of your WordPress online store. It’s really slick and really robust. The WP E-Commerce plugin allows you to easily create product pages, an online order form, and a cool shopping cart.
  2. Setup WP E-Commerce. Click on “Shop Options” in the WP E-Commerce Plugin and fill out the necessary info. You’ll have to enter which country you’re selling in, which currancy you’ll be using on your site, and other such information.
  3. Open PayPal account. If you don’t have a PayPal account, open one up now. You’ll need it to take care of online transactions.
  4. Set Gateway Options to PayPal. Under “Gateway options” in the WP E-Commerce Plugin, select PayPal. You’ll need to enter in your account info.
  5. Download WP-Email Plugin. This plugin allows customers to refer your product to your friends. Viral marketing at it’s finest.
  6. Create static front page. Instead of using posts, you’ll be using pages in your online store. Create a static front page for your store by going to your WP dashboard—>Options—>Reading Options and select “static page.” Select which page you’ll use for your static page.
  7. Create a Contact page. This is essential. Make it easy for your customers to reach you.

There you go. You now have an online store. Now get out there and market it.

If you enjoyed this post, then make sure to subscribe to my RSS Feed to get daily updates.

Featured Resource

Many companies have had great success with Online Stores and other companies like PriceGrabber have made their fortune by creating Shopping Feeds that allow consumers to compare and contrast prices on various items they are Shopping for.

Free Bar Review Lectures Online

Written by Brett McKay

Austin from CALI’s Pre-law blog has posted about FREE, that’s right free bar review lecture MP3’s online. The Charleston School of Law has been posting them at their CALI Classcaster site.

If you’re not taking the bar yet, you’ll still find these lectures useful. They pretty much go over black letter law, much like the Sum and Substance CD’s do. Listening to these lectures are a great way to review or study for law school finals.

If you enjoyed this post, then make sure to subscribe to my RSS Feed to get daily updates.

Ideas for Homemade Father’s Day Cards and Beyond

Written by Mrs. FLS

Father’s Day is Sunday. Have you bought a card for your dad yet? Well I hope not….because you should make one instead! I have always been really into making homemade cards. Not just because it is frugal-which it is-but because they are so much better than store bought cards. Why buy someone a card with a canned sentiment that doesn’t really express how you feel? “Dear Dad, my heart swells with love and gratitude as deep as a rolling river on this Father’s Day.” Ick. Most people, both those who buy the card and those who receive it, barely even read the inscription because they know someone they have never met, toiling away in Hallmark’s offices, wrote it. A homemade card allows you to write your own message and most importantly it tells the recipient that you cared enough to take the time to make something yourself with the person in mind. People seriously love homemade cards. No joke.

I think I have a knack for homemade cards. But I know that some people struggle to come up with good/funny ideas. So I thought I would share some ideas I have used in the past. Some of them are good for Father’s Day, and some are for other occasions or any old time. These cards are so easy, you will be finished making it in the time it would have taken to drive to Walgreen’s and back.

The easiest way to come up with a homemade card idea is to think of a funny pun. Don’t worry if it is cheesy or silly, the cheesier and sillier the better. Then you just build the card around that pun.

For example: Cut out a gray circle from construction paper. Glue a little string to the “top” (inasmuch as a circle has a top). Then draw a little flame, cut it out, and glue it to the top of the string. On the back of the circle, write “I hope your Father’s Day/Birthday is the BOMB!” Or, since bomb is rather “out” these days, write “I hope your ____is a BLAST!” Cheesy and delicious.

The easiest source of puns is food for some reason. I have this non-realistic dream of manufacturing a line of greeting cards called “Comfort Foods.” Since this is never going to happen, here are some of my ideas you can make at home. Note: for all these ideas, you can either cut the actual card into the shape or object mentioned, draw it, or what is even easier for the non-art inclined, simply find the picture online, print it, cut it out, and paste it on the front of card.

1. For example cut the card into the shape of a pickle or draw or paste a picture of a pickle unto the front of folded paper. On the inside write “You’ve always been there to help me out of a pickle. Happy Father’s Day!”

2. Cut/Paste/Draw a picture of a bunch of grapes. Then inside write “Hope you have a GRAPE Father’s Day/Birthday/Ect.

3. Cut out a white circle. Color a yellow circle in the middle. On the back write “Hope you have an Egg-cellent Father’s Day/Birthday/Ect.

4. Cut/Paste/Draw a slice of pizza. On the back write “You’re the best slice of life! Have a good……”

5. Cut/Copy/Draw a wedge of cheese. Write on front “I know this may sounds cheesy…” and then on the back write “but you’re the best dad/husband/friend in the world!”

Or for a more complicated variation on this theme: Draw a cob of corn on yellow construction paper. Cut it out. Cut out some green paper husk leaves. Attach them to the bottom of cob so they cover the bottom and the corn cob sprouts out. Write on the outside of the leaves “I know this may sound corny….” And then they bend back the husk leaves, and on the inside of the leaves or on the part of cob that was covered you have written “But you are the best __________ in the world!”

Current Events and Pop Culture are also fertile sources of ideas for puns for your card. For example for a love interest:

1. Find a picture of Kim Jong Il, dictator of N. Korea, print it, cut it out, and paste it on the front of folded paper. Draw a red heart around him. On the inside write “I just wanted to tell you that I’m CRAZY about you!”

2. Or print and cut out a picture of Mr. Peanut. Paste it, and on the inside of the card write, “I’m NUTS about you.” This would also work with a picture of a squirrel.

3. When the “The Secret” had just hit it big in the news and on Oprah, Brett made me a card in which he drew The Secret’s symbol on the front and wrote inside “It’s no secret I love you a lot.” Or when I was into watching the Bachelor reality show (it was a guilty pleasure, so sue me!), he made a card with a rose on the front, and inside it, it said “Kate, will you accept this rose?” Funny, ironic, sweet. What more can you ask for?

If you want to do something more involved, here are a couple of ideas:

1. A good Father’s Day “card” for kids to make is as follows. Draw a very little picture of your dad and cut it out. Stuff it inside a blue balloon. Blow up balloon and tie it off. Tape some green construction paper continents to the outside. Present the balloon to dad to pop. When he does, the little picture of himself will fall out and you will have written on it before insertion, “You are the best dad in the world!” Classic.

2. Here is a good one for a love interest. Cut/Draw/Paste a picture of a fisherman. Attach a string to his “pole.” At the end place a construction paper fish. On the fish write: “You are such a catch! I love you!”

For a Thank You card to someone for sending you money:

1. Cut/Draw/Paste a picture of a cow. On the back or inside write “Thank you for the Moooooola.”

2. Cut/Draw/Paste a picture of someone spreading butter on a slice of bread. Inside or on the back write “Thank you for spreading the love.”

So here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Give dad something funny, personalized, memorable, and from the heart this Sunday. And save a couple bucks in the process!

How Long Should You Keep Financial Records?

Written by Brett McKay

paper_stack.jpg

Managing your money creates a lot of paper work. Your desk drawers can quickly fill with tax returns, bills, and bank statements. I know there are times when I feel like I’m swimming in financial paperwork. Well, here are some tips on exactly how long you should hold on to old financial records.

IRA Contributions

You receive different types of statements about your IRA: one is to show how much you’ve contributed; the other is to show how much you have in your account. You get the latter type of statement once every a quarter with a summary at the end of the year.

How long should you keep them? You’ll want to hold on to your records of IRA contributions until you withdraw the money during retirement in order to prove you already paid the tax on your contributions. You can get rid of the quarterly statements as soon as you match them with your yearly statement. You’ll want to keep the yearly statements until you start withdrawing.

Bank Records

These are probably the things that are taking up the most space. You get these once a month. They include statements of how much is in your savings and checking accounts, as well as your credit card balance.

How long should you keep them? It depends on what type of bank record it is. If it’s a record related to taxes and home improvements you should hold on to it. You should also hold on to credit card statements that contain tax related purchases for up to seven years. You can dump your monthly bank statements. Just make sure to shred them before you do.

Bills

Bills. Boo. Most people get rid of these suckers as soon as they pay them.

How long should you keep them? You can get rid of most bills once you pay them off. However, keep bills for larger purchases, like cars and jewelry, for as long as you own the property. They’ll be useful for insurance purposes.

Tax Returns

You get a copy of your return that you send to the IRS. These actually come in handy when filling out financial aid. Included with your tax returns are pay stubs and receipts that support deductions.

How long should you keep them? The general guideline given is to keep tax records for seven years. While the IRS has 10 years to assess taxes that you didn’t pay, they usually bring up challenges way before the 10 year period has elapsed.

Brokerage Statements

If you invest, you’ll get monthly statements telling you how much you’ve made each month.

How long should you keep them? Keep brokerage statements until you sell the investment. You’ll use them to prove your capital gains or losses when you do your taxes.

How to file this crap

Filing your financial documents doesn’t have to be a pain. Here are some quick tips on how to effectively file.

  • Get a small portable file box with manila folders.
  • Divide your file box into years.
  • Subdivide your years by the different financial paper work you receive: bank statements, brokerage statements, tax returns, IRA contributions, house payments, ect.
  • Go through files monthly and yearly and dump things you don’t need.
  • Make sure to shred financial documents to maintain privacy.

If you enjoyed this post, then make sure to subscribe to my RSS Feed

[tags]taxes, GTD, personal finance[/tags]