i The Frugal Law Student | Money Management

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Top 5 Ways to Save Money While in School

Written by Brett McKay

This is my contribution to ProBlogger’s top 5 group writing project. Go by, read the submissions, and contribute a post as well.

Like most young students, I’m poor. My wife and I are always looking for ways to save money so we can mitigate our already high student debt load. Here’s a list of the 5 things that I have found that have helped us save the most money.

  1. Live with your parents. Right now, my wife and I are living with her parents. This has been our biggest money saver. It’s worked out rather well for us and my in-laws. We have rent free housing and they get in home service. My wife cleans the house and makes dinner for them every once in awhile and I take care of landscaping and the recyclables.
  2. Don’t own a car or if you’re married, just own one. My wife and I just own one car. I got rid of mine when we married. We save on insurance and maintenance. Besides the savings sharing a car has given us time to talk between our busy schedules.
  3. Bring your lunch to campus. I’m surprised by the number of law students who go out to eat every day. If the average meal is $5, that means that many students are dropping $100 a month just on lunch. My average home brought lunch costs probably a $1, some time less.
  4. Buy used textbooks. Buying new is for suckers. Buying used law school text books can be tricky though because publishers come out with new editions frequently. It’s OK to not buy the newest edition. The reality it that there’s not much difference between the older and new editions. If there is something new, just read it in a friend’s text book.
  5. Take advantage of free food at club meetings. There’s always a club meeting somewhere on campus on any day of the week. Often at these meetings there’s free food. Stop by, enjoy the speaker, and load up on grub. In addition to bring your own lunch, this is another great way to reduce your food budget.

Featured Resources

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[tags]ProBlogger, Top 5, saving, money, school[/tags]

11 Free Video Games That Will Develop Your Business & Personal Finance Skills

Written by Brett McKay

I love simulation games. Ever since I played Sim City on the Super Nintendo back in 1990, I’ve been addicted. In fact, I feel simulation games gave me my first lessons in economics. By playing SimCity I learned about taxes, spending, and budgeting. While the real world is a bit more complicated, SimCity gave me a basic understanding.

I still think simulation games have a lot to offer as a way of introducing people to basic financial principles. About.com has put together a nice list of free business simulation games. Play these and you’ll increase your business savvy or at least motivate yourself to become more business savvy. If you think you’re too old or already know enough, have your kids play them. It’s an excellent way to teach your children business and personal finance skills.

  1. Simutrans. The goal of Simutrans is to build a network of railroads and bus connections. Think Railroad Tycoon.
  2. Food Force. The United Nations helped develop Food Force. The object of the game is feed 6 million people on an island in the Indian Ocean. Food Force will help develop budgeting and planning skills.
  3. Lemonade Stand. Lemonade stands are most people’s first introduction to business. Now you can do it online. The object of this game is to make as much profit as possible in 30 days.
  4. Chart Wars. Ever wanted to manage a band? Now you can with Chart Wars. You hire bands, plan road trips, and sell albums. Harness your inner Rick Rubin.
  5. Fantasy Stock Market. The best way to learn about investing is to actually do it. But if you’re afraid of losing money while you’re learning, check out Fantasy Stock Market. It’s online game in which you compete with other investors to see who can develop the best portfolio.
  6. GameBiz. It’s 1983 and you’re video game developer. Try to outperform other well known video game companies like Atari and EA.
  7. Industry Player. This game is played online with other registered players. You start off with a set amount of money to be used to grow a business empire.
  8. MiniMogul. You take the part as movie producer who invests in future movie releases.
  9. Musical Manager 3. It’s the similar to Chart Wars. In this game you’re band manager trying to help your band make it big.
  10. Rich Man Game. Perfect the art of the corporate take over in this massive multiplayer game.
  11. The Second Chance for Mankind. This is very similar to SimCity. You goal is to build a successful metropolitan area.

If you go through all these and still haven’t satisfied your craving for simulation games, you can always play old school SimCity for free.

Personal Finance for Students and Fresh Grads

Written by Brett McKay

I discovered Personal Finance for Students and Fresh Grads after ISPF posted on my blog. I like what he/she is doing over there. Young people are need of information on how to handle their finances and Personal Finance for Students and Fresh Grads is providing it. They have a great series on setting financial goals that I liked very much. Check them out today.

Opened an ING accont today

Written by Brett McKay

I’ve been reading a lot about several online banks that offer killer interest rates for your savings account. Not only that, many of them give you money just for signing up with them.

Case in point. ING Direct. You can start an account with them for just $250 at an interest rate of 4.40%! That puts my bank’s puny 1.05% return rate to shame. I decided to take the plunge. As soon as I opened my account, ING deposited $25 into my new account. In less than thirty minutes, I got a 10% on my original investment. Brilliant.

Young and Broke

Written by Brett McKay

Young and Broke is written by a “[A] recently married 20-something Chicagoan working in financial services/software development, with two MBA parents (and on a journey to an MBA myself).”

Amanda has several great posts on money management for college students. She recently started a series called “Frugal Friday,” in which she posts several quick tips on being frugal. Here’s a sampling of some of the tips she provides:

-Eat less meat. Josh hates this, but it’s not only healthier, it saves money. Make recipes with beans, cheese, lentils, tofu, etc. for protein. It doesn’t bother me because I actually love veggies!

– Get your haircut/massages/pedicures at beauty schools/massage therapy clinics from students. You get the nearly professional quality for a steep discount. If you have a pretty simple hairdo, you can’t go wrong. And who ever heard of a BAD backrub?

Those tips earn Young and Broke a spot on The Frugal Law Student’s Link list as well as his Bloglines feed. Go by and visit Amanda’s site.

Quicken setup

Written by Brett McKay

In an earlier post, I discussed my dissatisfaction with Microsoft Money. My biggest problem with it was that its automatic updates didn’t work very well with my bank.

Well, I spent some time today setting up my accounts with Quicken. It seems much more intuitive than MS Money. Also, the automatic update works like a charm.

One my banks does not participate in Quicken downloads, so I’ll have to do that manually. Luckily, I don’t have many transactions with that account.

Does anyone use Quicken to track their finances, and if so, have you been happy with it?