Lawyers may be earning those big bucks ($$$) but law students? We’re hella broke! So here are 10 steps on how to save money in law school:
1. Have a saving mindset
The way you think about what to do with money matters. Think of it as something that you should have simply for the sake of having it rather than something that can get you something else like that gorgeous pair of shoes or that new Macbook. Train your mind to think about saving. Did you get extra money that you weren’t expecting? Maybe a tax refund? Set it aside and hold on to it. Did you receive some change back after buying coffee with cash? Keep it. Those coins can be a pain to carry around but they add up pretty quickly so be sure to save them!
2. Create a budget and stick to it
After paying the bills and setting some money aside for savings, have a set amount each month to spend on wants and occasional dine-outs. If you spend too much in one month (more than your set amount), claw it back on your next month’s spending. For example, if your set amount in January was $300 and you spent $480 (say by dipping into your savings), you’d have a -$180 balance. So in February, with a set amount of $450, subtract the $180 to only have $270 left to spare. If you dip into your savings, be sure to quickly replace it.
3. Organize your savings
It’ll be easier to track your progress and stay motivated! Have short-term, medium-term, and long-term saving goals. Open a savings account, maybe open multiple! Have a system for tracking your savings. Have a piggy bank for all your spare change. Get a prepaid card and load it with your set amount monthly so you won’t run the risk of overspending! Be organized and make it easier for yourself to focus on saving.
4. Take advantage of deals and offers
Almost every store has some kind of loyalty or rewards program set up and they are usually free to join. Take advantage of them to get free stuff and some major discounts! I don’t know how many free Starbucks drinks I’ve gotten as a gold star member or how many free movies I’ve watched using my Cineplex scene points!
5. Be a credit card master
First of all, if you’re paying a fee for your credit card, consider switching to the no annual fee credit card that your bank offers (most banks do) or find out if you’re eligible for any cards that you’ll get rebates on with the type of bank account you have. Second, always pay your credit cards on time and in full every month. Those minimum payments are a trap! With high-interest rates, it might be costing you a lot by just paying the monthly minimum on your credit cards. Third, take advantage of what your credit card offers in rewards or cashbacks. Just make sure they don’t lead you to spend more than you normally would just to collect those points (it defeats the purpose).
6. Use your student perks
Students get amazing deals. Most stores offer student discounts. As a student, you can get up to 50% off at Domino’s Pizza, get Amazon Prime for half the price, and sometimes even get free stuff! The Art Gallery of Alberta, for example, gives students free admission and most banks in Canada provide free banking for students.
7. Don’t settle
Shop around to find the absolute best deals. It’ll take more time and effort but will save you money in the long run. Are your parents with TELUS? You don’t have to be. Compare carriers and phone plans to find what’s right for you. Compare auto insurance rates, gas rates, savings account interest rates, etc.! Drop by the dollar store, see if you can find what you’re looking for there before going to the grocery store. They have most things for a cheaper price.
8. Buy new as a last resort
Need clothes? Textbooks? Something else? It doesn’t matter! Always buy used when you can. Buy from thrift stores, go to garage sales, scour the internet (FB Marketplace, Kijiji, Amazon) for what you need! If you can get it for less, great! And if you can even get it for free, even better! Hint: try visiting your library. It’s an amazing free resource. You can borrow books, video games, and so much more.
9. Cut back on unnecessaries
Do you have a Crave subscription that you really only got for Game of Thrones? Cancel it! $20 a month is a lot. That’s $240 a year! If it’s something that you rarely use, there’s absolutely no reason to be paying so much for it. That goes for subscriptions and items too. If you still have the phone you bought last year and it’s in good condition, maybe you don’t really need that new iPhone 12 Pro. Cut back on unnecessary things!
10. Find the right balance
You should always be saving—for emergencies, for the future…It’s good to look ahead. But remember to also live in the present. You should enjoy saving (not resent it) in order to succeed in doing it long-term. So reward yourself from time to time. Take good care, keep yourself happy and don’t neglect your responsibilities: pay your bills on time and pay down your debts. Find the right balance!