5 Unconventional Ways to Save for Law School

The easiest way to stay out of student loan debt is to take on as little as possible.

Editor's Note: Today's post is a guest post from Matt Satell at Bold.org. It would be perfect for passing along to someone you know in law school or thinking about attending law school. We have no financial relationship with Bold or Matt.

As a student, you’re probably already keenly aware of how expensive college can be. But law school? That’s an entirely new level. So figuring out how to minimize debt and pay for law school is no small task. 

Sure – you’ve heard all the typical ways to save up, like working part-time during school and full-time in the summer or applying for financial aid. But there are a few unique tactics you might be missing out on. 

Read on and find new tips you can add to your saving strategy. 

Be resourceful

One of the best ways to start saving money is to spend less money. Save on everyday purchases by shopping consignment stores, eating in, or using public transportation instead of a car (not only do you save on car payments and gas – but you also get extra study time on your commute).

If you’re currently a college student, take advantage of the many resources available to you. Use student discounts around town, get reading materials or movies at the library, or hit up campus events for free food (and maybe some learning or networking, too). 

Utilize financial aid and health services on campus. And never pay full price for textbooks – purchase used or simply rent for the semester. 

Market your skills

Working a typical job can be instrumental in keeping financially afloat. But maybe you don’t have time for 20 hours a week. Or perhaps you need supplemental income to get by. Taking on gigs with a smaller time commitment is one way to remedy these issues. 

Try marketing your skills – writing, photography, design, editing, or assisting – on a freelancing platform. If you’re doing well in a particular school subject, offer to tutor your classmates for some extra cash. Or teach English online to students from various countries throughout the world. 

Establish passive income

Time equals money. That’s why it’s tricky for a busy college student to make enough money when there’s no time left in your schedule. But there are some ways to use time to your advantage – without using up all of your time. With passive income, you invest some of your time to get the ball rolling but then maintain it with little to no effort. And just let time work its magic to grow your earnings. 

There are plenty of ways to establish passive income, including investing in stocks or real estate, keeping a blog, publishing a book (or e-book), or selling an online course. 

Apply for free money

And of course, by “free money,” we mean scholarship and grant opportunities. You’ve probably heard this tip before, but the fact is that too often, students miss out on the chance to receive gift aid for college. So we figured it was worth the extra reminder. 

There are several scholarship options specifically for law students. You could also seek out awards that match your other interests, talents, or hobbies. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something quick and effortless, try applying for easy scholarships like these from Bold and WiseGeek

Assess your law school options

When preparing applications for law schools, be sure to apply to several diverse options. This way, you’re likely to get accepted to a few of them. Then, you can appeal your financial aid award at your desired school with a bit of leverage. When you inform them you have an offer from a different school with a better financial aid package or scholarship award, they may be more willing to negotiate and match those offerings to get you to attend their school. 

Paying for law school can be overwhelming. Having a solid plan in place is crucial to reduce both your debt and your stress. Keep track of your money with a consistent budget, make a plan, and follow-through. You’ve got this!

Joshua Holt is a former private equity M&A lawyer and the creator of Biglaw Investor. Josh couldn’t find a place where lawyers were talking about money, so he created it himself. He knows that a good law school budget will set you on the right path to financial independence and that if you want to get smart on personal finance you can read his weekly email.

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    Five thoughts on 5 Unconventional Ways to Save for Law School

    1. These tips are great. I tutored for the LSAT through most of law school, which helped me offset expenses. I also had some passive income like your post suggests. It makes a difference!

      1. It does make a difference! A lot of people think it’s not worth it since law school debt is “funny money” but when you’re playing the long game, every dollar that saves you from taking on $1 of debt will pay dividends for you down the road.

    2. I agree that every dollar counts when saving for school, this article is very informative! I am always checking for sources to help me with my finances and I would recommend reading https://www.nerdwallet.com/ they have lots of articles about saving and spending properly

    3. I want to study law but not I’m not financially stable. But the idea of free money will be the best option for me. Also, I have applied in different schools with a better financial aid packages or scholarship award so if those get approved then I would have positive chance of negotiation. Thanks for your idea.

    4. I’ve been considering starting a blog. It’s an exciting way to share my thoughts and interests while potentially generating income over time. Of course, there’s some upfront work involved in creating engaging content and building an audience, but the prospect of earning passively once the foundation is set is quite motivating.

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