Many law school students won’t begin thinking about the bar exam until their last year. (I did the same.) It is only then they come to realize all the expenses: the fees for sitting for the exam, the balance on their BARBRI account and the living expenses during bar studying. Then the panic begins to set in – where is all this money going to come from?
HERE ARE A FEW “ANXIETY-REDUCING” TIPS
Create a budget. Simple enough, right? But so many students create unneeded stress by neglecting to create a basic budget. Instead, we just spend money until it runs out. If you create some guidelines, then you will be in control of where your money is going. A good rule of thumb is 90/10. Specifically allocate 90% of your monthly income (or, loans) to needed expenses and keep 10% as a reserve or buffer.
Find areas to cut back. After looking at your budget, try to find where you can eliminate spending. I know we all feel like we can’t possibly do this, but really you can. The easiest areas are eating out and entertainment expenses. A good strategy for cutting back: plan to eat out one meal per week. And skip the specialty coffee pit-stops a few days a week. It all adds up.
Save. Make sure you start saving now. It’s never too late. Whatever your income, save a little each week. If you were to save only $25 a week, over the course of three years of law school, you would have accumulated almost $4,000. You won’t even notice having $25 less a week, but I bet $4,000 will grab your attention. Plus that will definitely help you with your BARBRI balance when the time comes and those bar exam fees that suddenly come to reality.
BY BUDGETING, YOU ARE IN CONTROL
I know money is a touchy subject and many let their money control their actions. I promise this will alleviate much of the stress associated with money. The less stress you have regarding money translates to less stress during law school and during the bar exam.