So the new plan for the year, as far as law related things goes, includes:
- Retaking LSAT
- Applying early decision to schools, since ASU didn't give me a deferral
- Studying for and taking Patent Bar Exam
- Paying off undergraduate student loans
- Taking as many free law related classes as possible (Benefit of free tuition to University employees, whoops, now you know where I work, oh well.)
- Saving money for move and law school
Wish me luck! I'll try and post interesting things for those of you who care about the above. I'll just be one of the longer Pre-L bloggers out there.
This energy meter measures electricity usage and calculates electricity expenses by the day, week, month, or year. I took it home and plugged into the outlet that my TV, DVD player, cable modem and wireless router are plugged into. I was stunned to find out that these appliances consume 10% of my electricity bill every month, even when turned off and I'm not using them! I can save 10% just by turning off the power strip on these things when not using them, amazing! Over 1 month that's $9.00, over the next year that's over $100.00. I also feel more environmentally friendly by reducing my power consumption. I am also going to unplug my paper shredder, PC computer, microwave, toaster and other appliances which I don't use daily and see how much my power bill goes down.
Cable tv $49.99 a month, nothing interesting on when I want it. Blockbuster by mail $17.99 a month for 3 discs at a time with unlimited in store exchanges. I can watch an entire season of my shows at once rather than wasting time with commercials or money with cable. I can choose when I want to watch shows without needing a DVR and I won't be sucked into pointless shows that happen to be on. Savings $32 x 12 months = $384.00/year You'll save even more if you are actually in law school without a hubby who watches tv and can go without tv entirely. Also, while you're on the phone with your cable company getting rid of your movie channels you should see if you can combine your services and save money. I was able to combine my cable internet, cable tv and land line and save enough that the cable internet was basically free. Some companies even let you combine your cell phone bill as well.
Make your credit card pay you. If you are the type who is able to pay your balance in full every month get a card who pays you a cash reward. If you know that you're going to be paying for a trip home to see the family every year a mileage reward card might make sense to you. Otherwise, while you're in law school a mileage card probably doesn't make too much sense. Instead get a card that offers cash back. The American Express Blue Cash card offers up to 5.00% back on everyday purchases and 1.5% on everything else after the first $6,500 dollars spent. It offers slightly lower percentages back before you hit $6,500. If you spend a less per year you can check into the Capitol One card which offers 1% back from day one and a 25% bonus at the end of the year. Also, ask your school if they take credit cards for your tuition bill. You might be giving yourself a discount on tuition, however slight. Just make sure you pay it off at the end of the month. In other words, wait until your loans have dispersed into your savings account before paying with your card. It won't save you any money if you are paying late fees and interest every month. We used our airline miles to pay for our law school visit trip last year, saved $1,300 in airfare. This year we'll be using our cash rewards card to save up for moving expenses. This isn't the time to be getting Victoria's Secret rewards which will only do you good if you continue purchasing more stuff. Store credit cards probably aren't your best option at this point.
Contribute to abundance, if you no longer need something , pass it on. Join your local freecycle group on yahoo. You can get rid of your things in an environmentally friendly manner and score things that you really need from others. I've been able to get rid of an old computer monitor this way that would have ended up in the garbage otherwise and the person who received it saved at least $50.00 over buying one.
Some of the best money savers are also environment savers. In my community the bus is free during the winter months. Taking the bus in the winter and biking in the summer saves me $40-$60 a month in gas.
Don't spend any $5.00 bill that comes your way. I saw this tip in Women's Day magazine, one of those Mommy magazines in Dr.'s offices. Apparently the lady who sent in this tip did it for five months leading up to a vacation and saved $485. Might not work for me though as I usually use credit cards to get airline miles. I rarely have cash as it tends to burn a hole in my pocket.
Now I want to point out something else, how $50.00 grows. If you save $50.00, even with no interest at all:
$50/month after 6 months is $300, after 1 year is $600 and after 3 years that's $1,8000
$50/week after 6 months is $1,300, after 1 year is $2,600 and after 3 years you'll have a J.D. and $7,800
That should put a dent in some of your student loan interest.
Contracts 1:30PM - 3:25PM Mo & 3:00PM - 4:25PM TuTh
Torts 3:30PM - 5:25PM MoWe
Civil Procedure 10:00AM - 11:55AM WeFr
Legal Method & Writing 1:30PM - 2:25PM WeFr
Dean's Session on Study & Practice of Law 10:30AM - 11:55AM TuTh
And you know what I'm going to do? I'm about to call the law school and say that I won't be enrolling this year. I have plane tickets to go and the most beautiful school schedule ever and yet I'm not going. I have to wait until next year. Life simply got in the way.
We made every attempt to take the emotions out of this decision by quantifying it. Like the engineers that we are, we made spreadsheets calculating the 5 year and 10 year economic impacts of law school depending on whether I go to Schools A through J. It makes more financial sense to give up a year of engineers salary and go now because I'll get a year of lawyer salary at the end of law school sooner. It also makes more sense financially to go to a state school like University of Washington or Arizona State University than it does to go to Georgetown or Seattle University...no surprise.
So why on Earth am I doing this? Well there is the matter of the Patent Bar which I want to take and which I will have no time to study for while in law school. Then there is the fact that I have an entire household worth of stuff that I have to figure out how to move and pay to move ($5k, at least). And despite my attempts at getting financial aid all I got were loans. Then there is the Army, sitting there like a dementor out of a Harry Potter book, sucking all of the happiness out of every plan we make for our future. I have no security. I grasp at rumors and try to make the best decisions that I can based on them, only to have orders changed and rumors swept away. We were planning on October. He was going to get me all settled at school, come home and move our things in September and then stay with his parents waiting for the orders. It is now looking like Hubby won't be deployed until the new year and I just can't deal with a long distance relationship leading up to a year long deployment combined with the stresses of moving and 1L all in one semester.
If he isn't going to leave until January or February or March, then I would rather have him leave, followed by me knowing where I'm going to school, moving over the summer with plenty of time and doing 1L fall with him still gone. After the completion of 1L first semester in January or February or March he would get back and then we could get on with our lives from there. The hardest part of law school would be over without him to distract me from school and with law school to distract me from worrying about him.
There aren't any really big BAD reasons that I should go this year. I bet that any schools that I got into this year I'll get into next year again. If I retake my LSAT I might even get into a few schools that I didn't get into this year. I'll have more savings to cushion the financial blow. I'll have my patent bar under my belt so I'll be more employable.
Why am I trying so hard to justify this to myself? Maybe it's in my personality to pursue everything. I never say "no." I'm always the first one to volunteer. Once I set my mind on something I want, I pursue it immediately whether it is changing apartments, buying a car, getting engaged, anything. I'm not one to delay gratification of a future goal either. I'm very futuristic. This is hard for me. I know the "pros" list was longer than the "cons" list, but I'll always worry that I'm giving up more than the most awesome schedule in the world. I know I want to go to law school. I'm not doing this because I am bored or couldn't "hack" engineering. I am genuinely interested for many reasons and have a long list of why this will help me with my future goals. I take the debt load seriously. I'm ready. But I'm going to wait. *sigh* I guess I should probably call them and make some other applicant on the waiting lists day. I'm penning law school in my schedule for 2008 and Army you can just be damned if you think you're delaying me again.
Sorry folks, this isn't what it looks like. I live in Fairbanks Alaska which basically means that I see the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis throughout the winter. This is a chessy gimick. Cool idea though, especially for those lonesome for the real thing.
As read in the rear-view mirror "Smiley," cool huh?
I guess I don't have David's guts. I got into blawgs by first reading Suasponte. While it wasn't too hard to figure out ultimately that she attended the University of Chicago by her restaurant choices and other hints, she did make it so that people who don't personally know her won't be able to just google her and find her blog. That is kind of the level I'm shooting for. I don't mind if folks who know me know that this is my blawg. I'm not intending to pull a Jeremy Blachman, but I won't be swinging the other direction and posting photos up the kazoo of other people without their permission. I don't want others voyeuristically using this blog like an extension of facebook. To that end those of you using bloglines might be confused as to why a couple of my old posts have reappeared. They have been redacted...for now.
The next day (5th) we visited the Cooper Center museum, which was basically a small collection of leftover paraphernalia from the gold rush era. The historic photographs and maps were interesting to hubby who is a big history buff. I was content to look at the old miner's cabins and wonder how people had their whole lives year after year in spaces smaller than my first dorm room.
After stopping at The Fishing Widow coffee place for my mocha and hubby's hot cocoa we hit the road again and drove the rest of the way down to Valdez, down through the mountains and past the waterfalls to our hotel. On the way down stopped for a short hike up to Worthington Glacier. After getting into Valdez we stopped at our hotel and then went to lunch at the Valdez classic Mike's Palace. I remember this place from when I was a little girl. My parents would always order the cheese pizza and I would sit at the counter and watch the Italian family make the food. All of the people who worked there were family and during the summer the extended family would come from Italy to work at the restaurant, or that is my recollection. I remember one of the guys that worked there giving me a little bowl of peperoni to put on my cheese pizza. Strange, the memories that stick with you from when you were a kid. Not much has changed, the same family still owns the place and the pizza is still great. I will say though that a large pizza is too large for two people, even when one of them is a 6'2" hungry man who has been driving and hiking all day.
The next morning we took a Stan Stephens cruise through Prince William Sound for a 9.5 hour tour. We saw every type of wildlife advertised on the brochures, except for the mountain goats and bears. All of the white specks that I saw turned out to be snow when viewed through the spotting glasses. Mountain goats are now beasts which have now reached mythical status in my book. All throughout my growing up years in Alaska my Mom would insist that she saw Dall Sheep or Mountain Goats on the mountain, but I can't actually remember ever seeing one. I've seen plenty of them mounted on walls, but until I see one myself I have relegated all Alaskan sheep and goats to mythical status, like unicorns or fur fish.