It all starts out the way you imagined. You and your spouse graduated from college, got married, moved into a house and even had your first baby.  Now your spouse brings up the subject of going back to school!  She has always wanted to be a lawyer but between getting married and having children it was put on the back burner.  Now that things are somewhat calmed down an opportunity has presented itself.  World winds of thoughts go through your head – thinking about exactly how do you become a lawyer? How much does it cost? Or how will we pay for our expenses?  These questions are valid; let’s discuss some of these in a little more detail.

What Does It Take To Become A Lawyer?

Graduating from both high school and college is the first step to becoming an attorney.  After getting your four year degree you need to apply and attend law school.  After law school the bar exam needs to be taken and passed.  Finally, a newly appointed lawyer will be sworn in and start applying for legal positions.  So how long does it take to become a lawyer?  Including high school, it’s an 11 year journey.  Law school is typically 3 years.

How Much Does Law School Cost?

The cost of law school varies depending on where you attend.  Some law schools can be as ‘cheap’ as $15 – $20,000 a year where as more prestigious law school cost upwards to $50,000 + for each year.  The good news is that there is a lot of student loan options available.  Interest rates are pretty reasonable and you can take out a little more then what school costs to help cover additional costs.

How Do We Pay Our Bills?

coping with law schoolAs mentioned above, student loans are available to individuals looking to go back to further their education.  Most student loan programs understand that working full time while attending school isn’t always possible.  For these individuals – taking out additional loans is possible to cover bills.  Yes it will need to be paid back but if you’re going to school it should be your priority.  This is sometimes difficult for the spouse not going back to school to understand but it’s an important part to recognize in order to be supportive. Bills always need to be paid but you would be amazed how much you can save by just making small cuts from your normal spending patterns.  For just example:

  • Brew your own coffee – each coffee from Caribou costs roughly $3-$5.00
  • Downgrade or cancel your cable – Netflix is an extremely cheap alternative to cable saving almost $50.00 per month.
  • Readjust cell phone plans – $5-$10 per month can be trimmed by downgrading data & texting plans.
  • Call up insurance companies – Do you need full insurance on your car? Can you raise your deductible on your house?  These have their pros and cons but you’re looking to cut just a little from several bills.  This option can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
  • Eat out less – Eating out is a luxury and can get expensive.  If you eat out twice a week try cutting it down to one time.  That can easy save $30-$50 a week for a family.

Nobody said the money aspect of going back to school would be easy but I outlined just a few options above to easily save several hundred dollars per year.   When you’re living off of an income that is less then what your use to every dollar saved counts.

Being Supportive Is Hard But Rewarding

It’s never convenient for you or a spouse to go back to school.   It’s a big commitment, expensive, and adds stress to the entire family.  However, knowing that your significant other is happy with their career choice is very rewarding.  They will remember that you stuck with them and you both can share stories and laugh about the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ experiences together.  Plus as an attorney – hopefully their making some good money which is always good for future vacations and toys!