I just bust my butt and scrounge what money I have. I had to pay for college and support a family (neices/sister/mother) so I learned how to be frugal.
Although you're right, I see an extra $1000 as a sound investment, all things considered. If it gives me even the slightest edge, I'm taking it (excluding anything unethical).
One good idea I've got is to ask people from the school you want to go to if you can get a copy of their 1L outlines, to study before you go. I'm already done w/ Civil Proc. and Con. (they're the most interesting to me anyway, or at least I need Civil for my job now so it's interesting in that regard) and will be done with the other outlines by the time I get to school next fall ('06). I'm hoping to be top 10% wherever I go, and if that means I have to study 2 hours a day for the next year and a half, and then 8 hours a day for the three years of school, you're goddamned right I will.
Diligence, baby. That's 9/10ths of the law right there.