9 Tips For Getting Through Medical School On A Budget
Getting through medical school is one of the most rigorous career paths challenges an individual can choose. The classes are demanding, the course work is strenuous, there is little to no time for a social life or even sleep, and on top of all that, most medical students sink into roughly $200,000 worth of debt in student loans.
While there are some medical students who are financially responsible during their years in medical school, there are far more students who incur more debt than they should because they think that they will be able to pay it off when they land a job after they graduate.
Dealing with student loans is something that students should be cognizant of during their time in school. The idea of accounting for finances during med school may not sound like a priority at the moment, but if you don’t monitor your finances closely during school, you might end up facing even greater financial obstacles in the long run.
The following list describes 10 ways to cut corners during medical school that will prevent extraneous debt from accumulating.
1.Define your budget.
Look at your expenses for the month and distinguish between what you need and what you want. Set realistic goals and stick to it.
2. Keep track of your spending. All of it.
Write down how much it costs for things like groceries, gym membership, eating out, gas and record the amounts. When necessary items go on sale, make sure to stock up and be on the lookout for better prices at competing locations. While it may be just a few bucks here or there, it could be the difference between having an extra $100 a month and falling even further into debt.
3. Meal preparation.
There is a huge meal prep movement taking place right now that is making cooking and eating quicker, cheaper and healthier. Preparing meals in advance may sound like an annoying task, but it is extremely time effective and will keep you from purchasing things you don’t need.
4. Become a coupon master.
There are plenty of opportunities in magazines, newspapers, social media, and on the internet that can save some valuable nickels. Take a look at websites like Groupon and Amazon Local for deals on dining and weekend events.
5. Live off your current income and not your future income.
Although you may be thinking that after graduation, a medical institution will pay you enough money to pay back all the debt you have accumulated, but the truth is that you can’t predict what your life is going to be like in the future. You may have med school loans to pay off, retirement, children’s educational futures, higher income taxes and practice expenses. These types of bills can add up quick and create unneeded stress down the road.
6. Carpool with a friend or a spouse.
The cost of buying a car and paying for insurance, registration and maintenance is a huge expense that can be avoided. While many people are under the impression that they absolutely need their own vehicle, it may be the case that a shared vehicle could be just as useful, at a fraction of the cost.
7. Smartphones are a great resource, utilize them.
Apps such as Mint and PocketGuard are great tools that can really help people who are trying to stick to a budget. They also serve as constant reminders that there are bills to be paid and financial responsibilities to be upheld. This can prevent impulsive splurging.
8. Find a roommate.
Although it is ideal to have a personalized space, this is a luxury that can really add up quick. Roommates may not always be your best friends, or even the best of humans for that matter, but they serve a purpose and can really help you from spending unnecessary amounts of money. Also, roommates who are a little difficult to live with may inspire you to get out of the house and into the library. More studying usually results in less spending.
9. Start a savings account.
Get down to the bank and open a savings account where you can start putting some money into. Invest money into your future. The more you save now, the more you will have later and that can be huge when paying off student loan debt.
Limiting yourself financially in medical school is not an easy task, but it will teach one how to depend less on money and will make you a more responsible human overall, which will most likely have a major impact on your future patient care and overall quality of life.