So, You Want to Go to Medical School? We Have Some Budget Tips For You
Being a doctor is a noble profession, but studying to become one is a long and tiring process, not to mention very costly. There are many changes and sacrifices you’ll have to make but some of the biggest ones will probably be related to your finances. Thinking about both your studies and your finances might be a bit difficult at the beginning, so here are a few suggestions that will help you get through the medical school with one less thing to worry about.
Set the budget and stick to it
First things first, you need to know exactly how much you earn and how much you can spend. Knowing your budget will help you organize your spending. You should also try to keep all the receipts for a few months so you can get a basic idea of the things you spend on, and where you can cut back. For example, coffee is every student’s best friend but keeping the receipts might show you why it’s better to have one cup of coffee a day than two or prepare your own at home.
Spend smart and save where you can
When organizing where your money should go, it’s important to focus on the important things first. Also, take into the account all the extra things you’ll need for your studies; if you know you’ll need some assistance – passing your Medicine Admissions Test, for example – set aside some money for a good and reliable UMAT tutor that will help you pass it with flying colors.
You can also save some money on entertainment. For instance, next to all the studying, you probably won’t have much time for watching television, and you can find most of the shows and movies online anyway, so there’s no need to pay for cable. If there is a show or a football game that you simply have to catch live, most gyms and bars have a TV, so you can work out or grab a drink while watching your show.
Another important thing to keep in mind is your student loan. You will likely need to pay at least double the amount you’ve borrowed during the four years of medical school, so if you can pay back even a bit right now, do so. Paying off your loan should be one of your priorities, so make sure to do it as soon as you can.
Make use of the technology
There are many applications that can help you keep track of your budget, like Mint, PocketGuard, or GoodBudget. They will make creating a budget and managing your finances much easier, and they can also teach you how to plan ahead and save some money.
Also, we live in the digital age, so if you have a good laptop, use it; there’s no need to buy books if you can find them online, and you can also save money on paper by taking notes on your laptop. If your laptop breaks down, there are companies that offer promotions for students, so using a laptop does have more than a few benefits. Just make sure to have a backup of your documents in case you lose your data for one reason or another.
Don’t buy new things
Try not to buy new things unless you absolutely need them. This mostly goes for books since you can find most of them in your local library or online. You can borrow a book from the library if you need it for studying, or you can even buy somebody else’s; there are surely students who have finished their studies and want to sell their books. Speaking of which, you should do the same – recycle your books after you no longer need them. You might not get much for them, but everything counts when you’re on a budget.
Find a job
You might feel like you don’t have the time for a job, but there are many options that won’t take too much of your time. Plus, you could always use some extra cash. If you have a hobby, like photography or writing, you could sell your photos online or get a job as a content writer. You can also work for marketing survey companies and get paid for filling out surveys related to a certain product or service. If you live in a dorm, you could sign up to be an RA – it’s not an easy job, but it comes with the free room and as you already have a passion for helping people, it shouldn’t be too hard for you. These kinds of jobs will leave you enough time for studying, and you’ll feel much better knowing that you’re earning some money on your own.
Medical school is hard enough on its own, but it can become even more stressful when you have to think about your budget every step of the way. So, organize your finances in time, cut back where you can, and your path towards becoming a doctor will be that much easier.