In light of increased discretionary spending for my good friend’s wedding as one of her bridesmaids, which I’m more than happy to do but that doesn’t change how strapped for money I am, I’m trying to find more creative ways to save money and still have a life. Here are some good ones I found on a simple google search (in no particular order)—
- Sign up for membership at stores you frequent whether it’s grocery stores, convenience stores, department stores, clothing stores, etc.
- Always bring your student ID in case you can get a student discount.
- Eat at home.
- Pack lunch & snacks everyday.
- "Textbooks 2.0": online, electronic versions; renting textbooks; borrowing from/exchanging with friends
- Shop at thrift shops.
- Set a limit on how many times you can go out per month. Mine will be 3x/month. Maybe I can cut down to 2x/month.
- Exercise whenever possible. Whenever I find a free slot in the schedule, I’ll go to the gym. There, less chance of spending money and at the same time it’s healthier! (Tip thanks to Jimmy Ng.)
- Pass on watching movies in theater. Rent some movies from Redbox you’ve been meaning to see but never got to before they stopped showing in theaters…for 1/10 the price!
- "If you save your change, at the end of the year you can take it to Coinstar and exchange it for a gift certificate without paying the fee they charge for changing to cash - Amazon.com has everything you could want to buy for Christmas presents." #
- Learn how to take advantage of the Shell gas station Giant grocery store gives you! And other savings programs like this.
- "Do all my shopping in one trip every three weeks. Fewer trips means better planning, less impulse buying, and less gas use. I make a list of what I need and stick to it UNLESS there is something I KNOW I will use that is seriously on sale. I also know which stores have the best prices on the things I buy regularly." #
# Tips thanks to Ohio State University School of Medicine Financial Services website.
Hope this is helpful for you! I will personally try to work on 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12.
Okay, I cannot end this post without a mini-rant:
To friends/acquaintances of medical students: please do not peer pressure us into spending more than we want or waft away our worries of being in debt with your thoughtless, “oh you’ll be rich doctors soon and pay off all your loans soon.” Yes, that will come (more) quickly for those of us going into radiology/anesthesiology/ophthalmology/dermatology but some of us will be filling the much demanded posts of primary care and will still be paying off our loans 10 years down the road… Please take your head out of the sand and read all the reports on how investing in medical education has one of the worst pay offs around. Also, realize that we’re not in debt for the 4 years of medical school, but at least 7 years because we still have residency afterwards where we get paid barely enough to keep ourselves alive much less start paying back loans. Unless you’ve been in our shoes or similar ones and know the feeling of watching your interest accumulate and compound year after year while knowing that you won’t even have a chance to do anything about it for another 5 years, please be more respectful of our financial decisions. And if you treat us to dinner or help us pay for something, trust me, we’ll remember and that generosity will be paid back to you 100-fold. Karma.
To other medical students: don’t let people who don’t know what they’re talking about peer pressure you. They’re not paying for the decision you make, you are.