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Protecting What Matters Most


How to Create & Manage a Budget During Residency

Unlike law school students or business school graduates that have the potential to leave school and receive a six-figure salary, medical residents receive intern salaries after they graduate. That’s why it’s so important for medical residents to take control of their finances during residency and create a budget. A budget sets a strong financial foundation for the future, and will prepare you to budget and set aside money to pay for loans after residency - a major expense that some medical residents will bear for many years to come. Acknowledging this, here are a few ways you can create and manage a budget.

Using a Worksheet or Excel Spreadsheet

Starting a budget is easy when you use a worksheet, like this one from the Association of American Medical Colleges that pinpoints all the monthly expenses that residents face today. Your worksheet should include your expenditures and the amount of money you typically spend on each item. The AAMC worksheet goes one step further and separates your fixed costs from your variable expenses. Fixed costs are the set expenses you pay every month, and variable expenses are items that may change in amount month to month. Even though using a worksheet like the one from the AAMC is easy, it does mean you’ll have to manually input data on a daily/weekly basis to keep up with monthly expenses. Conversely, online tools can really help manage your budget without so much hands-on attention.

Using Online Tools

Online tools such as Mint.com can help determine expenses, allocate funds and help plan for the future – all online.  At Mint.com, all your financial information is gathered in one place and allocates expenses into different buckets such as entertainment, groceries, car payment, credit card payments and loan payoffs. A graph will show you how much money you spend per category, alert you if you’re going over your budget and give you advice on how to save money for the future. With BillGuard, the concept is similar, but it also offers fraud protection for your accounts. Online tools such as these reduce the need for manually keeping track of expenses and will show you real-time results for your budgetary goals.

How Can Medical Residents Cut Costs?

As a medical resident, you may be thinking that you don’t have the money to start saving right now. However, cost-saving measures can be incorporated into your daily life to help ensure you’re saving money for the future. Here are a few examples of ways you can save:   

  • Share housing costs: Look into having a roommate

  • Cut back on electronic fees: Be aware of your cell phone plan limitations to ensure you don’t have any data averages

  • Be aware of how much you spend on cable T.V. & internet access

  • Cut out the frequent dining out and take your lunch with you

  • Use Groupon for entertainment and activities: Most of the time, you can get a significant discount on restaurants and things to do in your area

These are just a few ways you can help save money. As a medical resident you may also have an advantage of receiving student discounts. As Business Insider reported in 2014, most students can save on items from car insurance to movie tickets. This article pinpoints 34 discounts that residents can utilize. Receiving discounts on entertainment expenses can definitely help you save for the future without leaving you feeling deprived of having a “life.” For more help creating good spending habits, try taking a money quiz, like the one from MyMoney.gov, to see where you may be able to save even more.

In the end, no matter if you choose to create and manage a worksheet or take advantage of online tools, with a budget you will soon find the perfect balance between saving and spending during your medical residency. Contact us today to help protect your financial future.


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