One of the biggest misconceptions of residency is the pay! Most people assume that once you graduate from medical school and become a doctor that you’re rich! Well I am here to tell you that… it’s not true! Residents earn a decent income however, in our case, I am a stay at home mom, so that residents income has to stretch for a family of five! If you add up the long hours and the fact that on many weeks my husband only has one day off then his salary ends up being less than minimum wage! Yeah, you read that correctly! Less than minimum wage, folks! So as you can see residency life is not easy and it takes some creative planning to survive. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way!
You Need a Budget!– If you don’t have a budget yet it’s time to start! Now a days there is an app for everything including creating a budget that works for you. Some months our budget is a hot mess because life happens like unexpectedly needing to replace tires on our car! Try to create a nest egg for yourself, even if it means you can only put away $10 every paycheck. This nest egg will not only come in handy for the future but it also comes in handy for when the holidays come around.
Shop Smart– Since I stay at home, I do all the shopping. I coupon, I read flyers, I stay on top of the weekly ads. I love reward programs that give you points or cash back for purchases. I even use reusable bags to save a few cents. I shop at multiple stores each week for things like household items and food (I know it sounds crazy!) If you hate to shop, don’t worry! Many stores now offer to do the shopping for you and some will even deliver to your home. All of these things require me to plan ahead and can be time-consuming. The savings add up over time so trust me when I say it’s worth it!
Cut out extra spending– To save money we rent movies instead of going to the movie theater. If we do splurge to see a flick we go on a weekday to take advantage of special deals like buy one get one free. We also only eat out one night a week and, you guessed it, we eat out with a coupon or on kids eat free nights! You have no idea how hard this is for us since we like to eat how feel, haha! I also keep an ongoing list of things we need for our house or for ourselves that over time we purchase when we have money left over in our budget.
Buy Secondhand– We have growing kids who always seem to need something. I consign most of my kiddos clothing and toys. I love to shop consignment store deals during off seasons and stock up for the following year. By doing this I’ve saved hundreds! Clothing isn’t the only thing we buy secondhand we also buy used furniture and toys from yard sales and online marketplaces.
Being in residency is like a real life version of survivor except nobody gets voted off the island. Instead you have to learn to survive with the cards that are dealt to you. You will find ways to help make life easier and over time it does get better. Residency is very much like medical school in which the days are long but the years are short. It will be over before you know it and you will be back to making a decent income once again. Just know that you can do this! It’s not easy, but you got this! For more money saving tricks, check out my article Shopping on a Med Student budget! Be sure to comment below your tips and tricks you have used along the way to help get you and your family!
Disclaimer: This article is based on my own experiences and opinions.