Going through medical school or attending any course focused on the health sector is a challenge, to say the least. Not only is the work environment incredibly demanding, given that with this profession comes great responsibility, but it can take a toll on you financial-wise.
Without a doubt, it is vital that you adapt your life around your studies. This means that your lifestyle and buying habits have to be slightly changed, so you avoid getting stressed due to money problems. Nevertheless, it is vital to find a balance between your studies, which might be your top priority and taking time to relax and recharge your batteries.
This being said, don’t worry too much, as there are some things you can do to save some money until you get your certification. Although it might seem overwhelming at times, this will pay off later in your future.
Stick to your budget
An excellent place to start is managing your finances well and having an accurate idea of how much you spend compared to your budget. A recommendation is to make a list of your monthly fixed expenses and plan the rest in accordance with these, which are at the top of your priority list. So, plan your budget around your fixed costs and follow it rigorously.
Concerning more flexible expenses, such as grocery and clothes shopping, you have to be prepared to find inexpensive alternatives or avoid indulging in purchasing something that will affect you financially for the remaining month. This includes postponing booking a holiday or going out too often. Your social life is relevant to your mental wellbeing and shouldn’t be ignored. However, there are other options you can do to meet with your friends that don’t require spending too much. For instance, you could plan a gathering where you and your friends can cook together. By doing this, your budget won’t suffer as it would typically when dining out.
Chances are, when you attend medical school, you have a part-time job to help you with your finances. Such part-time jobs can include other professions within the health sector, which can also be used as learning opportunities.
Other jobs in the healthcare system include paramedics or emergency medical technicians, better known as EMTs. The advantage of these professions is that they don’t take too long to finish the course and, therefore, you can start earning money well more quickly. For instance, to get an EMT certification doesn’t take more than six months. This way, you get to work in the healthcare sector sooner and earn money while finishing medical school. What’s more, you start gaining experience from an early stage.
It would be beneficial for you to realise what it is you truly want. If medical school is your passion, then the temporary struggle is worth it, and you will be able to stay motivated throughout this difficult time until you reach your residency. However, you might realise that your passion lies in being an EMT or paramedic, in which case the healthier option for you would be to specialise in this department.
Once you learn how to stick to your budget, you will be able to control your shopping habits. When it comes to grocery shopping, an option to save money might be to order them online. More often than not, the delivery cost is not significant, and you avoid impulse buying, which usually occurs when you are at the store. Also, supermarkets tend to have various package deals, so always look for how you can save money even when shopping. For instance, buying bulk is an alternative to avoid purchasing an item on a regular basis.
Similarly, you can save money by travelling smart. Instead of using public transport, you can opt to walk or bike, depending on whether the distance allows. If that is not your case, and you have to use a car, an alternative could be to carpool. This way you save money on gas by sharing your ride with others, so your expenses on transport won’t be as high.
Good deals for your bills
Indeed, your bills will be a fixed expense, and there is no way around that. However, there are less expensive alternatives for your gas and electricity. Chances are, some providers have better deals than others. So, it is vital to do a bit of research before and not choose the first provider that comes to mind. And if you are sharing a house with others, splitting the living costs is a huge advantage.
Apart from housing bills, you can find better contract deals such as from your phone provider. Some providers have reasonable plans for students, which can be more convenient for you. If you use a lot of data, you might have to settle for a mobile plan with fewer features available but can offer you enough of what you need the most at an affordable price. It is true you might have to struggle for a bit during this period, but it will pay off in the long term.
Earn extra money
There are always ways you can earn extra money. It isn’t healthy to overwhelm yourself with too many flexible jobs and start neglect your studies due to exhaustion. And, chances are you already have a part-time job to help you with your spending. So, another easy way of earning some extra cash is to sell unused items. For instance, you could sell the books you don’t need anymore. It is true you won’t make a fortune, but it can still be helpful.
Compromise, but don’t settle
It is necessary you compromise certain desires while you finish medical school, such as planning holidays, going out too often, or purchasing your clothing wish list. However, you shouldn’t neglect yourself. In order to perform well in your studies, it is vital to take care of your mental health. For example, some places offer discounted meals so that you can plan an evening out with your friends there. This way, you get to recharge your batteries and disconnect for a while without affecting your budget.