Financial Strategies for Health Professional Students to Save and Manage Money Better
Published on Jan 8, 2021. Updated on Jan 6, 2021.
In today’s guest post from Surviving College, we will be addressing the big elephant in the room that we wish was invisible—money! During medical school, we tend to ignore financials until after graduation and this can be overwhelming and stressful. It’s important to know what you need, how much to borrow, and learn to save so in the long run you won’t be flustered with a large mountain of debt.
For most people entering a health professional program, navigating this new phase of education can be a huge challenge. It’s not just mentally draining: this time will also test your emotional, physical, and financial capacities. Aside from pushing your brain and body to its limits, it will also challenge you financially. With the tuition, miscellaneous fees, projects, and living expenses that you need to worry about, it’s important that you learn how to save and manage your finances better.
Here are some strategies that you can implement to help you manage your finances better as a health professional student.
Set a budget for your expenses
The very first move that you should do is to set your expected budget. It can be a weekly or a monthly budget that will serve as your guide. To do this, list what essential activities you will be doing throughout the timeline you have set.
Then estimate the amount of money you will likely spend on your meals, transport, school fees, basic necessities and other regular expenses that are part of your regular living. You should also see to it that you have a contingency fund, in case something unexpected comes up.
Use financial management apps
To help you set and keep track of your expenses better, it’s a good idea to use at least a simple finance app on your phone or computer. This makes it easier for you to take note of your expenses versus the budget you have set.
Apps like Wally, Mint and PocketBudget let you securely connect to your bank account and monitor your funds, as well as where your money is going. This way you’ll have a better understanding of your spending habit and be able to manage your finances better.
Don’t make impulse purchases
One of the culprits to poor financial management is impulse buying. Anytime you see something that you like, you buy it with no regard to whether you’ll have enough funds for your other needs. When you have a large student loan, sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "What's a few more dollars?" Avoiding impulse buying will need a lot of focus and discipline.
If you want to make sure that you always have enough funds for what you need for school, keep a tighter grip on your money and think twice before you buy anything. Ask yourself if what you are thinking about buying is actually necessary and if it will be of great use to you. If it’s something that you can do without, then don’t buy it—keep your money for something more important!
Borrow as little as what’s necessary
Student loans are unavoidable for most health professional students. Eight in 10 medical students graduate with student loans. However, you can still try to stick to borrowing what is only necessary and what you can get paid off in a reasonable amount of time. This way, you won’t have to remain in debt for longer than necessary and can minimize your interest payments.
Before deciding how much to borrow, try to figure out first if you have any other options to minimize your debts. If you can do some work during your free time or sell some stuff that you no longer use to get enough money, then that might work. Minimize borrowing as much as possible and never borrow more than what you need.
Use school breaks to earn money
During medical school or any other health professional program, you will have the opportunity to manage your time for studying and for other things. If you want to earn some money, you may be able to squeeze in some part-time work. You can work at a restaurant, a store, a library—or even better, you can seek out paid research opportunities at your institution. Provided you can manage your time effectively and handle all of your work and studies at the same time, this is a great way to build your CV.
Stick to what is necessary
To have a better handle on your finances, work on living a simple and basic life. If you don’t have the money to buy anything extra, then don’t. Focus your spending on the necessities only.
This is also one reason why a lot of college students and young adults are starting to learn the value of minimalism. It’s a way of life that allows you to make the most of what you have and live simple. If you think this can help you become more frugal and manage your budget better, then you might want to try adopting this practice, too.
Take advantage of discounts
If you need to buy something for your personal or educational use, you might want to check your options first and look for some discounts. Many stores, both online and brick-and-mortar ones, offer various discounts, with some even offering additional discounts for students.
Same goes for transport tickets, meals, and other services that college students might need to take advantage of. Just make sure that you have your student ID handy so that you have proof to show that you are a student and you qualify for student discounts.
Make the most of your education
Another smart move to make the most of your finances is to study well. Medical school, nursing school, PA school—all of these programs are investments. You invest your time, money, and other resources into them, and they pay dividends when you're done!
Study hard (and study smart!) to ensure are time and money well spent or all of your financial strategies and hard work will just go to waste.
Not everyone who goes to college gets to handle their finances well, for many different reasons. This is why a lot of people remain in debt even years after graduating and landing a career. It’s never too early or too late to start being smart about managing your money to minimize your debts.
Learning how to manage your finances is something that everyone should learn as early as possible. Hopefully, with the right financial strategies, you’ll be able to make it through your health professional program with as little debt as possible.
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