Student life comes with several opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, investing in your education is an excellent way to open the door to a host of new roles and career moves. It could mean you can earn a higher salary and pursue a career you’re genuinely passionate about in medicine. On the other hand, earning your degree takes a significant investment in time, effort, and of course, money. This means if you’re going to thrive during your years as a student, you need to learn how to make the most out of a limited amount of cash. Today, we’re sharing some top tips to ensure you can manage and use your budget effectively while living the student lifestyle.
Create a Budget Carefully
The first step in effectively managing your money as a medical student is understanding your incoming and outgoing expenses. Creating a budget will help you to determine how much cash you can reasonably afford to spend on essential things like food, travel, and accommodation.
Examine all your available sources of income, from money earned on an internship to student loan payments and side gigs, and list them alongside outgoing expenses. Once you know where you’re spending money each month, look for ways to reduce costs.
Have a Source of Backup Cash
It’s worth remembering that life doesn’t always go according to plan, particularly for a cash-strapped student. Even if you plan your budget with extreme care and caution, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up in a position where you don’t have enough money to pay for something at one point. With this in mind, it’s worth looking to a backup source of financial support. If you run out of cash from your medical school loan, having a credit card you can fall back on can be extremely useful. You can even find guides to help ensure you choose the right card for your needs.
Keep Track of Your Spending
One of the biggest reasons students from all walks of life struggle with their budget, is they forget to track their spending. It’s easy in today’s digital world to spend money without thinking about it. You might not even know how much you usually spend on things like lunch, or travel.
Tracking your spending can help you to pinpoint areas where you need to cut back. You might discover you can save money on travel by carpooling, or you might find you’re currently spending too much on food; you can reduce your expenses by packing a lunch rather than eating out close to your school.
Look for Deals and Offers
Most of today’s businesses are aware of how limited the average student’s budget can be. That’s why so many organizations offer specific student discounts, loyalty programs, and other rewards to help you save some additional money. Shopping around and searching for offers on things like public transport, food, and even clothing can help you to save a lot. You might even find that you can continue to take advantage of offers available to medical professionals after you graduate by joining specific loyalty groups. There are plenty of apps and websites to help students find the best deals.
Shop with a Strategy
Just as failing to monitor your spending can have a negative impact on your budget as a student, forgetting to strategize before you shop can also be problematic. If you’re living on a limited budget, you should make a habit of making sure you think through each purchase carefully before you make it. Shop around to find great deals before you go to buy food and consider creating meal plans with your housemates to cut costs. If you need to make a big purchase, such as buying a new textbook or piece of equipment, consider looking at second-hand stores or searching for discounts before you make a purchase.
Look for Extra Income
Managing a hectic schedule as a medical student and getting a job at the same time can seem almost impossible. While you may not be able to handle a full-time job around your education, you can still find other ways of boosting your income, particularly in today’s digital world. You could consider offering tutoring sessions to other students in the same course or a lower course than you, or you might sign up to a freelancer platform where you can offer your services in things like voice-over acting, script writing, and blogging.
Keep Working on Your Budget
Keep in mind, a budget is not something you create once and then forget about. You’ll need to commit to constantly updating your spending habits based on what you learn about your cash flow and expenses. As your life evolves, remember to go back, and re-assess your strategy.