Resident & Student Finance

Budgeting 101: Money management tips for medical students

Money is tight for medical students, and living on a budget during medical school is essential to minimizing the debt you’ll face upon graduation. Here are some tips for medical students to create and stick to a budget.

A recent article in the AMA Alliance magazine Physician Family suggests these four ways to manage money smartly and take control of spending while you’re still in school:

  • Try keeping every receipt for a few months to help you get a detailed picture of where your money is actually going. This can help you determine where you might need to cut back. For example, you might not think much about your daily coffee run, but totaling up the receipts from your caffeine habit can be a wake-up call.
  • Categorize your expenses as either fixed (staying the same each month, such as rent) or variable (changing each month, such as entertainment). Be sure to factor in costs you’ll incur as a physician in training, such as board exams and test prep materials.
  • Don’t buy new books or medical equipment. You almost always can find upper classmen willing to sell stuff at the end of their time in medical school, and you’ll save a lot of money.
  • Plan and limit grocery trips, and try to stick to a weekly meal plan or grocery list. Even better, use your grocery store’s weekly sales as the basis of your meal planning.

See more information about budgeting during medical school in the fall 2014 issue of Physician Family, published online four times a year especially for the loved ones of physicians, residents and medical students. 

In addition, read more financial tips, including how to manage medical school debt and control residency application costs at AMA Wire®.