Financial Well-Being For Medical Students
Maintaining financial well-being and practicing good money management as medical students is no easy feat. Generally this requires some practice and a lot of discipline of skills that are not often talked about. Moreover, the stress and anxiety that comes from the large amount of debt that so many students accrue can often be overwhelming. Hopefully the following money management tips and tricks can help you with both your budget and stress levels.
Loans For Medical Students
1. Federal Aid
Thankfully, most medicals schools fall under title IV which allows students to pay for their tuition and living expenses through the federal student loan program. To receive federal aid, you will firstly need to fill out your yearly FAFSA. After this, you will receive a notice of your financial aid offer that should be reviewed and can be adjusted. You can accept the full amount of your offered loans or adjust them to a lower amount according to your needs. It is suggested to take out only the necessary amount of aid per semester so don’t be afraid to adjust your loans to reflect this. More might not always be better, especially when considering debt!
Don’t forget to then fill out your mastery promissory notes, no more than 180 days in advance. Additionally, you can find financial counseling for repaying your loans. Make sure to note the difference in loan options. Loans available to graduate students are direct subsidized loans and direct PLUS loans. It’s worth the time to read up on the benefits of each loan and when each loan can be used.
Your school’s financial aid and bursar offices will coordinate the disbursement of your loans after they’ve received them. The length of this process can vary from school to school so it’s important to note if your school offers a program for advanced reimbursement to ensure you always have the financial resources that you need.
2. Personal Loans
Most schools offer an adequate cost of living in their cost of attendance (this determines your refund amount). However, if you find yourself in need of extra, you can always apply for personal loans at most banks. Keep in mind, rates of a personal loan are likely to be much higher than federal aid and should not be your primary source of financial well-being if possible.
3. Professional Judgement
Another and better alternative to option 2, is to apply for additional aid through professional judgement. After submitting an appeal, your school’s financial aid office will consider your needs and can subsequently help you receive additional federal aid. This article, by Student Loan Hero, does an excellent job highlighting this process. We want to offer our words of encouragement here. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially monetary help that is available to you.
1. Stick to a Budget
Undoubtedly this can be one of the hardest parts about money management. Especially considering the various fees that often arise in medical school. However, it can be done! At the time of accepting your federal aid amount, it is a great idea to create you semesterly budget. Begin by writing down monthly and recurrent costs. In particular, consider things like groceries, rent, electric, water, garbage/sanitation, phone and internet, health/car/dental/renters insurance, car payment and maintenance, gas, child care, credit card payments, and any other loan payments you may have. Additionally, consider unexpected out of pocket payments and allocate a few dollars in this cost column. Lastly, don’t forget to consider your additional education costs. Leave room for the purchase of your study resources.
One way to ensure you are sticking to your budget is by using an envelope system. For example, every month put the dollar amount you have planned for each expense into your labeled envelope and do your best to use these dollars only for what they are allocated for.
2. Decrease Impulse and Unnecessary Spending
Obviously, we all love a good late night impulse buy but that doesn’t mean we should! Cut down on purchasing unnecessary things on the internet. Remove your card information from auto-fill. Another great tip is to plan for a little “fun” spending. Budget in the amount you want to spend on your nights out or on that wish list item. It’s okay to treat yourself but keep in mind your basic needs first!
Also consider your subscriptions. Do you need that NFL Sunday Ticket subscription or will you live without it? Disney plus is an excellent entertainment source but is it worth the cost and distraction from your studies? Spotify is great for music but can you decrease the monthly cost by sharing a family account or utilizing their student discounts? Speaking of student discounts, let’s chat those next!
Utilize Student Discounts
1. Where to Find Student Discounts
Google is an excellent source for finding student discounts. As a matter of fact, a simple “student discounts” search brings you to 100s of available student discounts. Alternatively, UNiDAYS is an app with the sole purpose of showcasing student discounts for absolutely free. You just sign up via email. Lastly, consider subscribing to emails from your favorite products. These may not be student specific discounts but, a deal is a deal.
2. Ask For Student Discounts
Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite places if they offer a student discount. You might be surprised!
Apply For Scholarships
1. Apply to Your School’s Scholarships
Most schools offer their students a list of scholarships they can apply for. Usually, these scholarships come from supportive donors or university allocations so it is quite the honor to receive a scholarship from your university. Be sure to check out your school’s financial aid website to note available scholarships, their deadline for submitting, and specific requirements.
2. Apply to Local Scholarships
Communities often have scholarship available to their local students. Although they might require more research to find, they are often worth the time! Consider searching for “continuing education” scholarships in your area.
3. Apply to Study Resources’ Scholarships
Although Medical School Companion doesn’t have any scholarships as of now, we are always willing to work with you and your budget. Our goal is to ensure you have the resources you need to excel on your journey through medical school. We are here to be more than just a resource and are dedicated to being your companion every step of the way. You can find more about our membership pricing here. Our email, [email protected], is open at any time for any questions or concerns you have.
4. Find More Opportunities Online
Make Use of End of Semester Breaks
1. Work at Your Home Town Job
Don’t underestimate the value of working at your home town job during breaks. It not only looks great on a CV but it also helps with budgeting in between semesters. Often the cost of attendance and thus your refund doesn’t consider living costs in between semesters. This is a great way to make a few extra spending dollars for the semester and help take care of living costs.
As a medical student, you are a great tutoring asset to not only your peers who are semesters below you but also to undergraduate and high school students. Tutors can make anywhere from $10 to $100 per hour. It seems like a no brainer to pick up a few session!
Find a way to use your professional talents. Many medical students have an amazing skills set they don’t get to practice every day in medical school. Utilize your outside talents on your time off. It’s a win-win by giving you an opportunity to do something you love while making some cash!
Make Sure You Have What You Need and Don’t Be Afraid to Treat Yourself
1. Make Sure You Have What You Need
It can be easy to “go without” when your budget gets tough but never compromise the things you need. We hope you always have the courage to ask for help when times get tough. You are worth the basics and more. As a medical community, we will support you.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Treat Yourself
We said this already but it seemed too important to not say again. Treat yourself. Enjoy life and the things you love!
In summary, budgeting is hard and money management can be tough. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure your financial well-being is taken care of. Be sure to brush up on your federal aid knowledge and make a budget that you can stick to. Find ways to reduce spending and apply to scholarships. Utilize your time off well and make use of discounts. Lastly never ever be afraid to ask for help and don’t forget to treat yourself. Good luck, companions – we’re cheering for you!