Budgeting Tips for Med Students

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Medical school is expensive and unless you are one of those lucky few who have limitless bank accounts, as a medical student, you will find yourself struggling with finances all too often. Learning how to budget your limited finances is crucial if you want to stay in control of your money. Creating a budget holds you in check and ensures that your expenses do not exceed your incomings.

Gap Medics student Jessica with new born baby in Tanzania. Basically, budgeting helps you organise your finances and achieve your money goals, whether it is something as ambitious as saving for a deposit on a new car or an apartment or as fundamental as having some money saved at the end of the month.

More importantly, budgeting helps you stay in check and prevents you from living beyond your means, which could otherwise result in ever-mounting debts.
When done right, a budget can make it easier for you to see different areas of your everyday lifestyle where you could potentially make or save money.

How to create a budget

The best way to get started with creating a budget is to keep a record of all your incomings and outgoings so that you know exactly how much you make and more importantly, exactly where every penny goes. There are several online tools you can use for this and one of them is Barclay’s Student Budget Planner.

Ideally, you should create two records – one that shows your outgoings for the week and another that shows your outgoings for the month. This will give you a better idea of what your major expenses are for the short and long term and where exactly you can cut back on.

These few tips can help you budget smartly:

Be disciplined – It’s so easy to give in to impulse buys when we see something that we like. The problem is you will quickly end up with lots of things you do not need and will probably never use. Make a list of things you need when you go out shopping and stick to that list.

Be realistic – Don’t create such a tight budget that it is doomed to fail. Be realistic and make allowances for a few luxuries such as nights out as well as birthday and Christmas gifts. Also factor in things such as unforeseen medical bills.

Prioritise your spending – It’s the end of the month and your bank account is almost depleted. Should you give in to temptation and buy that pair of boots on sale even if it means wiping out your balance completely? That’s a really bad idea. Instead, when you are low on funds, paying off your bills is your first priority. Instead of buying those shoes, keep the balance to cover any emergencies.  

Spread your money – If you’ve managed to get a loan, spread it across a period time instead of just blowing it all up at once.

Stick to the budget you’ve created – If you’ve never created or kept a budget before, you may find it hard at first but giving in or giving up can quickly escalate into a financial crisis. Once you’ve created a doable budget, stick to it. You’ll be glad you did and before long, budgeting will become second nature. 

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