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Medical school budgeting

Med school is such a unique little niche of life that I don’t often find the answers I’m looking for when I google a specific question to see how other people do it. Med students aren’t necessarily known for writing, sharing tipsy and being involved in social media publicly but I think we should be. I soaked up every bit of info I could find about applying, schools, pre reqs, etc because it’s always helpful to know other people are going through the same things. Still, I usually can’t find anything on what I need aside from some occasional articles on the AAMC, which are so broad and vague that it’s not always helpful.
Anyway, now that I’m in, I guess I’m seeking advice and guidance on how to budget for this endeavor. In addition, I guess I’m offering my personal budget outline (which I’m sure will evolve) in case anyone else is wondering how other people are managing the loans.

Why I personally need a budget:
1) I’m a planner
2) I love organization
3) I love lists 🙂
4) I will receive a lump sum at the beginning of the semester which means it needs to last ALL semester.
5) Number 4 above scares me. If I overshoot or undershoot how much I need it’s bad.
6) Oh my gosh what will I do over the summers?!

Expenses I am responsible for:
1) My car payment ~$300/month
2) My car insurance ~$800/6 months
3) Tuition ~$21,000/year
4) Books, supplies, education costs ~$8000/year
5) Food (living with my parents, I will probably only be responsible for lunch most days and if I go out on weekends) ~$200/month
6) Gas ~ still figuring this one out with my new car and all
7) Fun/shopping ~???/month

As of right now I don’t have my scholarship award letter officially so that may take a couple thousand off of tuition (fingers crossed).

Number 7 was what I was mostly looking for help on. How in the heck do I estimate that? Is “fun” going to Starbucks once a month? Is “fun” a trip to Hawaii? Is “fun” retail therapy after I bomb a test? How do I know what I will have time for/what’s feasible/reasonable/dumb/crazy/necessary. How do you budget for being flexible and spontaneous and staying sane if needed but also not being ridiculous and frivolous?

Advice? What not to do? Did I leave anything out?
Even if you aren’t a med student reading this, how would you gauge how much to take out for my other, less necessary costs?

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3 thoughts on “Medical school budgeting

  1. Does your school give a budget every year? You could look at the budget they gave to students last year (usually posted on the financial aid website). My school budgeted about ~$175 for personal/recreational and ~$100 for clothing in their package…hope this helps! 🙂

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