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Lives of Doctor Wives: Budgeting During Medical Training

Monday, May 18, 2009

Budgeting During Medical Training

How many of you have an actual budget?  Do you abide by it?  Do you find that you have extra expenses that are not accounted for on it?  Do any of you go under on your budget?

Budgeting your finances through the years of medical training can be one of the best ways to keep your spending from going through the roof.  I devised a budget for our household and we try to stay to it as much as possible.  Almost any expense that you can think of (except those pesky tests and books) was put into our budget.  Sure, I budget the big items like groceries and gas and electricity—but many people forget to budget the smaller items like haircuts and clothing and the renewal of your Sam’s membership each year.  When I first started doing the budget for us, these were the things that I did not put into the budget.  Instead I just called them “extra expenses” and they were to come out of our spending money for the week.  Boy, was I wrong!  We ended up spending way more than we had budgeted.  Now that I have included these trivial items in our budget, we are able to keep to the plan for the most part.  We still over spend from time to time, but I would venture to guess that we keep that overspending to less than $1000 a year.  That’s an accomplishment to me! 

I downloaded an excel budget from Microsoft.com when I started.  I find that programs like Microsoft Money just get too involved.  My sheet is very simple and straightforward.  If you are interested in the form I use, I would be happy to share it.  I am not sure how I can do that on here, though.  Any ideas on how would be appreciated. ;)

I am interested to find out what you and your families do to keep a budget?  Do you have one?  What system works best for you?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

While we were both in school we live on a STRICT budget because we had X amount of dollars (loans) and that was it! Now we are on a less strict budget because I work but we are still trying to save money so the budget is more of a guideline to help us with saving. When planning my budget I usually factor in everything individually like gas, phones, car maintanence, insurance, hair cuts, medicine, groceries, spending money, etc. Since we are not on a strict budget now I did not adjust for weddings and other summer travel, which I would have normally budgeted for - so I just glance at the monthly bills to make sure we aren't letting any area of expenses get out of control.

May 18, 2009 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger MW said...

We're not so strict. I was the treasurer for just about every organization I've been in, so trust me, I'm all about the budgets, but...I also know from all that budgeting that wiggle room is necessary. So, I prefer broad categories. Sure we have set amounts for rent, my 401(k), savings, cell phones, and cable. But for groceries I just get what we need, trying to get bargains where I can.
We also each have our own play money. This is money we keep in separate personal accounts which we can do anything with. Gifts for each other come out of this, but so do our own discretionary purchases. I paid for my India trip from my play money (it was a really inexpensive trip!).

Then what's left after all of that is for our discretionary spending as a couple. We pretty much know our boundaries, so it works well.

I did buy Quicken, but I can't seem to link our accounts to it. Oh well...maybe I'll set it up one day. :)


Also, book rec for anyone who's interested: Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach.

May 18, 2009 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Tasha said...

When we first got married, we were using $6K of our 'living expenses' loan money to buy a car, so I was really worried that we wouldn't be able to stay afloat, but with some very strict budgeting we made it with enough leftover to buy a mattress! But that was too strict for me--if we didn't need it, we didn't buy it, PB&J sandwiches were our staple, etc. I even made Jeff cut my hair b/c I didn't want to pay for it (which I vowed never to do again--three hours for a lopsided haircut wasn't worth it:).

Now we keep a budget--I track where every penny goes and it's nice to see where you can make cutbacks. I'm a true bargain + coupon shopper so we save a lot of money with that (and I've learned that you actually get better deals than a CostCo/Sam's club membership if you wait for it to go on sale). But I'm really blessed to have a husband who doesn't spend a dime for himself: he grew up so poor that he would skip school lunches because he didn't think his family could afford it!

I've found that if you keep track of the trivial things in your budget, you'll be surprised at how much your spending (79 cents for an ice cream cone doesn't seem like a lot, but it adds up quick!)

I surprisingly love budgeting: I think it's a challenge to see how much you can get for how little.

May 19, 2009 at 4:06 AM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

Dave Ramsey has the best system I've seen. His budgeting system has kept us 100% on track for over a year now.

May 21, 2009 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Jessica Dimas-Walsh said...

I'm very interested in your excel sheet. Hubby just started MS1 last week :) How can I get me hands on this sheet?

August 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM  

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