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Lives of Doctor Wives: Saving Money in Applying for Residency

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Saving Money in Applying for Residency

So I'd like to do a post on my personal blog about saving money while applying to residency and going on interviews (I'll make sure to post a link here too), but I was wondering if those of you who have already survived that stage of life could share some of your money-saving advice with me. I'd like to incorporate other ideas (other than my own) of how you pinched pennies and cut costs when going on interviews and applying to residency, because lets face it, its an expensive but necessary process. Would you mind commenting on this post or emailing me at champagneandbonbons@gmail.com if you have any advice you're willing to share? Thanks in advance!

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Blogger Jaidi Clayton said...

When we applied to schools my husband picked all the schools that he really wanted to apply to, and then we drew a half circle around Lubbock, where we were at and applied to any school that was within driving distance. He was able to save a lot on airfare by driving to as many as possible.

Another trick is to try and get interviews in close citys around the same time, so you can make one trip instead of two.

Also, Travelocity and Expedia have multiple Destination searches. So if you are booking multiple interviews for the same week you can set up flights cheaper by doing it through that. My hubby flew from Lubbock to Michigan to Boston and back home. It was pricey, but it was cheaper than trying to piece the same flights together on my own. There searches coordinate everything so you don't overlap flights or anything. It is a great way to go! :)

Hope that helps!

October 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

Nothing worked for us to save money. We didn't get to choose dates, we flew him back and forth to Boston twice and Florida twice.

He drove to two. Lots of hotel rooms. We spent $15,000. Yes, $15,000.

Though we try we can never seem to not spend a fortune not matter what we do.

People are like, oh we only spent $5000. Oh not us, never us.

October 5, 2010 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Sybil said...

Scheduling is KEY! I scheduled all of my husband's interviews and we saved money by taking a roadtrip...together. For residency, he had 3 interviews in one week and we drove from one to another. A lot will pay for your hotel, so that saves too. If you ask nice, sometimes they will pay for 2 nights! For fellowship, I scheduled all the interviews back to back, and he flew from one to another. We also limited the number of interviews he would go to....he applied to TONS and got interviews to ALL of them but we limited the interviews to 5 or 6 each time. We spent around $2-4K each time on interviews...and I went on most the trips. That was very important to me because I had to move to one of these places too!

October 5, 2010 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling. My mother is a travel agent so we were able to get some pretty good prices on multi-city tickets. We were successful in doing several interviews in one trip. We also have friends all over the country, so DrH never had to stay in a hotel in all of the 10 places he interviewed for residency. Total out of pocket was about $900.

For fellowship, he only interviewed in two places, one of which was out of state. We got by with frequent flyer miles and he stayed with friends.

For fellowship #2, he interviewed at 3 places, two of which were out of state. Again, flew via frequent flyer miles and stayed with friends.

October 5, 2010 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Sunny said...

We spent about $8000 on our interviews, which included driving to many of them. We didn't want to stress about how to pay for all of them (we had an infant at the time, and daycare is expensive!). We looked at all of our options and decided to take out a residency interview loan from one of the major banks (wells fargo, citi, etc. all offer them). The interest rate is nominal and we can pay it off now, or after residency. In the grand scheme of things, even with interest 10K isn't going to be an insurmountable sum to payoff once the hubby is making his salary.

October 6, 2010 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Every part of this process is expensive, isn't it?? I agree with everything that has been said already. I would also like to mention that for one fellowship interview my husband went to last week, the hospital paid for his flight and he was picked up at the airport by a limo. It was an unexpected treat for him. :)

October 6, 2010 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

We started using a points card for all of our everyday purchases and paying them off when we got the statement. It helped for racking up discounted hotel rates.

October 6, 2010 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger Jake and Laura said...

You can try to schedule as much as you can - my husband is in the process right now, but applying for a very competitive field -- in which there are PRE LIM interviews too. (He's interviewing nearly double that of most 4th years) Sorry to be a Debbie Downer -- in this economy & with the 40% fail rate of his choice of program ... there is no cost for us. We will do whatever it takes. And yes, some programs DO pay for your hotel -- not this one. Irony how that works though...I am personally working three jobs to get us through -- I am proud of his hard work that has gotten him through and allowed him his options -- and I have pledged to do the same for us this year too. My biggest advice too is that residency is temporary just as this 4th year is. I am not the type wife to tell him where to apply to where not to. People asked me just today "What are your top choices." I literally have none. Believe it or not. We will go where we are sent and where he Lord willing matches.

Secondly -- keep in mind that the more specialized your choice for residency -- and one that is NOT an early match -- the later they wait to schedule your interview. Right now NO ONE applying for my husband's specialty has been invited for an interview yet. So...that's something to keep in mind and not stress about. Competitive programs CAN and DO take their time -- to the detriment of our threadbare pockets.

Best wishes all -- be the cheerleader -- be the support -- remember that your spouse NEEDS you as the constant while their confidence will be at an all time low until March 17th when their life career begins.


October 6, 2010 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Wow, Laura! That sounds intense! What field is he applying for?

October 6, 2010 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

My husband combined a few with fellow classmates so they shared the cost of hotel, car, etc. and also stayed with friends and family whenever possible. Plane tickets were a killer though - especially last minute ones. It's hard to get around.

Being in residency now though, I wish we had saved a lot more money during med school. We lived like fat cats and now wish we had more savings to pull from. It was difficult to imagine life without endless loans to pull from. We never maxed out on loans we took out, and now I wish we had and saved whatever we could. That doesn't answer your question, but adds another thing to your list of future financial plans.

October 7, 2010 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

I relate to what Laura said. My husband applied to a very competitive field. He was NEVER given the option to schedule his interview. He was given a day to be there or be square.

Nor were complementary hotel stays part of the deal. He got one free hotel.

He went on ten or eleven interviews and I did not go with him on a single one. - it still cost us around $15,000.

If he's applying to a less competitive fields, have fun scheduling and finding ways to save money.

If he's applying for something highly competitive get geared up to fill out more loan paperwork!!!!!

October 8, 2010 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Radiology is already interviewing. Every time my husband's phone beeps it's an email from yet another program he has an interview to. Now I'm wishing he hadn't applied to so many programs. I'm going along with him and we are using our wedding money (around 10K, we didn't register for anything, so we were lucky enough to get lots of cash). Not sure if we'll ever get to go on a vacation though =(

October 8, 2010 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

My husband begins interviewing next month as well. I'm already trying to piece together our trips and it already looks expensive!! My husband is trying to schedule interviews together that are in close distance to each other. We will try to stay with friends as much as possible and a couple of programs will cover our hotel stay. Woohoo! :) Otherwise, our savings account will just look a little sad after interview season.

October 8, 2010 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I agree that scheduling can definetly help, but when my BF was interviewing, he was given a set of dates and most of the times it didn't coincide with any of his current appointments. He tried to change a couple so he could interview at several 'stops' on one trip, but the programs' schedules were just as tight as his and he had no luck.

He chose to drive, but he limited where he interviewed based on where we hoped to live, so that helped a little.

I only went on one interview with him (in SC where my parents lived) and we stayed with them for a couple of days (free room and food!!).

I don't know what the final cost was and after reading some of the numbers already posted, I'm glad! I think it would depress me!

October 8, 2010 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

@Melissa - Husband is applying for dermatology. @FamousStacie -- I think we'll be spending about $15K for this one too. Granted though -- Jake is doing a lot of away rotations -- to see other programs and also for experience and contacts. Most students do not do a lot of aways - especially if they have young children, we've learned - or some programs just don't really give a darn about 4th year away rotations! It's tricky to plan it all around this time of the year! Have enjoyed hearing other advice...especially for savings!! I appreciate this!

October 8, 2010 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger BakerGirl said...

We setup interviews to correspond with his away rotations in that area so that he would fly/drive up there once and knock out an away rotation and interviews. We also scheduled several on the way back home so that when I flew to meet him in NY for one month for a Long Island away rotation we could road trip back, visit friends and do a few interviews.

This allowed us to not only see people we don't get to see much and also allowed us to both experience areas we had never been.

We ended up paying for plane tickets to FL and PA. They weren't terribly expensive. Maybe 600 total. We spent 2000 renting a home for a month on Long Island and we spent about 500 road tripping for the other interviews. If we had been able to find a cheaper rental for that month on Long Island we would have done really well. However, that month on Long Island was crucial since 3 of his interviews were there and it allowed us to both experience the rhythm of life out here.

October 11, 2010 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Keely said...

I'll be book marking this and your post to use in like 2 years...thanks for all the ideas, ladies!

October 12, 2010 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

I have a question for those who have already gone through the interview process or are currently doing it.

How have you booked the flights and hotel rooms? Did you use travel sites such as expedia or travelocity? Or is it worth it to try to fly with one airline and stay in one hotel chain in an attempt to earn loyalty points and/or discounts?

October 12, 2010 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Another thing you can do is to get in touch with the medical school and see if they can put you in touch with some alums that are training at the institutions your partners are interviewing at. Oftentimes, these interns/residents are open to hosting med students during away rotations and interviews. During residency, DrH and I hosted our share of med students. It was nice because they got to pick DrH's brain before the interview.

October 14, 2010 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Arielle said...

The biggest cost saver for us was staying with friends, family, or friends of friends on the interviews. We are lucky to have a fairly spread out network across the country and we weren't shy about asking. It really saved us quite a bit!

October 16, 2010 at 4:56 PM  

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