Writing a blog about money tips for medical students was my motivation for this particular blog. In my casual conversations with medical students in and around campus, I am always giving advice on how to save money. I thought, why not then do it on a larger scale. So, here goes my first money tip.
The number one thing we do as consumers is spend money. In some cases, spending money is necessary. For example, buying gas, paying rent, buying groceries, and paying for essentials like toiletries. In other situtaions, spending is mostly out of impulse and wanting sometime without considering the consequences. For example, I like my root beer and when I get the opportunity I purchase a 2 liter bottle of it. I know soft drinks are not good for me so I only do it on special ocassions. But, lets say, I am hooked on the stuff and drink it like water, would I spend $1.50 for a soft drink out of the many soft drink machines around campus. No, I would not. First, think about it for a moment. The $1.50 I spend once or twice a day can add up very quickly, minimum $700 a year. Instead of spending money on this activity, I would rather spend on a good sale at one of the local groceries where I can buy a 2-liter for a little over a dollar and that would last me for a week. Or, I may spend $7 dollars ($6 if on sale) on a 24 can case of my favorite and spread it over a week or more.
The first big tip is watch how you spend your money.
As a small exercise, record all of your expenditures for a week. You can do this on a cell phones under notes or on a small paper tablet. After the week is over, add up all your expenses and analyze whether or not the expenses was a want or a need. You will quickly realize that you spend more on wants or impulse than you do on needs. There is no magic recipe to being more conscious of how you spend money, it is all about being diligent and disciplined.
As smart as medical students are, unfortunately it does not translate to being better money managers.