3 Big Money Wasters In Med School... And How To Avoid Them
Med School is EXPENSIVE, as you know. It is so crucial to minimize your spending during med school so you can keep as many dollars in your pocket as possible AFTER med school. Here are 3 ways to avoid wasting your precious loan money.
In my city of about 3 million, sharing an apartment where you get your own room means you'll pay anywhere from $500-1200/month. I fell into this trap myself as a 1st year medical student and wasted about $4,500 when I could have found a cheaper option- that means more likely commuting. Commuting to med school is very realistic and has been a way to save THOUSANDS, especially if you can live with your parents. This is what I should have done instead of spending 1K per month to live across the street from the med school.
2. Food and Coffee
If you're anything like me, you'd rather spend your time studying than cooking. I see all these Instagram accounts of these med students making all this fancy food and what not... That's not me! I know that it is wrong, but I feel like making food is a waste of my time. It can be really easy to spend a LOT of money on food when you decide to not make it for yourself. So, maybe these Instagrammers are on to something.
Certainly in med school, coffee is a requirement. I should have a Mediport put in for coffee infusions. I'm sure I have spent thousands on coffee over these last 8 years of studying. I will say, there are ways to study at coffee shops that aren't too expensive... My rule is no sugary drinks. I can buy hot or cold coffee and add sugar packets or creamer myself. Once you start buying those sugary drinks that are just too good, that's when the cost starts really getting out of hand. So, if you need to study at a coffee shop, just buy the cheapest drip coffee they have, avoid buying little pastries (the extra calories are just atrocious), and set a monthly budget for your coffee spending.
3. Study Materials
There are so many ways to study in med school these days- Anki, Picmonic, Sketchy, Uworld, Netter, StepUpToMedicine, OnlineMedEd, everything Kaplan... the list goes on and on. Many companies have figured out that med students are willing to pay out of the NOSE for the study aid that will get them the "A" they want. Some of these work really well, and others are grossly overpriced.
Talk to upperclassmen about what books really made the difference for them. Here is what worked for me:
- Pre-clinicals/Step 1
- Study lecture material and take notes with pen and paper.
- Start Uworld during MS-2 and complete each section while studying that block in school. Reset Uworld once you start dedicated study time and go through as much of it as you possibly can before your test.
- For Microbiology and Pharmacology, Picmonic was extremely helpful for me. I used Picmonic to review many, many topics the weeks leading up to Step 1.
- At least give Anki a try once. It is a very smart flashcard app and the best part is that it is free and you can share decks. A classmate of mine turned all of First Aid for Step 1 into Anki cards. It was amazing.
- Clinical Years, Step 2 and Shelf Exams
- For Surgery, De Virgilio is the most educational, but it is too long. I swear by Uworld- surgery and ALL GI questions, Pestana's x2, and Emma Holliday Ramahi's (sp?) review videos. Consider Online Med Ed.
- For Medicine, Uworld- all med questions, Online Med Ed (I wish I would have used this during Surgery too). I tried to get through Step Up 2 Medicine and it didn't work. Too thick.
- For Neuro, Uworld- all neurology Q's.
- For Psych, Uworld- all psych Q's.
- I have yet to take OB or Peds, but I will say that Online Med Ed is an awesome resource to listen to or watch on your commute to school!
I hope you learned something and can learn to minimize spending and borrow less in the future. Your future self is extremely thankful!