Budget of a Medical Resident

Looking back at finances during residency:

This post has been cross posted from Student Doctor Forum, the site I originally posted this budget. I’ve been getting more and more into personal finance since I am a soon to be attending. Since the new interns are going to be starting soon, next week, I figured I would post my budget and update it over time after I become an attending in a month or two as I will not be doing fellowship.

Debt in my name:

Initial debt going into residency was $110k @ 3.35% from med school and 3k @ 5.5% also from med school

I currently file single on my tax return but am engaged and this will likely change next year. I also live in Houston for residency which of course will change some of your numbers for living expenses. **Houston is not as cheap as I thought it would be around the med center when I moved here**

All budget numbers are per month and have been averaged per year excluding moonlighting shifts since those are sporadic and I do not count them as my regular pay.

My current gross pay: $4,657

Net pay after taxes: $3,492.86

Rent: $1,229
Electricity: $110
TV/Netflix + Internet: $135
Insurance/Phone: $125
Retirement: $0
Loans: $1,000 (as my income increased per year during residency I increased contributions here)
Parking for work in med center:$189

Total Fixed Expenses: @2,788

This gives me $704 left over for everything else:
Food/drinks 500 per month
Savings/ emergency fund is the rest: ~$200

Debt at the end of residency is currently

84k @ 3.3 %
$800 on the 5.5% loan

Note*** Moonlighting pay also contributed to decreased debt load

I have paid off $28,200 during residency of my student debt. I opted not to do take advantage of IBR or other programs and to refinance my loans right out of med school from 6.8% to 3.3% as above via a private small town bank. I will cover why I opted to not take advantage of the IRB in a subsequent post.

Other one time large expenses: Engagement ring: $9,000 (probably not the smartest choice but whatever)

Money saved up for move and transition to become an attending: ~$9,000 at end of residency thanks to numerous moonlighting shifts:)

6 thoughts on “Budget of a Medical Resident

  • February 2, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    great post. I’m trying to sober up my med students to the reality of doctor salaries. they have no idea how much the difference is between being a pediatrician vs an ENT, and that the length of the PGY years does not correlate w/earning power. can you do a comparable one for attendings and add in anticipated costs of kids? I feel that med schools are throwing this poor kiddos to the wolves of “life.”

    • February 2, 2017 at 4:40 PM

      Thank you! I can for sure do a future post about adding in the anticipated costs for kids. I agree with you that training does not equal excess pay. With the level of debt of the average medical student, its becoming very important for their future financial well being that they have a grasp on earning potential and debt early on.

  • March 20, 2017 at 5:40 PM

    I wouldn’t let your wife see that her engagement ring was “not the smartest choice” I spent nearly double on my fiances with moonlighting money…

    • March 21, 2017 at 5:11 PM

      Ah, you are right that she would not be thrilled if she read that phrase! All joking aside, getting engaged was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The engagement ring was important to her so I’m glad I spent some extra money on it to get one she was thrilled with. There may be lots of ways to get a better financial return on my money, but what can I expect as I marry a woman who is getting her PhD in marriage and family therapy. I’m sure you’re wife loves your ring and I’m glad to hear that other people spent their moonlighting pay in a similar way.

      Many purchases made for weddings are very emotional, but in the end I think they can be well worth it as long as one avoids overspending. The memories will last a lifetime.


  • July 11, 2020 at 11:37 AM

    Why should i take financial advice from someone on a limited income who spends a hundred dollars a month on “TV/netflix”. Lol

    • July 12, 2020 at 8:58 AM

      TV/Netflix plus internet is the listed column at $135 a month.

      My internet at the time was I believe $50 a month plus Netflix was something like $10 a month. That leaves about $75 left over for basic cable and the taxes that come along with it.

      I like to watch local news in the morning and my wife likes to watch Bravo. Hardly an expensive luxury at $75 a month for two people to enjoy it.

      Do you really think that is unreasonable? That breaks down to $2.50 a day for 2 people or a little over 1% of my monthly income spent on this luxury.

      Feel free to browse other articles on my website to see how spending 1% of your monthly income on a luxury purchase is not a bad idea at all if it makes you happy.


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