This post was originally published by RBC Healthcare.
What is your saving goal? Paying off student loans? Creating an emergency fund? Saving up for a bigger ticket item that you really want? Here are 6 simple tips to help you reach your saving goals.
Whatever you're saving for, two things are for sure:
- The goal you're saving for is important to you.
- You may find saving up for it may not be as easy as you'd like it to be.
You may be overwhelmed as a medical student with paying off loans and budgeting for future plans. The good news is there are actually ways to make saving your money easier, so you can reach your goals faster.
Here are some tips to help you increase your savings.
1. Set up a budget
Saving up for a goal doesn't mean you can't spend on other things. But take a moment to think about what's more important to you. Creating a budget is a great way to prioritize what matters most to you. In your budget, you can separate what expenses are “must haves" and what are “nice to haves."
Tip: For tips on setting up a budget and managing your finances, read 4 Smart Financial Management Tips to Get You Through Residency.
2. Separate yourself from your money
Even if you have the best saving intentions, sometimes it's just too tempting to dip into that stash and spend it on something more immediate. One great way to keep your goal in sight is to block easy access to those savings. Think about opening an account specifically for savings that you can't access easily, or consult an financial advisor on available fixed-term, low-risk investments (like a non-redeemable, guaranteed-return GIC).
3. Pay yourself first
When you get money, set aside as much as you can before you do anything else with it. You might want to come up with a standard percentage for every time you get paid — say 50%.
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4. Tackle student loans
Meet with a financial planner who can help you set up a schedule to whittle away at the loan in a meaningful but realistic way. Also, look into the availability of any debt forgiveness programs.
5. Comparison shop
Forget impulse purchases. Before you splurge, ask yourself if you really need a given item, what will it do to your budget and if there isn't a less expensive way to go. If there is something you really want, shop around before you buy. You might find it considerably cheaper somewhere else, or maybe it's about to go on sale. If online, search for promo discount codes. Do some research to try to get the lowest price possible.
6. Pay attention to where your money goes
- Coffee breaks can add up. Most medical students can't imagine juggling classes and studying without caffeine, but making your own supply at home to take with each day you can help you save.
- Making your own meals isn't always possible. If you find yourself grabbing food on the go or always buying takeout, try planning out easy meals you can make quickly — and take with you — to save you both time and money.
- Subscription services and memberships can go unused when you spend most of your time studying or in classes. If you're unable to enjoy cable or a streaming service, for example, cutting out this monthly expense probably won't hurt much.
Saving money might not seem easy at first, but building good money habits early in your career will pay off in the long run. As your career progresses, your savings goals will get bigger (your own practice, a home, a dependable car). Starting to save now means you'll get a head start on your future goals.
Need help with your financial planning? Talk with a dedicated RBC Healthcare Specialists and see how they can help.