Welcome to the MedPage Today “Med Money Journals,” providing readers a look into the finances of doctors, nurses, medical students, PAs, NPs, and others practicing medicine. Each post offers information about one person’s financial background, wages, and spending over a 7-day period. Anonymously share your own Med Money Journal here.
Job: Post-graduate year one (PGY1) pharmacy resident
Degree: PharmD (2022)
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Salary: $47,548 annually (before taxes/benefit deductions)
Net worth: $177,412.95
Amount per paycheck: $1,199.25 biweekly (after taxes/benefit deductions)
Recurring monthly expenses:
- Rent, water, trash, sewer: $1,577.25
- Electricity: $80
- Hulu: $6.99
- Gas: ~$100
What was your first job and why did you start working?
When I was 16 years old I started working as a courtesy clerk (bagger) where I made $7.25/hour. I got the job to help my family pay the bills.
Do you worry about money in your current situation?
A little. While I’m not living lavishly, I am making the most money I ever have. I worried a lot about money when I was a kid, but I’m grateful for what I have now. I feel most comfortable when I don’t acknowledge the nearly $200,000 in debt I’ll eventually have to pay off.
What financial tracking or money management/budgeting tools (if any) do you use? Would you recommend them to others?
I don’t use any apps, although I should. I plan on using Mint, a budget tracker and planner.
Are there any other financial details readers should be aware of?
I often have to help my family out with bills and other financial hardships.
Do you have any comments or thoughts on the current state of compensation for people in your position/profession?
For many, resident salaries have not increased in the last few years despite inflation and the rising costs of daily living. Some residents in other states have had to form unions to get an increase in pay. We’re a lot cheaper to pay than full-time pharmacists, and pharmacy has never been good at unionizing, so I don’t see any increases on the horizon anytime soon. I’m sure it’s part of the reason why the number of residency applications went down this year. This is an unfortunate situation that really needs to change.
7 Day Journal
Day 1 (Friday)
It’s the end of my first week of residency as a PGY1, so I’m obviously going to treat myself while I’m still going through orientation. After the first month of training bliss, I likely won’t have time to splurge on anything fun. And between my resident salary, inflation, gas prices, and rent, I won’t be able to splurge at all.
Anyway, the day started with sleeping past my alarm, not showering, and running to catch the bus 5 minutes before my first orientation meeting. I’ve made it a goal to try to prepare my meals for lunch everyday (if I have time to cook), and to resist the urge to get Chick-fil-A. However, in my rush out the door I left the lemon pepper chicken ($2.15) and baby potatoes ($2.35) I’d prepared the night before on my kitchen counter. Luckily lunch was provided for all the new residents. Even luckier, there were some sandwiches leftover and I was able to snag two to take home. After orientation, my co-residents and I decided to get drinks at a local bar where I bought two sours ($10.38).
For dinner I had a chicken salad with tequila dressing, salsa, and guacamole that my girlfriend’s family paid for. My girlfriend and I went back to my house to end the night with some popcorn ($0.50) and an Amazon Prime movie. I also paid a credit card bill ($25).
Day 2 (Saturday)
My overspending continued after eating at a new breakfast place that had their grand opening. I devoured the most delicious fried chicken sandwich with gravy on homemade biscuits ($37.51). After that, I paid for my girlfriend’s bracelet to be resized ($159), and then ended up playing frisbee golf with a friend. We went to a brewery and pizza spot where I had an insanely good stone-fired pizza with pepperoni and hot honey, paired with a beer ($42.24).
The party didn’t end there. Later that night, I went out to a bar where I bought two High Noons ($12.48), a double rum and coke ($4.17), and went to Cook Out for late-night milkshakes ($16.21).
Day 3 (Sunday)
I considered spending the day getting ahead on residency assignments, but instead decided one last hurrah was in order — so I decided to go on a mini vacation with my girlfriend.
We drove to Williamsburg, which is about an hour from my house. We grabbed lunch at a little shop where I bought two sandwiches, chips, a craft beer for myself, and a root beer for my girlfriend. We went shopping at the outlet malls where I bought new business casual clothes ($34.99), some t-shirts ($23.54), and coffee ($6.18). I bought us ice cream ($11.18), and on the way home we stopped by a bar, had some delicious strawberry puree cocktails, split a plate of fries, and got creme brulee for dessert ($47.77). We also went through a tank of gas and had to get a refill ($51.18).
Day 4 (Monday)
After splurging the entire weekend on a salary that definitely cannot handle this level of spending, I was good today. I rode to work on the free shuttle and made my own coffee. The leftover sandwich from last Friday turned into my lunch. The only money I spent was on groceries ($67.99), which I planned to use to make my own meals for the rest of the week.
Day 5 (Tuesday)
I didn’t spend any money today. I ate some chips and homemade guacamole for lunch. My mom sends me food from time to time and for dinner tonight I had her meatballs — I made a marinara sub sandwich with goat and parmesan cheese. (In fact, this served as my dinner for the next 3 days…it was really good.)
Day 6 (Wednesday)
I don’t typically give myself enough time in the morning to have breakfast (if you couldn’t tell from Friday), which is great because it saves me some money. Unfortunately, it’s not so great for feeling well-rested and energized when arriving to work. I bought a grande iced mocha from Starbucks ($6.19) to keep me awake for the rest of the day. Later on, I went home, took an hour nap, and had half of a bag of Gardetto’s snack mix for dinner ($3.57). Dinner of champions.
Day 7 (Thursday)
I received my first paycheck today for $765.20, which covered the first week of orientation! As an added bonus, I got $25 in Wells Fargo rewards for spending so much recently. To celebrate, I gave in and got lunch at Chick-fil-A. I bought myself a spicy chicken deluxe meal with large waffle fries and a large Mountain Dew ($11.17). I also sent money to one of my relatives who really needed it ($550).
Week total: $1,125.75
Ouch. That number hurts to see. I don’t think this is a typical week of spending for me, but without tracking my expenses I really don’t know. I’ve intentionally been living in ignorant bliss for far too long. I’m taking this as my sign to start budgeting.
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