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How I’m Saving $6,000 for Residency Applications

  April 17

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Christmas 2014 photoIf you’re new to the blog, here’s a little about us: Our little family is made up of our one year old twins, spoiled pup Julep, blogger mama, and med school daddy.

My husband is just weeks away from finishing his third year of medical school, which means that residency applications are just around the corner. Basically, he will decide what type of doctor he wants to be and apply to programs across the country so he can secure a spot for his next 4-5 years of training (yeah, unfortunately, he’s not quite done with the learning part yet!)

Like everything in medical school, from the $2,500 board exam hubs has to take in June to the books and fees etc., residency applications are freaking expensive. Because hubs will be applying to over 100 programs, the application fee alone will be about $2,000+. Then, if he gets interviews – fingers crossed – we will have to pay for plane flights, hotel rooms, a suit, haircuts (he’s got the McDreamy hair right now, y’all) and possibly more flights if we opt to ask or opt to take programs up on a second look, which means flying back to his top residency program choice to get a better feel for the program and make sure that’s where he wants to go.

After hubs is done with his interviews, he will rank where he wants to go in order of his favorite program to least favorite, and that list will be put into a computer. Then, all the residency programs will rank their top choices for people they want in their program. All of this information is put into a computer algorithm which, after just a few minutes of shuffling up our fate (called “The Match”), will spit out where we will be living for the next few years of our lives.

Saving $6,000

Some of our friends who are in medical school a year before hubs paid $8,000-$10,000 for this entire process due to cross country flights from NYC to California. Because I am about as Type-A of a planner as you can get, I have close to 200,000 airline miles saved up for this so I am hoping to keep our costs at $5,000 but would like to try to save $6,000 just in case.

Here’s my plan:

1. I already have a Smarty Pig account set up. (Read my review of this savings program and e-mail me for a referral code!) It has $532 dollars in it after $100 is automatically put in each month.

saving $6,0002. I’m going to move $1,000 from my business account into the dedicated residency savings fund. I keep a separate business savings account with some money in it to use for re-investing in my  business, like paying for courses or coaching or design updates. I have a few thousand in there right now, and I’ve already spent a lot on business updates this year so I will gift hubby $1,000 of it.

3. Sell every-freaking-thing. Yes, I am on the war path. Hide yo’ kids. Hide yo’ wife! Hang on tight to the shirt on your back. I am in e-bay and Craigslist selling mode people. We just sold our infant carseats for $150 and I have been spring cleaning like crazy and making a big pile of things to sell. I’m hoping I can sell $500 more worth of items and use that money towards the suit and frequent haircuts. I know my hubs and he will not go for a cheap suit whatsoever, so I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a few hundred dollars.

4. Give hubby a portion of my extra income each month until September. So, each month I have to make a certain amount to cover our bills and overall budget. Sometimes I reach this amount very quickly and sometimes I have to borrow from other months. You can see what I mean below. Here is how my freelance income has wavered since I became self employed. I don’t include numbers but you can see how much it varies.

freelance incomeSo, if I get a random extra contract that is outside the norm, I will put the amount in hubs residency fund instead of in my business account.

So, basically, I’m going to hustle like crazy. I will do anything to save up as much as possible for this process, and if I don’t have enough, for once I really am willing to (gasp!) put it on a credit card. Residency applications will absolutely determine the rest of our lives and our ability to pay back $400,000 worth of student loans so its much more important to spend on applying to as many programs as possible than to be cheap about it. Still, the goal is to avoid all that and get this savings fund poppin’!

So, what do you think? Have you ever had to save up a big amount before?

Oh and because it’s Friday, I wanted to include a small wrap-up with some weekend reading for your viewing pleasure. 😉


A Quick Family Trip to Boston for Under $100 Huffington Post – This one originally appeared here on Budget Blonde,  but got picked up by Huffington Post!

3 Things I Won’t Be Cheap About Frugal Rules

How One Blogger Learned to Cook and Saved a Fortune U.S. News & World Report


Things are Experiences Evolving PF

Paying Estimated Quarterly Taxes: A Reflection Femme Frugality

Would You Put Up With This? Dear Debt

How to Budget With Little Income Wise Dollar

3 Ways to Make a Huge Dent in Your Debt Frugal Portland

I’m NOT a Hustler, Baby! Financial Diffraction


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Have a great weekend, everyone!

As the hubs enters his 3rd year of medical school, we have to be prepared to foot the bill for nearly $6,000 in application and travel fees! Here's how I'm making it happen:

29 responses to “How I’m Saving $6,000 for Residency Applications

  1. Good luck on the match process. And you have a solid a here – right down to the credit card part. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but if it does – you gotta do what you gotta do!

  2. That sounds like a fabulously thorough savings plan–I’m impressed! You’re so smart to start setting aside the money now. For your husband’s suit needs–we had to get Mr. FW a suit a few years ago and we used the online tailor Indochino. We sent in Mr. FW’s measurements and selected the style, fabric, etc and they mailed him a custom-tailored suit. Plus, they give you $75 to use for a local tailor to fit the suit perfectly. We were very pleased with the results! It’s cheaper than most suits off the rack, and, it looks far better since it’s a custom fit. I highly recommend it!
    P.S. Congrats on getting picked up by the Huffington Post!

  3. Wow, that sounds intense. The process of applying for residencies, I mean. My head is kind of spinning, because I never knew what all it entailed before (I’m a writer, and not science minded, at all!).
    I love SmartyPig. I started using it two years ago to save up for my Disney vacations. I love how I don’t have to think about it, it just takes the money out for me. I’ve got another vacation coming up in October, and I have to meet my goal by the first week of June. Thankfully, it’s got that button that tells you how much to save in a certain time to meet your goal. 🙂
    Good luck on your savings! Sounds like you’ve got it all well in hand.

  4. Wow! You two are the epitome of a team. I really look up to your ability to support your family financially and emotionally. Med school is not an easy ride but you always seem to have a handle on things and ‘go with the flow’. I definitely think you can meet your goal of $6k by the fall, great thing you’re starting now. I also had no idea all the ‘hidden’ costs to medical school. Fingers crossed you two get a program you love in a location you’re happy with!

  5. Thanks Carly. It really is a lot more expensive than I ever imagined! Hubby does help a bit financially by sharing his student loans haha 😉 It’s all crazy but yes hopefully we can find a nice program!

  6. I still can’t believe how much those dang applications cost!!! I am so proud of you for being proactive, though, in tackling them. I am sure there are lots of people who just think they will deal with them as they come or finance them on debt, but with some planning, you can save yourself so many headaches down the road!

  7. Cath, I enjoyed your post on 3 Things I Won’t Be Cheap About Frugal Rules. I always buy new things like cars and keep them for years. Buying new things doesn’t only guarantee that you’re in but also guarantees high-quality product for long-time use.

  8. Sounds like you’ve got this! We’re saving for a house but have a long way to go and not such a short time frame. So I can only imagine! I hope the match sets you guys up in Pittsburgh… Our two major industries are healthcare and education. The education is ridiculously expensive, but we have some phenomenal doctors.

    Thanks so much for the include! Quarterly taxes suck!

  9. You´re on it! Well done! Good job to the both of you!
    Another suit tip: A few years ago I realized my husband didn´t have a nice suit and really needed one, so we finally went to Dillard´s and got one for around $300 (ugh). The very next day I got an email from Armani Exchange that all of their sale stuff was an extra 40% off. I marched on in there and bought him a 3 peice “Armani suit” (I always sing the Destiny´s child bit there) for just over $200 and returned the Dillard´s one. It looks incredible on him. Since then, I´ve noticed Armani does these sales ALL the time. Sign up for their updates. It might work out for y´all!

  10. Holy shizzle! I had no idea about all the costs, aside from student loan debt. You are planning for it now, which is already amazing. I am so inspired by your gorgeous little family and all you do! And congrats on the awesome income. I love seeing charts like that. I just had my best month ever too and it feels awesome! Now, trying to sustain it…

  11. Way to go Cat!

    Wow! Residency applications sound super intense! Over 100 programs! I’m clearly not familiar with the process, but why do med students need to apply to so many programs? Hopefully, it’s not a separate application for each school.

    Best of luck throughout the process!

    1. Hey Taylor – Not every student will apply to that many but it’s really common for people who went to foreign schools like my husband did just to up the odds a little!

  12. Wow! I didn’t realize how expensive and complicated the whole process was. Good luck reaching your savings goal!

  13. “Hide yo’ kids. Hide yo’ wife!”

    I cracked up at that.

    Selling stuff is seriously the best low hanging fruit for just about any American household. There’s little piles of money hanging out in your place: all you have to do is show a picture of it to someone, and they’ll buy it.

  14. Wow it’s crazy how long and expensive the process is. I knew it was long and expensive, but I didn’t realize it was this tough! Sounds like you have a good plan.

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