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Students Should Budget Too

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Student debt is at an all time high, which includes dental students.  The average dental student graduates with $250,000 worth of debt that just accounts for the time spent in graduate school.  As dental school requires having an undergraduate degree, most of us have spent 4 years prior to being accepted into dental school stacking up debt from previous schooling.  That being said, it does not seem that in the near future any debt forgiveness program will be rolling out and so we as students must be wary and attentive on how we spend our money.  Budgeting plays a key role in the success of not only paying off student loans but also as a management strategy for future business practices and life in general.  As a student, you may not be aware of just how fast expenses can add up and how they may affect you in the future. 

While some dental programs factor in national board exams and other requirements we are responsible for, others do not.  Some of you may also be applying to residencies or be on rotation at sites where housing expenses aren’t included.  These applications, board exams, housing situations are expensive and can cause severe stress to students whom are already stressed and could do without an extra burden or two on their shoulders.  Even just looking for a job can turn out to be a hefty sum.  Not all students are lucky enough to find work around where they live or somewhere convenient for them and as such travel can be expensive, let alone finding a place to stay while traveling.  This is exactly why budgeting is so crucial to your success as a dental student.  It can, and often times will, be the deciding factor between where you apply, how you live, when you take your exams, etc.  Creating a monthly budget will allow you to foresee most of these costs and even plan for some surprises because we all know life loves to throw those at you every once in a while! 

Your monthly budget should focus first on your bare minimum necessities that include rent, groceries, insurance, etc.  These are the things you need to get by and are your sustenance for day-to-day living.  If after that your budget allows to splurge a bit, please do so wisely and try to set aside some of that money to save.  As stated before, you never know when life will throw you a curve ball and in the event it does, it is always better to have the upper hand and be prepared!  There are also a few things that may help decrease the costs of your monthly budget such as meal prepping or brewing coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.  I don’t recommend not enjoying life, everyone has to live a little but do so consciously with your budget in mind and know when it is within your means to do so and when not to.  While it may seem tiresome and boring it will most definitely translate into a skillset that will positively affect your life and how you choose to live it.