Suddenly I remembered the other day how much easier our financial situation seemed during medical school. Because we were both in school during the second half of my husband's education, we had double the access to student loans. This gave us a hugely erroneous view of how to manage money.
Me: "It's almost December, we need to buy plane tickets to visit your family for Christmas."
Doctor: "We don't have money to buy five plane tickets right now."
Me or Doctor: "Should I take out an additional school loan?"
Some people say doctors go nuts (spending money) after they finish their training because "they have been poor for so long." I think it is because they have been "borrowing for so long." We didn't have a budget, just a record of running totals of our expense categories. We were careful and tried not to go over our "budget", but in reality we never really limited how much we spent, we just kept track so that we knew where the money was going, and, more importantly, when we needed to get an additional loan.
There was always money available if we needed extra.
I am glad that we are currently having opportunities to learn many financial (and sometimes, yes, painful) lessons. The resident physician's salaries are definitely not designed to single-handedly provide for a family of six. But, I feel that the lessons are very valuable. I believe there is a spiritual connection between learning financial self-discipline, and to be happy with what you have, instead of always wanting and wishing for more.