In the past I have used an Excel spreadsheet for our budget, to track every penny spent. Today, I discovered a budget spreadsheet in Numbers on our Mac. It was actually quite exciting and even a little fun. The spreadsheet showed me exactly how much we can save each month while living on a physician resident's income. Based on the numbers I punched in for income and expenses, the spreadsheet created a table and a bar graph of our savings. Most of the time, the graph was in the negative range, with zero at the top and the bars going down. My simplest and frugal-ist budget yielded a year-end total of -$4,000.00.
I found it quite comical and a bit entertaining.
Then, after laughing for a bit and manipulating the numbers as much as possible, I decided that I need a job.
A recent article in the Ensign counseled: "It is important when maintaining frugality as a long-term lifestyle to avoid feelings of deprivation. You can do this by using creativity and resourcefulness to fulfill your wants."
When I read this last week, I thought it was very pertinent financial advice for medical residents supporting families.
We have avoided feelings of deprivation during medical school and my husband's intern year by having a slush fund, a separate savings account that we would put a little bit ($25-$50) into each month. We could spend this slush fund however we wanted, with no guilt.
However, according to my new Numbers budget spreadsheet, there will be no slush fund, or savings fund, and we will still be in the red... unless I get a job. Previously, I argued that if I got a job, we would only find ways to spend more, and we would still need more money. This is no longer the case.
Residency just gets more and more exciting.
Maybe we should have aimed for a program in a smaller city, particularly where the cost of living was much less than where we are now.