I know what you’re thinking, vet student reading this blog. “Psh, WHAT money?” Right? “How can I manage what I don’t have?” Yep, I think the same way all the time. We recently had a seminar in our 3rd year “practice management course” about this very topic. I am the first to admit that I am not the best at managing my funds, because, well, most of them don’t belong to me. They belong to the federal government. I live off of loans. I will be paying them back for a long time. But, if I learned anything from this seminar, it was that I shouldn’t let money define my life.
It’s simple, right? “Don’t spend more than you earn.” Don’t buy that fast food when you’ve got ramen at home. Don’t get that new blazer “for an interview” when you already have one in a different color. Don’t get that latte, or taco, or margarita. But, what about the tougher questions? What about when you’re struggling to get through a week-long test schedule and that Panda Express meal you know will be the only meal to get you through? What about when you have to decide not to go on that vacation, the break from school, from reality, you so desperately need, when you could be saving for a house? What about paying down interest on your loans when you need gas money to get to school, or to buy books, or your $500 surgery pack, or an unexpected medical expense?
My point is, it’s tough, and it’s important to know your options if you ever get in a tough situation that only leads to more stress for you and your bank account. Like I mentioned, it’s important not to let money define you. We all struggle at some point as students or adults. For many of us, vet school is the first time we’ve been on our own for real, working for rent, and for books, and for grocery money. One of the best things you can do, if you’re like me, and struggle with knowing how to get started financially, or to budget successfully, is know your resources. Most every university has a business or financial center specifically designed for students to learn these very skills. So, don’t let money define you, don’t let it be the reason you have to make tough decisions—find your resource, and give up a little of your time to let them help you. I know, as type-A people we can handle everything ourselves right? Well, maybe not always. Give up some of that control, and find the help you need to take control of your financial future, so that you have a little less to worry about when you are on your path to successes in other parts of your life too.