With the excitement of Match Day, medical students around the country are preparing for the start of their new residencies. Becoming a resident is a major step toward entering the field as a fully qualified medical professional, but with just a few months before residencies begin, the relocation process can feel daunting.
If you’re a medical student preparing to relocate to another state or city for your residency, here’s a quick to-do list to help get you situated in your new home, while employing smart spending habits.
Leverage personal and professional connections
Networking is a powerful tool when making a big move. Chat with family and friends to see if somebody knows somebody in your new city, and don’t forget to ask professors or advisors if they can put you in touch with anyone who’s done a residency there in the past. When you’ve got a few names, don’t be shy! Drop them a line and ask about good areas to live, the best real estate or rental companies to work with, where to find inexpensive used furniture, and so on.
Only move the essentials
Whether you hire a company to box up your things or rent a U-Haul and do it yourself, relocations can be expensive! In many cases, it will be cheaper to sell what you own and buy when you arrive; especially if you have the option to rent an already-furnished home. You can also ask around your network to see if any medical students are moving to your area who might be interested in purchasing your things.
Don’t let spending go to waste
No matter how much you reduce costs, moving will always come with a price tag. Make it count by putting relocation purchases on a credit card that rewards your spending with points, discounts, or cash back. That way even if your expenses creep up during the relocation move, at least you’ll be getting something back. But remember, to truly get the benefit of credit card rewards, you don’t want to carry a balance if you are being charged interest.
Budget for life as a resident
You’ve no doubt got lots on your mind while preparing to become a resident, but take a few minutes to put together a budget. A careful consideration of what you can expect to spend during the next stage of your med school journey will help you to reduce costs once you arrive and to feel more calm and in control in the meantime.
Read up on your new state
When it comes to taxes, every state is unique. Did you know that Oregon has no sales tax; sliced bagels are taxed more heavily than whole ones in New York; and New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country? Read up on the financial oddities you can expect to encounter and use this information to help you save money – whether that means adjusting your housing budget, crossing state lines for the weekly grocery run, or preparing meals at home.
Make smart borrowing choices
Many med students heading out for their residency find they need to borrow some money to get everything set up. Here’s a look at what to consider when deciding whether to borrow and if so, choosing the best loan for your unique situation.
Take advantage of a Resident & Fellow Loan
Specific loans, like the HUECU Resident and Fellow Loan, can be a good choice to help you cover moving expenses or access supplemental income during your time as a resident. Along with competitive rates and terms, you can speak with an HUECU Education Lending coordinator to help determine what loan is right for you.
Wherever you find yourself next, HUECU is here to help you be prepared. Be sure to stay up to date on our regular workshops to get tips on a variety of financial topics. And congratulations on taking the first of many big steps in your medical career!