Welcome to the MedPage today “Med Money Journals”, providing readers with insight into the finances of doctors, nurses, medical students, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and others who practice medicine. Each post offers information about a person’s financial history, salaries, and expenses over a 7-day period. Anonymously share your own Med Money Journal here.

Use: First Year Postgraduate Pharmacy Resident (PGY1)

Diploma: Pharmacy (2022)

Age: 27

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Salary: $47,548 per year (before taxes/benefits deductions)

Net value : $177,412.95

Debt: $193,548

Amount per paycheque: $1,199.25 bi-weekly (after taxes/benefits deductions)

Monthly recurring expenses:

  • Rent, water, garbage, sewer: $1,577.25
  • Electricity: $80
  • Hulu: $6.99
  • Gasoline: ~$100

What was your first job and why did you start working?

At the age of 16, I started working as a courtesy clerk (bagging) where I earned $7.25/hour. I got the job to help my family pay the bills.

Do you care about money in your current situation?

A little. Even though I don’t live lavishly, I make the most money I’ve ever had. I worried a lot about money when I was a kid, but I’m grateful for what I have now. I feel more comfortable when I don’t recognize the nearly $200,000 debt that I will eventually have to pay off.

What financial tracking or money management/budgeting tools (if any) do you use? Would you recommend them to others?

I don’t use any apps, even though I should. I plan to use Mint, a budget tracking and planning tool.

Are there any other financial details readers should be aware of?

I often have to help my family with bills and other financial difficulties.

Do you have any comments or thoughts on the current state of compensation for people in your position/profession?

For many, residents’ wages have not increased in recent years despite inflation and the rising cost of daily living. Some residents of other states had to form unions to get a raise. We’re much cheaper to pay than full-time pharmacists, and the pharmacy has never been able to unionize, so I don’t see an increase on the horizon any time soon. I’m sure that’s part of the reason why the number of residency applications has gone down this year. This is an unfortunate situation that really needs to change.

7 day diary

Day 1 (Friday)

Total: $40.38

It’s the end of my first week of residency as PGY1, so I’m obviously going to treat myself while I’m still in orientation. After the first month of workout bliss, I probably won’t have time to splurge on anything fun. And between my resident salary, inflation, gas prices and rent, I won’t be able to splurge at all.

Anyway, the day started off sleeping after I woke up, not taking a shower and running to catch the bus 5 minutes before my first orientation meeting. I made it a goal to try to cook my meals for lunch every day (if I have time to cook) and resist the urge to buy Chick-fil-A. However, in my rush out the door, I left the Lemon Pepper Chicken ($2.15) and Baby Potatoes ($2.35) that I had made the night before on the counter of my kitchen. Fortunately, lunch was offered to all new residents. Even luckier, there were sandwiches left and I was able to grab two to take home. After orientation, my co-residents and I decided to grab a drink at a local bar where I bought two sours ($10.38).

For dinner, I had a chicken salad with tequila dressing, salsa, and guacamole that my girlfriend’s family paid for. My girlfriend and I came home to end the evening with popcorn ($0.50) and an Amazon Prime movie. I also paid a credit card bill ($25).

Day 2 (Saturday)

Total: $271.61

My overspending continued after eating at a new breakfast that opened. I devoured the most delicious fried chicken sandwich with gravy on homemade cookies ($37.51). After that, I paid to have my girlfriend’s bracelet resized ($159), then ended up playing frisbee golf with a friend. We went to a brasserie and pizzeria where I had an incredibly good stone fired pizza with hot pepperoni and honey, accompanied by a beer ($42.24).

The party didn’t stop there. Later that night I went to a bar where I bought two High Noons ($12.48), a double rum and coke ($4.17) and went to Cook Out for late night milkshakes. evening ($16.21).

Day 3 (Sunday)

Total: $174.84

I considered spending the day advancing on residency assignments, but instead decided one last hurrah was in order – so I decided to go on a mini-vacation with my girlfriend.

We went to Williamsburg, which is about an hour from my house. We had lunch at a small store where I bought two sandwiches, fries, a craft beer for me and a root beer for my girlfriend. We went shopping at malls where I bought new casual clothes ($34.99), t-shirts ($23.54) and coffee ($6.18). I bought us some ice cream ($11.18) and on the way home we stopped at a bar, enjoyed some delicious strawberry puree cocktails, shared a plate of fries and got a creme brulee for dessert ($47.77). We also walked through a tank of gas and had to fill it up ($51.18).

Day 4 (Monday)

Total: $67.99

After splurging all weekend on a salary that certainly can’t handle this level of spending, I was fine today. I went to work with the free shuttle and made my own coffee. The rest of last Friday’s sandwich turned into my lunch. The only money I spent was on groceries ($67.99), which I planned to use to cook my own meals for the rest of the week.

Day 5 (Tuesday)

Total: $0

I didn’t spend any money today. I ate homemade fries and guacamole for lunch. My mom sends me food from time to time and for dinner tonight I had her meatballs – I made a marinara sub sandwich with goat cheese and parmesan. (In fact, it served as my dinner for the next 3 days…it was really good.)

Day 6 (Wednesday)

Total: $9.76

I usually don’t give myself enough time in the morning to eat breakfast (if you couldn’t tell from Friday), which is great because it saves me money. Unfortunately, it’s not so good for feeling well rested and energized when you arrive at work. I bought a large iced mocha at Starbucks ($6.19) to keep me up for the rest of the day. Later I got home, took an hour nap and had half a bag of Gardetto’s snack mix for dinner ($3.57). Dinner of champions.

Day 7 (Thursday)

Total: $561.17

I received my first paycheck today for $765.20, which covered the first week of orientation! As a bonus, I got $25 in Wells Fargo Rewards for spending so much recently. To celebrate, I gave in and had lunch at Chick-fil-A. I bought myself a Spicy Chicken Deluxe Meal with Large Waffle Fries and a Large Mountain Dew ($11.17). I also sent money to a relative who really needed it ($550).

Total week: $1,125.75

Ouch. This number hurts to see. I don’t think this is a typical spending week for me, but without tracking my spending, I really don’t know. I have intentionally lived in ignorant bliss for far too long. I take this as my sign to start budgeting.

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