Welcome at the MedPage today “Med Money Journals,” which give readers an inside look at the finances of doctors, nurses, medical students, PAs, NPs, and others who practice medicine. Each message provides information about a person’s financial background, wages and expenses over a 7-day period. Share your own Med Money Journal anonymously here.
Function: Postgraduate Freshman (PGY1) Pharmacist Assistant
Rank: PharmD (2022)
Place: Richmond, Virginia
Salary: $47,548 per year (before taxes/deductions)
Net value: $177,412.95
Amount per salary: $1,199.25 biweekly (after taxes/benefits)
Recurring Monthly Fees:
- Rent, water, garbage, sewer: $1,577.25
- Electricity: $80
- Hulu: $6.99
- Gas: ~$100
What was your first job and why did you start working?
When I was 16 years old I started working as a courtesy clerk (bagger) earning $7.25 an hour. I got the job helping my family pay the bills.
Are you worried about money in your current situation?
A little. Although I don’t live lavishly, I make the most money I’ve ever had. As a child I was very concerned about money, but I am grateful for what I have now. I’m most comfortable not realizing the nearly $200,000 in debt I 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, although I should. I plan to use Mint, a budget tracker and planner.
Are there any other financial details that readers should pay attention to?
I often have to help my family with bills and other financial problems.
Do you have any comments or thoughts about the current state of compensation for people in your position/profession?
For many, residents’ salaries have not risen in recent years, despite inflation and the rising cost of everyday living. Some residents of other states had to form unions to get a pay raise. We pay much cheaper than full-time pharmacists, and the pharmacy has never been good at unionizing, so I don’t see any increases in the near term. I’m sure this is part of the reason why residence applications have fallen this year. This is an unfortunate situation that really needs to change.
7 Day Journal
Day 1 (Friday)
It’s the end of my first week of residency as a PGY1, so of course I’m going to treat myself while I’m still going through the orientation. After the first month of training luck, I probably won’t have time to spend anything fun. And between my resident salary, inflation, gas prices, and rent, I can’t spend at all.
Anyway, the day started with sleeping past my alarm clock, not showering, and running 5 minutes before my first orientation call to catch the bus. I’ve made it a goal to prepare my meals for lunch every day (when I have time to cook), and resist the urge to get Chick-fil-A. But in my haste out the door, I left the lemon pepper chicken ($2.15) and baby potatoes ($2.35) I prepared the night before on my counter. Fortunately, lunch was provided for all new residents. Even luckier, there were some sandwiches left and I was able to grab two to take home. After the orientation, my co-residents and I decided to get drinks at a local bar where I bought two sauces ($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 went back to my house to end the evening with some popcorn ($0.50) and an Amazon Prime movie. I also paid a credit card bill ($25).
Day 2 (Saturday)
My overspending continued after eating at a new breakfast place that had their grand opening. I devoured the most delicious fried chicken sandwich with gravy on homemade biscuits ($37.51). After that I paid to shrink my girlfriend’s bracelet ($159) and ended up playing Frisbee golf with a friend. We went to a brewery and pizzeria where I had an insanely good brick oven pizza with pepperoni and warm honey, paired with a beer ($42.24).
The party didn’t end 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 ($16.21).
Day 3 (Sunday)
I considered spending the day doing residency assignments, but instead I decided that one last hurrah was in order — so I decided to go on a mini vacation with my girlfriend.
We drove to Williamsburg, about an hour from my house. We had lunch in a little shop where I bought two sandwiches, fries, a craft beer for myself and a root beer for my girlfriend. We went shopping at the outlet malls where I bought new business casual wear ($34.99), some t-shirts ($23.54), and coffee ($6.18). I bought us ice cream ($11.18), and on the way home we stopped at a bar, had some delicious strawberry puree cocktails, shared a plate of fries, and had creme brulee for dessert ($47.77). We also went through a tank of gas and had to be refilled ($51.18).
Day 4 (Monday)
After spending all weekend on a salary that absolutely cannot handle this level of spending, I was fine today. I rode the free shuttle to work and made my own coffee. The leftover sandwich from last Friday became 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)
I didn’t spend any money today. I ate some chips and homemade guacamole for lunch. My mom occasionally sends me food, and for dinner I had her meatballs — I made a marinara sandwich with goat cheese and Parmesan. (In fact, this served as my dinner for the next 3 days…it was really good.)
Day 6 (Wednesday)
Normally I don’t give myself enough time to have breakfast in the morning (if you couldn’t see that from Friday), which is great because it saves me some money. Unfortunately, it’s not great to feel well rested and energized when you arrive at work. I bought a grande iced mocha from Starbucks ($6.19) to keep me awake for the rest of the day. Later, I went home, took an hour-long nap, and ate half a bag of Gardetto’s snack mix for dinner ($3.57). Dinner of champions.
Day 7 (Thursday)
I received my first paycheck today for $765.20 which covered the first week of orientation! As an added bonus, I got $25 in Wells Fargo rewards for spending so much lately. To celebrate, I gave in and went for lunch at Chick-fil-A. I bought a spicy deluxe chicken meal with large waffle fries and a large Mountain Dew ($11.17). I also sent money to one of my relatives who really needed it ($550).
Weekly Total: $1,125.75
ouch. That number hurts to see. I don’t think this is a typical week of spending for me, but without tracking my spending, I really don’t know. I have deliberately lived in ignorant bliss for far too long. I take this as my cue to start budgeting.
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