Economising as a young doctor


This post first appeared on SehatKahani.com.

You meet a young man or woman preparing for their medical college admission test and you exclaim – with indulgence – “Aah! You want to save human lives!” Yes, they do! But they also wish to save their own – and the lives of their families – by bringing enough bread and butter home.

A lot of young, disheartened doctors are seen struggling to make ends meet. While there is no denying that the state ought to pass a legislation to set the bare minimum pay of a house officer in accordance with the graph of the economy – keeping in mind the difficult work conditions that they have to face, especially in the public sector – a little smart thinking and an ounce of discipline at our end can also help in surprising ways.

If you do not look at the experience of your elders with a wise eye seeking counsel, you will have made the biggest mistake of your life; that’s what I heard growing up. So why not ask the doctor herself on how to live a life of financial security?

“By modifying our lifestyles, we can easily save up! We need to curb those irrational impulses. I do not have to go to that Khaadi sale every time I pass their outlet. Dining out every week when I can eat simply at home also seems an extravagance that I can do without,” says Dr Sameeha Aleem, a clinical psychiatrist and a mom of two.

“Would it matter in the long run what brand we wore or how fashionable we were? Money spent on experiences like watching a movie or going for a walk along the beach makes one more happy than spending money on fast food frequently or buying the makeup that I don’t even have time to put on,” she shares.

So what’s the real deal?

“Pay yourself first! Google suggests setting aside ten per cent of your monthly salary regardless of your income. So if your salary is Rs 30000, set away Rs 3000 as soon as you receive your pay. You may put the money in a monthly committee and when you receive your share from the committee, you can buy a gold biscuit worth Rs 54000. You may sell it later when the price rises. Alternatively, you can book a small property by beginning with a down payment of one to two lakh and later pay monthly instalments. It is especially very important for the empowerment of our girls. You can also buy foreign currency with just Rs 10000 and get it cashed when the value rises. We as doctors need to save for our retirement right from the nascent stages of our career – look ahead into the future while being grounded in the present.

Most importantly, live on a budget. Calculate where you spend the money. That way you can cut down on many expenses. For instance, my credit card was the major culprit – unnecessary shopping from sales was eating up my savings.
Set goals. I haven’t shopped for clothes in the last year, utilising and redesigning the old ones because I wanted to save for a trip.”

So a little discipline and a little more determination can get you to economise in ways that you will not resent. You will, instead, thank your younger self as you reap the fruits during a rainy day, or simply when it’s time to pamper yourself.

Hopefully, our generation of young doctors will begin to enjoy cosy chats over homecooked Chinese as a weekend speciality and discover that a simple old wristwatch tells the same time as the latest one that bores a hole in their pockets.
Did I hear an ‘amen’ to that?

haiku

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