Sure, we all want to save the world but truth be told the allure of consistently earning a salary that places you in the top 10% of Americans has some serious sway when deciding to apply to medical school. This reward is a LONG time coming and while we are waiting we are often forced to live in expensive cities on extremely low incomes (if you can count loan money as income!). The good news is that being on the path to having a MD or DO after your name puts you at an advantage even before you start earning the big bucks. Listed below are the ways I have taken advantage of our unique position to make extra money as a medical student and resident.
Reevaluate Your Housing
Aside from tuition, your main expense during medical school and residency is going to be putting a roof over your head. This is the area where some people really blow it. Yes, it is nice to live in a fancy-pants condo in the center of downtown with a state of the art gym but you pay for those luxuries. At the VERY least get a roommate, POOF, your housing expenses were just cut in half! Better yet, get a roommate (or two!) AND some less expensive housing. This is some serious change we’re talking about here. Consider it closely. If you are looking to rent out a spare bedroom intermittently check out RotatingRoom.com I have had great success renting to 4th year medical students.
A lot of people wonder whether or not they should buy a house at the beginning of residency. You must weigh the length of your residency and the strength of the local market. You also have to decide if you are okay with taking on the responsibilities of home ownership during an already stressful period. I decided to go this route and it has worked out GREAT for me so far. If you are thinking of taking the plunge I suggest you read about Physician Loans and other pertinent topics at White Coat Investor.
Get a Job
I get a lot of questions in my inbox asking whether or not it is possible to hold down a job during medical school. The short answer is yes, it is completely possible. A number of my friends worked shifts as nurses during med school and we had a few bartenders as well. They made out okay and certainly appreciated the extra income but the scheduling process took a toll. Unless you can find something with an extremely flexible schedule I would stay away from it. Medical school can be unpredictable and you don’t want to be trudging into work when you really should be spending some extra time in the lab or cramming last second for an exam.
I have talked about QuantiaMD a few times before but I want to mention it again because it is a great concept. The site offers video lectures on topics of interest to physicians. Whether they be medical (i.e. Sulfonylureas in Type II Diabetes), business related (i.e. Will preventive services be incentivized?) or personal (i.e. Financial Cleanup:Your credit report) the site covers a plethora of topics and the videos are well produced. As if this wasn’t enough, they pay you $1-$10 for watching these videos and otherwise contributing to the QuantiaMD community. Pretty freaking good deal in my opinion!
To sign up go here and follow the instructions. Unfortunately this opportunity is only available for those with a provider number so you need to be a MD, DO, PA or NP to sign-up. To find your provider number just Google “your name and NPI”.
This one is another win-win. Amazon Student in itself is an awesome service. You get free two-day shipping from Amazon and a reduced rate on Amazon Prime (which is every bit as good as Netflix) just for being a student. It costs you NOTHING to sign-up and if you refer your friends you get $5 for every one of them that signs up. Doesn’t seem like much, but you have a lot of friends, right?
Again, as a physician you are in a unique position. There are only so many of us out there and people want our opinion! I haven’t had a TON of success with physician survey websites but when I do the payout is great – $20-$100 for giving your opinion for half an hour or so. The two I have had luck with are Curizon and Physician’s Advisory Council.
As a side note, there are a lot of “earn $1000’s while taking surveys at home!” sites on the internet that are available to the general public. I got into them for a while but after days of furious clicking I had only made about $100. You’re welcome to give it a shot but I think there are better ways to earn a few bucks.
I’ve given all of these ideas a shot as well as making a few dollars from this website. I’m certainly not getting rich and am VERY much looking forward to making an attending’s salary and digging myself out of medical school debt but you will be surprised how much difference $100-$200 a month can make when you put it to good use! Make your choices wisely!