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Five principles of physician frugality

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New physicians who are up to their ears with student debt will find themselves on the cusp of financial ruin if they immediately start spending their newly increased income on huge purchases. It’s possible to avoid this financial ruin, however, by developing the habit of living frugally and within your means. You’ll have more freedom to take the hours you want and to live without fear of missing work. You’ll actually enjoy your work more without the added financial pressure.

Five principles of frugality frugality

These five principles will help you lead a frugal but full life:

  1. Accept that money cannot buy happiness.
  2. Avoid spending money before you earn it. Adrienne Collier, M.D., notes, “Do not buy a new house or a new car within one to two years of completing residency.”
  3. Realize that the big expenses, such as your home, affect your budget most and aim to spend less than 20 percent of your gross income on housing expenses.
  4. Believe that material goods do not define you.
  5. Keep fixed expenses to a minimum to avoid undue financial burden in an emergency situation.

By following these principles, you can start your career on a sound foundation—personally and financially.


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