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Worried about debt - looking for how others deal with it

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Hi! I am increasingly worried about medical school debt. Just the tuition alone is >100k and + other non-negotiable costs. I am careful not to overspend but also feel like I need to enjoy these years and not just like super cheap (which I really hate....).  I think because the interests rates are low right now it's not too bad but long term, in these 4 years I'm worried it will get closer to 200k 

Looking to hear how other med students have dealt with it and even if there are any residents how they are dealing with it. Are you able to pay any of it off in residency? Do you just delay it?


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It's inevitable to have debt if you don't have parental support. The amounts you are claiming are normal for many parts of the country. You'll be able to make a dent during residency depending on where you do your training. I would honestly just try to make your stressful years tolerable as the training can get quite busy. You'll pay it off as a staff no problem.

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It's inevitable without parental support, a spouse earning substantial income, or substantial savings of your own.  Unfortunately it's just part of medical training that we all have to accept.  I am also very uncomfortable with debt but there's really no way around it.

I started medical school with no debt from undergrad (very lucky), no savings, and no parental support.  Went to medical school in a low cost of living city (London) partly to save money, partly for other reasons.  I personally tend to live fairly frugally - I never travel, don't drive, etc - but I didn't severely restrict myself by any means - I ate out, ordered takeout, bought myself the occasional thing I wanted.  Finished medical school with about 140k in debt.

Did residency in Toronto, much higher cost of living, lived alone.  Still not married, no dependents.  Managed to pay off about 30k in residency, mostly in PGY1-2 (when I had tons of tax credits left) and in PGY5 (when I was making more).  If tuition tax credits are no longer a thing, that will cut into it a bit but I think it's still possible to pay down some.  As a (fairly low earning on the doctor-scale) staff I'm able to pay off about 2k/month.  I am hoping to start paying down more of it.

That said, I haven't put anything into TFSA/RRSP which I probably should start doing (however, I am very uncomfortable with debt so there's that).  So I don't know - in my specialty it doesn't suddenly disappear once you cross the threshold into staff, but it's definitely manageable.

The biggest thing that helps me feel in control of my finances is having a clear budget.  I use an app to track my spending.  I really only started this in PGY1 but I wish I'd started earlier.  As a medical student, I tried to live approximately under what I would be making as a PGY1, but not too much under.  Then you can give yourself a small quality of life boost once you start residency and that feels nice.  

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Once I left high school, I have survived on student debt, which consolidated into my LOC. I've done PGY5, Royal College and am entering practice with a debt of 250K. I anticipate paying it off within the next 5-7 years, it is manageable and I do not consider it a huge burden on my shoulders. It is part of life. I have always lived a frugal life, and life is about to become more affordable now notweithstanding this debt.

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