Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

of Case Western Reserve University

Tuition/Financial Aid > Money Matters > Saving Money



Saving Money

The following economical, practical ideas can help you as you prepare for entering medical school and throughout your medical school education. Select those ideas that make the most sense to you and are manageable. Also, always be mindful of other ways to save money and boost your budget.

Living Arrangements
  Live with parents or other relatives, or get a roommate. This is the best way to save thousands of dollars every year and about $10,000 over four years!
  Consider on-campus living arrangements, if available. Get a sublet clause in your lease if you plan to leave for the summer.
Shop around for an apartment. Consider convenience, security, lease terms, and whether or not utilities are included. Also, places that have free hot water and heat will save a lot of money come winter. Apartments in walking distance of campus will not only save you the cost of parking and gas, but also wear and tear on your car and the hassle of finding a parking space every day.

Find out the cost and availability of parking when pricing apartments.

Take clothes home to mom’s house where doing laundry is free.
Buy only necessary clothing and watch for big sales, especially end-of-season clearances.
Don’t buy clothes that need to be dry cleaned. Minimize dry cleaning costs by using sale flyers and coupons.
Find a laundromat that doesn’t overcharge for the use of their washers and dryers.
Transportation & Insurance
Car-pooling will save money on gas. Consider public transportation, cycling or walking. (Most everywhere in Cleveland is accessible via the RTA bus and rapid transit system.)

Take higher deductibles on your auto insurance. Drop collision insurance on older cars.
Cable is NOT a necessity. If you "must" have it, order basic cable. If you order it and barely watch it, cancel service.

Potluck dinners, where each friend brings a dish, are fun and economical, or eat at a buffet.
Choose low-cost entertainment: zoo, picnics, museums, free concerts and festivals.
If you enjoy reading, make good use of libraries or use a book exchange rather than buying new books.
The university bookstore sells discounted amusement park and movie tickets so use them!

Go out for lunch rather than dinner. You often receive the same portion for less money.
Borrow movies from libraries for free instead of paying enormous rental charges.
Go to matinee shows or go to the movies shown on campus.
Go to nightclubs and establishments that don’t charge a cover to get in, or go early so you don’t get charged the cover.
Ask around (family, friends and neighbors) to see if anyone has items they would love to give away.
Take advantage of garage sales.
Watch for sales where you can get items at discount prices or extra items for free.
Do-it-yourself projects: ask a friend or family member who may have experience in fixing things (i.e. electricity or plumbing). Make sure they know what they are doing.

Moving: get friends and family to help; it can save the cost of hiring professional movers.
If you’re looking for basic furniture just for the duration of medical school, try the Salvation Army, Goodwill or another student who is moving.
Turn off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
Use energy-efficient bulbs.
Set your thermostat down for heating and up for cooling.
Insulate your home or apartment; covering windows with plastic will insulate against the cold.
Short showers save more money than baths; get water-saving devices for the shower and toilet.
Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving.
Books & Supplies
Buy used books whenever possible when school starts, and watch for flyers from upperclassmen looking to sell theirs, which are usually in good condition.

Check with upperclass members to see which books are necessary, or if there are books that can be borrowed. Professors often have extra copies of the books required for class.

The library may also have a copy you can use.
Buy a used microscope or share with a classmate.
Buy your supplies at discount stores (Marc’s or Target). Campus bookstores tend to be more expensive.
Food & Shopping
When preparing meals, make larger portions and freeze them for later consumption. Ready-made or frozen dinners cost more per serving.

Use leftovers (20% of all food produced in America is thrown away).
Prepare and bring your lunch to avoid and/or minimize using vending machines, fast food places and convenience stores.

Learn to be a savvy shopper. Clip coupons and comparison shop. But don’t buy an item just because you have a coupon; store brand or generic products may be cheaper than the name brand (even with a coupon) and similar quality.

Watch for sales and buy non-perishable items on sale in bulk.
Additional $ Tips
Use credit cards sparingly and wisely. Use the credit cards with no annual fee, and pay your bill when it’s due. Avoid paying the astronomical interest rates that are applied when you don’t pay your balance on time and in full. Check your budget to be sure you can pay for items you want to charge before you charge them. For example, if you buy a shirt on sale, saving 15% but then put it on your credit card with a 20% interest rate and don’t pay it off, you just paid 105% -- more than the original price -- for the shirt that was supposed to be a good deal.

Carry larger bills. The smaller the bill, the easier it is to spend.
Put loose change in a jar and save for a rainy day because there always is one.
Do not use credit cards to extend your monthly budget.
Consider credit cards that offer frequent flyer miles, refunds and similar incentives.
Always add a "post-it" note in your checkbook showing credit card purchases. Subtract the amount from your checking balance to help you stay within your budget.

Consider keeping your money in insured, interest-bearing accounts. Shop and compare the interest rates on CDs and money market accounts. Choose the one best suited for your needs. Look for checking accounts that give interest. Read and understand all requirements and penalties.

Look for accounts with free checking. Monthly service fees can add up to a lot over of a year.
Keep your checking account balanced. Checks that bounce cost up to $25 per check along with the returned check charge at the place where it was written.

Comparison-shop by phone. Check for sales and think ahead.
Watch for airfare wars/specials well in advance of the time you’ll want to fly home for a weekend/break so you can take advantage of the price breaks.

Talk with others and read consumer-oriented publications to learn how others save money.