Jun 30, 2018
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Any tips for reducing your debt load while in dental school? I’m starting in the fall. I think I’m doing everything I was supposed to do, but when I run the numbers I’m still going to have tons of debt... here’s what I’m already planning on doing.

1. Going to the cheapest school I got into (UNC with 7/8 semesters at in-state rate). No scholarship offers at acceptance. My in state school (MUSC was more expensive)

2. Using all our savings as living expenses until we run out.

3. $2000/month budget for living expenses (me and wife)

4. Wife will work but probably will only
make $35,000-40k pre-tax. And can likely cover only living expenses, maybe a little more in the best case scenario. We also want to have kids during DS.

5. Can’t live at home as neither parent set is close enough to commute to ANY school I was accepted into.

6. Families are middle class and can’t help financially.

What am I missing? I’m a white male, I had 4.0 GPA in undergrad and 24AA on DAT.
 

Saddleshoes

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Maybe you can snag a part-time job for a few nickles.
My part-time job(s) in DS kept me in groceries and gas money. But more important, that job also kept me sane and grounded.

(NOTE: I did not work in year one!)
 
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The more you save, the less you spend, and the less student loan you have to take out now, the better your life will be later.

How about getting a full time job now and quit when you start school in Sept/October? How about getting more than 1 job and save as much money as possible? The more time you spend at work, the less chance you will waste your hard earned money on things like eating out, shopping etc. A lot of people work as Uber and Lyft drivers at night after they finish their regular jobs during the day. I often use Uber Eat and Door Dash to order boba drinks for my kids. I’ve noticed a few of the Uber/DoorDash drivers brought their wives and kids with them to work….when I saw this I tipped them more. These people reminded me of my old newspaper delivery job that I had during my college years….on Sundays when the newspapers were much heavier, I brought my younger sister with me to help.
 

Rainee

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Having a budget helps, but the number one biggest thing that I constantly see my staff spend on...is always eating out. Boba, Starbucks, Lunch, Snacks. That will be the biggest thing you control.

You can control spending on clothes, vacations, movies, popcorn...but those tend to be like weekend things that really don't add up unless you are vacationing to bali every other week and buying lululemon every weekend. If that's the case- well you got spending problems and I can't help you there.

That being said:
My assistant
5$ starbucks with Mcdonalds Muffin 2$
Lunch 10$ qdoba with a drink- sometimes grabs another 5$ starbucks
Dinner- to tired- grabs mcdonalds for a family of 4, anodther 20$.

In the end,, on the worst days shes is spending 42$ a day on just food- and ****ty food at that.

On the best days, shes is spending 5-15$ a day.

Let's say we get the average of 30$ a day on food- that is about 7200 a year on crappy ****ty food.


Here's an alternative. Bulk cook a slab of chicken with rice on sunday with veggies. Costco a slab will cost what like 20$ for a weeks worth. Grill/cook/marinate that chicken and pack some rice and veggies and meal pack. 20-30$ for a weeks worth of food. And its actually GOOD healthy food.

Let's look at my average day:
5 cent coffee from my keurig with a boiled egg
meal prep from sunday 20/5 days = 4$ meal give or take
night time, eat the same meal from meal prep...4$

Total cost 8.05 cents for a average day. Sometimes when I have a hard day- I'll grab a frappucino from starbucks.

I think the biggest wastes are not the lululemon purchases- because many people just don't spend that kind of money every weekend. It's the everyday things that get you. And that is food food food.

So bottom line its the everyday things that you save money on- not the big purchases.
 
OP
DentTreadOnMe
Jun 30, 2018
101
93
31
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Pre-Dental
The more you save, the less you spend, and the less student loan you have to take out now, the better your life will be later.

How about getting a full time job now and quit when you start school in Sept/October? How about getting more than 1 job and save as much money as possible? The more time you spend at work, the less chance you will waste your hard earned money on things like eating out, shopping etc. A lot of people work as Uber and Lyft drivers at night after they finish their regular jobs during the day. I often use Uber Eat and Door Dash to order boba drinks for my kids. I’ve noticed a few of the Uber/DoorDash drivers brought their wives and kids with them to work….when I saw this I tipped them more. These people reminded me of my old newspaper delivery job that I had during my college years….on Sundays when the newspapers were much heavier, I brought my younger sister with me to help.
Thanks! I am working a full time job now in a dental office. Every penny goes into savings.
 
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OP
DentTreadOnMe
Jun 30, 2018
101
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Having a budget helps, but the number one biggest thing that I constantly see my staff spend on...is always eating out. Boba, Starbucks, Lunch, Snacks. That will be the biggest thing you control.

You can control spending on clothes, vacations, movies, popcorn...but those tend to be like weekend things that really don't add up unless you are vacationing to bali every other week and buying lululemon every weekend. If that's the case- well you got spending problems and I can't help you there.

That being said:
My assistant
5$ starbucks with Mcdonalds Muffin 2$
Lunch 10$ qdoba with a drink- sometimes grabs another 5$ starbucks
Dinner- to tired- grabs mcdonalds for a family of 4, anodther 20$.

In the end,, on the worst days shes is spending 42$ a day on just food- and ****ty food at that.

On the best days, shes is spending 5-15$ a day.

Let's say we get the average of 30$ a day on food- that is about 7200 a year on crappy ****ty food.


Here's an alternative. Bulk cook a slab of chicken with rice on sunday with veggies. Costco a slab will cost what like 20$ for a weeks worth. Grill/cook/marinate that chicken and pack some rice and veggies and meal pack. 20-30$ for a weeks worth of food. And its actually GOOD healthy food.

Let's look at my average day:
5 cent coffee from my keurig with a boiled egg
meal prep from sunday 20/5 days = 4$ meal give or take
night time, eat the same meal from meal prep...4$

Total cost 8.05 cents for a average day. Sometimes when I have a hard day- I'll grab a frappucino from starbucks.

I think the biggest wastes are not the lululemon purchases- because many people just don't spend that kind of money every weekend. It's the everyday things that get you. And that is food food food.

So bottom line its the everyday things that you save money on- not the big purchases.
Thank you. My wife and I agree and already eat like this for the most part haha.
 
OP
DentTreadOnMe
Jun 30, 2018
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Pre-Dental
Maybe you can snag a part-time job for a few nickles.
My part-time job(s) in DS kept me in groceries and gas money. But more important, that job also kept me sane and grounded.

(NOTE: I did not work in year one!)
Is it worth getting a part time job and risk school work suffering? I would earn a bit of money with a part time job, but I might earn a merit scholarship if I can keep grades up, which could be worth more... thoughts?
 
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Rainee

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Is it worth getting a part time job and risk school work suffering? I would earn a bit of money with a part time job, but I might earn a merit scholarship if I can keep grades up, which could be worth more... thoughts?
I honestly don’t think it’s worth it. The amount you will make part time as a waiter or whatever really doesn’t add up when you have big debt, a stressful graduate curriculum, and the possibility of flunking your subjects if you “work” late nights.

The reality is that the best way to go about this is keep costs down and INCREASING your income later after graduation to pay down the debts.

What do I mean by this? Don’t quote me on this but if someone did the math then I would say tackling extra days as a dentist like (saturdays) and working 6 days a week would be more cost effective in literally 6 months then working part time as a waiter for 4 years.

If you are waiting tables or whatever let’s be generous and say make 30$ an hour then that’s cool. But if you just add on a Saturday as a part timer dentist as needed and make 1000$ a day... I think you would come out ahead being a harder worker as a dentist in 3-6 months over part timing 20$ an hour during dental school.

So bottom line, keep your expenditures low, and if you want to play catch up later with debt- add on a Saturday job and funnel that extra income to debt service.
 

Saddleshoes

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Is it worth getting a part time job and risk school work suffering? I would earn a bit of money with a part time job, but I might earn a merit scholarship if I can keep grades up, which could be worth more... thoughts?
I always had a job going though school. When I go to DS I did not work my first year and it felt funny, not having a side hustle. SO I picked out a job in year #2 and felt better about myself. In my case I think I was a better student with a part-time job. BUT my standards may be lower then yours!
The possibility for a merit scholarship was never in the cards for me.
 
OP
DentTreadOnMe
Jun 30, 2018
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I always had a job going though school. When I go to DS I did not work my first year and it felt funny, not having a side hustle. SO I picked out a job in year #2 and felt better about myself. In my case I think I was a better student with a part-time job. BUT my standards may be lower then yours!
The possibility for a merit scholarship was never in the cards for me.
I appreciate your advice. Thanks for the time.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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You are way ahead of most dental students for two reasons.
1. You are getting in-state tuition for 7 out of 8 of your semesters
2. You have a spouse that is going to pay for your living expenses

Low tuition and minimal living expenses are going to be a savior at the interest rates you'll be getting over the next 4 years. Even the OOS tuition you'll have to pay in your first year is not that bad compared to other OOS schools and private schools.

I'm quite a ways off from having kids, so I'm definitely not a great resource on this. But I'm not sure having a kid in dental school when you are making zero, or minimal money, and living off of your wife's $35-$40k is wise. Unless you both are older and time is of the essence, I would maybe wait until after graduation
 
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averageasian

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Find some part time work if you can, its doable. I currently work with a few UNC kids at a DAT prep company. I still pull pretty good grades and have a social life while making $.

On top of that, the military pays me to go to school.

Like @Cthuluhoop said you're very lucky. You're going to UNC (one of the cheapest DSs in the US), not NYU USC Tufts MWU Penn etc. where your peers are looking at 500K of prinicpal alone

live cheap, study hard. youre going to be fine and it'll all be worth it!
 
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Rad2013

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Find a home or condo through Community Home Trust. You can live in a great place in a great location with a mortgage substantially lower than most rentals.
 

beannaithe

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How old are you and your wife? I would push off kids until after d-school if you're not too old. Kids are hard; kids during dental school is hard. Keep in mind most dental schools don't have parental leave. So you're looking at maybe a week off to help your wife in the beginning. Realistically, you'll have less. Daycare is expensive (we pay ~1100/month for an infant, $2k for 2 under 3). Babies get sick a lot and go to the doctor's a lot. And that's a healthy kid. If they have health issues, it can get very expensive very, very quickly. So it might be hard for your wife to handle all that while working. Stay at home spouses are crazy expensive too because you'll be losing all that money she would be making while working. So I would try to wait as long as you can...maybe like end of 4th year might be the best in terms of money. Worst for timing with licensing exams and everything. If you can, I'd say wait until you're graduated or plan for the baby to come soon after you graduate?
 
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DentTreadOnMe
Jun 30, 2018
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Thanks for the advice all. The kids are kinda non-negotiable though haha. Wife and I are pretty firm in our conviction to have our first during DS, but we recognize the trade off. Thanks for your concern guys.

Does anyone know of national non-military scholarships I could apply for?
 

averageasian

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@DentTreadOnMe why no HPSP? There are plenty of people with kids on HPSP. Youre clearly competitive and could try for a 3 year scholarship.

doing the HPSP was the smartest decision I've ever made. yes I'll be 4 years older if i want to specialize but I walk out of an expensive private school without so much as a scratch and PG training will be paid for.
 
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AppalachianDentalBoy

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@DentTreadOnMe why no HPSP? There are plenty of people with kids on HPSP. Youre clearly competitive and could try for a 3 year scholarship.

doing the HPSP was the smartest decision I've ever made. yes I'll be 4 years older if i want to specialize but I walk out of an expensive private school without so much as a scratch and PG training will be paid for.
He might not qualify health wise or could simply not be a fan of the us mil.
 

BluntForceTrauma

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Thanks for the advice all. The kids are kinda non-negotiable though haha. Wife and I are pretty firm in our conviction to have our first during DS, but we recognize the trade off. Thanks for your concern guys.

Does anyone know of national non-military scholarships I could apply for?
Kids are awesome. I have two, started d school with one. You'll both grow, and you'll have different priorities than your classmates, but it's the best choice you'll make.

That said, I'd heavily consider the military. In talking with a lot of people who are in it, who have families, it's actually really awesome (and short) for the trade off of no/almost no debt. My wife and I were pretty against it, then talked to a lot of current people serving and it changed our minds.

Just my 2¢
 
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DentTreadOnMe
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Kids are awesome. I have two, started d school with one. You'll both grow, and you'll have different priorities than your classmates, but it's the best choice you'll make.

That said, I'd heavily consider the military. In talking with a lot of people who are in it, who have families, it's actually really awesome (and short) for the trade off of no/almost no debt. My wife and I were pretty against it, then talked to a lot of current people serving and it changed our minds.

Just my 2¢
Thanks for the advice.

As I go along, after 1 year or 2, I’ll re-assess my borrowing/family situation and will consider a 2-3 year military track. The wife wants that signing bonus lol.

I’m not opposed to the military at all, just worried about being beholden to the government moving you around. That, and I’ve talked to dentists and students in N.C. where I’ll be working, and with the higher average income here, it could be close to a $300,000 opportunity cost in lost wages if I go military route over 3 years, so it might come out a wash after the forgiven debt.

The military pays you about $100k right?
 

Rainee

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Kids are important and such a personal decision. Yes there are two sides to a story. I didn't have kids until later...and because of it, I was able to pay off my student loans, and put myself in a position for successful practice ownership. I think if I had kids during school, my professional career wouldn't be where it is today.

Again it is such a personal decision, but there are pros and cons to both. I do think as it is relevant to this thread- that kids will unfortunately put more debt on the plate, and also potentially stunt your professional growth. But it may not, but as stated such a personal decision that ultimately is quantified by you.
 
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princeafrica

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Thanks for the advice.

As I go along, after 1 year or 2, I’ll re-assess my borrowing/family situation and will consider a 2-3 year military track. The wife wants that signing bonus lol.

I’m not opposed to the military at all, just worried about being beholden to the government moving you around. That, and I’ve talked to dentists and students in N.C. where I’ll be working, and with the higher average income here, it could be close to a $300,000 opportunity cost in lost wages if I go military route over 3 years, so it might come out a wash after the forgiven debt.

The military pays you about $100k right?
What about NHSC?
 
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Thanks for the advice.

As I go along, after 1 year or 2, I’ll re-assess my borrowing/family situation and will consider a 2-3 year military track. The wife wants that signing bonus lol.

I’m not opposed to the military at all, just worried about being beholden to the government moving you around. That, and I’ve talked to dentists and students in N.C. where I’ll be working, and with the higher average income here, it could be close to a $300,000 opportunity cost in lost wages if I go military route over 3 years, so it might come out a wash after the forgiven debt.

The military pays you about $100k right?
Military pays you about 92k avg but around 30k of that is not taxable. Plus you have benefits. And no debt to pay. Also you make 2275$ per month during dental school. All in all you won’t have to worry.

 
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Cold Front

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Have fun in Iran...
If you really think there will be a war in Iran... you haven’t been paying attention and don’t understand how geopolitics works. Also, military dentists are very rarely in combat zones. 99% of military dentists are actually in bases that are no where near a conflict zone, and actually have better life than civilian dentists. I have a friend who was dispatched to Okinawa, Japan - he was having a great time while I was doing daily grinds here in mainland. His student loans were also paid off and getting stipends for all 4 years in d school. Free money while in school and no debt. That’s like a dream start to dentistry these days!
 
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PSUDent18

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If you really think there will be a war in Iran... you haven’t been paying attention and don’t understand how geopolitics works. Also, military dentists are very rarely in combat zones. 99% of military dentists are actually in bases that are no where near a conflict zone, and actually have better life than civilian dentists. I have a friend who was dispatched to Okinawa, Japan - he was having a great time while I was doing daily grinds here in mainland. His student loans were also paid off and getting stipends for all 4 years in d school. Free money while in school and no debt. That’s like a dream start to dentistry these days!
It was largely a joke. There are definitely great things about military dentistry. I am sure that we both agree that to do military dentistry for the money alone would be a mistake, and quite frankly I don't want someone whose primary motivation for serving our country being the money actually serving our country.

Make no mistake though, dentists will ultimately be where our servicemen and women are. With talks of sending thousands of troops to the Middle East, dentists are bound to follow. If you don't truly have the heart for joining the military you can pay off your loans within a few years if you have some common sense.