Recently, someone asked me if Dentistry was worth all of the debt accrued over the time learning about it.
I am currently OVER $450,000 in school debt.
FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND
And it honestly, NEVER crossed my mind.When I decided to become a dentist the debt never made me think twice about my profession. Too make money, you have to spend money. I look at it as a very hefty investment in myself—and you NEED to invest in yourself.
Dentistry is becoming very technology based. There is now the CAD/CAM technology that allows you to mill crowns, bridges, and implant crowns in the office. About two years ago, I attended the Hinman conference 2 years ago and it even went as far as discussing hand pieces doing the work for us by cutting preps with a computer arm. There are many ways where technology is slowly taking over dentistry. However, even though these technologies are options—they are far from getting rid of us as a profession—in my opinion.
Regardless if tomorrow they put a computer arm in our office, I’m working. This is what I love and it doesn’t have a monetary value. If it comes too it, I won’t have that arm and realistically it’ll probably be way to expensive for me to even think twice about it.
Now, as far as this debt is concerned. Below are a few strategies that keep me on track with paying it off:
- 1. Mint.com- I’ve been using the app for a few months now and I was introduced to it by Myleik Teele, the founder of Curl Box, on one of her podcasts. It’s a budgeting app that you can log all of your bank accounts, credit cards, and bills on. It allows you to set a monthly budget and reminds you if your not sticking to it. It also, allows you to check your credit score once a month with no penalty.
2. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts app- This is something I just started—I know this may be silly too some, but I am I coffee fanatic. However, when not paying attention you can easily rack up $100 a month in Starbucks and/or Dunkin Donuts. When I realized how ridiculous I was being in over spending on coffee through my Mint app I signed up for both apps and put myself on a $30 total budget for coffee shops. If I run out of money on it on the 2nd of the month— oh well, no more buying coffee until the next month.! Also, there is no roll over! If I have $5 left over at the end of the month, then only $25 will be added to the apps
3. Groceries- This is a big one that most people know about. COOK MORE! It saves money! I like to make crock pot recipes and/ large dishes that can last a few days. That along with meal prepping is good for my pockets and my body. Also, sticking to my grocery list—each week I type a very detailed grocery list to the extent of how many of each items I need vs. guessing when I get there or grabbing however many I want. I was spending over $100 a week and now most weeks I keep it under $100. It adds up!
4. Pay Aggressively- LISTEN! I go back and forth with this one ALL THE TIME! Sometimes I want to pay off chunks and sometimes I want to live my best life! So, every other month I deposit a large chunk somewhere. Whether it be a credit card or my actual loans. I’m crying giving away ‘live my best life’ money and while no dents have been made I slowly see the number changing in the amount of debt I owe.
At the end of it all, be responsible and live. I’ve read all of these great stories about people paying off thousands of dollars in debt, but they have 5 roommates and eat noodles all day. The way my life is set up–that is not for me. In the end, I am extreme comfortable in the profession I’ve dedicated myself too. It allows me to live comfortably and pay off my debt. It’s all a matter of budgeting and figuring out what works for you. You will NOT see me celebrating that my debt is paid off in 3 years– but at that time I hope to have put a dent in it while still running away from a full functional computer arm in my office! 🙂