Since I just started radiology and got a whooping 2k raise for 2015-2016, time to revisit my budget and see if I can save more efficiently.

From my pgy2 income, not including my side job in tutoring,

  • Monthly Pay$4,461.08
  • Federal Withholding$234.79
  • Social Security$276.59
  • Medicare$64.69
  • Arizona$187.37
  • Monthly Net Pay$3,697.64


pgy2 monthly budget
pgy2 income 3,697.64
tutoring income 500
utilities -330
gasoline -100
food -300
home insurance -30
med insurance premium -167
car insurance -137
mortgage -925
extra mortgage payment -50
property tax -167
HOA -18
Mini’s painting/voice lessons -200
med insurance co pay -30
house maintenance -50
car maintenance -30
cc payment -280
Roth 403 B contribution -1300
pet -30
balance 53.64



I’m contributing monthly: $1300 to ROTH, $400 to equity, $280 to credit card debt (albeit 0% interest), which means my post tax saving rate is $1980/$4197.64 = 47%.

Mr. Money Mustache managed to save 75% of his income for ~10 years and retired at age 30 to start a family. Although my income is much less than his when he saved 75%, I’m still very inspired by him to live a life of frugality, resourcefulness, and relishing challenges and embracing true happiness.




So where can I cut out fluff and ramp up my saving rate?

The potential categories I can cut back and or save more include:

  1. I can start contributing to HSA (health savings account). Because by putting  in $80/month, I will get $60/mo from my employer’s contribution. This is a 75% match of my PRE-taxed dollars. Can’t get any better than this!  As WCI wrote “When you contribute to an HSA, you get a current year tax deduction. Your money also grows in a tax-protected manner over the years. Finally, when you pull the money out, as long as you spend it on healthcare, it comes out of the account tax-free.

  2. Mini Wise Money’s lessons: her voice lessons is about $120/ month, I have yet to hire a regular painting teacher/find an art studio. She’s done lots of art in after school and now has plenty of art classes in summer camp (summer camp was expensive but I was able to pay for it with additional tutoring)  Once school starts, I may limit her painting lesson budget to one in home lesson/month @ $40. This will allow Joy’s lesson expenses to decrease to $160 instead of $200.

  3. med insurance copay: both Mini and I get monthly OMT (osteopathic manipulative treatment; i recently started the monthly visits). But I can easily reduce my visit frequencies to every 2-3 months with more exercise and stretching on my own. Can reduce this item to $15/mo instead of $30.

  4. house maintenance: after brand new roof and a brand new Cadillac AC system, we have not had any real house maintenance expenditure. Even though the budget has $50/mo for this category, we have hardly needed to use it.

  5. car maintenance: we have low maintenance reliable cars. Even though the budget has $30/mo for this category, we haven’t really used it except for a few times a year. John does all our oil and filter changes.


For item 4/5, i’m happy for the extra $80 we save each month when we don’t spend on maintaining our car or home.

I’m reluctant to really go for item 2, as Mini’s learning and experiences bring me/ and likely her more happiness than anything else. so I think I will stick with the current allotment of $200 and possibly will increase it if i have additional income.

I am very excited about item 1. Instead of paying $101 in health insurance (the other $66 of $167 was for dental and vision insurance), I can save $80 per month in HSA (triple tax free) and receive the generous 75% match from my employer. In other words, without increasing my total income, I will be saving $140 more each month, bumping my saving rate to  $2120/$4197.64 = 50.5%.

This is fantastic. I’m always happy to see additional money saving opportunities when re-evaluating my budget. I hope you do the same with your budgets. Budgets are not limitations, they are a fine and necessary tool to financial freedom.



  • how often do you reflect on/adjust your budget?
  • what are the non-negotiable’s in your budget?
  • what is your current saving rate from you take home pay?
  • what is your target saving rate?
  • any new found cash that you can stash away this year?


Please comment below!

How to increase my savings rate to 50% and more?
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4 thoughts on “How to increase my savings rate to 50% and more?

  • July 4, 2015 at 5:36 am

    Moderation in all things. The purpose of residency is to learn how to practice medicine and to prepare for a high-paying career. I see little reason for a resident to save 50% of her income, much less 75%. If you do not wish to work for a few decades as a doc…..why’d you spend more than a decade preparing for it? If you do, then what’s the point of scraping and cutting back in order to save an amount that you can save in a few weeks as an attending?

    • July 4, 2015 at 11:05 am

      that’s a great point!
      in fact, my ideal retirement is simply go to work because i want to, not because i have to.
      i find that state quite liberating.
      i like to push myself in all dimensions of life and finding out new creative ways to improve efficiency of everything i do: from cooking, learning, practicing medicine, to saving money.
      MMM inspired me, not because i want to or think i can save 75% as a resident, but because i think his philosophy on life is refreshing. ie, we don’t need materials and comfort/luxury to get happy, and in fact frequently resorting to this route can be quite damaging to one’s mental health.

    • July 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      I do have a ROTH IRA, I just don’t budget for it monthly because i fund it sometime between 1/1 and 4/15 of the following year.
      sometimes i get some extra cash stashed over the year and can fund it no problem.
      sometime i simply get some help from my 0% credit card/cash back offers 🙂
      yes definitely agree with you ROTH IRA first, especially given that my employer will not MATCH any pre or post tax account for residents. I was a bit bumped but it’s alright.
      since i am on tract to max both ROTH IRA and ROTH 403b for a 23.5k total this year, my next target is HSA @ $6650.

      i like your post too, will actually write a full post as a response!


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