Now that I am earning a resident salary, and Mrs. DA continues to work as a nurse, we are officially DINKs.
DINKs stands for “Dual Income No Kids”.
It’s pretty crazy to think about. Last year I was paying more than $50,000 in tuition. Then I graduated and started working as a resident and POOF! Instead of borrowing money I am suddenly MAKING money! Before you get too excited, remember that a resident doesn’t make doctor money. But going from BORROWING ~50 grand a year to MAKING ~50 grand a year is a HUGE jump! In theory it is a massive pay raise, right? Certainly the largest paycheck I have received to date.
So now that we’re both working, what are we doing with all this extra cash? Have we taken out leases on matching new 4runners? Have we gone out and purchased a giant house? Have I bought my $10,000 dream mountain bike?
Nope. Our standard of living has basically remained the same. I still drive a 1999 Camry. Mrs. DA still drives her 2000 Camry (hers has air conditioning and an aux port, so it’s pretty fancy already). Do we still save up for fun purchases? You bet! We saved and planned for an 8 night trip to Italy that cost ~$2,000 after finding amazing deals. As a side note, I never knew traveling could be so cheap if done correctly – that’s a different post for a different day.
But for the most part our lives and spending have remained unchanged in the setting of my additional income. And this is by CHOICE.
The first reason is because we are already really happy with our current standard of living. We haven’t had the mindset of trying to endure medical school so we could finally sip at the golden pools of luxury. Instead, we have engaged in the community around us and lived life to the fullest, even on a budget. For example, with or without a raise, my favorite activity on a Saturday morning is still a bike ride or a trail run, followed by an evening spent with friends. Our favorite entertainment is typically free (and quite healthy)!
The second reason is because saving is a luxury that we have never fully had up to this point. It always felt weird to save money while I was simultaneously taking out herculean amounts of student loans. But now we are saving for real! Our retirement accounts are growing, our 6 month emergency fund is healthy, and we are saving up for Roth IRA deposits, future moving expenses, and eventual car replacement funds. After intern year we will be moving to Southern California to complete ophthalmology residency, so we are also saving money to soften the blow of the future higher cost of living. But in short, living below your means is exhilarating! And living below your means is really easy to do in the setting of a pay raise. You just simply continue living on your current budget and the extra money starts adding up.
But the financial jump from being a medical student to being a resident is simply a trial run. The real test comes upon completing residency and starting your full fledged doctor job. That is where you will decide if you are going to live rich or be rich. Will you pay your student loans off quickly? Or will you shackle yourself to a huge mortgage and expensive car payments? Will you catch up on your retirement accounts, or will you blow your money on luxurious nonsense? Only time will tell. But here in the DebtAnatomy household, we are using our current pay raise as a practice run so that we can utilize our future pay raise to fully put our financial house in order.
So there you have it. We are DINKs, and we are taking advantage of this time to save. Because you never know when life will suddenly change forever by the arrival of a Baby DebtAnatomy…