Wednesday, February 7, 2007

matters of finance (aka in defense of ourselves)

i'm a little reluctant to discuss this on my blog, because it's a very sensitive subject for me. money, that is. it always has been, ever since i was little. further, talking about financial matters in such a public forum opens me up to the criticism of friends and family, who - even though probably meaning well - don't realize how sensitive i am about the whole issue. despite all of this, i'm going to take a gamble and put it out there. how nouveau of me (sarcasm).

going to vet school cost a great deal of money. tuition alone is in the range of $15,000 a year. couple that with the fact that i couldn't work while in vet school (as i hope my blog of the last 3.5 years evidences), and you'll see that my choice of education rapidly becomes a huge financial strain. that's actually one of the reasons i opted to not go into veterinary medicine in the first place, way back during my junior year of college. i actually had some foresight. amazing, i know.

however, almost 4 years ago, jim and i decided to take the plunge together. he for his phd, me for my dvm. and now, almost on the other side of that four years, we are in a somewhat bloodless turnip stage of our lives.

now, i've heard mumblings and mutterings about jim and i not saving money. i won't name names, but i know people think jim and i are bad with money. and i won't argue that we have been great. well, let me restate that. jim is fine with money. he doesn't buy stuff for himself, doesn't want to go to concerts, cooks dinner to help keep our eating out (which is a frequent event, given our schedules) to a minimum. so really, the problem has mostly lain with me. i used to have a shopping addiction - it was like heroin for me. but i got that under control completely. in fact, i can't remember the last time i went shopping for clothes. we don't have new computers, we don't have internet on our cell phones, we don't have 3000 cable channels, we don't have brand new furniture, we don't have cars we can't afford, and we don't have expensive pets (cat food is all free from school, as are my vaccines, which i don't give my cats anyway - and the bird food costs about $40 every 2 months or so). despite all this, we find ourselves scraping by for money quite often. but, for those of you who would so criticize this, i will offer this information: jim and i have been together 11 years, as of january 18th. in those 11 years, we have been students almost the entire time - with a few SHORT hiatuses. we paid for our wedding ourselves - with contributing financial gifts from our parents. we paid for my education - both undergraduate and vet school. despite being tight for money, we both have health insurance and no credit card debt.

this all sounds terribly defensive, and that isn't my point. what i'm trying to get at is that one of the biggest reasons i'm seriously considering foregoing an internship is that we can't afford it. the pay is dismal, relocation costs are not reimbursed or even offset in the slightest. it's going to be very expensive to do one. financial problems obviously put strain on any relationship. couple that with the fact that i'm going to be working an incredibly demanding, rigorous schedule for a year, and i can see why our marriage might really suffer for yet another year. i'm just not sure i'm willing to put jim and i through any more seemingly unnecessary strain. it weighs heavily on me. i feel like i haven't put enough into our marriage during vet school. honestly, we've both neglected each other - our educations have been rather all consuming. we've both been selfish. now i feel like it's time for me to be unselfish a little. i can still be a good doctor without an internship. i'm a hard worker, i'm motivated, i love to learn. i can continually challenge myself. i can find fulfillment in whatever i do, right?

so for those of you who think that jim and i are irresponsible and bad with money - rest assured that besides our school debt, we don't have any credit card debt, we don't have car debt, we've never bounced a check, missed a rent payment, missed a phone bill payment, or even come close to being delinquent on anything. and we're getting along fine - if a bit tightly.

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