Inflation has hit us all in a variety of ways. Prices for everything from groceries to gas have increased. In this article, we want to look at ways that veterinarians can manage the impact of inflation in their personal lives.
Assess your Finances
The first step to figuring out how to manage the impact of inflation is to see your current financial status. Review your paystubs or invoices, along with income from other members of your household, to see what you’re actually currently making. If you’re working as an independent relief veterinarian, you’re probably already doing this.
Then sort, without judgment, what you’re currently spending into categories. Your bank or credit card company may do some of this for you. Log in to your bank account and look for a “Spending” or “Spending & Analysis” option for your account.
The next thing to do is create a budget. That means sorting your current spending into buckets, and coming up with a plan on how to make those buckets fit within the constraints of your income. There are multiple sites that can help with budget planning, or you can do it with a spreadsheet.
The budgeting process should help you identify areas where you can reduce spending. Things like housing will be hard to change, obviously, and areas like shopping or entertainment may be more flexible.
Steps to Saving
If inflation has had a minimal impact on your budget, then a few simple savings tips may help bring balance to your checkbook. Consider:
- Eating at home instead of getting takeout or delivery.
- Using coupon apps like Flipp or rebate apps like Upside.
- Skipping or reducing fancy coffee drinks.
- Going to non-standard grocery stores. Depending on your area, you may want to check out Aldi, supermercados or Mexican grocers, or Asian grocery stores.
- For some, a Sam’s Club or Costco membership can pay itself off in gas savings alone.
Dealing with Debt
Some of the most common debt issues include credit card debt and student loan debt. The key to both of these issues in interest rates. Start by looking at the interest rates for each credit card and each student loan vehicle. Some credit cards have an interest rate of 25%! Every $100 that you do not pay off in that month costs you $25. And there’s a lot better things you can do with that money than give it to the bank.
Find what accounts have the highest interest rates in your personal portfolio. If you have a card with a 25% interest rate and another with a 10% interest rate, focus on the 25% first. Give the card companies a call to see about managing your balance payments or transferring your balance to a lower-interest card, and then close the high-interest account. You want to get to a point where you can pay off all your cards in full at the end of each month.
While federal loan rates are usually under 8%, private loan interest can run up to 13%. If your highest interest rate is on a student loan, then call the loan company. See if there are options for deferred payments, refinancing, or forgiveness options.
You may be in a situation where your cards are paid off and the small adjustments don’t add up enough to cover skyrocketing prices. That’s when you have to review larger expenses that may seem fixed.
Often, your largest expense is housing or transportation. Housing is tough – you’re usually locked in for a year or two with a lease, or 15-30 with a mortgage. Transportation is more flexible. Here are some ideas on reducing transportation costs:
- Review your insurance to reflect the current value of your vehicle.
- Review loan terms for financed vehicles.
- Look for carpooling options. Some cities/counties may have broader carpooling or vanpooling options.
- Consider public transportation. While it might take longer, you can use the time to nap, read, or prep yourself for the day. And costs are usually very low!
- In some situations, you may be able to walk or bike to work. Then you get a workout as well as saving money.
Once you’ve looked at your current spending and made the hard decisions about what to cut, look at the bottom line. Have you covered the gap?
Increasing Veterinarian Income
Sometimes, you can’t cut any more, and you still have a budgetary gap. The glib answer is “just increase your income!”
For veterinarians, especially those with a few years of experience, increasing your income can be a little easier than some other professions. Vets are currently in high demand.
Relief work can let you add extra hours, often at a higher rate, to your schedule. Even just a few days of relief work can bring in hundreds or thousands of dollars. There’s an acute amount of openings during the holidays, and there are options for relief work year-round.
Balance your personal time, time with family, and your current job. If there’s room for relief, or if you’re looking to change jobs entirely, contact us for a quick conversation to see how Holiday Vet can help you pad your budget!