Editor's note: This article is part of our "Personal accounts" series. Money management is all about choices: where you live, the job you take, what you spend. But when it feels like the money's drifting out of the bank account much quicker than it flows in, it's hard to get a handle on where it all goes. We asked several veterinary professionals from different jobs and areas of the country to track their spending for one week. Our goal: to share what they've learned from a deep dive into the cost of living and the choices we make every day. Read them all here.
Job: Associate at a mixed animal practice—We see a nice mix of dogs, cats and some really nice sport horses, plus the occasional pigs and goats.
Location: Just south of Kansas City, Kansas
Salary: I’m paid a base of $75,000 and then make a commission depending on how much I gross for the practice. Last year, I made around $85,000, so my average monthly spending is based on that.
Here are my monthly expenses:
Here’s a look at my spending in a week.
I am on day 3 of 4 at a veterinary conference today. I went to sessions that reviewed everything from small animal anesthesia to food animal tips and tricks, then threw in some practice management courses as well. I had my blood drawn at the conference to check a rabies titer and a CBC/serum chemistry profile.
Total lab cost: $125
Last day at the veterinary conference. This time learning about dentistry and end-of-life hospice care for small animals. I took my dad out to lunch to catch up, and I had to pay for parking today. Thankfully, the husband has been taking care of the house and pets throughout the weekend, so I can focus on learning.
Daily total: $53
Day off! Got a workout in, went to the library, then fueled up the vet truck and got groceries. I bought a whole bunch of chicken breast on sale, so I came home and portioned it out to freeze. Yay adulting! My student loan payment also went through on autopay.
Daily total: $531.93
The farrier came before work to trim my horse’s hooves. My day at work was slammed—lots of catch up to do after being away for the weekend at the conference. Lots of emails, phone calls and drop-off appointments.
Daily total: $40
Another busy day at work, still catching up from being gone. Thankfully, a quiet night of being on call—I had a few phone calls, but nothing that needed to be seen that evening. My husband cooked me dinner tonight and had it waiting for me as soon as I came home!
Daily total: $0
My cousin came in town from San Francisco and brought her dog in for me to do a dental. We had a good mix of small animal and equine appointments all day, but I was not on call and I was able to sneak out on time so that we could meet my family for dinner. My cousin was kind enough to treat us all to dinner, so no cost there, but my electricity bill came out on autopay and I had to pick up a prescription that isn’t covered by my insurance (goodrx.com for the win).
Daily total: $494.81
Busy morning at the clinic with lots of grumpy dogs today! I had to reschedule one of them for next week so that it could come back with some “happy” drugs. Here’s to hoping that pharmacology allows for an exam next week! Later that evening, my boss was kind enough to cover a few hours of call so that I could go out with my family again. We went to one of our favorite Italian restaurants and we had a great time.
Daily total: $87
Weekly total: $1,331.74