Budgeting 101 for Veterinarian Employees

Have you ever wondered where to start when it comes to getting your finances in order? Look no further, having a budget is essential to any financial household, regardless of income!

Financial planning in its most basic form, is essentially looking at what is coming in (income) minus what is going out (expenses) thus determining what is left over (savings), and then deciding what to do with it!

Once you have your savings number, you are one step closer to getting your finances in order.

Here is where to start:

Start with your income, if you are a W-2 employee (meaning you receive a W-2 every year when you file your taxes), this is the article for you.

(If you are an independent contractor, see my other article: budgeting for independent contractors, if you own your own business see my other article: budgeting for Business owners).

You will be able to get your information from a paystub that you receive every month or two weeks!  You should be able to download this via your employee portal (if you are not sure how to do this, ask your supervisor, employer, or HR department).

Now veterinarians can be paid several different ways: straight salary, hourly, salary+ production, all production ext.

If you are straight salary, then you will have the same number on your paystub each month, so it will be easy to determine what is coming in each month.

You are compensated based on production, then your income will be different each moth, and a bit harder to predict, however, you should be able to take a few paystubs and come up with an average monthly income.

KEY POINT: we are looking for what we call “Take home” or “Net Pay.” This is the amount that actually hits your checking account each month.  On your pay stub you will see “Gross Pay” and “Net Pay.”  Gross pay is before taxes and deductions, and net pay is what hits your account each month. So, we are looking for you average “Net Pay” or “Take home” each month.

OK so now we have accomplished step one: we have identified what is coming in each month: As a hypothetical example let’s use $10,000 to make numbers easy.

Next step: figure out what is going out.  This is where a budget comes into play.  If you are looking for a template, email me at luke.strode@northstarfinancial.com to request one.

When completing this template, understand that this is not an exact science! Your spending will be different each month, so getting it somewhat close, is a good start.

A few tips:

Sperate your “fixed expenses, from your “variable expenses.”

Fixed expenses are expenses that are the same every month. A couple examples: rent/mortgage, student loan payments, car payments, etc.

Variable expenses are those that change every month.

PRO TIP:  for expenses that vary widely month to month, (Travel, car registration expenses, home improvements, etc.) take an annual number and divide it by twelve to get your monthly average.

OK! Now you should have a fully completed budget worksheet. This is the first step, and arguably one of the most important, to getting your finances in order, so pat yourself on the back!! For the sake of our hypothetical exercise, let’s say the total amount of your expenses is $7,000.

So now here’s what we have:

$10,0000 – Take Home

-$7,000 – Expenses


$3,0000 – monthly savings

So now the questions:

  • Is that enough?
  • What should I do with that to help me accomplish my goals?

The answers to those two questions are different for everybody.

Just like your health situation, everyone’s financial situation is unique, requiring a tailored financial plan fit custom to you and your family.

Reach out to a trustworthy, competent, veterinary specific financial advisor to help.

You do not need to be wealthy to hire a financial advisor! Good Financial Advisors help you accumulate wealth!

If you would like to learn more about how we might be able to help you, I invite you to click here to schedule a consultation on us.

Luke Strode, CFP®

Author: Luke Strode, CFP®

Luke Strode serves as an original member of the North Star Resource Group – Scottsdale Division, a boutique, client-centric, integrity-driven, holistic financial planning and wealth management practice to cater to the needs of high income and high net worth individuals and their families.

Registered Representative of Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC and Investment Advisor Representative of Cetera Investment Advisers, LLC.

Luke is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of Securian Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. North Star Resource Group is independently owned and operated. 6720 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 290, Scottsdale, AZ 85253. 5456426/DOFU 2-2023