Personal accounts: A week in Utah on $70K a year


After a week of foreign intestinal bodies and dental slab fractures, this introverted associate seeks the comfort of Netflix and gardening and a new veterinary tech gadget.

The heart wants what the heart wants. |

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.


Day 1: Monday

7:00 p.m. I get home late from work. It's been a busy day, and a dog with a possible intestinal foreign body showed up at 4:30 p.m. Abdominal radiographs showed that she may have had a partial obstruction. I hospitalize her with IV fluids and a lidocaine constant-rate infusion and am hoping the dog will just pass whatever she ate. I convince the boy to go to Burger King with me because I want a hamburger and fries-make that two cheeseburgers and a small fry. Dinner is on me. Total: $11

Daily total: $11

Day 2: Tuesday

8:00 a.m. I arrive at work with my dog, pull blood and place an IV catheter for diuresis before her dental. As we're inducing, I tell the technician that I don't think my dog needs any extractions and that her teeth don't have a lot of tartar … and that's when I see a slab fracture. No wonder she's not chewing on her rawhides. That's been going on for about two months. I'm a horrible dog mom. I continued diuresis throughout the day with hourly potty breaks for the pup. Total: $125 (with employee discount)

12:45 p.m. I order Hill's K/D for the pup since her azotemia is getting worse and her ability to concentrate has decreased. Total: $46

6:00 p.m. I have the boy go buy ink for the printer while I'm at work. Apparently Cartridge World has changed since I last bought ink. You have to bring in the old cartridges to get a new one, but since they have so many of the size we need they sell it to us. Total: $88

We eat a dinner of leftovers from the weekend because I make most of our food on my days off. Leftovers for days!

Daily total:$259


Day 3: Wednesday

1:30 p.m. It's been a rough morning at work, so I buy some candy on my way back from lunch for a coworker. Total: $3

7:00 p.m. I give in and buy a Vetcorder so I can monitor more during anesthetic procedures at work. We had one at school and I thought it was amazeballs. Seriously, I wanted one. Total: $960

Daily total: $963

Day 4: Thursday

7:30 a.m. I stop at Costco for gas on my way up to the state diagnostic lab. My tank of an SUV only takes premium and it sucks gas down through a firehose. Yay. Total: $32

7:00 p.m. I head to Target with the boy. He's obsessed with the seasonal Mountain Dew, and they're running out everywhere around here. Target is the only place we can find it, so we stock up. So much Mountain Dew in the house now. Total: $41

Daily total: $73

Day 5: Friday

8:00 a.m. Everyone is calling and trying to get in before the three-day weekend (Monday's a holiday).

1:00 p.m. Busy day. I'm not able to go home for lunch, so Warrens it is. Total: $6

6:00 p.m. After-hours surgery on the dog I've been trying to get to pass a foreign body? Sure. I stay until the dog recovers and is resting nicely. The dog had eaten a sock, which by the way, was not what the owners had thought she'd eaten (the owner had told me the dog doesn't touch their personal items-only the other dog's toys).

9:00 p.m. I'm finally home and eating some cold spaghetti that the boy made.

Daily Total: $6


Day 6: Saturday

2:00 p.m. I worked a half-day with the vet that helped me with the enterotomy the night before. Things got busy, but we survived. Now the boy and I are off to the waterpark, as the clinic where I work is having a family day. Entrance fees and dinner are on my boss. But first, we make a quick gas station stop for some drinks. Total: $2

3:00 p.m. We arrive at the waterpark and pay for parking. It's so hot and humid. I hate humidity. But luckily we find a spot fairly close to the entrance. Total: $10

7:00 p.m. After spending a few hot and sticky hours in the sun and eating dinner in the park, we head home. All in all, it was a fun time.

Daily Total: $12

Day 7: Sunday

Bill Pay is scheduled to pay the rent today. Total: $488

9:30 a.m. I finally get to sleep in, and it's glorious. I eat cereal and get ready to go grocery shopping.

10:30 a.m. At the grocery store, we end up buying a lot of Powerade for some reason. We also buy things to make breakfast sandwiches for the boy since he starts working full-time this week on top of summer school. Total: $75

Nothing exciting all day. I'm pretty boring, especially since I just want to sit and do nothing most of the time. The boy plays computer games while I do laundry and watch Netflix. I'm very introverted, so I use this time to not interact with anyone. The boy understands this and gives me the space I need.

6:00 p.m. I check on my garden. Three squash are ready to be picked. I'm still waiting on the green beans and the corn. Maybe I can sell some at the farmer's market.

Daily Total: $563


Weekly total: $1,887

Yikes! That's almost an entire paycheck in just one week. But to be fair, this was the week rent was due, and I bought an extra toy for work.



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