HACK YOUR HEALTHCARE JOB FOR BUCKET LIST LIVING


Being a healthcare professional for 14 years has been a rollercoaster.


I have been a part of incredible moments & I have also had some pretty devastating ones. Then came the pandemic & a pretty rough bout of burnout.


One thing that has shown up for me in cycles throughout my career is the awareness that I work in a broken system that values profits over patients. With that came an awful feeling that made me feel really stuck in that realization, like "wow, I really sacrificed my whole life for this career, got into debt to just end up here- overworking, undervalued & under living."

Can you appreciate this?


More devastating still was the realization that the holistic preservation committed & passionate healthcare workers like you and me are not worked into that business model.


& we deserve that + so much more.


We deserve safe staffing ratios, sustainable schedules, healthy & safe working environments & the space to process & rest from the physical & emotional toll of our work.


Especially post-pandemic- there is much-unprocessed trauma we are holding that may be manifesting in unhealthy ways.


gif

It took some time & commitment to work on myself & some rewiring of my self-sacrificing tendencies to recover from burnout & gain clarity on how to continue working in healthcare in a way that would be enjoyable & also in a way where it preserved my stamina & longevity in my field.


I took stepped away from my career as a PA & took a burnout sabbatical. Although my husband and I were financially unprepared to lose my income, it forced us to get good with money & I immediately realized feeling immediate freedom from feeling stuck in an unhealthy healthcare job.


But I learned something even greater.


My awareness of a broken system did not dull my true love of the work, because I joined the profession for the purest reasons, to help people & leave this world better than I found it.
It was just so hard to see that while in the trenches.

Can you relate?


By organizing our finances well & making some doable sacrifices my stress level decreased significantly & allowed me to focus on my mental health & other ravages of healthcare burnout.


I connected the very real relationship between good mental health & being good with money.


& so began my odyssey into the world of personal finance.


It has truly become a passion of mine now & I read personal finance books for fun.



gif

Organizing my money has been the gift that made me love my job again.


It has given me the space to say no to working at an unsustainable pace.


The freedom to leave toxic work environments.


& finally, begin to tackle that bucket list I used to dream about in PA school but never got the chance to get to because I was at work.


& so much more.



Where to Start


Here is where to start if you are feeling stuck in your healthcare job & want to learn how to organize your money to feel more freedom.


3 steps to implement today for more financial freedom.


  1. Break Free of the Self-Sacrificial Career Identity

  2. Financial Defense

  3. Pick up a finance book to read/listen to. Teach yourself Personal Finance with this Book List


Breaking Free of the Self-Sacrificial Career Identity




The very first thing to do is to consider that your job in healthcare can be the vehicle to fund your dream life if you utilize your income correctly.


Most of us have some level of emotional attachment to our roles as healthcare professionals because what we do is noble, it does help people & I like to think we do make the world a better place.


But also consider the ways in which this belief system has also hurt us, in terms of the way healthcare administrators use our compassion & willingness to do everything for our patients against us.


The truth is that we are so used to carrying the ultimate burden of responsibility for our patients. So that when the broken system fails to put patients first they we are the ones who correct for their administrative shortcomings, & we do it to depletion. Our burnout is a byproduct of a broken system from us having to constantly play defense in the name of our patients, against a system that does not prioritize them or us.


So this is your calling to remove your emotional attachment to your job & begin to look at everything you do at work transactionally.


This in no way means you care less about your patients or that it will require you to reduce the quality of your work.

It's actually the opposite.


This is simply a calling to examine the ways in which you may be depleting your finite amount of energy and focus, with dealing with responsibilities beyond your contractual agreement to correct for administrative shortcomings.


The goal is to eliminate this as much as you can so that you have more energy for what truly matters: your patients while they are under your care, your happiness & your life.


You get paid to do a job. & if you're anything like me, you will do it to the best of your ability, at the highest level for your patients while you're there.


Beginning the process of compartmentalizing your job & your life will help you to see yourself more as a human & less like just your title.


If you need a reminder of your humanity to ponder these questions:


What does your dream life look like?


What's on your bucket list?


If money was no option, how would you choose to spend your time?


Only then can you begin to shift your mind into utilizing your healthcare career & income to maximize your freedom & happiness & go for that bucket list now because tomorrow is not promised, baby!



Financial Defense


First & foremost make sure you optimize your mental health & regain your energy levels from burnout so that you have the bandwidth necessary to learn and implement these steps.


Financial defense in its essence is increasing the amount of money you save, which means reducing your expenses.

No, it doesn’t require unsustainable sacrifices, giving up your coffee house latte, or anything else that may give you anxiety.


gif


All it means is that you have a look at your expenses, & see where you can be saving.


I like this strategy a lot, especially when starting out because financial defense is readily available to implement whenever you are ready, whereas financial offense (increasing your inflow of money) is not always as readily available.


Awareness of your Spending


You can start simply by looking at your expenses during the past month & seeing where you could be saving more.


Pay special attention to recurring charges, as these will give you a good idea of what to prepare for or eliminate completely.


Hit the Big 3


Budgeting can be a rabbit hole at times. It's especially difficult because they're difficult to keep updated.


Money moves a lot (I think that's why they call it cash flow) & budgets tend to be static whether they’re written down or on an excel spreadsheet.


I have found myself, making too many categories to keep up with, forgetting to update the ledger when I make purchases & other pitfalls.


This is why I love zero-based budgeting using a digital envelope system like YNAB (You Need a Budget)


If you're not ready to go down the budget implementation rabbit hole just yet, just use this

anti-budget budget to make a big dent in your financial defense strategy.


Keep things simple focus on reducing costs on the big 3:

  1. Housing

  2. Transportation

  3. Food


Housing



There are a few ways to reduce housing costs. For us & what we got going on & where we are in our life, it looked like refinancing our mortgage for a cheaper rate.


We seriously considered moving in with my husband's parents for a while & renting our place out if we needed to save even more, but between refinancing the mortgage, swapping our expensive cable for one streaming service & really tackling our eating out problem, we were able to make enough of a dent in the budget that we didn’t have to.


It's really nice to know that is a viable option, should we ever have to choose between a soul-sucking job & happiness again.


Other strategies to save on housing include:


  • Getting a roommate

  • Extending your lease for a cheaper price

  • Moving to a smaller place

  • Renting our a spare room

  • Becoming the property manager if you live in a building or community


Just to name a few.


Transportation


gif

For us, it looked like getting rid of our expensive leased cars & saving to buy much cheaper & more energy-efficient cars cash. We saved slowly for these & also used a tax return check towards this.


I traded in my new BMW lease at $700/ month for a great 2013 Toyota Prius we got for cash. It is super efficient with gas to boot so we are saving in that category as well.

We also ended up getting my husband a 2009 Mazda Suv from a family member that was upgrading for 2K & gave up his $450/ month lease for the same newer SUV.


It's a bit of a gas guzzler, but we try & use my car as much as possible to offset this.


Another way to significantly reduce your transportation costs is to live closer to where you work if that is an option.



Food


gif

This one thankfully is the simplest, but not always the easiest.


We had a really bad food delivery problem, as I’m sure every overworked health professional can relate with. So this one took a bit of practice & planning ahead.


All you have to do is prepare more meals at home.


Easy right?! NOOOOOOT.


Yea until you come home tired and don't want to deal with it lol


It's a setup for failure.


gif

But seriously what finally worked for us was something super simple.


Meal planning. Notice I didn’t say meal prepping.


Although meal prepping works wonders for so many people, it did not work for us.


For one, I can’t think of anything worst than spending a Sunday chopping & cooking. Not that I hate cooking, I don’t mind it that much when I’m in the mood, but for people who have very little time off, take call or work weekends, its a lot to ask.


So instead we opt to meal plan by sticking to a basic meal structure, getting a ton of frozen foods & cooking 2 days' worth of food whenever we cook.


Our basic meal structure for lunch & diner is

  • One lean protein- which is more often than not made in our air fryer

  • 2 vegetable sides


With so many fresh & organic frozen food options, it's not hard & pretty inexpensive to stock the fridge with frozen veggies, medleys, veggie burgers, etc. In desperate times we use the microwave, which happens a lot, actually. Either way, it sets us up for healthy, 15-20 minute meals that are much more inexpensive than ordering out.


We do eat our sometimes for dates or whatever else, cuz it truly brings us lots of joy to order from the mom & pop pizza shop or the killer ramen place every now and again & watch a movie.


It's all about making it work for you, & doing what will work, and sticks, in order to take less call/ shifts, have more freedom to turn down extra work or put that money towards bucket list things.


More tips to Reduce Food Spending that actually work

  • Use the FLipp app to check what's on sale before you go

  • Shop online if they offer free pickup. This has been a game-changer in sticking to our budget because we don’t get trapped into spending more than we need by supermarket clever marketing and/ or random cravings from things that catch your attention. I've also saved a lot on household items from Amazon Subscribe & Save.

  • Stock up when something is on sale that you know you will use & can freeze or doesn't expire until you can use it.

  • Opt for produce you can freeze. Produce is overrated for people like me whose produce habitually gets bad before I get to it. I’m so guilty of this! I’m embarrassed to admit it. Now, if I get something fresh I give myself 2 days to eat it & the craving has to be strong enough for me to get my butt up & go get it.

  • Recreate restaurant favorites at home with online recipes. Even if you have to scroll through their life story to get to it. Our favorite place is this local organic place that serves really fresh plant-forward food. It's expensive. So I try & reverse engineer them somehow by searching for recipes or taking a stab at recreating them. For instance, I have made killer avocado toast, dairy-free Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden among other faves for way less $$.

The more you know about hacking your income the freer you become


Now that you are on this path it's a good idea to explore teaching yourself more ways to use your finances to build that dream life.


There are plenty of free & inexpensive resources to do this.


Pick up a finance book to read/listen to. Teach yourself Personal Finance with this Book List


Bottom Line


The more clarity you have about how your money moves, the better idea you will have about how much income you actually need to live comfortably & adjust your work schedule accordingly.


If done correctly you can use the excess savings to fund your dreams, vacations, tackle debt, or whatever else makes you happy.


If a job is sucking your soul, or even if it's not, it's never a bad idea to maximize savings & age your money (creating more space in between money coming in & money going out.


*This blog post provides personal finance educational information & is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice. All of the content of this blog post is my opinion not that of my employer, affiliates, or business partners.

*This post may contain affiliate links & I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.


 

Take home points:

  • By organizing our finances well & making some doable sacrifices my stress level decreased significantly & allowed me to take the time I needed to focus on my mental health & other ravages of healthcare burnout.

  • I connected the very real relationship between good mental health & being good with money.

  • First & foremost make sure you optimize your mental health & regain your energy levels from burnout so that you have the bandwidth necessary to learn and implement these steps.

3 steps to implement today for more financial freedom

  1. Breaking Free of the Self-Sacrificial Career Identity

  2. Financial Defense

  3. Pick up a finance book to read/listen to. Teach yourself Personal Finance with this Book List


  1. Breaking Free of the Self-Sacrificial Career Identity

  • your job in healthcare can be the vehicle to fund your dream life if you utilize your income correctly.

  • Most of us have some level of emotional attachment to our roles as healthcare professionals

  • Consider the ways in which this belief system has also hurt us, in terms of the way healthcare administrators use our compassion & willingness to do everything for our patients against us.

  • You get paid to do a job, & you do it to the best of your ability when you're there. compartmentalizing your job & your life will help you to see yourself more as a human & less like just your title.

2. Financial Defense: Reducing your spending

  • Track last months spending

  • Eliminate unnecessaries

  • For Bigger impact: Tackle the BIG 3

  • Housing

  • Transportation

  • Food

  • Meal Planning not prepping

  • Tips that actually work to save on Food.

3. Pick up a finance book to read/listen to. Teach yourself Personal Finance with this Book List


The more clarity you have about how your money moves, the better idea you will have about how much income you actually need & you can adjust your work schedule


*This blog post provides personal finance educational information & is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice. All of the content of this blog post is my opinion not that of my employer, affiliates, or business partners.

*This post may contain affiliate links & I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

© Copyright