"I'm a new grad who is struggling financially - should I take on a second job to ease cash flow concerns?"

piggy bank

"I am a recent graduate, and am genuinely struggling financially. I have what I feel is a fair salary, but it just disappears on outgoings. I was paid towards the end of last week, and I am already down to the last couple of hundred pounds to see me through the month. I don't want to go into detail as to what my outgoings are, but I have already cut down as much as possible on anything that could be regarded as 'unnecessary spending'. I have financial commitments that I must adhere to.

I have looked into trying to get a second job, but am finding it impossible to fit it in within the time I have left after work (1 in 4 on call, with one alternating day off in the week). I really need something that I can do in my own time without set hours, as what I have available changes each week. 'Working from home' jobs that I've found thus far, to be honest, I'm wary of how legit they are. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could do, or any safe companies I could approach? I'm not sure what else I'd be good at doing, but everyone says that vets have many transferable skills- so I'm willing to transfer them as required! I'm really quite stressed about it all, and don't want the stress to start impeding my mental health, as it has done in the past. I'm not really sure that this is the best forum to contact, but I am really hopeful for some guidance and some tips.”

The VSGD Community responds:

“Check you are being paid appropriately for your experience”

“Honestly, I feel like if you have cut unnecessary spending and are still really struggling, is it really a fair salary? I get maybe you don’t want to share what you are being paid, but def make sure you are being paid appropriately for your experience and if not, I’d ask for a rise. 
Being a vet is hard, mentally and physically a second job seems a lot. That said I pick up extra from doing race work and editing a horse magazine. But these are the things that allow me to have a few treats, and you sound like you’re struggling to make ends meet at all and that just feels wrong to me.”

“Consolidating loans and debt may help you manage things better”

“Money worries are tough, but I'd be concerned about you as a new grad taking on more work on top of what already sounds like a pretty demanding workload. Your salary will get better as time goes on, but that's not useful to you right now! I know you don't want to go into details of your spending/financial commitments here but it really is worth taking a hard look at them again and seeing whether anything can change there. Doing a budget planner (there's an excellent one on the Martin Lewis moneysaving expert website) really makes you look at where the money is going. The money advice service also has great impartial advice and tips. When I met my partner he had a lot (and I mean a lot!) of debt - including store cards and overdraft, car loans etc. We sat down together and looked at what was costing money, consolidated some loans and debt (through the bank, so a good rate) and it paved the way for him to start to manage things better. That all said, life is expensive and I think the first few years out are the toughest.

“Vetlife provides free, confidential, financial advice”

“Vetlife can offer confidential support and signposting to financial advice, with or without going to financial support. It’s a free service www.vetlife.org.uk

“Contact the veterinary benevolent fund if you are really struggling as I suspect you have outgoings that you just can’t cut back on.”

“Get help from a trusted friend”

It's really hard to advise with no idea what the details are. I've tightened my belt. I used to own or loan horses and have had to accept that they are too expensive. I live alone so it's just me paying all the house bills too. I do occasional locum work and have rented out a room in the past too (helps pay the mortgage) Shop in Aldi not the big supermarkets, that will save you about a third. Shop around for your energy bills too. When I first moved here I didn't have a phone line and internet connection either. Do you have a trusted friend who can help you by looking over your outgoings and help you budget?”

“Don’t burn yourself out with a second job"

“Check your contract carefully: it may preclude you from finding other employment without the written permission of the practice. I appreciate your need to earn extra cash but your days off and down time are designed to help you get R & R from your regular job. Don’t burn yourself out.”

“Chat with nurses at your practice”

“Maybe chat with the nurses in the practice about how they manage? They are usually on less than a new grad and will have tips and tricks for survival? And will understand local finances. Oh, and if they aren't on less than you, renegotiate...”

“Side hustle”

I've always had another job alongside full time vetting. Teaching aerobics in my evenings initially, then lecturing at my local college on my day off and then bought a property which I could rent part of on airbnb. I write for vet nurse journals, textbooks and do 2 hours a week as a TA in my village primary school. Pick jobs you like and they don't feel like extra work.

Side hustle suggestions from VSGD community:

“I hear you! It's tough going financially but first port of call is to check you are being paid what you're worth and to negotiate for that. In terms of a job on the side, I write monthly articles for my local glossy magazine which pays a little - it helps, and works around my rota.”

“You could maybe look into something like joining Uber as a driver - you do need extra car insurance but from speaking to drivers myself they can get a couple of hundred quid a night - this is something I myself am seriously thinking about.”

“Maybe they can give you some extra days? I did that for a locum rate when I needed some extra cash and that was very helpful.”

“From a purely financial POV I’d recommend locuming if possible... think you’d struggle to make as much money per time doing something unqualified. There are things like Saturday morning shifts which aren’t huge time commitments as you need to look after you.  But yes, echo others- get advice RE your salary (and remuneration for on call); free financial advice on managing ins and outs; vet life; and any emotional support you may need as sounds both stressful and tiring… look after you and allow others to help”

Mytutor.com are in need of tutors. Comfort of your own home, regular work, might be worth a look.”

Monetise your hobbies, if you have a hobby that results in a ‘product’ at the end or if you can teach it. Good luck!”

I used to do veterinary surveys, some of the long ones you get £30-50 for. Not a lot in the grand scheme but nice to have a few £ extra. https://www.mnow.com/

“I second letting out a spare room if you can - it’s tax free income up to a certain amount.”

Airbnb is a great shout if it’s a possibility, the spare room for Airbnb more than covers my (admittedly cheap) rent with minimal effort.”

Writing for people such as VetTimes

”Assisting remotely with organisations social media or online CPD”

Other tips for cutting costs:

Lift sharing on long journeys or if you commute can certainly pay petrol costs (BlaBlaCar and Lift Share are popular and good apps). “

Ask yourself - do I need it, and will I use it every week? If the answer is no - don't buy it. If you do need to buy something - shop around for a cheaper price. Don't give in to retail pressure!”

“One thing I do to check whether I want something is to work out my hourly rate after tax then ask myself for every purchase 'is this worth x hours work? It has stopped a few purchases.”

Have a clear out, recoup money. I have a 6 month rule - if I haven't used something in 6 months, it gets stuck on eBay/Gumtree to recoup some money, or goes to charity if unable to sell. Great way to declutter (in turn saving money when moving house). It is incredible when you realise how much money you have lying about in your home”

Stop any non-essential monthly subscriptions - magazines, gym (unless you go multiple times a week), clothes, healthcare products etc.”

Do not buy anything on credit. It's always cheaper to buy something outright compared to buying on credit - once interest rates and depreciation are taken into account, you can actually end up paying well over 2 times the RRP.”

Start budgeting if you haven't done already - make a spreadsheet and have monthly pages with columns for "income" (salary, interest from savings); "fixed outgoings" (rent, bills, mobile contract); and "variable expenditure" (food, eating out, petrol etc). You need to input every single thing you have spent money on. Anything left at the end of the month - stick it into multiple savings account.”

Sign up to an automatic saving app such as Chip. Link it to your bank account and it'll use an algorithm to determine how much you can afford to save each week, then put it into the savings account.”

Schedule meals, cook large batches, don't eat out. Do a weekly food shop instead of grazing. Limit food waste - if you're buying stuff weekly and throwing it to waste - either eat it or don't buy it.”

Resources to help you manage finances:

The Money Advice Service is free and impartial advice set up by the government

Money Saving Expert has many resources to help you save, budget and overhaul your finances. planner

Vetlife can offer confidential support and signposting to financial advice, with or without going to financial support. It’s a free service

Christians Against Poverty provide award winning debt counselling to help break the cycle of grinding poverty

VetsNet has collated some great suggestions for managing finances as a vet

Got an opinion on this topic?
Share with us in the comments below!