Manage episode 271992442 series 79220
On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Stephanie Weyrauch on the show to discuss budgeting. An active member of the national physical therapy community, Stephanie has served on multiple national task forces for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and actively lobbies for healthcare policy issues at the local, state, and national levels of government. Stephanie is a nationally sought after speaker and consultant for topics on social media use, generational issues, and organizational membership.
In this episode, we discuss:
-Stephanie’s experience paying off student loans and still enjoying her lifestyle
-The budgeting tools you need to manage your expenses
-Why an accountability partner can help keep your budgetary goals on track
-How to incorporate pro bono work into your practice
-And so much more!
For more information on Stephanie:
Dr. Stephanie Weyrauch is employed as a physical therapist at Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Centers in Orange, Connecticut. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Weyrauch has served as a consultant for a multi-billion dollar company to develop a workplace injury prevention program, which resulted in improved health outcomes, OSHA recordables, and decreased healthcare costs for the company’s workforce. She has served on multiple national task forces for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and actively lobbies for healthcare policy issues at the local, state, and national levels of government. Currently, she serves as Vice President of the American Physical Therapy Association Connecticut Chapter and is a member of the American Congress for Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. Weyrauch is also the co-host for The Healthcare Education Transformation Podcast, which focuses on innovations in healthcare education and delivery. Dr. Weyrauch has performed scientific research through grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation at world-renowned institutions including Stanford University and Washington University in St. Louis. Her research examining movement patterns and outcomes in people with and without low back pain has led to numerous local, regional, and national presentations and a peer-reviewed publication in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, a top journal in rehabilitation.
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy (00:00):
We are the facebook group so we'll be checking the comments regularly, but just know that we will be checking and we'll probably be a couple seconds behind you guys. So if you are on and you are watching throughout any point in our talk today about setting a budget definitely write your comments down like questions. Whether for me mostly directed to Stephanie and we will get to those questions as well throughout the talk or throughout this very informative talk. I was saying before we went on the air that I'm really excited to listen to this because I have always been impressed with the way that Stephanie and her husband Deland have been able to create their life and their budget, and it's still full and they get to do the things they want to do and go where they want to go all while maintaining a budget and all while they both have student loans.
Karen Litzy (01:07):
So what I'll do first is it's for people in the group who aren't familiar with you, Stephanie just talk a little bit more about yourself and then we'll talk about how you set your budget and what kind of framework you follow.
Well, thanks Karen, for having me on, I'm really excited to talk about this because I'm running a budget as something that was really hard for me to do for a long time. I wasn't really raised to think about money growing up. So it's not, when I went through PT school, I just got my student loans and spent my money as I saw fit. And didn't really think about my money. So I'm Stephanie, Weyrauch, I'm a physical therapist here in Orange, Connecticut. I work at a private practice called physical therapy and sports medicine centers.
Stephanie Weyrauch (01:55):
And I do a little bit of consulting work privately through four different companies to try to help with occupational medicine and try to prevent any type of work injuries that happened in the workplace. So that's kinda my background a little bit, but when I went to, when I graduated from PT school and went to my first job, and at the time I was working in Minnesota, my student loans were becoming due and my husband is a physician. So he has a lot of student loans as well. So at the time total, we had pretty close to $300,000 in student loans. So quite a bit. And when my student loans were coming due and my boss hands me this little application for my 401k and like all these other very adult things, I just, I panicked. And I was like, I don't even know what a 401k is.
Stephanie Weyrauch (02:44):
I don't know how to pay my student loans. My husband was in medical school at the time. So I was the only one working. And my boss was just like, hold on. He's like, it's okay. I can help you. And so he handed me this book called the total money makeover by Dave Ramsey. And I read it and it changed my life. It changed the way that I thought about money. It changed the way that I handled money and it really empowered me to pay off my student loans and to not be afraid of debt to basically conquer it. So that's kind of the background behind it in the book. And also on his podcast, the Dave Ramsey show, he talks about how to manage a budget and how to set up a budget and how to stick to a budget. So the app that I use is called every dollar it's free.
Stephanie Weyrauch (03:30):
You can download it on, you can download it on Apple or Android, it kind of looks like this. So you can kind of set up, you can put in how much money you make and also what your expenses are for the month. Basically, it's very easy to use. You can use it on your phone or your computer. And so I started using that at the time, we were a one income household. I did pick up an extra job in a skilled nursing facility because my goal was, I didn't want to accumulate any more debt. So my goal was to try to make enough money and save enough money that we could pay for my husband's last year of medical school, which he went to an instate school. So his tuition was $25,000, which is very cheap, I think, by medical school standards.
Stephanie Weyrauch (04:19):
And we were able to cashflow that entire year of medical school, just off of the extra job that I was working at the skilled nursing facility. So every month, basically what I do is I go into the app before the month starts, I put in how much money I'm expected to make. Now, one of the things that happens when you're in private practice, especially if you're starting out is you may not know exactly how much you're going to make. And so it's hard to put in your budget like, Oh, I'm going to make, let's say, as Karen was talking about in the last course, you know, paying yourself by, let's say by biweekly or by month bi-monthly I'm gonna make $2,000 this next two weeks. Like you can't necessarily do that in Dave Ramsey's book. He has a sheet that you can use that lays out how you can do a budget based off of an income that fluctuates.
Stephanie Weyrauch (05:11):
I've never had a fluctuating income, so I've never used it, but he talks all about that in his book. And it's very easy to follow because he also talks about that if you are in debt and you're trying to pay off your debt, there's a certain amount, certain things you need to pay first. So food, shelter, lights, those are like the main things that you need to make sure that you focus on first. And then also the next thing would be like clothing. If let's say you're, you need to buy clothing. For some reason, I have really don't buy a lot of clothes. So I don't necessarily have to worry about that. And then after that is, comes your debt and any other miscellaneous things. So in this budget, you set up your income. If you were planning on giving any of your money away and like doing some charitable giving, that's something that he puts in there.
Stephanie Weyrauch (06:02):
If you're saving any money, there's a section for that. So then you can set aside how much money you want to save. And then for housing in my budget, I have my rent electricity. I put my cell phone cause that's my phone bill in there, my internet, and then my laundry. So those are like the five budget items that I have in there. And then in that month I set how much money I'm going to spend. And he thinks of a budget, not necessarily as a restriction, but permission for you to spend your money. So like throughout the month, if let's say your needs change, you can kind of rearrange how much money you're putting aside. So let's say for transportation, I need, let's say I'm taking my car. Cause I'm going to drive to a couple of patients’ houses. But this month, most of my patients are within a two mile radius of me.
Stephanie Weyrauch (06:53):
They're not far away, so I don't have to drive as much. So at the beginning of the month, I thought maybe I have to drive more. So let's say I set a hundred dollars for my gas and auto budget, and now I'm realizing I don't need that much. So what I could do with that is let's say I only need $50. So that extra 50, that I'm saving, I could potentially move to, let's say my savings, or if I have debt that I need to pay, I can move it down towards my debt. So you're giving yourself permission to spend that much money per month. The next item line item is food. So I've had groceries. And then I have, we have a section for restaurants. So if we want to eat out now with the pandemic, one of the things that was kind of nice about the pandemic is we weren't eating out nearly as much, but our grocery bill went like way up.
Stephanie Weyrauch (07:38):
So I noticed that we've been spending a ton more money on groceries. And I think it's mostly because food has gone up. So I had to adjust our budget based on that. Now this month we're, you know, things are starting to open up a little bit more here in Connecticut and Deland and I really haven't been able to go out and eat very much. And so now we're trying to put a little bit more money towards our restaurant budget because we want to enjoy that experience since we haven't had it for so long. So typically I set aside maybe $150 a month for restaurants, but this month we doubled that just because we haven't hardly eaten out at all in so long. So again, it's permission to use your money in the way that you think is going to be good for that month.
Stephanie Weyrauch (08:27):
And then there's a section for lifestyle. So I put like my subscriptions in there. So my Peloton subscription and my Netflix subscription, and then I have a vacation with my mom, hopefully coming up. And so I've been, you know, find some hotels and stuff for that. So I've been putting that under that, and then this one's going to be big if you're in private practice insurance and taxes. So there's another section for that. So if you have your, let's say it's the month where you have to pay your quarterly taxes, or let's say, instead of saving all this money and doing it in one month, you divide it up into three months. Well then you can kind of equally divide that four month, and then that way you're not forgetting to pay it. And then of course the last line item is debt. And so how much money you're going to be spending towards your debt that month.
Stephanie Weyrauch (09:20):
And then what happens is it will take, it'll give you like a picture and a graph of how much you're spending. So let's see if I can bring that up. So, so basically this is my debt and how much I spend this, this past 12 months on different things. So you can see that most of what I've been spending has been on my debt is debt, the green light, this light green color, this big one, that's all how much money that I've spent on debt this year, so far this year. So, you know, Karen had mentioned the other day that deal and I paid a lot on debt and we have, since I've been on this budget, I have been dedicated to becoming debt free.
Stephanie Weyrauch (10:09):
And our goal has been to be debt free in a total of seven years. So right now we're in year four of that. And within those four years, we've paid off $150,000 in debt, which is a lot. And that includes the cashflowing of Deland’s medical school, plus our move that we had to cash flow from North Dakota to here in Connecticut. So I'm not saying it's easy, like I'm not saying I live a luxurious life at all, but I would say that I definitely, like Karen said, I'm able to like go, I'm able to go well before the pandemic, I'm able to go to New York city, like once a month and see Karen and like hang out with my friends. But I plan for that every month. And if something comes up where I'm not able to do that, then I just have to make sure that I don't do it.
Stephanie Weyrauch (11:00):
And so it takes discipline, which you're all in private practice and you've started your private practice. So you obviously are all disciplined individuals. I will say that when you're managing a budget too, it always helps to have a partner who will keep you accountable. I am a spender and Deland is a saver. And so if I had my choice, I would probably go over our budget every month. But Deland is very good at saying now, Stephanie, do you really need that. And I fortunately must admit many times no. So having an accountability partner is really important. If you're in a private practice, that accountability partner can be your spouse or your partner, or it can be your business partner, or it could be a trusted friend. So having maybe you guys are both managing budgets at the same time and you can kind of be each other's encourager.
Stephanie Weyrauch (11:53):
So that is something that's how I run our budget. It is definitely, I definitely don't live a very luxurious lifestyle, but I wouldn't say that I'm just sitting at home, eating ramen noodles all the time either. So I'm able to put most of the money that we spend every month goes towards debt. So probably half of our budget each month goes towards debt, but that's just because we are dedicated to making sure that we become debt free within the next four years. So, yeah. And, and there may be people on here who have no debt and don't awesome. Right? And so that part of the budget and the app, I mean, how wonderful, if you don't have student loan debt, maybe you have credit card debt, and you're putting something towards that each month. But I think if you don't have, if you're past the student loans or you didn't have to have, you didn't have to take out any student loans, then you can certainly take that money that would go to debt.
Stephanie Weyrauch (12:57):
It would be substantially smaller if we're just talking about credit cards and you could say, you know, I'm going to dedicate it to XYZ. Now what happens? Oh, quick question. So what was the Dave Ramsey book? I put two books. One was the total money makeover and the other's complete guide to money. I put them both in the comments section here, but where was the one that said he had like that's total money makeover. Okay. The total variable with the variable income. Yep. That's at the very back of it. And you can just copy and I mean, I'm sure that there's a copy of it too, on the internet. You could Google it and it's palatable.
Okay, great. Yeah. I think that for me, I look at, you know, this I'm taking care of your budget. I think a big part of it is writing everything down, right? It's the same way when we say to our patients to keep a journal or an exercise log, or if you've ever done weight Watchers, you have to write everything that you eat using weight Watchers. This is kind of the same thing. It sounds like this app, and you're really having to write everything down each month is definitely keeps you accountable, but also gets you into the habit of doing it.
Stephanie Weyrauch (13:44):
Yes. I definitely agree with that. And you know, the other thing too, that Dave Ramsey talks about in his book is he has these specific baby steps that you work towards to building wealth. So obviously I think all of our goals, some days to be financially stable and successful, right? So even utilizing his principles towards your business, I think is really important, especially because look at what happened to us during this pandemic.
Stephanie Weyrauch (14:34):
I mean, 80% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a lot of us needed PPP loans. And like some people's businesses just weren't prepared for this. So in his book, he talks about like having a small saving, like emergency funds, you know, paying off debt so that you can become debt free would be the next step after that. And then saving three to six months of expenses. And, you know, after this pandemic, one of the things I think I've learned is having that six months expenses saved is like so important and notice that it's six months of expenses, not six months of your monthly budget, but expenses. So then when you have an emergency, like something that you just can't even control, like you feel more in control, you're able to maybe provide more for your employees, or if you, you know, or even your help your patients out a little bit more pay your bills.
Stephanie Weyrauch (15:31):
And then the last three steps, which if you're a business owner, I mean, it's pay for kids' college, which you don't have to worry about that as a business owner, but pay off your mortgage. So if you have a brick and mortar practice paying that off, and then the last one would be to give charitable giving. And if there's one thing I think this will therapist are really good at it's giving to charity, i.e. giving out our services for free sometimes. So, I mean, at that point, when you're in that point in the baby steps, like you hypothetically are set enough that potentially you could do some pro bono work with your business, which would then put your business on the map as being a very solid community practice as well. So, I mean, I think a lot of the day to day principles that he talks about in the total money maker, that's meant for day to day stuff could easily be applied to business.
Karen Litzy (16:21):
Yeah. And I'm glad that you brought up the pro bono because the question that Gina had was, how do you decide on that pro bono? How does that fit into the budget? What kind of a sliding scale do you use and how do you do that? If you are a private practice, what kind of sliding scale are you using and how do you decide what to charge? And, you know, I say like I have a real Frank discussion with the individual patient. And if they say, you know, listen, I really need the help. If they were referred to me from another therapist who they were seeing using their insurance. And they say, you know, so-and-so says, you're the best person. You're best equipped for this. This is what I can afford. Can you do it? And because my business is at that point now where I don't, I can, I'm able to offer that kind of service.
Karen Litzy (17:11):
Then I say, yes, I can do it for this price. You know? So that's kind of how, and it's also depends on like, if the person, if I have to travel an hour and a half to get there and an hour and a half back, then it might not be best. Which in which case, I'm happy to find them, someone that will work for them. So I think when you're looking at the pro bono costs, if you're traveling to patients, you have to look at your travel time. You have to look at how that's going to cut into your overall budgeting and your overall key performance indicators, which we'll have a whole other talk about KPIs. But I think the bottom line is you have to know how much does your business need per month to be able to do everything you just said, right Stephanie.
Karen Litzy (17:57):
To be able to keep the lights on, to have shelter. So how much does your business need each month just in expenses? Have you met that goal, then? How are you able to pay for your insurance and your taxes, which I would say go into just the sheer expense of running the business. Yes. I would agree with that too. So that's the sheer expense of running the business. Do you need another new fancy gym equipment or this, that, and the other thing? No. Right. So if you can forego that to maybe help someone else at a pro bono rate or at a reduced rate, then my inclination is to forgo the fancy new treadmill and to treat the person that needs it. So I think how you decide what that pro bono rate is, I think depends on the person in front of you.
Karen Litzy (18:51):
And you could say, you know, you can ask, ask around and just say, Hey, listen, this is what other physical therapy practices are doing. This is what I'm comfortable with. This is what the least amount I can charge so that I break even. And I think people understand that. So I think when you're thinking about what's the lowest charge you can give to someone that would be it, or you can go perfectly free. If you can say, you know, I can treat, I can do one session free per week, and I'm still, you know, in the green and I'm not in the red, then go for it, you know, but I think you have to know how much you can make to keep your company in the green, and then you can decide, well, this would be my lowest pro bono charge.
Karen Litzy (19:37):
And then if someone comes in, who's really, really of need, or you're volunteering through an organization or something like that, where you're treating someone for free, then, you know, I think in my opinion, I think that's the best way to go about it. I'm sure there's some legal aspects around that. But from what I can tell in speaking with lawyers, they say, it's your rate. You know, you just have to be clear about what it is. You, Stephanie, where are you where you are? Do you have a pro bono rate?
Yeah, so typically our pro bono rate is like $40 per session is what we'll do, but we are flexible. I mean, again, our practice, luckily my boss, he's been an amazing leader throughout all of this. We didn't have to fully lay off any of our physical therapists and we have five physical therapists, but we were very strategic with how we worked and when we worked.
Stephanie Weyrauch (20:30):
And so we've had that freedom from kind of how we've been running our practice to allow for us to sometimes even treat patients where they pay like $10 for a session. So, I mean, it varies from situation to situation. Things that we consider is how dedicated is the patient? Is this a patient that's actually going to come to therapy? Or is this a patient that's going to flake out on us because we don't want to save them a spot and then they not show up consistently also we've had instances where we've had maybe some where we've thought the insurance was one thing and it came out somewhere else. And so we ended up using the visits that we were given and the insurance company won't give them any more visits, which is a mistake on our part. So we always want to do, we always want to do right with any mistakes that we make.
Stephanie Weyrauch (21:21):
That is another thing that we'll consider, or sometimes if we have a Medicare patient that can't afford their copay, you know, we'll exchange services and other ways, you know, whether it be like they come in and maybe fix something in our clinic. And then we exchange that with our services, bartering, bartering. Yeah. So, we've been able to be flexible. But again, we built up our practice enough. We've been in business now for over eight years and we're a well established in the community that we are able to do that if you're starting out, you may not be able to do it right away, but you can work up towards that as you start to manage your money and start to make a profit.
Karen Litzy (22:12):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Thanks for that example. And I think that you'll find that in most physical therapy practices, they have a pro bono rate. They work with people they're flexible. Every practice I've ever been in the owners have been super flexible because in the end, we're all in the business of getting people better. And sometimes that business, maybe doesn't yield a profit of $200 per person. Maybe sometimes it's 10, but if our business is to get people better, then that's what we want to do. And I will also say this just because that person let's say your patient needs that pro bono care, they can't, it doesn't mean that they don't know people who they will scream to the rooftops of how wonderful you are and how great you were and how easy you were to work with too. A lot of their friends or to their communities. And then all of a sudden you're bringing in more business because you did a good thing.
Karen Litzy (23:05):
So don't discount that. And perhaps, you know, that person can be the stellar Google review you need, they can be that video testimonial on your website. They can be that written testimonial on Yelp or on your website. So these are all ways to like, incorporate your pro bono services by saying, Hey, listen, we're happy to do this. If you're pleased with your service, if you feel better, we would love for you to put up a thing on Google or put up a review on Google or Yelp or on our website, if you're comfortable doing that. Right. I totally agree with that. That's another great way. So that's right. It's the same thing as, like I said what would the other night talking about lead magnets, put something out there that people can use. They then give you their email. And all of a sudden you've made this really fruitful transaction for the both of you.
Karen Litzy (24:00):
And that's what that pro bono type of situation can do. So just always think there's always ways to leverage a visit that has nothing to do with money. That's right. So, all right. So Stephanie, let's talk about if you would like to sort of wrap it up on the big budget issues that people need to be aware of. And I also put just so people know, I also put every dollar, the app in the comments as well.
Perfect. So I would say that the first thing that you need to know is you need to stick with the budget. I mean, there's no point having a budget and you don't stick with it. Accountability partner, I think is key. Having somebody there that will keep you accountable. I mean, you're in private practice. You're probably a very accountable person, but it's still good to have somebody there that asks that says, do you really need that this month?
Stephanie Weyrauch (25:02):
Or are you sure that this is what you want to spend on this specific line item? So having the accountability, I think is the key and sticking to your budget is the absolute key. I think that if you allow yourself to go over your budget and you're like, Oh, it's just one month that develops bad habits. You just gotta break all your bad habits right now. And that budget is like your gospel. You need to have a monthly budget meeting with your staff. If you have a staff, if you don't have a staff, it's just you with your accountability partner and say, this is what I'm going to spend. You know, I have a little bit of extra money that I can spend it on. What, what should I spend it on? Should I spend it on my charity work?
Stephanie Weyrauch (25:48):
Should I spend it on my debt? Should I spend it on getting new equipment and have that accountability partner help you with those decisions? If you want somebody to help you, but at least they can be there to basically ask you those questions of is this really necessary? I think if you can stick to your budget, you will feel so much better about your business. You will be less stressed. Like Karen said, you will feel like you've been like you, you have all this extra money because you know where all your money is. And the reason that the every dollar app is called every dollar is because you give every dollar a name. You don't have any extra money floating around in your budget. You put it where it goes for that month. The other thing is, is that to think of the budget as permission to spend money versus being super strict with it.
Stephanie Weyrauch (26:41):
So you still have the bulk amount of money that you're spending that you, that you have for the month. But, you know, if you notice again, like let's say you don't have to drive as much, you can take that extra money that you would typically spend driving and put it towards a different line item, but just make sure that your budget always adds up to all these total $0. You have nothing left. Everything is going to something in the budget and it has a name. Your budget is your baby. You would not name your baby nothing. Well, no, I'm just kidding.
Karen Litzy (27:26):
Yeah, no, I think that's a really great point. And even if that money is savings, right, it goes, it has a name. So nothing thing, I'm just going to leave it in the bank. It's going somewhere every month. I love that. All right. So we have stick with it. Don't break it, give it a name, anything else? And just accountability partners. Yeah. All right. Well, this was great, Stephanie, and I hope that people this gives everyone an idea of having a good starting point, downloading the app, maybe reading the book. Like I said again, to repeat the name of the book, the total money makeover by Dave Ramsey, and every dollar.com or every dollar app. And in there, it also has in the book, like Stephanie said, it also has information for people who don't have that steady every two week paycheck. But if you're an entrepreneur, it gives you ways in order to kind of work around that as well.
Stephanie Weyrauch (28:27):
And if you do end up, if you guys are podcast listeners, and if you download the Dave Ramsey show podcast, a lot of his podcasts focuses on entrepreneurship and on business ownership. And so he has a lot of really great advice on running a business and budgeting for business. The budget that I talked about is more, it can be both used as a personal budget or a business budget, but he does talk a lot about business ownership in his podcast as well. So I would definitely recommend checking that out. If you have extra time and want something to play in the background, it's a good podcast to listen to in the background. You don't have to sit there and like learn from it. It's just kind of there. And he's a pretty entertaining guy. Yeah. I took one of his it was like a longer course a couple of years ago. So I still have all of the materials and everything like that. So yeah, he's very entertaining and he knows what he's doing and it works.
Stephanie Weyrauch (29:15):
And I will say, you know, you can have a personal budget and a business budget. You don't have to have just one. You can have personal, you can have business and then you'll know exactly where literally every dollar in your business and every dollar in your personal life is going. And like I said, on our talk, you know, after reading profit first from Mike, I just found it amazing of like, yeah, I know now where every dollar is going to. So now that I know where every dollar is going to my big buckets, I can now use this to see where it goes to the very last dollar.
Right. Yeah. And like I said, when you do a budget, it's amazing how much extra money you have. And you're like, wow, I didn't know. I had all this money. What was I spending on before?
Stephanie Weyrauch (30:03):
Right. What kind of nonsense was I doing before?
Yeah. That's one thing that I have to tell you after instituting profit first, I was like, the hell was I doing like, seriously? What was I doing before? Because I have so much more money in savings. I don't have to worry about paying taxes. Everything's awesome. Like, what was I doing? I can't explain it, but now it's like, yeah, now I get it. Now I understand. And I feel like you know, like you said, Oh, this is a grownup thing. Oh yeah. So I was like adulting hardcore when I learned this. So I think that's great. And now Steph, before we jump off, where can people reach out to you or find you social media if they have questions?
So I'm on Facebook. Stephanie Weyrauch. Or you can find me on Instagram or Twitter at theSteph21 and I'm available on any of those platforms.
Perfect. Well, thank you so much. And everyone, thanks for indulging us, at least here in the Northeast on a very rainy, very rainy Saturday to talk about setting your budget, sticking to your budget and creating more wealth from the money you're already taking in. So Stephanie, thank you so much. And everyone, thanks so much for listening.
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