6 Personal Finance Tips for Nurses

There is no denying that nursing can be a lucrative career. With the average registered nurse earning upwards of $71,000 per year, it may seem like finances should not be much of an issue. In truth, however, there are a lot of nurses out there who do not have a solid grounding in terms of personal finances, and many struggle when making decisions regarding their financial futures.

If you are tired of living paycheck to paycheck but aren’t sure how to break free of the cycle, you are not alone. There is hope, though. Keep reading to discover some personal finance tips for nurses that will empower you and help you build a brighter financial future.

Curb Your Spending

Whether you are brand new to nursing and excited about finally getting steady paychecks or you have been working in the field for a while, your spending habits are likely a big part of what’s holding you back financially.
The good news?

Curbing your spending isn’t that difficult. If you normally buy drinks and lunch while you are at work, start bringing them home instead. Refill a water bottle throughout your shift instead of buying bottled water.

Watch what you are spending your money on outside of work, too. There are probably at least a few unnecessary expenses that you can easily eliminate from your budget.

Budget for Necessities

While there are plenty of things that you don’t need to spend money on, there are also several necessities that you have to purchase. Create a budget that includes basic necessities, like food, household supplies, personal care supplies, medications, gas, monthly bills, etc.

Next, consider necessities for work. As a nurse, you need comfortable nursing shoes, and you should replace them a couple of times each year. You’ll also need cute and comfortable scrubs, which may need to be replaced due to damage. Because you require these items to do your job, you need to make sure they are included in your budget. Setting aside a little bit of money from each check to ensure that you have money for new shoes or scrubs when you need them can be a lifesaver!

Build Up an Emergency Fund

If you rely on your car to get to work and it breaks down, do you have the money to cover repairs? Could you afford rent if your hours were reduced? Can you afford a medical emergency? Do you have the money to fix something in your home if it breaks?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you need to start working on an emergency fund. Ideally, you should have enough money saved up to cover six months’ worth of living expenses. This saving ensures that you will be prepared for various misfortunes you may experience.

Refinance Your Student Loans

If you feel like you are spending way too much each month on your student loan payments, refinancing could be a good way to keep more of your hard-earned money in your bank account. The average nurse graduates from nursing school $30,000 in debt. By refinancing your loans, you may be able to reduce interest rates, lower monthly payments, and have more money to set aside for emergencies, major purchases, etc.

Be Smart About Major Purchases

Sometimes, major purchases are unavoidable. In other cases, they can be put off or skipped altogether until you are in a better financial situation. Stretching yourself too thin to pay for things like cars, homes, and major appliances often leads to burnout, so it’s important to be mindful of the future implications when making large purchases.

Before you make a major purchase, think about whether it’s really a wise financial investment. It’s one thing to purchase a reliable used car if yours breaks down and would cost too much to repair. It’s something else entirely to buy the flashiest brand-new car on the lot simply because you are tired of your old car.

If you are thinking about financing an expensive item, make sure you are aware of exactly how much the payment is going to be. Assess whether you can truly afford that payment without sacrificing something else. If you can only make the payment by no longer adding money to your savings account, for example, the purchase may not be a wise idea.

Invest in Yourself

When it comes to spending money, investing in yourself is one of the best options. Invest in continuing education opportunities, go back to school to advance your career, etc. Investing in yourself provides opportunities for you to increase your income. Taking steps to develop yourself both personally and professionally is an excellent form of self-care, too.

Invest in the right insurance to protect yourself, too. Even if your job covers the cost of basic coverage, you might want to spend a bit extra to secure better insurance. You may need to pay out of pocket for things like disability insurance and long-term care. Talk to an insurance professional to find out whether your insurance needs are being fully handled.

The Bottom Line

Managing money is something that many people struggle with. Don’t feel bad if you are bringing home a decent wage and still struggling to make ends meet. Making smart financial decisions isn’t easy, especially when you work long hours in a stressful job like nursing.

With the tips listed above, however, you can take control of your personal finances. Even making small changes can have a big impact on your overall financial well-being. So the next time you think about grabbing an iced latte at work or spending money on something else that you really don’t need, consider how the choices you make today could impact your financial future.