Nursing School Students: Tips for Saving Money and Spending Smartly
While nursing school almost always pays off in the long run, it can be stressful to try and make ends meet while in school. The high costs of tuition and the demanding hours often lead students to make financial mistakes or fall into debt. Staying on top of your finances is tough, but it can be done. Properly managed, your life after nursing school will be much simpler. Let’s take a look at how you can remain financially savvy while succeeding in school.
Don’t buy your textbooks from your school bookstore.
- They will undoubtedly be more expensive than if you buy them from another source, and used textbooks are often perfectly acceptable options. If your professor requires you to buy a brand new edition of a textbook, see if you can rent it or buy it for cheaper online.Chances are very good that you will be able to. If you buy your textbooks from eBay or Amazon, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars. If you have a way of reading digital textbooks such as a tablet, then strongly consider buying an electronic version of the textbook. It will likely be much cheaper and will save you the pain of carrying heavy books to and from class.
- Look at all the options when buying your nursing uniform.
- Your school probably has a deal with a company that provides nursing uniforms – but before going with the school recommended scrubs, see if you can find a better deal online. There are many companies that sell all forms of scrubs, from Cherokee workwear to NRG scrubs to Dickies scrubs. Do some research and see if you can find a better deal than the one offered by your school. You could save as much as 50% on your nurse uniform.
- Bring your lunch from home. Bringing a bag lunch is cheaper than buying lunch from a local fast food joint or from the school’s dining hall. While you might get tired of PBJs every day, consider bringing leftovers from your meal the night before. This will help you save money and give you a greater experience and variety of cooking skills. If you need ideas for cheap lunches to bring from home, search online or ask a neighbor with elementary school-aged children.
Save money on your nursing supplies.
You will almost certainly need a number of supplies for your clinicals, including a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, small flash light, IV kit, and more. While your school will almost certainly offer these supplies or recommend places where they can be purchased, remember the advice about textbooks and uniforms.
Do some research and see if you can find any of these items on your own at a lower price. You may have to buy your supplies separately, but doing so could save you a great deal of money.
See if you qualify for financial aid. It may be that with your income and your savings, you are eligible to receive financial aid. Fill out the FAFSA form to see, and try to get as much financial aid as possible. The less loans you have to take out, the better. Apply for financial aid and scholarships, even if you think the chance of being eligible for either is slim. There is no harm in applying, and a lot of money to be saved if your program agrees to pay some of your tuition.
- Keep an eye out for coupons! While you don’t have to emulate the people who hoard coupons and then go on a TV show to see who saved the most money, don’t undervalue the savings that coupons can bring. There’s a reason that you would sometimes find odd foods that no one wanted in your kitchen as a child; they were probably on sale.
There is a stereotype of stay at home moms combing through magazines and newspapers looking for coupons, but it is really a great way to save money. If you can save a dollar each time you buy a bar of soap, or a bottle of shampoo, or a loaf of bread, then you will soon realize that every dollar counts. If you had planned to resign yourself to a dinner of Ramen noodles every night, look for food coupons and see if you can’t live a little richer on the same low budget.
- Try doing it yourself. Whether you need to change the oil in your car, your dishwasher has stopped working, or there is a problem with your HVAC unit, see if you can fix it yourself. Repairs and car services can send your finances into the red faster than you can imagine, and if you can learn to fix a maintenance problem yourself, you can save a ton of money. The Internet is full of DIY tips, videos, and step-by-step guides for solving just about any problem.
Do some research and dedicate an afternoon to fixing the problem yourself. See if anyone else in your program has had a similar issue, and find out how they handled it. As a nursing student you are tied to a network of people in very similar situations – it is wise to take advantage of those connections.
- If you are working while in school, accept overtime. Whether you are working at a hospital in a non-nurse position or in an unrelated field, don’t scorn the chance to make some overtime pay. If you are working in a hospital or medical facility, working overtime can not only earn you more money, but provide you with more experience and earn the respect of your coworkers.
- Carpool with your fellow nursing students. Nursing students are typically struggling through the same classes, financial problems, and stresses, so if you can find other nursing students living near you, take turns driving to classes. You will save money on gas and car maintenance, and you will likely make some close friends.
There are a host of other ways to cut costs and live within your means as a nursing student. While you may have to take out a loan, you can at least make sure that it is as low as possible. Perhaps the biggest way to save money is on nursing supplies, and buying long lasting scrubs from a dependable source is the best way to do that. Everyday Uniforms is a great company for high quality nursing uniforms, including Dickies scrubs, NRG scrubs, and Cherokee workwear.