Nurses and health care workers typically have decent job security with good pay. As of May 2019, the average median pay for a nurse is $73,300 per year and $35.24 per hour. With nursing jobs increasing faster than most industries, nurses will be in demand for years to come.
Even with financial security for the foreseeable future, it’s still important to practice intelligent money management skills. You may have debt from student loans, be saving to buy a home, or just want to practice good financial savings for your future.
Whatever the reason, your hectic schedule means you may not always have your personal savings at the forefront of your mind. To help you start saving, here are 11 money management tips for nurses.
1. Set Up Direct Deposit
If your employer offers direct deposit, sign up for it. Not only will it save you the extra step of visiting the bank or the hassle of mobile banking, but you can also set it up to deposit some or all of your check into a savings account or investment account.
The money set aside in a savings account can cover future expenses while accumulating a higher interest than a checking account. Investments accounts tend to have even higher interest rates and can help you get started on saving for retirement.
Setting up your direct deposit to go straight into these accounts means you won’t see the money in your usual spending accounts and therefore won’t be as tempted to spend it immediately.
2. Pay Off Credit Card Debt ASAP
Once you have a steady, consistent nursing job, your first priority should be to pay off any and all of your existing credit card debt. Not paying your monthly minimum can tank your credit score, affecting your ability to finance a house or car, and paying off your accounts quickly means you’ll save money in the long run from not having to pay interest.
Once you do pay off your balance, be sure to pay your entire balance off every month to ensure you don’t pay needless interest rates and lose money.
3. Consider Refinancing Your Student Loans
Many nurses graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Because of this high financial burden and interest, it can take years and, in some cases, decades to pay off your loans.
One option is to refinance them. By refinancing your student loan debt, you can get lower interest rates. This makes your monthly payments more manageable and gives you the ability to pay them off in a shorter span of time.
4. Open a High-Yield Savings Account or Money Market
A high-yield savings account is one that pays a higher interest rate. If you predict that you won’t have any major purchases in the next couple of years, it’s a great way to collect interest on any money that you put into savings.
When looking into a high-yield savings account, be sure to note its annual percentage yield, minimum deposit required, minimum balance required, and withdrawal options.
5. Create a Monthly Budget
You might be surprised how much money you can save by creating a monthly budget and sticking to it. Once you have a steady income, calculate all of your monthly expenses against your earnings. After you take care of all your necessary monthly expenses (like gas, food, utilities, rent, etc.), allocate some money for free-spending and savings.
If you do not have enough income to set aside for savings each month, you may need to revisit some of your spending habits and expenses.
6. Talk with a Financial Planner
If you’re really serious about your future savings, schedule time to meet with a financial planner about your future goals, both professional and personal. A financial planner can help you plan for large purchases, like buying a house or saving for retirement.
If your current job is just one of many future promotions, financial planners can help perfect your future salaries and help you secure a better financial future.
7. Start a Part-Time Job or Side Business
Nursing should be your first professional priority. But if you have the time and energy to take on a part-time job and make extra money, go for it! You can also do something you enjoy such as freelance writing or dog sitting for extra money as a side business.
Not only does a side business potentially bring in a little more cash, but it can also be a great mental break from what can often be a stressful career in the medical field.
8. Look for Wholesale Deals on Scrubs and Nursing Shoes
You’re almost always going to need to wear scrubs and strong shoes as a nurse. As trends in scrubs fashion don’t change as much as other fashion lines, you can save money by buying your work wardrobe in bulk for years to come. Look for sales, coupons, and wholesale stores for scrubs.
For shoes, you’ll want to look for whatever is best for your feet and be aware that depending on how much you’re on your feet, you’ll likely find you’ll need to buy new ones a few times a year. Going to factory outlets can sometimes get you the best deals for more than one pair at a time. If you’re making a monthly budget, don’t forget to include work clothes as an expense.
9. Prepare Your Own Meals at Home
As nurses, we often work crazy hours and schedules in high-stress environments, which means there’s a tendency to favor convenient, tasty meals over healthy ones.
To make sure you’re not always rushing to the vending machine or picking up fast food on the way home, plan your meals out for the week. Take one of your days off to meal prep in advance. Cook your meals, then pack them and store them in the refrigerator for the coming days.
Not only will this ensure you’re eating better, but you’ll also be saving money by not going out to eat, which adds up the more you do it.
10. Save for Retirement
The earlier you start to save up for retirement, the better. Like many other modern professionals, nurses lately haven’t been able to count on pensions in their retirement years. If you’re planning on spending those years a certain way, you should start saving now.
If you have an employer that matches contributions to a retirement account, such as a 401(k), you should max out that benefit if you financially can. It’s free money that goes directly into your pocket in your golden years.
11. Use Clipboard Health DailyPay
At Clipboard Health, we’ve partnered with DailyPay as a solution to help you get paid quicker. Download the app and you’ll be able to get paid the day after completing your verified Clipboard Health shift.
By having access to your funds immediately, you’ll be able to budget your money differently. By making an account on Clipboard Health, you can sign up for extra per diem nursing shifts, meaning you’ll have a flexible schedule and instant access to your earnings.