Monday, December 23, 2019

4 Ways of Saving Money While Studying Your Nursing Degree

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Like all students, nurses studying for their degrees often need to budget efficiently. Most nursing students will also be working in the field, but the extra financial demands of tuition can rapidly eat through that. 

Below are 4 ways that any nurse can save money while studying for their degree. 

Make a Budget 

One of the most effective means of saving money is to institute a budget. Setting yourself a budget - one that you can stick to - is an effective way of reducing the amount of money that you spend on a day-to-day basis. A budget will help you to identify exactly what you are spending money on, and will therefore make it much easier to identify potential avenues for savings. Setting yourself an unrealistic budget that you aren't going to be able to stick to will be setting yourself up for failure and will ultimately make it much harder for you to save money. 

Depending on the level that you are working at, the pay for a nurse can either be very good or somewhat lacking. But most nurses, regardless of the level they are working at, can benefit from tighter budgeting. Being more organized with your finances will help you to be more organized in your daily life. 

Below is a reliable step-by-step method for setting yourself a realistic and achievable budget plan. 
  1. Calculate your expenses: Before you can identify potential areas for making savings, you first need to calculate how much money you are spending and exactly what you are spending it on. Make a note of all of your outgoings for the month, and keep hold of any bills or bank statements that come through the door. This will give you the most accurate picture possible of exactly how much money you are spending. If you retain your receipts, then you can also identify where you are spending money with ease. In particular, look out for recurring expenses such as utility bills and subscription charges. These recurring payments might seem small on a one-off basis, but can rapidly add up over time. Additionally, there are now numerous apps and online services that you can use to automatically track your spending, and many of them will send you the daily or weekly email reports giving you a breakdown of where you are spending your money.
  2. Determine your income: For some people, determining their income will be as simple as looking at their last paycheck. However, some people's income is more fluid than this and can change from month to month. An accurate accounting of all the money that you have coming in and going out is essential if you are going to formulate a realistic budget for yourself. If your income fluctuates a lot, then try to work with a number at the lower end of the spectrum. This will give you more headroom and will make it easier to set money aside for saving.
  3. Pay off your debts: If you already have significant debt to your name, then you will always be on the back foot with your savings. Paying off your debts should, therefore, be a priority if you want to start setting money aside, or keep more money at the end of each month. If you cannot afford to pay all your debts off in one go, try to work out a payment plan with your creditors. This will enable you to pay a smaller amount each month and will make your debts much more manageable. By subtracting your expenses from your income, you can work out exactly how much money you will have to work with. Ideally, you will want to set some aside each month for a rainy day, but you should also spend some of it clearing off your debts.
  4. Set savings goals: The key to successful budgeting lies in setting yourself realistic savings goals that you will actually be able to stick to. If you try to take on too much too quickly, then you will be doomed to failure. We will come on to some of the ways in which you can reduce the amount of money that you spend, but you might find it easier initially to simply try to spend less and see how little you can spend while still meeting all your needs. This will give you an idea of the kind of savings that you are capable of. You can then work to either maintain this level or reduce it as necessary. If you find it difficult to make significant cutbacks, try to do it in stages and gradually introduce changes to your spending habits. 

Consider Studying Online 

One of the great things about nursing as a career is that you are free to study for the next level of your qualification at your own leisure. This means that every time you want to advance your career, you can save yourself some money by choosing to enroll in an online university. Enrolling in an online university means that you aren't restricted by geography, which is useful for those who work in thoroughly rural areas. For example, a nurse working in New York could study at an online nurse practitioner school in Oklahoma

Studying online is cheaper than enrolling in a regular university and is the perfect option for nurses who want to reduce their tuition costs. Many online courses can also be studied part-time and paid for on a month to month basis. This varies between universities, but it can allow for even greater savings. 

Additional money saving benefits of enrolling in an online university include: 
  • No daily commute – you won’t need to pay for gas and/or public transport 
  • No need to purchase overpriced ready-made foods on campus 
  • Most resources required for the course will be online, so you won’t have a long list of books to buy 

Keep Your Energy Usage 

Down Reducing your energy usage at home will reduce your overall expenses significantly. Here are some simple techniques that you can use. 
  • Turn off electronic devices: This might seem like a small and simple thing, but it is also one of the most effective ways of reducing your energy bills. Nurses tend to work some pretty strange hours, and so they may spend long periods working during the days and having only nights to themselves and therefore needing to have the house lights turned on. On the other hand, when working nights, many nurses can leave the lights and other appliances in their homes switched off. You might be surprised how much of a difference this can make to your energy bills, so try to get in the habit of switching off appliances when you aren't using them.
  • Switch to energy-efficient alternatives: Many consumers are now taking environmental issues very seriously and therefore requiring the businesses that they use to be more ecologically friendly. Similarly, many governments are also now mandating that appliances must meet certain standards with regards to energy efficiency. As a result, there are now energy-efficient alternatives to many common household products. From energy-efficient light bulbs to electronic appliances that support a low-power standby mode, consumers looking to minimize their electricity usage now have more options than ever.
  • Turn your power off at the socket: A common reason that many household energy bills are higher than they need to be is because of something called phantom power usage. This is essentially the power drawn from appliances when they are plugged in but not being used. Over the course of an entire year, this electricity usage can add up and ultimately put quite a dent in a family's budget. Switching appliances off at the mains socket takes longer, but will eliminate this power drain. You can now get remote control power plugs that plug into your socket and can be turned on and off remotely. These make it easy to completely switch off all of your appliances whenever you are not in a room. 
  • Turn off the lights when you are out: Another simple but effective technique for nurses is to just make sure that they turn the lights out whenever they leave their home. If you have pets that you need to leave at home and you don't want to leave them in the dark, invest in some gentle battery-powered lighting. An efficient battery-powered light can last for a very long time and we'll have a minimal cost associated with it. Unlike a mains powered light, you will not need to pay for electricity usage. 
  • Invest in solar power: Solar power is only becoming more efficient with time, and now represents a worthwhile investment. It will take some time before you make a profit from installing solar power, but it will reduce your energy bills immediately and will pay for itself easily over the long-term. 

Make Your Own Lunch 

It can be tempting to hit the canteen every day. When you get home after a long shift, making lunch for the next day can seem like a real chore, but it is an easy way of making some big savings. Compare the cost of bread to the cost of a sandwich off the shelf. 

Once you start looking for ways to save money and reduce your household bills, you may realize that it is easier than you thought. Many nurses are operating on a budget anyway, so anything they can do to reduce their expenditure is worthwhile.

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