3 Easy Ways Nurses Pay Off Debt
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Most nurses do not have the traditional 9/5 job. Nurses might work nights, weekends, holidays, and sometimes all three of those at the same time. This might be a burden to nurses, but it can also be a blessing. Nursing provides a unique type of lifestyle to make a living while also having multiple days off in a row. While every nurses situation is different than the other, if you have debt, there are ways for you to pay that debt off quickly as a nurse. Here are three ways nurses can pay off debt fast.
#1. Change your budget.
If you don't have a plan to take complete control of your debt, you will either take a really long time to pay it off, or you will always be in debt. You need to take your debts and understand where your money is going. Take each bill and expense you have that are consistent starting with the expenses that don't change. Your rent/mortgage, utilities, internet, cell phone bill, cable bill, should all be similar, or have no change from month to month.
Next, look up your bank account info from your previous month and calculate your grocery bill, gas for car, and other housing expenses. This will most likely change from month to month, but it should give you a pretty good guess on where your average expenses are.
Now that you have your expected monthly income laid out, look for areas where you could go without in your spending. If you could drink your coffee at home and skip the $6 at starbucks everyday, you will have an instant raise. Changing your budget does not mean that you have to completely change your lifestyle, but it should to a point. If you have debt, you will not be free from the debt unless you are actively working on paying the debt off, and this will mean that you need to change your budget, and focus on paying off debt.
#2. Pay one bill at a time.
Dave Ramsey, whether you like him or not, has a good understanding of how to tackle debt no matter how much it is. His program has a series of steps that start with saving $1000 cash for a rainy day. Once you have this money saved up, you can start tackling the debt.
If you want the full version of Dave Ramsey, you can go to www.daveramsey.com and learn his steps, but for the quick version, you can follow the simplified version here. To keep it simple, list your debts smallest to largest, excluding your mortgage, and then pay off one debt at a time. If you have a student loan with $10k, a credit card with $4k, a personal loan with 8k, a car loan for $9k, you would start with the credit card. Do the minimum payments on each loan and put everything you have extra into the credit card.
Lets say that your credit card payment is $50, the personal loan is $100, car loan is $300, and student loan is $150. If you can average an extra $500 a month to put towards debt, when you have paid off the credit card, you will then be able to put $550 a month towards the personal loan. When the personal loan is paid off, you can put $650 a month towards the car. When the car is done, you can put $950 a month towards your student loan. Mr. Ramsey calls this the debt snowball, and it really does work.
#3. Work your shifts with debt in your mind.
Look for opportunities to pick up shifts and make extra money every month. Make sure that you are consistent with the amount of shifts that you pick up. If you are not able to pick up shifts consistently at your job, pick up a PRN position somewhere that is always needing help, and set up a consistent schedule with them. The checks that you get from your extra job should go towards your debt, and the more you work, the faster you will be out of debt.
Remember that getting out of debt is a process that takes time. Even if you work every available shift every week, if you have a large amount of debt, it will take time to make a difference in your budget. Don't get discouraged with the time it takes to pay off debt. If you have $50k in student loans and you need to pick up an extra shift every pay period for the next five years to pay it off then that is what you have to do.
Remember not to keep digging your debt hole deeper. Getting out of debt is hard, especially if it is a high percentage of your yearly income. Work hard to not go into more debt while you are paying debt off. Have a mindset where you can live a life without credit cards and personal loans. It is hard to save up for something you want, but if you have the self control to go through years of school to become a nurse, you have the self control and motivation to pay off debt and buy the things you want with cash.
It will be hard to not buy a new car, or to not go on your dream vacation, but if you can start today to tackle your debt, and work towards being debt free, you will have more financial freedom to buy nice cars, go on your dream vacations, and live a good life without the burden of having to make payments month after month on material things you can have without the payments. Being debt free doesn't mean that you can't ever have nice things, it means being able to enjoy the things you have, or will have without having to share them with the bank.