How to Pay and Budget For Nursing School

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How do you budget for nursing school? Today we are exploring how you can pay and budget for school while still a student nurse.

‘Poor college student’ is a description we hear all too often. College students are typically known as just out-of-high school kids who don’t have a dime to their name and are up to their britches in debt. Well for some kids that might be true, for others it isn’t. It depends on so many different factors we couldn’t possibly list them all here, but with that said here are some tips, tricks and spreadsheets that can help you manage your money in nursing school.

It is difficult to generalize finances for any one group of people, especially college students because college students all come from different backgrounds, households and walks of life. With that said, our tips won’t necessarily focus on ways of managing specific amounts of money, but more-so focus on specific ways of managing money. Hopefully, this can speak to a wider range of incomes and financial situations!

Budgeting Your Money: Starting Out

How to Budget Money In Nursing School? – Well one great way to start off is to use a good budgeting tool. We will be using our own College Budget Guide throughout this post and if you’re interested in using it too, you can download it here!

Here is a link to a video that I find very helpful for anyone who needs a little extra information on budgets (Dave Ramsey is a superstar in the finance and budgeting world):

Starting Your Budget

As far as our Budgeting Spreadsheet goes – we tried to create something that works for everyday (yes we do use this daily and it was developed in college).


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Firstly, figure out your fixed expenses or the expenses that are the same every month, and will always be there. For example, some fixed finances could be rent, car payments or credit card payments (even though we try to avoid those as much as we can). 

Secondly, figure out what your other non-fixed expenses are or expenses that aren’t guaranteed to be there. These could be, going out to eat, gas (if you don’t have to drive all the time), and clothes or other shopping. 

After you have a good month’s idea of what you spend on fixed and non-fixed expenses, you can get a solid grasp of what your income vs expenditures are. Using our (or another) budget calculator can make figuring out your monthly income easy! 

Just put in your hourly wages (an estimated 20% tax is taken out) and put in your biweekly hours and it will calculate what you’re estimated to make (vs what you “make” – basically without tax). 

Once you find what that is you can see your monthly expenses vs your monthly income and how much money you have left after your expenses are subtracted from your income. Now this is where a lot of students, younger people, and even some older people can get lost. It is easy to spend the extra money that you don’t use for expenses on clothes, going out, or any excess stuff, but the difference you can make is where you allocate that money!

Saving: Using Your Leftover Money

Our method of allocating money is simple, easy, and straightforward.

The easiest way (for me) was to set up three bank accounts (if you don’t want to set up three separate accounts there are some banks that offer separate accounts within the same account – I know a little confusing, but a good example is PNC Virtual Wallet)

Account A was used for long-term savings. Account B was used for short-term savings. Account C was used for spending. My rule of thumb was put 25% into Account A, 50% into Account B, and 25% into Account C. Now Account A money could be transferred to Account A or C depending on what was going on (that’s the entire point of short-term savings – being able to use it if needed or save it if not needed). I could evaluate how much or if I needed any money taken from Account B, and if not then put a big chunk into Account A.

Not to get confused this type of “long-term” savings is not necessarily the same as a retirement account, but it is meant to be the start of thinking of retirement accounts, etc.

Conclusion: Budgeting In and After Nursing School

In conclusion, budgeting in nursing school doesn’t have to be challenging. While, it can be tough to find the right student nurse job, it can be done.

One other question that a lot of people will bring up is debt. How to handle it, how to manage it, how to pay it? Well while in college a lot of kids won’t necessarily be thinking of debt or how to manage it, and I understand that.

The biggest advice that I could give would be to avoid debt, especially credit card debt. School loans are alright, especially if they help you start a great career, car loans can be alright, if purchased when you can afford it! Other than that I would try to avoid debt as much as you can, but it can be sometimes necessary. Focus on getting credit cards paid off as soon as possible. 

Budgeting money in nursing school can be a challenge, but following a set plan for yourself can greatly help you to budget more efficiently.

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Full Time Nurse

Striving to help nurses and nursing students succeed.

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