How did/do you pay for nursing school and expenses? I need some advice.

  1. Hey all,

    I have received financial aid for the last 3 years and never had to pay for school, just my own expenses. But this next semester I will not receive any FA and I'm ineligible for government loans. It's kind of a long story, but the bottom line is that I messed things up temporarily and now I have to pay out of pocket for the first semester of Nursing School.

    Before January I am able save up enough money for first semester classes ($2k) by working overtime while I am on break between semesters. But I wont have enough time to also save enough to cover my living expenses for 6 months. So I'm looking for advice/ideas on how to eliminate or lower personal expenses to live more within my means.

    Here's what I'm working with:
    Car payment: $350/month (any experience w/ re-financing a car loan?)
    Car insurance: $285/month (cheapest insurance around)
    Phone bill: $100/month
    Gas, tolls: $100/month
    Credit card bills: $150/month (I have debt from paying for last semester's classes)
    No rent to pay, I live with my mother (who makes $10/hr and can't really help me with bills much)

    That's almost $1k/month. I make enough now to cover it, but when I go down to working 12 hours a week during the program, I'll only be able to cover half that expense.

    How can I live within my means more and reduce this by half for at least 6 months, or come up with $500/month for 6 months? $3k is a lot of money..

    I have no idea what I'm doing here, what would you do in my position? If anyone has advice, I appreciate it
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  2. 34 Comments

  3. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Have you talked to your school's financial aid office? Applied for scholarships?
  4. by   meanmaryjean
    Can you sell the car and get something cheaper or take public transportation? No way in this world you should have a $350/ month car payment as a student. Half your expenses are car related.
  5. by   paisling
    the personal finance subreddit has some great information on the questions you're asking: personal finance

    They'll probably tell you to:
    - deal with the car cost. you are spending a crazy amount on your car.
    - deal with the phone expense. $100 is a lot to be spending on one line.
  6. by   kbrn2002
    Quote from justSara
    Hey all,

    I have received financial aid for the last 3 years and never had to pay for school, just my own expenses. But this next semester I will not receive any FA and I'm ineligible for government loans. It's kind of a long story, but the bottom line is that I messed things up temporarily and now I have to pay out of pocket for the first semester of Nursing School.

    Before January I am able save up enough money for first semester classes ($2k) by working overtime while I am on break between semesters. But I wont have enough time to also save enough to cover my living expenses for 6 months. So I'm looking for advice/ideas on how to eliminate or lower personal expenses to live more within my means.

    Here's what I'm working with:
    Car payment: $350/month (any experience w/ re-financing a car loan?)
    Car insurance: $285/month (cheapest insurance around)
    Phone bill: $100/month
    Gas, tolls: $100/month
    Credit card bills: $150/month (I have debt from paying for last semester's classes)
    No rent to pay, I live with my mother (who makes $10/hr and can't really help me with bills much)

    That's almost $1k/month. I make enough now to cover it, but when I go down to working 12 hours a week during the program, I'll only be able to cover half that expense.

    How can I live within my means more and reduce this by half for at least 6 months, or come up with $500/month for 6 months? $3k is a lot of money..

    I have no idea what I'm doing here, what would you do in my position? If anyone has advice, I appreciate it
    1] Car payment is way to high for such a limited budget. If you are eligible to refinance you might bring those payments down some, but you'd still have the overall total cost to consider and unless you way overpaid for your vehicle you shouldn't need a luxury car on an economy car budget. Sell it and get something less expensive.

    2] Holy Moly! $285/month is the cheapest car insurance you can find? Either you are driving a high end sports car which you certainly don't need on a student's budget or you have one spectacularly bad driving record. Either way, again ditch the car. Get something more affordable or better yet if you live in an urban area with good public transportation get rid of the car altogether and take the bus or subway.

    3] If you are paying $100/month for a single phone line that's too much. Shop around for a better deal. Most of the carriers will pay off any early termination fees you might have to get your business. If you don't want to switch carriers at least switch plans, every carrier should have plans that cost well under $100 a line.

    4] Gas and tolls can also be dropped totally by guess what...ditching that expensive car and taking the bus! I'm sure you're starting to see the theme here. That car is costing you WAY too much. You can at least save money by getting a car with better gas milage. As far as tolls, isn't there a monthly or annual "easy pass" option that'll save you money over paying tolls every time? No clue if that's a cheaper option for you, fortunately I don't live in an area with toll roads.

    The credit card bills really aren't negotiable. Nothing you can do there but figure out a way to keep those payments in your budget.

    At least living with your Mom you don't have housing expenses as well. I don't want to sound preachy, but if your Mom only makes $10.00/hr why would you expect her to help with your bills at all? She's putting a roof over your head at zero cost. If anything I hope you are helping her with bills. Her utilities cost more with you living there. You probably do your laundry there, do you buy laundry soap every now and then? Does she pay for cable TV that you watch? Please tell me she doesn't also feed you all the time without you pitching in for groceries.
    Last edit by kbrn2002 on Oct 19 : Reason: missed a word
  7. by   Shawn91111
    Sounds like you are living well beyond your means, as the post above me pointed out. That is a lot for car insurance, also plenty of phone carriers have $45 a month deals
  8. by   MelEpiRN
    You only have $150 a month on credit card bills? I'm jealous.
    Definitely work on the car. Do you live close enough to anything to Uber/Lyft? I live in the city and after my husbands car was totaled, we decided to go down to one and we'd take Lyft as needed- it's way cheaper (for us). Obviously not an option for everybody.
    I'd also consider going to a flip phone if possible. Considerably cheaper than a smart phone- I admit, I went to school pre-smart phone, so I don't know if it's a necessity now. I keep thinking about how much I reaaallly need a smart phone, and truth is- I could probably do without and save so much.
  9. by   Mavrick
    It's obvious that car expense is killing you.

    If you didn't know that before, you can sure see it when you write it down.

    Car's gotta go.

    Did I mention, you can't afford that car?

    If you like nice cars, treat yourself to a one when you graduate. I bought a brand new Jeep Wrangler as my first present to myself when I got my first RN job. I previously had a Ford Pinto. Yeah, ya gotta make sacrifices!
  10. by   justSara
    Quote from ItsThatJenGirl
    Have you talked to your school's financial aid office? Applied for scholarships?
    That seems like such an obvious answer, I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of that myself. I previously thought you had to be a straight A student to get scholarships, but now that I'm looking into it there may be some nursing related scholarship I can get. I'm going to go talk to the financial aid office again on Monday. Thanks for your response!
  11. by   justSara
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Can you sell the car and get something cheaper or take public transportation? No way in this world you should have a $350/ month car payment as a student. Half your expenses are car related.
    I agree with you that I should not have a $350 car payment. It's ridiculous. But at 19 when I went shopping for my first car it seemed like a really good idea. In hindsight... not so much.

    I live in an area where there is some public transportation, but it would take me hours to get to school/work. I am a 30-40 minute drive away from them both, and I drive about 15,000 miles per year. Also, my mom works the graveyard shift (during times when there are no buses) and since she can't afford a car I let her use mine at night. So having no car seems problematic for us both.

    I would entertain the idea of selling the car, except I don't think it would work financially. I bought the car for $12k with an 18% interest rate. So I'm 2 years into a 4.5 year loan and I owe $9k on the car still. It's crazy what I got myself into. When I KBB the car, it said my car is estimated to be valued at $5-6k. So even if I sell it, I'll still be upside down with the loan. And then I'll also have no money for a down payment to buy a cheaper car. So I feel like I'm stuck with this car. It's not even a fancy car, it's just too much for a college student.

    Any advice on the car situation is appreciated, I don't really know what I'm doing here. Clearly.
  12. by   justSara
    Quote from paisling
    the personal finance subreddit has some great information on the questions you're asking: personal finance

    They'll probably tell you to:
    - deal with the car cost. you are spending a crazy amount on your car.
    - deal with the phone expense. $100 is a lot to be spending on one line.
    I'll check out the personal finance subreddit. I'm desperate for any kind of ideas/solutions.

    I agree with you on the car cost, I'm just unsure on how to go about dealing with it. I live in an area where things are far away (30-40 minute highway drive) and I drive about 15,000 miles a year just to go to school, work, and for my mom to use my car to drive to work (she can't afford her own, she borrows mine at night).

    I bought the car for $12k with an 18% interest rate. I'm 2 years into a 4.5 year loan and I owe $9k on the car still. It's crazy what I got myself into. When I KBB the car, it said my car is estimated to be valued at $5-6k. So if I sell it, I'll still be upside down with the loan. And then I'll also have no money for a down payment to buy a cheaper car. So I feel like I'm stuck with this car. It's not even a fancy car, it's just too much for a college student.

    As for the phone, I should have clarified that I pay for two lines. My mother's and my own. It's $50 for each line, but I have been paying for hers for the last few years because once upon a time I bought her a new phone and added her to my plan. When I start nursing school I can probably ask her to pay her half, but I'll still be left with $50. I think that's reasonable for a phone. The car is the main issue
  13. by   caliotter3
    Consumer Cellular has cheap phone plans. Used to be minimum of $10 month. Think it might be up to $15, maybe $25. Use the phone for little more than emergencies and you can be on their cheapest plan.
  14. by   justSara
    Quote from kbrn2002
    1] Car payment is way to high for such a limited budget. If you are eligible to refinance you might bring those payments down some, but you'd still have the overall total cost to consider and unless you way overpaid for your vehicle you shouldn't need a luxury car on an economy car budget. Sell it and get something less expensive.

    2] Holy Moly! $285/month is the cheapest car insurance you can find? Either you are driving a high end sports car which you certainly don't need on a student's budget or you have one spectacularly bad driving record. Either way, again ditch the car. Get something more affordable or better yet if you live in an urban area with good public transportation get rid of the car altogether and take the bus or subway.

    3] If you are paying $100/month for a single phone line that's too much. Shop around for a better deal. Most of the carriers will pay off any early termination fees you might have to get your business. If you don't want to switch carriers at least switch plans, every carrier should have plans that cost well under $100 a line.

    4] Gas and tolls can also be dropped totally by guess what...ditching that expensive car and taking the bus! I'm sure you're starting to see the theme here. That car is costing you WAY too much. You can at least save money by getting a car with better gas milage. As far as tolls, isn't there a monthly or annual "easy pass" option that'll save you money over paying tolls every time? No clue if that's a cheaper option for you, fortunately I don't live in an area with toll roads.

    The credit card bills really aren't negotiable. Nothing you can do there but figure out a way to keep those payments in your budget.

    At least living with your Mom you don't have housing expenses as well. I don't want to sound preachy, but if your Mom only makes $10.00/hr why would you expect her to help with your bills at all? She's putting a roof over your head at zero cost. If anything I hope you are helping her with bills. Her utilities cost more with you living there. You probably do your laundry there, do you buy laundry soap every now and then? Does she pay for cable TV that you watch? Please tell me she doesn't also feed you all the time without you pitching in for groceries.
    1) I completely agree with you that the car is too expensive for me. The problem is that I am already 2 years into a 4.5 year loan. It's not a luxury car, just more expensive than I should have. it's a pre owned 2014 Hyundai Accent. It's small and good on gas. Two years ago when I was shopping for my first car it seemed like a really good idea.. I now see my stupidity. I bought the car for $12k with an 18% interest rate. Two years later and I still owe $9k for it. Problem is, when I KBB it it's only worth $5-6k. So selling it won't even cover what I still owe. I wouldn't even make enough of a profit to buy a cheap car. Do you have any experience with refinancing? I'm not sure if that's realistic with someone with my income and credit score, but I may try that. Any advice appreciated.

    2) I agree the car insurance is expensive. But I promise I shopped around and Geico is the cheapest quote I could find. I've been with them since I was 16. I started out paying $485/month at 16 and now I'm down to $285. I don't have a horrible driving record or a luxury car. I think the insurance is just expensive overall in my area? I'm not sure why to be honest. I remember back when my mom had a car she would pay $200/month and she was an experienced drive (55 y/o at the time) and had a perfect driving record. Not a single ticket in her life, and that's what she paid. So $285 for a young driver doesn't seem that crazy in comparison. I think it's just the going rate.

    Also, I live in an area where things are far away so transportation would be difficult without a car. It takes me 30-40 minutes of driving on the highway to get to school/work. My mother doesn't have her own car, she uses mine at night because she works the graveyard shift.

    3) I should have clarified, $100 is what I pay for myself and my mother. I bought her a phone a few years ago and added her to my plan and have been paying for us both ever since. After reading everyone's comments here I think I will ask her if she can pay for half of it while I'm short for money for the next 4-6 months.

    4) I do have the easy pay, its called SunPass here and it still costs my 0.78 cents each way to go to school. I don't have to pay to drive to work, but driving to school 5 days a week adds up. And my car does have good gas mileage actually, i just drive a crazy amount. I drive like 15,000 miles per year to get where I have to be. I put $20-25 in gas in my car weekly, I think that's better than average.

    As for your last paragraph, I think you misunderstood the message I was trying to convey. When I said my mom only makes $10 an hour, it's because I wanted to convey that her paying for anything is NOT an option. Because when I have asked my friends for advice on this stuff the first thing people say is, "can't your mom help you out?" or "can your mom give you a loan?" and the answer to that is absolutely not. So I wrote that sentence in an effort to stop people from suggesting that as an option, not that I think she should pay for my bills. If that makes any sense. I pitch in where I can. However she understands that from January-May that won't really be possible.

    I hope you can understand that I'm not trying to argue with your advice. I really appreciate that you even took the time to think about my situation and respond at all. But I don't feel that I can live with no car at all, and I'm not sure how to work out the financials of selling the car when I still owe so much on it. Do you see the problem there? With the details I've given you, do you have any advice about what I should do about the car situation?

    If you were me, what would you do with the car? Now that you know I can't sell it for enough money to cover the loan.

    Thank you in advance!

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