Saving money in nursing school - page 2

I was inspired to start this thread by a New York times feature "Survival Strategies" in their Living With Less section: I have been going through the tips there and got some good tips. So I... Read More

  1. by   swirlything
    Carpool with other students to clinicals or school. We started doing this when gas was over $3.50 last year.

    Buy only one uniform and NEVER eat spaghetti in it. I only had clinical once or twice per week and one uniform lasted me for the whole 2 years.

    Unless you're overly sentimental, don't buy the expensive school pin for pinning. Are you really going to wear it again???? You can get decent pins online for less than $10. You can use any pin you want for pinning.
  2. by   2BSure
    My top few...

    Stop buying coffee out -- bring a vacuum flask to work and/or school.
    Grind coffee as fine as possible in the store (it goes further and it tastes better)
    Stop buying lunch or dinner out.
    Bring your own.
    Try the bus for at least part of the journey.
    This can save on parking at school/work and save on gas. The real trouble with the bus is usually the time it takes or having to transfer. Make use of the bus time by reading your assignments or listening to MP3s of lectures.
  3. by   AtomicWoman
    Take the time to pack lunch and/or a snack the night before school, or get up a little early to do it. Then you won't be tempted to say, "Oh, I'll just grab something quick [at Wendy's, at the junk machines, etc.] between classes." It's already in your backpack! Saves money and calories.

    And even though water bottles are heavy, pack multiple bottles to take to school on long days. The price of bottled water is ridiculous.
  4. by   Meriwhen
    Get textbooks via Amazon or, not through the school's bookstore. As long as the ISBN numbers match, you're getting the same textbooks. But I'm sure someone's mentioned it already

    Also, pack your own lunches. You'd be surprised how much you drop on eating out as well as in the vending machines.
  5. by   AOx1
    Been awhile, but here is what I used to do.
    I made myself a "spa basket" with manicure/pedicure supplies and facial stuff so I could feel luxurious on a low budget. I would buy things for it only on clearance.

    Check garage sales. You'd be surprised what you could get. I remember buying an in-package palm pilot for $5!!! Also, check out what's available near the last days of school and get in contact with seniors. You'd be surprised how cheaply someone will sell their book when they want to get out after graduation. Sometimes the edition is older, but I just looked up the page numbers for what we were supposed to be reading about. Never had any problems doing this.

    Form a cooking group with a few friends. You can do this two ways. You can either alternate who cooks each week, or all get together and cook. All you need to make sure of is that no one has food allergies and that you have somewhat similar food tastes or are adventurous. This worked well for my friends. Each Saturday, we would shop together, decide on a menu for the week and split the bill. There were four in our group. We got together at my little apartment and one would make a huge salad and cut up some veggies (ex- carrots, celery, etc). Another might make a large fruit salad. One would make an inexpensive soup, the other a side item. We all collaborated on the main dishes. We made enough for all four families for the week, so we just had to supplement it by buying fresh fruit and more salad, and any "extras" your family might need. It took us around 2 hours, and then we had food for the week without relying on junk. We used the "make a mix" cookbook by Eliason and inexpensive recipes from McCalls or Woman's Day.

    Also, look into farmer's markets, food coops, and community gardens. I actually paid less for food, although sometimes this is not as inexpensive.

    Other things I did: at clinicals, I had tons of healthy snacks to keep from wanting junk when stressed.

    Thrift stores are a great source of cheap furniture (it's where I got the bookcase for my nursing school books).

    I also highly recommend automated savings plans. I hear people say all the time that they don't have enough to save. I lived on a really low budget, and only put away $50 a month. I am so glad I did. It came right out of my check; I never missed it, but when I finished school I had over $1200 just from that alone and the interest. This was my emergency fund in case anything happened to my car, or I became ill.

    Other things: as someone mentioned, carpool everywhere you can't walk or bike. Cheap bikes can easily be found at garage sales (at least here). I actually lost weight in school from all the walking and schlepping books!

    I bought only one pair of scrub pants, but two tops. I found out that on the rare times I did spill something on them, it was always the top that got the brunt of it. I washed them every night.

    If your school is large, use the library as much as possible for those recommended but not required books.

    As for entertainment, I kept a list of fun places and activities that were free or cheap. For example, our local museum had free admission the first Monday of the month. The zoo did this once or twice per season. There were also local farms we visited for "pick your own" berries. We took a lot of picnics.

    Your student ID may also get you discounts when you do treat yourself, for example, to a movie. Matinee plus student discount helps some! I would always schedule one splurge per month like a dinner out, so I didn't feel deprived even with very little funds.

    Also, it sounds weird, but doing work with local charities helped me see that I wasn't really poor, just temporarily funds challenged It kept me from feeling sorry for myself when I realized how lucky I am to even have the opportunity to be in school at all.