Spending habits during school while on loans

  1. Hello,

    I am starting nursing school in the fall. I am taking out loans for school, so any money I spend will make me more in debt.

    However, I'm not sure what expenses I should count as necessary.

    For example my chair is very old and thinking about buying a new one. I was thinking it'll be more comfortable to study in a new chair. Do you think things like this are important enough to purchase?

    Sorry if this is a dumb question. I've never taken out big loans before.
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  3. by   scrlet
    You are going to be doing a lot of studying! I started year on sitting on the floor bent over my coffee table studying and my back killed me and I didn't have enough room. So I went out and bought one of those 6 foot fold up tables and out that in my back room. I swear some days I still didn't have enough room for all my stuff. If I didn't have a good chair, I would of bought one!! My biggest purchase was a laptop! But it has been worth it. All our assignments HAVE to be typed out and I didn't feel like trying to fight with my kids to use the family computer! I usually take all my bills in a month and make sure I have enough to cover that and then I think about how much I will really need for groceries a week and gas. Then I try to stick to that $$ number even though I have more available to me. And what I don't use carries over to the next week. Good Luck Budgeting sucks lol
  4. by   little_ladie
    I am also starting Nursing this fall, on student loans for the first time (yikes!)
    I've set out a very strict budget for myself, with a certain amount of money as my "just in case net". I've given myself a certain amount of money each week/month for groceries, rent, gas, etc. I also have "candy" money for every week (coffee, snack or dinner on campus, etc.). I know my rough costs for books and tuition, so I have included a certain amount of money in my school budget for a desk, chair and printer.

    They key is to know exactly how much money you're going to be working with. Will you be supplementing your loans with part time work through school at all? Also, how much do you normally spend on essentials? I also know that every couple of months I go buy a pair of jeans or a sweater or a few t shirts. Think hard about your usual spending, but you should be able to budget for things like a desk and chair. They really are necessary to good study habits! And you don't need to get an expensive one either. Just keep in mind how much budget you have, and make sure when you come to the end of the budget for a particular thing (school supplies), to stop spending. If you land under budget one month for a different spending category, put that money in your empty budget and maybe you can get more.

    Give and take. Takes a lot of practice, but if you write it all out, it can only start making more and more sense.

    GOOD LUCK! Wohoo for us!
  5. by   DisneyNurseGal
    My husband and I prepay as much as we can when the insurance comes in. We pay for 6 months of auto insurance, pay for kids lunches at school for 6 months, and most importantly, we take my loan and divide it by 6 as pay down on our mortgage. For example, lets say i was budgeting $2400 towards my mortgage for 6 months. We go out and buy (6) $400 cashiers checks - one for each month to cover the portion of the mortgage. We also take a small % and do something fun, and to make some small purchases around the house. It's all about budgeting... If you need a chair get one (lord knows you will be sitting in it a lot). Just don't go crazy and buy a ton of stuff just cause you have the money.
  6. by   BigRed86
    I would NOT buy a desk and chair brand new. While these items are important the long term cost of buying them brand new just really isn't worth it in my opinion. For example let's say you spend $250 on a brand new desk and chair. At the current interest rates you would probably end up paying close to $500 by the time your loan is paid off. Not a very good investment in my opinion.

    I would say get on craigslist and find a nice, gently used leather swivel chair and a plastic 6 ft fold out table. If you add in the $8 I spent on leather cleaner and the cost of the table and chair I came out with the set for around $50. I saved around $400 by the time you throw the interest charges in there.

    Now for a nice laptop. I purchased a middle of the road, brand new, laptop that came with a warranty. This was a necessary purchase and I can justify the added interest cost for the peace of mind of having a reliable computer to get me through school.

    Budget wisely and be frugal as all of these loans will one day come due.
  7. by   Kaysmom8
    When I first started school I went out and bought a huge $250 desk. At first it was nice but now it's cluttered with ALL of my school papers and books. I studied at my desk all the time but after awhile I just wasn't comfortable at all. I know they say don't study in bed but so far that's my favorite place because its comfy and the only place I can get quiet. If I were you I would wait and see where in your house seems to work for you and then maybe get a chair if you don't find yourself venturing off to study other places. Do you have to pay for parking at any off the hospitals that you will be going to? That has been a big expense for me. I second the op on the laptop and a printer with a scanner will be essential.
  8. by   chrisrn24
    I never studied at a table, I always studied on my bed...and I graduated with a 3.5 and passed NCLEX the first time.

    If you need a desk get a desk. But a couch, bed etc works fine too!

    Nursing school will be a big competition of "I study for ten hours a day so I'm a better student than you." "Well I study for eleven hours so I win!"

    Don't fall for it. Just keep your head up.
    Last edit by chrisrn24 on Jul 28, '13
  9. by   Jenngirl34RN
    I would say get what you feel you need to get to succeed, but make sure to keep in mind that you will be paying interest on all of the money you spend, so you really should make sure to spend only what you need and pay the rest back. That way you will owe less money and will pay less interest in the long run.
  10. by   MrChicagoRN
    Do you need a chair, or want a chair? If you do need one, find a good used one.

    Every penny you borrow will be paid off with interest, no excuses, no defaulting, you will pay. Necessary expenses are those keep you from starving, freezing to death, or failing your classes. Just about everything else is optional, not necessary.
  11. by   ambitiousBSN
    I agree with the above comments- every penny you spend will be money you'll pay back plus interest. If you steer clear of using your refunds, that would be best. I have loans that end up being a big chunk of a refund every semester, but all of my refunds end up in my savings account for emergencies. My husband and I both work, and a hefty amount of my tuition is paid for by scholarships, grants, and tuition assistance from the hospital I work at. My loans end up being an emergency fund- for instance, when my work claimed they didn't receive my tuition forms last semester? I dug into my refund account.

    The above comment sums "necessary" up well, "Necessary expenses are those keep you from starving, freezing to death, or failing your classes."