How do you pay bills while in school?


I am 33 and want to change my career to nursing because that is what I always wanted to do but let myself get stuck in a job for 10 years because it paid me so well but made me miserable. I am going to take as many classes as I can on nights and weekends but how do you afford to pay your bills when you need to focus on school more and work less? I have a lot of bills and am trying to pay off my credit card debt but I will still have a car payment, insurance, gas, internet and cell phone bill to pay plus food and necessities. Also how do people pay their bills when in nursing school when it is a full time thing? Looking for any advice I can get before I make this change!

NICUmiiki, DNP, NP

1,774 Posts

Specializes in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Has 8 years experience.

I work 36 hours a week.

Specializes in PACU. Has 6 years experience.

I moved out of my apt 6 months before school (it starts in January) and moved in with my boyfriend. I've been picking up as much work as possible and 80% of it goes into a savings account and the rest goes to bills. I don't buy anything that isn't necessary and I coupon EVERYTHING I can. Ill probably still pick up a part time job once school starts but I've stored away a lot of money this way. I also have a car payment, insurance, etc.

Has 6 years experience.

I moved into a dive apartment on a bad side of town, got a pay-as-you-go cell phone that looked like it was from the 80's, got rid of my car and took the bus, etc. I also took out some student loans so I could get by working 6 hours a week instead of 40.


24 Posts

I understand your dilemma. I'm in a very similar situation. I got a job at 21. It was an office temp job that became permanent & now, at age 33 I'm still there & am now the office manager. I've stayed at the job because it pays pretty well for someone with no college degree. I got comfortable. I was able to rent a house on my own & still afford to go out with friends & stuff. Also, I feel like my boss depends on me so much that I felt obligated to stay there. I did luck out. But now the company has slowed down to the point that I'm afraid that I'll get laid off. In the last few years, I've gotten married & now have a 6-month-old so I feel the push more than ever to finally get a career going.

So.. Now I'm looking into nursing school. I ultimately want to become an RN. but I can't find a program to work with my work schedule. (I work Monday-Friday 9am-5pm). I don't think we can survive comfortably with just my husband's income alone so I am going to have to stay working.

The only program I found that I feel is do-able is an LVN program at a vocational school. Class during evenings & clinicals on weekends. I'm afraid I'll get burned out with practically working 7 days a week but its the only thing that I think would work with my situation. The program is 20 months long & I'll have to pay a couple hundred towards the schooling & loans will cover the majority of it.


184 Posts

I worked full-time through my pre-requisites. I took night classes several nights per week (6pm-9pm) and online courses. My husband and I saved up as much as we could, and when our second child was born last year, we made the move to have me stay at home. I do a lot of coupon shopping, limit shopping to necessities for the most part (we go out for a movie and nice dinner once every few months), he brings lunch to work instead of buying out, and I opened up an Etsy shop that I make things for in my spare time. It's only a little bit extra each month, but it definitely helps.

Edit: I was accepted into the nursing program at my community college for next semester. My schedule will be Monday 5-8, Tuesday 5-9, and Wednesday 4-10. I could definitely work some sort of job around that, if I needed to.

Specializes in ICU.

I don't work. I got a divorce last year and work closely with a financial advisor on how to make my settlement stretch. It's not easy. I just had a water pipe burst in my crawl space and ruin my entire basement. It's going to cost a lot of money to fix. Things are always coming up and nursing school is expensive. Vaccines, titers, physical, uniforms, books, supplies.... The cost is never ending. Save up plenty of money ahead of time. Things always come up.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I ensured my bills were paid during nursing school by working full-time. I worked 32 hours every weekend as an LVN while attending nursing school full-time.


3 Posts

Thank you all soo much for the advice!!! It seems hard and I guess in the end it comes down to wanting it bad enough to make sacrifices. I really appreciate all the input!