Money is tight

  1. Hey guys.
    I've exhausted my bank account with lawyer fee, evaluation fee, and drug screens. I have no income right now and won't be able to look for a job for at least 2 months while I'm going through outpatient treatment. So bills are adding up and I'm just really worried. I'm putting most things on a credit card. I've got my boyfriend who is helping me pay for food and has taken over our rent. My family is unable to help. Just curious how you all have delt with the financial struggles of this. I worry every second about money. "How will I afford this?" "How can we pay for that?" I know its incredibly personal, but what have you guys done to keep your head above water? Especially if you can't find a nursing job? Thanks
  2. Visit Nursebry91 profile page

    About Nursebry91

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 39; Likes: 63
    from NC , US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience


  3. by   Stepper
    The financial stress was overwhelming for me. I survived by keeping myself "in the moment" and had the perspective of - I will get through this day. The more I projected out what I thought would happen, the more panic would sink in. I did learn it is important to communicate with people/companies you owe and let them know of hardship. There may be options available for hardship due to health issues (remember addiction is an actual disease diagnosis). Also, consider part-time job outside of nursing to have some flow of income- but flexible enough to allow for outpatient and job hunting. When it is time to apply for nursing jobs- keep open mind about jobs you normally would not consider. Hope this helps.
  4. by   Eris Discordia BSN, RN
    I got a full time job as a pre-k teacher in a daycare while I wasn't allowed to work...I also did some substitute teaching. My BSN qualified me to do both. I worked that for the 6 months before I started working as an RN again in the hospital. The pay was awful, but my monthly earnings at least covered drug screenings, IOP copays, and very basic food for the house.

    My husband is a teacher, so his salary isn't hot, but it helped. We got behind...on everything. Things got shut off...multiple times. So many times. When the gas was shut off for a couple weeks, we used space heaters to heat the house and the microwave to cook until we had enough money to turn it back on. We used food banks. We cut cable. Cut cell phones, used one prepaid phone for everybody. We qualified for reduced lunches for the kids.

    We got sued 5 times (4 for medical bills that would not work with us, one for my daughter's flute payments that we couldn't keep up). My husband had his wages garnished. Even with me back working as a nurse, we are still being garnished, as they take each garnishment one at a time.

    We've gone weeks without gas in the winter, we stored water in big barrels right before our was water cut off...keeping electricity on was the priority. We got deferments for the car payments and set up catch up payments. We sold ALOT of stuff. I sold my engagement ring and wedding band. We just bought me a plain silver band to replace it. My husband sold his wedding band guitar, his ukulele, furniture, clothing....But darn it if we didn't make sure there was money in the bank for the drug tests.

    We had no credit cards, couldn't get them if we wanted, so we couldn't use that as an option.

    I've been working for six months as a nurse now and we are still climbing out of the hole. We still live less than paycheck to paycheck. We prioritize gas for work, food, electricity, water, gas...There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel, once the final garnishment is done in the next 5 months.

    I don't know how we make it. I looked at the bank account 10 days ago and we had $100 to last until tomorrow. And yet, we still have $9 in the bank today. That's a huge accomplishment and I do not know how we did it, but we put gas in our cars and got food for the week for us and our 2 kids; that's it. But we made it to another payday.

    Sometimes it seems like there is just no possible way that it can work...and yet for us, even though we came out beaten and bloodied, we somehow make it to the next check with a roof over our head.

    It won't be easy, it may be the worst experience of your life, but it can be done.

    Best wishes,
  5. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Yeah. I've been buying whatever the supersaver at the grocery store is. I had excellent credit so I got to live off credit cards for a while. This thing is financially impossible. I was very lucky. I'm a vested federal employee and they stuck me in an office job and had almost 1000 hours of sick time built up from years of service. Honestly I have no idea how most people manage this. The financial fleecing is total
  6. by   catsmeow1972
    Before I sucked up the pride a little and asked the fam for help (and a little after) I actually did draw SNAP. Apparently being stuck in treatment, no matter how inappropriate and useless it may be still constitutes an inability to work but still gainful activity (gaining what? Darned if I know, but whatever...) anyhow in my state, being single and childless got me around $190 a month in SNAP benefits. Also, you can predict your income based on getting something around minimum wage, extrapolate that out to an annual estimate and depending on what state you are in, maybe access the ACA marketplace for some halfway decent health insurance.
    One thing I can advise and you likely don't need me to tell you this but keep that money for P testing available. These programs don't care if you can't afford to pay even if thier restrictions are the cause of your inability to pay. As long as the dollars keep a rolling in, nobody cares if we're swinging on a pole to make them (sorry for that visual.)
  7. by   Nursebry91
    Shew. Honestly guys... it makes me wonder if this darn program is even worth it. I'm constantly looking at other options. As much as I love being a nurse... I'm looking at these five years of hell and financial struggle and wondering if it's even worth it. I'd probably change careers in a heart beat if I knew for a fact that I'd be getting PTI for my criminal charges that they STILL haven't officially charged me with. AND if I knew that my revoked nursing license wouldn't cause me issues with any future licenses.
  8. by   Eris Discordia BSN, RN
    Quote from Nursebry91
    Shew. Honestly guys... it makes me wonder if this darn program is even worth it. I'm constantly looking at other options. As much as I love being a nurse... I'm looking at these five years of hell and financial struggle and wondering if it's even worth it. I'd probably change careers in a heart beat if I knew for a fact that I'd be getting PTI for my criminal charges that they STILL haven't officially charged me with. AND if I knew that my revoked nursing license wouldn't cause me issues with any future licenses.
    I felt the same way. I didn't have any criminal charges because nothing I did involved something to charge, but I actually was heavily looking into graduate schools for other things like teaching. That's why I did the substitute work...only to decide that I hated teaching. But I was so ready to be done with nursing.

    I submitted over 100 job applications to various jobs, trying to jump into another field. The preschool gig was the only one that bit, and they bit because my BSN actually counted for the state's pre-k requirement for some reason. But I only made $9 an hour, so that wasn't sustainable long term.

    And if I had just surrendered my license, I would have been barred from any future career requiring a certificate or license from the Department of Health Professions...which is a surprising ton of careers such as drug counselors, dental hygienists, and massage therapists.

    So in my state, I had no choice if I wanted to be able to make substantial income before I could finish a degree in something like accounting or IT. I chose to stick with nursing.

    Listen, my story is dishearting, dealing with garnishments and utility shut offs. But that isn't the norm. Before I got reported, I had over $15,000 in combined medical debt from a surgery and a couple stays in a hospital that is widely known for suing it's patients if you can't pay the balance off in 3 months. It's not like most places where if you pay a little something every month, they will stay away. Obviously, I don't go to that hospital system anymore.

    The vast majority of people aren't going to face garnishment. Even credit card companies will work with you. You have 2 months left in your IOP program and probably not too long after you can look for work as a nurse. Time wise, that's a drop in the bucket even if it feels like eternity.

    As for finding a job, I intuitively knew that with my narc restriction for six months, that regular medical units probably weren't going to work with me. I figured that psych, clinics, urgent care, and dialysis were my best bets. I knew that my local hospitals, which are small and rural, probably wouldn't support hiring me.

    I made the decision to look in the biggest cities near to me...which was 100 miles away in one direction. I knew the pay would probably be better and my chances of being hired were probably better. I was correct. Within a week of applying for jobs, I had a job offer, even with my restrictions and monitoring, and my program approved the stuck! I was in orientation making real money two weeks later. I'm still with this job. I choose to work two 16 hour day/evening shifts to maximize my earnings while minimizing my commute. I only have to work two 12 hour days, but I work more for the money. I am not allowed overtime with my contract.

    100 miles seems like a lot, and it is, but you have to remember that I am very, very rural. The drive is a fast straight interstate shot with zero city driving; the hospital is right off the exit. And the best part is that I make more in 20 hours of working as a nurse than I did in an entire full-time month as working as pre-k teacher.

    Don't give up've just gotten started and you are in the absolute worst of it. No income plus expensive IOP and drug testing plus any other paid appointments is the most expensive it's going to get. And you are surviving it. In a few months, the IOP expense will be gone and you could possibly be working again.

    Just make it through each paycheck of your partner...and if that is too overwhelming, just make it through each day. Get SNAP or any other public or private assistance, including programs for utility bills. They exist and can help. You paid taxes into the system for a long time, now let the system help you when you are down. Get on ACA for insurance...I merely guestimated my earning and got on it for pretty cheap. And it was fantastic insurance.

    Temporarily give up things like cable...keep the WiFi and get a cheap $30 flat antennae to hide behind a picture and you will be able to get many cable channels for free (and it's legal). Get a Roku for a one time $35 and pay $11/month for Netflix if you must. It's still cheaper than a $100+/month cable bill. You can always get cable again when things are better. See if you can reduce your cellphone costs...less data, whatever. If the phones are paid for, get a prepaid SIM card, pop it in your phone, and get unlimited text/talk/data for $30 a month thru AT&T. Go back to your regular plan later.

    Look at you and your partner's income, budget in your monitoring requirements, and find a way to make that budget stick. Change that budget up every month, because things come up differently every month like car inspections and car taxes, so you need to budget for those too. If you get behind on car payments, keep in touch with the lender. We have two different lenders and they have worked with us being as many as three payments behind...and our cars were never repossessed.

    It sounds so overwhelming, and it is. But so is starting over in a brand new field if you hope to come close to your nursing wages. I have a five year program too...I have one year down. It gets better. I'm so glad that I didn't quit nursing when I was trying my best to quit nursing. I've discovered that I now have a job with AMAZING management and coworkers that I don't dread going to, so it makes the drive worth it. My narc restriction drops once the program processes my paperwork, but I like my job and peeps so much that I'm not going to leave it for something closer.

    We are rooting for you, whatever your decision is. But please know that you are in the thick of the jungle and it does get better!!!! And hopefully soon! You just have to get creative. Feel free to PM me if you need to vent or ask questions!

    Best wishes,
    Last edit by Eris Discordia BSN, RN on Feb 28
  9. by   catsmeow1972
    Eris has a lot of good advice. I too spent a lot of time, thought and effort considering other avenues of employment only to find that I would need to either go back to school which was not an option (too much loan debt from playing around in college before growing up and going to nursing school) or segueing into another field that would require a license from the DOH...which would mean dealing with this trash.
    I also tried the temp teaching gig. I like teaching but only on the high school honors/IB college (people that actually want to be there level). That's not possible without a graduate degree. See previous sentence on that.
    Speaking of grad school, I also discovered that if one is not already in grad school at the time this poo storm starts, you aren't going to get to start until it's over. Schools require thier students to have an "unencumbered" license. This basically means that they don't want people under contract. From the school's point of view, I can sort of see not wanting to deal with all that but these programs (aside from financially sucking us dry) seem to frequently consign us to taking jobs in crappy (sometimes horridly unsafe) facilities because that's all we can find, they also prevent us from furthering our education. Jeez. Even a convicted prisoner has the opportunity for education.
  10. by   Nursebry91
    You guys are so incredibly helpful and I appreciate it so much. We have gotten rid of cable. I've done little things like cut out getting my hair and nails done, we've stopped going out to eat, I've submitted a forbearance application on my student loans. Worrying about money is the WORST. It literally consumes you. So I've been looking into medical sales. It doesn't require a license from the DOH. I'm so discouraged to hear that if your nursing license is suspended, they won't let you seek licensing in other areas. I was very interested in Cardiac Electrophysiology Program. Could have done it online in 12 months. The work seemed so interesting and they pay is great. How upsetting
  11. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    I worked part time as a cashier at a grocery store and made $11/hr. I think Aldi's pays $12.50/hr. I was also offered a cashier job at Target which I turned down. I was worried I wouldn't get hired because I was over-educated for the positions but they saw someone who would be reliable and quick to train.
  12. by   catsmeow1972
    I do work a cashier job. Honestly, I could barely get that because I've done nothing but nursing for 15 years and really don't know how to do anything else. I've done nothing but healthcare for 25 years. I went from unit clerk to surgical tech to nurse. I worked fast food through high school and part of college. That was going to be my next step. The cashiering job is more for sanity and to get me out of the house and the bit I make does lessen what I have to ask for from the ‘rents. Again, I am grateful for that. My pride is what is wounded the most. Even so, I too have trimmed the cable down to nothing but internet. I can't remember the last pedicure I got and I'm growing my hair long because I don't want to spend the money to be getting it cut every 4 weeks now. Rarely if ever do I eat out anymore.
    Granted I am not working in nursing by choice right now, but in my case it's healthier this way. This is a horrible way to find out just how much "disposable" income we have, when we don't have it.
  13. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    I really think there is some level of calculus that occurs here. I think they try to rationalize getting the most money out of nurses as a group as they can, They think if we push all nurses right to the financial breaking point we may lose some but our overall profits will be better. They also have sort of a two front war going on. The primary mission of these monitoring programs is to punish nurses for bad behavior. Forget all the rehab stuff its nonsense. In line with that goal is the forever-long time we spend in the program and having these intrusive twits up our butts for no rational reason. All of these requirements and restrictions severely limit our income. Some (probably many) nurses won't be able to pay and simply quit practicing. Some start and cannot continue due to costs and some just get fed up with the complete nonsense. The second goal is "rehabbing the nurse". Once again I think this is nonsense as you cannot therapeutically beat the heck outta somebody. To that end they order you to go through way over the top testing and "professional rehab". This costs a ton of money but their buddies get rich & the nurse is even punished more. No true rehabilitation is involved here. These programs are to be survived if possible. That's all
  14. by   catsmeow1972
    Around here, one year the clown car traveled around the state for these "required meet and greet" sessions. Yeah, that was a thrill. All it was was a large group of us poor schmucks crammed into a hotel conference room for a couple of hours of being read the party line of how they were there to help and advocate for us. It was all I could do to not throw up. They took a few questions and responded with basically nonanswers. I came away with the impression that some of the people that run this junk are either extremely good BS artists or really seriously buy into this. Either way it's mighty mighty scary.
    To my knowledge that ‘meet and greet' effort has not been repeated....I'm surprised we weren't charged an additional fee for the priveledge of ‘meeting' them.....ugh....