surviving nursing school financially...


Okay, so I am worrying about my personal finances during clinicals a little bit early in the game, as I have just recently (like August 07) changed my major from Business Admin. to ADN. Anyone have advice on how to pay bills while in Nursing School (you know, student loans, grants, etc?) I guess I could quit the bank and work part-time somewhere on the weekends or evenings... Any advice would be great-but please don't divulge too much personal info! I just mainly wonder how so many people do it-it seems almost as if you have to quit work to go to Nursing School. Thanks in advance!


376 Posts

Specializes in SICU/CVICU.

I am going to work part-time and take out loans for the rest. It's going to be expensive, but worth it! I also got a grant, but it isn't a huge amount.

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I continued working 30 hours a week because I didn't want to lose a few years of my good income (I'm old) or use my savings for school. I'm also getting my ADN at a community college which is very cheap and I clep every single class my school allows. Good luck!


542 Posts

Specializes in Transplant/Surgical ICU. Has 3 years experience.

Work and loans. I know a lot of people that try to avoid loans, but its worth it in the long run. Look at it as an investment towards your future.


374 Posts

Loans. I'm also applying for every scholarship I can find. I didn't want to have to take out loans, but it's either that or not go at all for me.

Good luck to you! :)



57 Posts

Specializes in LTC, subacute CNA.

I have student loans to pay for tuition and books, and I work full time as a CNA to pay for everything else. I find that working in healthcare is great while in school because of the flexible hours- I work evenings and nights, three 12-hour days a week, and when I work nights I have some extra time to study. Working and going to nursing school full time is doable, but exausting. You'll get very good at time management. Good luck. :)


92 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

When you take out loans are you taking out extra money for cost of living and just living off your loan while in school? How does that work?

kukukajoo, LPN

1,310 Posts

I have applied to a TON of scholarships and keep my GPA up just so I can get this assistance. I have also chosen to partake in student senate and honor society holding offices not only beacause I like to but also because it has helped me get this aid I so desperately need. Don't get me wrong, I have always been strong on community service but holding office is challenging while trying to do nsg school and raise a family and take care of my grandma, not to mention all the health challenges I have had the past couple years. I also have twins in college and no help from their dad. Without scholarship assistance, I would not have made it thru and I can tell you I am graduating with bad credit but soon that will be fixed. It was a sacrifice I had to make.

I also have taken out extra loans to live on.

I will be graduating with plenty of debt but I feel it is worth it as I am finally doing what I want to do- be a nurse. I have one semester to go and then the rest of my life will begin!

Also, I cut my expenses to ROCK bottom- no cable, no frills. Big house was traded for a small townhouse and expenses shaved to the absolute minimum. There have been no extras while in school and sometimes I feel like I am splurging and overspending just to get a dunkins coffee! BUT I feel it is all worth it. Had a conversation with my 20 yr old college student daughter yesterday who was complaining of being so darned broke, and I reminded her that she is doing it now so that years later she wont have to struggle and go thru it like I am. She understands.


454 Posts

Specializes in Home Health, Case Management, OR. Has 7 years experience.

Loans, grants, scholarships and I will be working every other weekend as a CNA unless I feel too overwhelmed then I will drop to every other saturday.


847 Posts

I posted this on another forum some time ago and I wanted to share it with you as it is a concern with most nursing students. I too took out loans for school. We have done the following since I started school and it has seemed to help us A LOT>

We are in the same sinking ship. Except we have FINALLY learned to cut corners. We made small adjustments at first, things you might not think make a difference but do. Here are some of the things we did and do now.

1. We turned up the AC thermostat 2 degrees, you really don't notice it too much and you really get acclimated rather quickly. It made a difference of almost $50 a month. That might not sound like much but when you need to put gas in your car or buy the kids some milk it makes a HUGE difference.

2. We do laundry in the evenings AFTER the sun goes down. The house doesn't heat up as quickly and thus keeping the electric cost down.

3. We lowered our cable internet speed from the fastest, which was 75 a month, to the lowest speed, which is WAY faster than dial up, it is now 24.99 a month. Again another $50. That is 100 just in those 2 steps.

4. We went through meal plans and made grocery lists and STUCK to them. It is easy to see things and just snag them up adding more cost to your grocery bill. I ALWAYS carry a calculator with me to the store, I know my limit, predetermined by the bills for the week. When I get to it. I stop.

5. This may sound silly and it doesn't actually save money but it does keep things from being in a bind. My husband and I both have a vehicle, mine is the only one with a payment. We get roughly the same gas mileage so we can both go almost 2 weeks on 1 tank of gas. We alternate our weeks of getting gas, unless an emergency rises of course. This keeps the fuel bill at around 40 for one week and 40 the next, as opposed to $80 in 1 week.

6. We changed our phone service to the cheapest. It was nearly 100 a month for all the bells and whistles and US calling anytime. If out of town family wants us, they call. Now the bill is 25 a month.

7. Finally, we NEVER buy lunch or coffee out. I pack us both a lunch for school, as well as the kids. I DON'T stop for Starbuck's. I make coffee at home. You don't realize that the $3 on the coffee and the $4 on lunch adds up REALLY quickly.

The realization is this won't last. When you are done with nursing school you can feed your family lobster every night. LOL. It is a sacrifice your whole family makes. Just take a serious look at your spending habits and cut corners where you can. Buy generic, when the taste isn't too offensive, and buy in bulk.

Good luck.

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