With assignments taking you across the country, travel nurses need savvy saving strategies tailored for transient living. Follow these clever money hacks to keep more money in your pocket.
Do “The Barter Booster”: Exchange Skills, Not Cash
You have a unique set of skills, both as a nurse and an individual. Whether it’s offering CPR classes or trading babysitting hours for a guitar lesson, there’s potential to save.
That’s where bartering comes in. It’s not just about the money saved on services but the relationships built which can lead to other unexpected financial perks and connections.
Use Pedal Power: Bike Your Way to Savings
Even if a city isn’t famous for being bike-friendly, often there are hidden trails or less busy hours. Explore your new city on two wheels.
Beyond saving on transit costs, biking can reduce health and fitness expenses. A win for your pocket and waistline!
“Shop the Block”: Harness the Power of Block Scheduling
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities sometimes offer ‘block scheduling,’ where you can work multiple shifts consecutively and then enjoy several days off. It’s intense, but the payoff can be rewarding.
Grouping shifts can reduce daily commute expenses. Plus, having consecutive days off can allow for part-time pursuits or even leisurely, low-cost activities.
“Skill-Stack Savings”: Capitalize on Continuous Learning
Many travel nursing agencies or hospitals offer free or discounted Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or certifications. While you’re on the move, use these opportunities to upgrade your skills and qualifications.
Not only do these certifications make you more marketable (potentially earning you higher pay in the long run) but utilizing the free or discounted courses means you’re not shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars on education.
“Assignment Aligner”: Sync Your Assignments with Tax-Free Stipends
Some areas in the U.S. offer tax-free stipends for housing, meals, and other incidentals for travel nurses. By aligning your assignments with these high stipend locations, especially when housing costs are reasonable, you can maximize your take-home pay.
By strategically choosing assignments, you can significantly increase your net income, all while enjoying new locations.
“Bulk Buddy”: Group Purchases with Fellow Nurses
On assignment, you’ll often meet fellow travel nurses who are in the same boat – needing to purchase items for a short-term stay. Consider grouping up for bulk purchases, whether it’s for food, household items, or even joint memberships (like a Costco membership).
Buying in bulk usually offers per-unit savings. Plus, sharing costs among a group can further reduce your expenses. And those joint memberships? They’ll often have additional perks and deals that are beneficial for someone constantly on the go.
Shop Strategically at Warehouse Stores
Even if you don’t use the buddy approach, warehouse clubs offer savings buying essentials in bulk. Maximize them through:
- Temporary Memberships – Obtain 1-day passes from members when needing to shop occasionally.
- Shared Memberships – Split an annual membership with other travel nurses to reduce costs.
- Buy Gift Cards – Purchase discounted store gift cards through sites like Costco Cash Cards to get discounts on already low warehouse prices.
Get warehouse deals without a long-term membership commitment.
Cook Rather Than Dine Out
Restaurant meals get very expensive, especially with frequent moves:
- Use a Crockpot – Toss ingredients in the morning for meals ready after shifts. Minimal cleanup too!
- Double Recipes – When cooking, double recipes and freeze half for fast future meals.
- Leftovers – Repurpose leftovers into new dishes later in the week rather than trashing them.
Preparing food at home saves substantially over takeout while still providing convenience.
Buy Used Essentials
Furnishing temporary housing is pricey. Control costs through:
- Craigslist – Find nearly new furniture and appliances listed locally at huge discounts.
- Thrift Stores – Shop thrift stores in wealthier neighborhoods for higher quality cast-off gems.
- Facebook Marketplace – Search local listings for movers eager for quick sales.
- Consignment Shops – Higher-end items at reduced prices if you seek stylish furniture.
Used furnishing cost savings add up over multiple contracts.
Learn the Public Transit System
A car isn’t essential in all cities. Use public transit to save substantially:
- Commuting – For assignments in dense metro areas, leverage bus and metro rail systems.
- Weekends – Use transit to explore new cities on days off rather than driving.
- Discounts – Take advantage of discounted transit passes for students or nurses when available.
Trains and buses provide low-cost transportation across many major cities.
Use Credit Card Rewards
Travel rewards credit cards earn free vacations:
- Cards With Signup Bonuses – Find cards offering 20,000+ point bonuses for hitting minimum spend targets.
- Cards for Dining and Travel – Optimize points earned through cards with bonus categories for frequent nurse spend areas.
- Pay-Off Balances – If you can avoid it, never carry a balance; otherwise, interest charges will negate your savings. Use auto-pay to avoid fees.
Making everyday purchases smarter earns free future adventures.
Integrating your career’s unique attributes with savvy financial strategies will not only maximize your earnings but will also make your journey as a travel nurse more rewarding. The profession offers many such opportunities; it’s all about identifying and leveraging them.
With deliberate strategies, travel nurses can control expenses and bank savings in every contract location.
Taking advantage of short-term deals, buying used, cooking meals, and leveraging transit optimizes budgets.
A little planning goes a long way toward keeping spending low when you’re on the move!