As you’re settling in to your new city, we encourage you to explore the culture and outdoors as much as you’re engaging and learning at work. It’s exciting but it can also take a toll on your wallet. While the move is temporary, debt is not which is why we offer these hacks to save money as a travel nurse including tracking income and expenses, meal planning, and saving on social activities.
Use a Budget Tracker
Budget trackers like Mint or You Need a Budget(YNAB) are a great way to get started if you’ve never sat down and evaluated how much you spend. After this exercise, if it seems that your expenses outpace your income, consider an alternative to the traditional budget.
Budgeting expert Kelsa Dickey of Fiscal Fitness Phoenix has an improved system for making sure you and your bills are paid on time, all the time. In her blog post A Better Way to Budget, she guides readers through a system that works for your life, no matter what stage. Simply stated, your budget has to work for you, allowing you the freedom to grab a coffee on the way to work or budget for big purchases like buying a home without worrying about how to pay monthly expenses. In other words, you can enjoy your time as a travel nurse while making the most of the experience outside of work if you’re willing to track (and stick to) your budget.
Speaking of saving money…
When we say, “Budget your money,” most people cringe but budgeting doesn’t have to be a bad word. Think of it as an opportunity to save while also getting to enjoy museums, festivals, and that much-needed massage. Apps like Groupon offer specials, especially during the off-peak season, making spa day or a museum visit more affordable while keeping you on budget.
Other ways to save include downloading restaurant coupons, taking advantage of lunch specials rather than the more expensive dinner options, and bringing your lunch from home. Many people frown at the thought of planning and packing lunches but think about it this way. If you’re working four shifts a week at $10 per meal, that’s $40 per week or $2,080 a year! That’s a whole vacation budget spent just on lunch.
Some of our travel nurses opt to bike, walk, or take public transportation rather than driving. Not only does it save on gas, it saves on car repairs. If you’re a two-car household, consider selling one of the cars to pay down debt or start an emergency fund.
While you’re doing all that working, budgeting, and saving, we also recommend having fun!
Be a Well-Informed Tourist
It is exciting to be in a new place but remember to take time to learn the ins and outs of being a visitor.
Tourist venues tend to have peak and off-peak seasons. In Arizona, there are hundreds of golf courses to experience but if you’re visiting in the winter, plan for expensive greens fees and crowded courses because the demand is higher than in the 100+ degree summer. In California, anywhere near the beach, Sea World, or similar attractions are going to be expensive when eating out because of the location. For these and many other places, the best prices, smallest crowds, and shortest wait times are during the week during the day.
The best way to experience a new place is to ask people who live there. They know the hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving local fare, hidden hiking trails and campgrounds, and the most affordable grocery stores, among other things. If you can find a friend to be a tour guide of sorts, then you’re sure to have a memorable experience as a travel nurse!
Earn Extra Money by Referring a Friend
Want a way to help pay for extra expenses? Refer your friends to us make an extra money. We’ll give you $500 and them $500 once they complete their assignment. Who doesn’t want extra money and now you can help a friend out too!