With inflation impacting how we live in the present and plan for the future, it may be hard to determine how you should navigate today’s economy. Even if the price of gas, groceries, and the overall cost of living level out, nurses should develop a strategy that protects their finances for years to come.
We talked to current and former nurses and asked them what they’d recommend other nurses do to help reduce the impact of inflation. Explore these nurses’ tips on the best way to save.
Tips for Navigating Today’s Economy
Kara Dehoy was a home care nurse before becoming a chief marketing officer who helps health startups. She says nurses can do a few things to navigate the inflated economy.
“First, nurses should be proactive in negotiating their salaries. Additionally, nurses should be mindful of their spending and try to stick to a budget. Finally, nurses can look for ways to reduce expenses, such as carpooling or cooking at home,” she says.
Even small changes can have a big impact on your spending power. Coupled with nurses understanding what’s happening in today’s economy, these tips can help plan for the future.
Create a Budget
Create a spending plan based on current expenses and income. You’ll better grasp how much discretionary funds you have for that latte in the morning.
Look for places in your spending plan where you can spend less money to continue to afford necessities like mortgage/rent, food, and insurance.
Change the Way You Travel
If you live close enough, consider biking to work. You can get a workout and cut back on your gas bill. Remember to wear protective gear and use a strong lock and chain to secure your bike.
Consider using public transportation to work. This also reduces your gas expenses and gives you time to read, catch up on email, or make phone calls on the commute.
Carpooling with other nurses from your hospital can also be beneficial. You’ll have a chance to network with new people and save money.
If possible, apply for a longer shift so you are traveling to work one less day a week.
Watch What You Eat
Eat out less often. Plan your meals each week and grocery shop from a list. This can reduce your food spending when you aren’t going to the store three times a week for things you’ve forgotten.
When Possible, Buy in Bulk
If you have the room to store purchased items in bulk, you can usually get them at a better price. Consider your savings on purchasing paper products, soap, and toothpaste in bulk.
Look for Ways to Make More Money
Rachel Norton, RN, has been a nurse since 2007. She encourages nurses to have a conversation with their employer. “When it comes time for your yearly evaluation, come in with quotes of the increased cost of living and advocate for a cost-of-living raise, as well as a merit raise,” she says.
You might also consider picking up extra shifts as a per diem nurse at another hospital. These often pay more and have a low monthly commitment. You’ll make a bit more on the side and develop a new network of nurses.
Consider becoming a travel nurse. Travel nursing jobs may pay a higher salary and may include tax-free benefits such as housing or travel expenses.
Looks for Discounts and Perks
Norton suggests you “check your professional memberships (i.e. AACN, ANA, etc.) for any discounts that are offered. Often, there are perks to these memberships that nurses aren’t aware of.”
Also, check your car and home insurance rates and see if you can negotiate a lower rate.
Manage Subscriptions and Other Recreational Spending
“Consider what ‘extras’ you may be paying for (manicures, facials, ‘nice-to-have’ items) and redirect income as appropriate,” says Norton.
Cancel any automatic subscriptions or memberships you are not using.
Take Care of Yourself
During economic challenges, you may experience more stress, which puts a greater burden on your mental and physical health. Consider incorporating ways to manage your stress as a nurse.
Meet Our Contributors
Kara Dehoy has spent her career taking care of people. As a home nurse, she was a direct caretaker for many years. She transitioned into the office and is now a chief marketing officer who helps health startups in their early growth phase. Dehoy is a skilled communicator and an excellent listener, which has helped her build strong relationships with her patients and their families.
Rachel Norton, RN
Rachel Norton has been a registered nurse since 2007 and has always worked in critical care, spending the first 12 years of her career based in Albany, New York, working for a level I trauma center. She also worked as a flight nurse for LifeNet of New York on various bases across the state and ultimately landed in Denver, Colorado, where she remains per diem in the ICU at The Medical Center of Aurora. As a clinical support manager at Vivian Health, a national hiring healthcare marketplace, she advocates for healthcare workers and works to help bridge the gap between employee and employer expectations.