7 Tips for Paying Off Your Nursing Student Loans

nursing student loansBy Kristy Snyder, Contributor

Are you worried about paying off your nursing student loans? According to data from 2013, 74 percent of all new nursing graduates have nursing student loans to pay off.

If you’re in this boat, you might be finding it hard to pay off your debt. 

Use the following tips to get the motivation and knowledge you need to get your nursing loan repayment done faster.

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7 Tips for Paying Off Your Nursing Student Loans

1. Check Out Nursing Loan Repayment Programs

“Check out nursing loan repayment programs,” recommends Trisha Fronczek, MS, RN-BC, CCRN, and President of Trail Run, LLC, an organization that works with experienced nurses to find their path.

“Requirements can vary for these programs. Some that I have seen have been state-based and require the nurse to work in an underserved area for a specified amount of time. With a nursing shortage looming, these area boundaries are widening, and you may be surprised on hospitals included in the program.”

Additionally, she thinks that every nurse should thoroughly investigate all of the nursing loan repayment programs they’re considering.

“What is the timeframe? What if your unit job does not work out, then does the program still apply to another unit in the hospital? Know what you sign.”

2. Make Coffee at Home

Grabbing a coffee everyday from Starbucks might be convenient, but it’s certainly costing you big.

If you assume that the average cup of coffee costs $3.50 and you work 250 days a year, that’s $875 a year spent on the life-giving elixir.

However, if you brew your own cup at home, you’ll likely only pay $0.25 per cup. That equates to a mere $62.50 a year, for a savings of $812.50 per year.

“When I am working my shift, I throw an extra K-cup in my lunch bag for an afternoon pick-me-up,” said Fronczek. “My ‘from home’ coffee can save me up to $4 an afternoon.”

3. Pack Your Lunch

Another great tip Fronczek offered is to bring food from home to eat during your break.

“Pack your lunch and snacks,” she said. “Not only are you avoiding extra money leaving your pocket, but you may be saving on calories, too!”

4. Get a Roommate

While it may not be ideal, Fronczek suggested getting a roommate as a way to save money. It’s a big lifestyle change that could save you several hundred a month.

5. Hold off on a New Car

Unless your vehicle is on its last limbs, Fronczek recommends holding off on getting a new car.

Certainly, getting the latest models with the fanciest tech is tempting, but it will only take away more of your monthly income, meaning you might fall behind on your nursing student loans.

6. Create a Budget

Perhaps the most important tip Fronczek has to offer is to create a monthly budget to track and limit your spending in certain areas.

“Many new nurses have had mom/dad to help out, but now they find themselves balancing their own checkbook,” she said. “One method I have seen is 50/30/20. 50 percent of income goes to needs, 30 percent to wants, and 20 percent to savings/debt payoff.”

7. Keep the Cost Savings in Mind

Whenever you’re tempted to skimp on your nursing loan repayment, just think of the consequences. Paying your loan slowly will result in you paying more overall.

Take an example of a $35,000 nursing student loan with 6.8 percent interest and a monthly payment of $400. Over a 10 year period, you’d have to pay $13,334 in interest.

However, if you paid an extra $100 a month for a total of $500, you’d end up paying $3,693 less on interest. Even better, you’d have the loan paid off in only 7.5 years.

With these tips, paying off your student nursing loans should be easier than before.

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