Travel Nursing has benefits that draws nurses to decide to travel for their career. Who wouldn’t want to travel, make more money, experience new things, and advance their career. However, with all great things comes enormous responsibility. Two of the many questions I receive are: (1) Should I save money travel nursing prior to traveling? and (2) How do I continue to save money when I travel? My answer is always yes and yes.
Should I save money prior to traveling?
The short answer is “yes.” The long answer is the unknown. Having several years of experience as a travel nurse, you never know what lies on the other side of your travel assignment. There are chances of contract cancellations, long periods between contracts without an assignment, and unexpected expenses. It is always best to save at a minimum three months of your salary before deciding to start travel nursing full time. I like to call this my “What If” fund.
For example, one of my fellow travelers accepted/signed a contract, traveled to the state of their contract, and checked into their company provided housing. While on their way to their first day of their assignment, the company recruiter called and informed them that they cancelled the contract. They were left responsible for the apartment provided by the travel company and did not find another contract for three weeks. Luckily, they could obtain another contract in the same area. However, she did have to pay for expenses for three weeks before the new contract. It is important to have money saved in case these unexpected expenses “pop up.”
How do I continue to save money when I travel?
Traveling expenses can be costly and company-approved housing can exhaust your overall income for your assignment. You must ask yourself, “Why do I want to travel?” Do you want to see places, experience theme parks and attractions, taste new restaurants and wineries, buy new things such as clothing or bags, or do you simply want to live? Whatever your reasons may be: it is important to save your money appropriately so you can continue to enjoy these experiences regardless if you are in contract or wanting to take time off between contracts.
Eating out can be fun and easy; however, this will reduce your funds if you continuously use this option daily. Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and nutrition to make your mind feel clear when you are working. Visit local farmer’s markets and support the local community. You can find many nutritional foods for less the price then supermarkets.
Packing your meals at work will save time and reduce cost during your lunch break. We all know 30 minutes for 12 hours of work is not a sufficient time to take a break and enjoy a meal. If you have preplanned your meal, you can appreciate your dinner without having to sacrifice your break finding a meal.
Track your Spending
Create a spreadsheet to track how you spend your money every month. This will aid in deciding how much you need to spend to continue to experience adventures during your travels. Keep receipts and be honest about your spending. Observe your patterns and make gradual changes as needed.
Budget for your Entertainment and Activities
Don’t deprive yourself of the entertainment and activities you want to enjoy. Be reasonable with your spending and budget your experiences over the time of your contract. There will be plenty of time to experiences the sights. You can reduce your spending by looking for coupons and saving on your outings.
Travel nursing pays well and you will likely earn more money than you would need to live. Start placing funds in your savings account. Set realistic goals and deposit a percentage into your savings on a regular basis.