Congratulations, you finally finished nursing school! Now, what do you do about the thousands of dollars of debt you’ve incurred? If you’ve taken out loans to help pay for your education, you’ll soon be making monthly payments that could last for many years to come. Sounds fun, right? Not exactly. Even if you were fortunate enough to secure a nursing school scholarship, you still might have incurred some debt along the way. Luckily, there are many ways to get through the process of repaying your nursing school loans without losing your sanity.
6 Tips for Repaying Your Nursing School Loans
1. Gather all of your loans
You should have been keeping track of each loan you received throughout your years of school and kept the bills in a safe place. If you did this, check through them and make sure they are all accurate. If you didn’t keep track or you think that you might have more loans than you have records for, there are some options to find what you’re missing. By logging onto the National Student Loan Data System, you can find all of your federal loans. If you borrowed private loans or are just unsure, you can contact your school’s financial aid office.
2. Take note of the grace period and interest
Grace period refers to the amount of time you have before you are required to begin making payments. There are different grace periods for different loans, so be sure to mark your calendar for when your grace periods end and you’ll need to start repaying your nursing school loans. Also, look at the interest rate for each loan. Some are probably lower than others, and certain types do not incur any interest until after the grace period.
3. Continue to live minimally
It can be very tempting to buy luxurious items when you start receiving “real money” compared to your part-time job paychecks. But, do you really need a whole new set of furniture? Probably not right away, and that money could be going toward your loans. Of course, you can step it up a bit from the college lifestyle of eating ramen every night, but be wise about what you need and what you want. The faster you pay off your nursing school debt, the less you’ll pay altogether, and the happier you’ll be.
4. Check out travel nursing
Travel nursing jobs are great sources of income and provide certain benefits not included with other nursing jobs. If you have a desire to travel but don’t have the money to, travel nursing is also a great option. With travel nursing, your housing is either paid for or your receive a stipend, so that already takes one expense off of your plate. Many agencies also provide programs that reimburse you for travel expenses, food, and other costs.
5. Pick up more hours
Being a nurse can be stressful enough without extra hours, but they could really make a difference in repaying your nursing school loans. If overtime is offered and you are able to take the hours, take them. You can also find short-term travel nursing jobs, near or far, for the few days that you have off in the week.
6. Set goals and rewards
Set goals for when you would like to repay each loan by. You should start with the one with the highest interest, and then work your way through the rest. It can be a gratifying reward just to see a balance of $0 even for one loan, but if you’d like to reward yourself a little more, you deserve it. Celebrate the achievement to keep your motivation up for repaying the rest. There are different tools to set goals for yourself, such as this repayment goal calculator.