How Nurses Can Use The COVID-19 Pandemic To Organize Their Finances

By Lauren Mochizuki

f21c6c7a8b4ee587a895a50a55e6f08d-huge-laWe are living in a very dynamic world right now.  While certain things are out of our control, there are still many things within our control.  I have previously written about what nurses can do to emergency-proof their finances.  The process of ensuring a financially secure future can take several years.  In the meantime, we can prepare now to gain financial clarity.

As a nurse, I know many things about us.  We like to see symptoms improve in our patients, we like to measure and monitor labs, intake and output, and take vital signs amongst many other responsibilities.  In the most uncertain of times, we continue to take pride in our ability to provide the best and positive outcome for our patients.

With the same pride we take in caring for our patients, we also need to continue to apply the same sense of duty for ourselves, as well as our finances during this disruptive time.  We can’t expect to provide the best of care to our patients, when we haven’t tended to our most basic human needs. Having peace of mind with our finances in order, opens up our mental space to truly engage in caring for others.

 In order for things to change, we need to establish different behavioral habits, and ultimately financial mindsets.  Having financial clarity about your current financial situation will help you to assess where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there.

In my previous article, I mentioned how my husband and I paid off $266,000 of debt in 33 months.  I learned many things while paying off my debt, including
what you can do now to establish a solid foundation for your financial future.

Time vs. Money

When you start to view money as hours worked, it changes your perspective of money. When your mindset changes, your purchases become intentional choices: How much value or joy will this product actually bring into your life, and is it worth the amount of time worked?”

Get Your Accounts in Order

There is no reason why we should be paying any banking fees.  Assess your checking and savings accounts and ensure that there is no cost for transactions like transfer fees, coin counters, and monthly banking fees.  Many credit unions offer several free amenities as they are considered not-for-profit.

Negotiate APR of credit cards

Many people do not know what their current APR is, so finding out would be an excellent place to start.  Once you know your APR, and what competitive rates are, I recommend shopping around for a better rate, or calling your current credit card company and negotiating a better interest rate.  This can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the course of paying off your credit card debt.

I would also determine when your credit card payoff date is if you continue to pay the same amount every month (for many Americans, it’s the minimum).  The results can be eye-opening when you figure out how much you are paying in interest over the life of that debt.

Determine your Total Amount of Debt

If you don’t know your total amount of debt, add up all of your debts including: school, credit cards, car loans, or mortgage.  I would also recommend putting a plan in place to pay it off.  A debt snowball is when you pay the smallest debt first, and a debt avalanche is when you pay off the debt with the highest amount of interest.

Get on a Budget

In order to get on a budget, figure out what your monthly expenses are.  Start a list of all the things you have purchased in the month, including your monthly and annual bills.  Having this list and translating it into a budget, will provide transparency on where your money is going, and where you can decrease expenses.

Establish an Emergency Plan

I spoke at length in the previous article on the various steps you can take to emergency-proof your finances.  This includes short and long term savingsgetting on a budget, consistently living below your means, and planning for retirement.

Find Out About Retirement

If you haven’t started planning, call your HR and find out how much the employee match is for your retirement account.  This is potentially free money you could be earning if you aren’t contributing to your retirement account.  Investing early, with every paycheck, is a great way to get started.

Lauren Mochizuki is an ER nurse, wife, mother, and financial blogger at www.casamochi.com where she writes about living a great life within your means.  Lauren has been featured on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, and Good Morning America, and she is passionate about helping other nurses feel confident with their finances.
 
What savings tips have you found useful lately?  Tell us in this discussion.
Posted by Holly E Carpenter, RN, BSN on Jul 1, 2020 3:12 PM America/Chicago

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