Increasing the WORTH of nursing professionals

My Financial Journey – Part 1

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I embarked on my financial journey after I graduated with my nursing degree in 2010 and found my first nursing job. I wanted to get a job in the city I went to nursing school in. I fell in love with that city and had a great community of friends. Part of me still would love to live there, and I sometimes wonder what my life would look like if I had found my first nursing job there. I really wanted to be in the ICU.

I graduated nursing school when the economy was still lagging, and hospitals weren’t hiring new nurses. I didn’t work during nursing school, so once I graduated, I needed a job ASAP. I spent whole days applying for almost every nursing job in the area. I would look at a map and figure out how far I’d be willing to move from the city and apply for nursing jobs around that radius. I had a couple of interviews in my city but none worked out.

I thought I had a job on an oncology floor but I struggled with peer-based, situational interviewing. I am terrible to this day with coming up with scenarios and stories on the spot. I didn’t get a call back.

A Nursing Degree but No Job

By this point, my bank account was getting pretty low. My financial journey was off to a rough start. I only had enough money for one more month of rent. So I increased the intensity of my job search. I was getting discouraged because I had my hard earned nursing degree, yet no employers interest in hiring me.

Throughout school we heard about the huge nursing shortage, but here I was 2 months into the job hunt with my nursing degree without any real prospects. I even applied at a temp agency to work manual labor, so I could pay my bills. I never heard back from the temp agency either.

I finally landed great interview in a smaller town 1.5 hours from the my city as an operating room nurse. I wasn’t interested in the operating room but I needed a job desperately. My interview was basically a meet-and-greet interview with a verbal commitment to stay for 2 years if I was hired. Shortly after that interview, I got a job offer, and so I began my career as a perioperative nurse in 2011.

Personal Finances for Dummies

During those first couple of months with a new nursing degree in hand, I had a lot of free time, so I read books and of course did nursing job applications. The book that guided me in my financial journey is Personal Finance for Dummies. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn the basics of managing your personal finances and clarify your financial journey. I find most of the For Dummies books a helpful introduction to topics I’m interested in learning about.

Personal Finance for Dummies talked about budgeting and investing among other topics. My money and finances were a little bit fuzzy. If I had money in the bank, then I could afford to do stuff like eating out or buying something. I got into kiteboarding during nursing school, which in hindsight was a poor financial decision as I was using student loan money.

I needed to develop financial goals for my financial journey and Personal Finance for Dummies helped clarify some of this. I tried then to use Mint without much success. It wasn’t until late 2014 during a travel nursing job that I discovered the power of budgeting.

The Revolutionary Financial Change

Tracking my spending with my budgeting program, YNAB, was revolutionary. I always had a rough idea about how much I was spending and saving, but I couldn’t put a month to month dollar amount on my cash flow. YNAB changed this as it forced me to account for every dollar I had. I realized just how much money I wasted over my first couple of years out of nursing school, especially when I was a travel nurse.

Had I started budgeting right away out of school, I’m sure I would be much further ahead in my financial journey to financial independence. I not only learned about how to budget but also the basics of investing and savings.

Related Posts:
Financial Independence Update – October 2018

We’ve increased our net worth by almost $23k in the past 90 days despite a stock market dip! I’m starting a new rhythm for NurseWorth. Monthly I plan to report to you our progress towards financial independence.

Scary Savings Survey

Often people end up living this way because they don’t know anything different, and this is how their parents and family have always lived. There are no current surveys that I’m aware of that examine nurses and their money habits. I would guess that nurses save pretty similar to the average American. And that’s SCARY!

Big Financial Mistake

Most nurses and other people probably most commonly make my biggest financial mistake when starting out in life. Thankfully my biggest financial mistake ended up okay, and now I have a new dream for the future.

Travel Nurse Pay Scale

What is the travel nurse pay scale? You’ve heard that travel nursing pays more while allowing you to explore a

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