This Future Nurse is Living Debt Free- Ep. 14
How to Become a Debt Free Nurse
If you decide to go back to school for nursing, you don’t have to go into debt to do it. Danielle, my guest on episode 14, proves that going to school debt-free is possible. She is a full-time nursing student, wife, and mother of two young girls. Thanks to her and her husband’s motivation to get debt-free, they paid off $73,000 in debt in three years.
Then, Danielle decided to go back to school and pay for her semesters with cash flow and savings. In this article, I share the techniques Danielle used to get debt-free. I also include what she is currently doing to meet her family’s financial goals. For the full scoop and to learn more about Danielle, listen to the full podcast episode.
Ignite Your Fire
For Danielle, a trip back to San Diego in 2015, inspired her to transform her relationship with money. She visited one of her favorite beaches and for the first time noticed the wealth around her. That’s when she realized she didn’t want to have a care in the world. Instead, she wanted to be free to do what she wanted and to do that she had to be debt-free.
She came back from vacation and read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey in a day and a half. Then, applied her new knowledge to create a plan to improve her finances.
Danielle started with Dave Ramsey’s baby step to save $1,000 in an emergency fund.
But for Danielle and her family, $1,000 wasn’t enough. So she was determined to boost their savings before doing anything else.
Double Down on Debt
In the podcast episode, Danielle admits she used to pay the minimum due on her debt. However, when she got serious about paying off debt, things changed. After boosting her savings, she doubled down on debt.
Danielle started with the Debt Snowball method. When you use this method to pay down debt, you focus on paying off the lowest debt balance first. At the same time, you only pay the minimum on your other debt. All extra money in your budget goes towards your smallest debt until it’s paid in full. Then you transfer the money you used to put towards that debt to your next lowest debt.
After paying off some debt, Danielle switched to the Debt Avalanche method. Unlike the Snowball Method, the Avalanche method focuses on tackling the debt with the highest interest rate first. This helps you save money on interest, but it might take longer for you to see results.
Be Flexible When Life Happens
Danielle made a conscious decision to boost her savings as her life changed. For example, when she was pregnant with her first daughter she and her husband stopped paying more than the minimum on their debt and saved until her daughter was born. Then, she switched to a part-time job so she could spend more time with her newborn.
The savings she accumulated she later applied to her debt in one big chunk. Then, her family grew again, this time with her second daughter. With two children, Danielle decided to become a stay at home mom.
From this experience, she learned you can start a family and pay off debt at the same time. You just have to make paying off debt a priority. What’s important is that she adjusted her savings and debt payments based on her work hours and the specific situation at that time.
Danielle set a goal and was very intentional about how she spent her money.
Cash Flow Big Investments
Danielle is currently a full-time nursing student, and she hasn’t taken out any loans. She is in a dual admission program. So, Danielle is studying at a community college but is considered a BSN student. She can take her first 18 months at the two-year college and obtain an RN license later. However, after the community college courses, she can start working as a nurse immediately.
Then she can continue her education at any point, at the university for the BSN portion. This last portion can be done in as few as three semesters, but it’s at her pace.
The best part is her community college classes are affordable ($300 a unit, $9,000 total) and are paid throughout the semester in three easy installments. Danielle is using her current cash flow to pay for school and avoid debt.
Y’all don’t understand how smart Danielle is for getting her degree this way. Some BSN programs cost $80,000 nowadays. Just like Danielle I already had my bachelor's degree when I went to graduate school for nursing. But I was fortunate to get a job in the Bay area where salaries are higher than anywhere else in the country.
However, I know people that are making, like $50,000 a year that have paid over $200,000 for their education, which is really unfortunate. So, you know, I don't take for granted the fact that I work in a place that pays nurses well.
Get On the Same Page As Your Mate
In the podcast episode, Danielle admits she and her husband were on the same page when it came to their financial goals and paying off debt. During their debt-free journey, they made sacrifices, but being on the same page helped things flow a lot smoother.
Danielle recommends if you and your partner are not on the same page you should read a book related to finances and relationships together. Then, take the time to discuss the book and your individual insights on the content. Together, come to an agreement on your goals and journey.
Furthermore, I recommend, don’t let being on a different page financially discourage you from starting your journey toward financial freedom. I mean, it is definitely harder when you have to do it alone. But I think that any progress is better than no progress.
So I would say if you're really committed to paying off debt, and your partner isn't on board, go ahead and get started. Do frequent check-ins with your partner. I like to call these check-ins dream meetings. Share with each other what your ideal life looks like.
Setting goals that inspire and motivate you will encourage others to be more willing to have money conversations and get on board with you.
When my partner and I got together we were in two different places financially. I was paying off a lot of debt. He saw what I was doing and eventually got on board. Then, he started thinking of ways he could do better. Today, he’s surpassed my credit score and increased his net worth like 200%. I couldn’t be more proud.
Blaze your own trail, and let family and friends catch up.
Get in Wealth Building Mode
Danielle is saving for retirement, her kids’ college funds, and paying cash for her nursing degree. In general, Danielle and her family do not live a lavish lifestyle so they can save and pay for her education along the way.
Nevertheless, what Danielle is doing can be replicated. She is a great example of how the habit of paying off debt instills in us great momentum to save and build wealth after that debt is paid off.
If you just take a few of the tips from this article, you too can go from debt payoff mode to wealth building mode. Make sure to enjoy the journey.
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