3 Budget-Friendly Ways to Relax this Summer

3 Budget-Friendly Ways to Relax this Summer

Nursing is a demanding job and you’re probably looking forward to taking some time off this summer.

Summer is the time of year for backyard barbecues, lounging by the pool, and jetting off for a much-deserved vacation. With so much going on during the fleeting summer months, it’s easy to wreck your budget.

Here are a few budget-friendly ways to relax this summer.

1. Keep Food Costs Down

It’s easy for food costs to balloon up during summer. Who wants to cook in a hot kitchen when you can relax over a summer salad on a restaurant patio? However, lots of restaurant visits is a sure way to increase your food budget.

Consider stocking up on fresh produce at your local farmer’s market and trying out new delicious salad recipes at home. The prices are often cheaper than conventional grocery stores and visiting the farmer’s market is a fun, frugal outing and a great way to support local farmers.

Find other food staples at discount grocery stores such as Aldi or stock up at Costco. Enjoy dinner outside with friends and family in your own backyard or have a picnic at a local park.

2. Staycation

Staying close to home can save you hundreds of dollars this summer.

Grab a free local attractions guide from the library or grocery store and commit to doing something in your own hometown that you’ve never done. You may be surprised at all of the activities and events available that are a short drive away from your front door.

If you do venture further from home, be sure to calculate the cost of driving versus flying. The free online tool, Travel Math, will calculate and compare the costs of driving versus flying to your destination.

3. Simple Pleasures

Summer is a great season for celebrating the simple pleasures of life such as good weather, a bike ride, or a cool drink in hand while reading a juicy novel by the pool.

If you follow these tips, you’re sure to have a relaxing summer that will keep you and your budget happy.

What fun plans do you have this summer?

4 Reasons to Pay Off Your Nursing School Loans Fast

4 Reasons to Pay Off Your Nursing School Loans Fast

Graduating from nursing school is a wonderful accomplishment. Once you have that degree in your hands you can finally get to work doing what you love the most – helping your patients achieve health and wellness.

Many nurses used student loans to finance their education. And while it’s easier and common practice to just pay the minimum payments each month, there are many compelling reasons why you should make paying them off in full as quickly as possible a top priority.

First, let’s look at some startling numbers. According to the Federal Reserve of New York’s 2016 report, student loan balances in the U.S. increased by $31 billion, and stood at a staggering $1.31 trillion as of December 31, 2016.

How much is the average nursing degree? According to CareerIgnitor.com, “the tuition fee for a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), which takes four years to finish, costs anywhere from $40,000 to well over $100,000 each year in private institutions and large universities.” Nursing students attending community colleges pay substantially less with tuition fees ranging from $3,000 to about $14,000 per year.

Whether you have $30,000 in student loans (which is the current average loan balance for new graduates), or $100,000 or more, here are four reasons why you should pay them off ASAP.

1. Save Interest

It is expensive to borrow money. If you only make the minimum payment each month over the course of repaying a standard 10-year student loan, it could cost you thousands of dollars in interest payments. The money you’re spending on interest could be better utilized for an advanced nursing degree, travel, a down payment on a house or other important life goals. Just by increasing your monthly payment, you can decrease the overall lifespan of the loan and save thousands of dollars in interest payments.

2. Freedom to Make Career Choices

The last thing you want is to be chained to a high-paying job you hate because you can’t afford to quit. Being strapped by student loan payments limits your career choices. As long as you have student loans you will be chasing the highest paycheck instead of chasing your passion. Clearing student loans quickly frees you to make better career and life choices.

3. Build Wealth

When income isn’t going toward student loan payments, you have more money available to invest in your company 401(k) plan (and take full advantage of any matching programs offered by your employer), IRA, or other retirement accounts to build wealth over the course of your nursing career.

4. Peace of Mind

Imagine life with no student loan debt. The peace of mind that comes from settling your debt will be priceless.

Paying off your student loan may feel like a daunting task, but making the extra effort to clear your student debt will have a huge impact on your career and overall life.

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