Author Topic: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School  (Read 14163 times)

jollygreen23

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Life Situation: I'm 8 months pregnant with our 4th child. Kids are 3, 5, and 7. One-income home, currently. This spring, I'll start working toward a nursing degree, which should take about 3.5 years. We live in Florida, so cost of living (Utilities!) may be a bit inflated. My husband and I are 31 and 28, respectively.

Gross Salary/Wages: $61k
Current Take Home Pay (Income minus taxes and health insurance): $53k

Current expenses:
Mortgage   $824    
Charitable contributions   $450    Non-negotiable. Please just leave it.
   
Fuel   $160    

Husband's Spending   $25    includes clothing, entertainment, haircuts, etc
My Spending   $25                    ditto
Kid Spending   $35              includes outings, clothes, shoes, etc
Schooling for Kids   $35      includes school supplies, school fees, etc

Groceries               $620       includes paper products, household cleaners, etc
Dog/Chicken Food     $45    
Going Out                $45    

Education           $60        Putting away a bit each month to get a head start on tuition
Christmas/Holidays   $70           Probably won't use all of this. Whatever is leftover at the end of the year will get thrown at debt
Home Maintenance   $35    
Car Maintenance   $35    
Medical Expenses   $200    Currently inflated bc of pregnancy/husband's health. Should start to go down next month, gradually.
Vet Bills   $15    
Birthdays   $15    

Internet   $50    
Phone (cells)   $90    
Utilities   $300    
Trash/Recycling   $15    

Entertainment   $9

Chiropractor   $250    Will stop at the end of the year

Student Loan Payment (this is the minimum payment; interest only, for now)   $483    

Non-mortgage total   $3,067             ($34.8k yearly)
With mortgage: $3,891                          ($46.7k yearly)
Savings (to be applied to debt): $525     ($6.3k yearly)

Assets:
**   2 paid-for vehicles: 2000 Ford Excursion and 2000 VW Golf
**   $2k in savings (basically, we're living one paycheck behind what my husband brings home)

Liabilities:
**   House is underwater. We owe about $178k and might be able to sell for $150k
**   $36k student loan, with accrued interest. Interest rate currently at 6.55%

Specific Question(s):
We had about $5k in savings, but this past summer had a TON of unexpected expenses that ate it up pretty quickly. Over the last 3 months, we've been able to build savings back up to ~$2k

I need to pay off this student loan. I feel like it's strangling us! I want to cut back on our spending so we can attack this thing full-force. Where would I see the biggest impact? How would you recommend I save and pay for nursing school?

Nursing Degree:
The first semester will be $830. That summer will be about $300. The following Fall will be $830 again. All of these classes I can take online, to avoid paying child care.

Then the "real" school begins. It'll wind up being $5,000 for the Associates in Nursing (3 semesters) and another $9,000 if I choose to add a year and get a Bachelor's in Nursing. The ASN will require child care, but I can get the BSN online (and maybe use my ASN to get some part time work at the same time?)

MrsPete

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2015, 07:45:16 PM »
Most of your expenses are pretty good for a family of six.  If anything, the grocery bill would be the place to attack.  Internet for $50 seems very high.  And the idea of paying back interest only on your student loan is scary. 

My first thought though had nothing to do with that:  I'm wondering if nursing school is realistic for a mother of four small children.  My daughter is currently a senior nursing major, and it is a DIFFICULT and TIME CONSUMING major.  It's also an expensive major.  I'm not trying to dissuade you -- I think my daughter is making a great choice by going into nursing; I just want to make you aware of what nursing school is.  Things I didn't know before she started -- she is at a four-year university working towards a BSRN, so filter that through your own circumstances:

- You say you're doing two semesters online.  That means you'll be leaving ALL your lab classes for those later semesters; those will be tough, busy semesters because a lab requires as much time as a regular lecture class ... yet you only get one credit hour. 
- From the moment you begin classes, you MUST make As.  Why?  Because once you've finished those freshman/sophomore classes, you have to apply to enter the nursing program as a junior.  In my daughter's case, about 150 students applied, and they were able to take 40.  My daughter had a B and a B+ on her transcript, and she says she was "middle of the pack" for those who were accepted.  Realistically, a single C will knock you out of the running. 
- Once you're in nursing school, you have NO option to do anything part-time; you're either "in" or you're not in.  Don't like it?  Move aside, about 100 other students wanted your spot and were turned down.   
- Nursing is a 9-semester program.  There's a mandatory summer session between sophomore /junior year.  It can only be taken in the summer.  That summer session cost us as much as a whole semester.  Part of that was that we were required to buy school-specific scrubs that summer at $90/outfit.  That summer she also had to buy her own stethoscope and a number of other items that I can't remember.
- Nursing books are notoriously expensive; of course, used books are an option, but expect them to cost more than other majors. 
- Nursing school constantly "nickel and dimes" you:  Criminal background check before you can go to this Clinical location, $5 for a new ID for that Clinical location, flu shot, parking for this hospital.  It's always something. 
- Once you're in nursing school, you'll only attend school four days a week:  Most semesters, two days will be Clinicals, two days will be in the classroom.  Your Clinical hours will be at a wide variety of locations:  Nearby hospitals, hospitals two hours away, nursing homes, mental hospitals, schools, and prisons.  For some of these locations, my daughter is up and out the door before 5:00 am and is gone 8-12 hours.  It is a RIGOROUS PROGRAM, both physically and emotionally. 
- If you miss two Clinical days in a semester, you are out of the program.  One of my daughter's classmates had emergency surgery ... missed one Clinical day ... but went to Clinicals the 2nd or 3rd day after surgery.  Her friends helped her all they could:  Someone else drove, they pitched in helping her with the heavy lifting, and she made it through ... but she didn't dare miss that second day. 
- In your last year, you'll do a Capstone program, which actually sounds easier than the previous semesters. 
- Finally there's the NCLEX exam, which you'll take shortly after graduation.  All said, it's going to cost about $250 between yet another criminal background check, a passport photo (which they say not to take yourself, but we're going to do so), and numerous other hoops to jump through.   

So, seriously, is this something you can do with four small children?  Again, I'm not trying to dissuade you -- I think nursing is a great career choice -- but is it something you can manage at this point in your life?  I strongly suggest you talk to someone who is in the program you hope to join.  See whether these details I see here are true for your school as well.


fallstoclimb

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2015, 08:37:04 PM »
Sell one of the cars.

MDM

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2015, 11:44:11 PM »
jollygreen23, best wishes for the new baby and all you have going!

Some thoughts on spending:
 - haircuts, etc: www.target.com/p/wahl-color-pro-hair-clipper-kit/-/A-10430017 (or similar)
 - Education: put that $60/mo to better use (e.g., your 6.55% loans)
 - Christmas/Holidays: yes, no need to spend $840 on Santa.  Certainly understand spending more than $0.
 - Phone (cells): see http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-discussion-thread-1/   
 - Utilities: Does your power company offer free assessments that might reveal cost-effective changes?
 - Student Loan Payment (this is the minimum payment; interest only, for now)   $483: Sure it is interest only?  May be coincidence, but an 8 year loan for $36K at 6.55% has a monthly payment of $483 (and that includes principal and interest).   

For the most off the wall suggestion: how about putting ~$600/mo into a 401k?  Or, if no 401k available, into traditional IRAs?  It appears (you ought to verify) that your marginal tax savings will be ~30% on this money, due to the EIC and saver's credits kicking in.  See the tables below from the case study spreadsheet - you can download a version, enter your numbers, and test various "what if?" options.

CategoryMonthly
Comments
Annual
Salary/Wages for person #1$5,083$61,000
Pretax Health Ins.$500$6,000
FICA base salary/wages$4,583$55,000
401(k) / 403(b) / TSP / etc.$600Room to increase?$7,200
Income subject to IRS tax$3,983$47,800
Federal Total Income$3,983$47,800
Federal tax-$3712015 rates, MFJ, stand. ded., 6 exempt.-$4,455
Soc. Sec.$284Assumes 1 earner paying$3,410
Medicare$66$798
Total income taxes-$21-$247
Income before other expenses  $4,004$48,047
Monthly Average Expenses:
Mortgage$824$9,888
Charitable contributions$450$5,400
Miscellaneous$2,134$25,608
Non-mortgage total$2,584$31,008
Loans:
Student Loan$483$5,793
Total Expense$3,891$46,689
Total to invest$113$1,358
Summary:
"Gross" income$5,083$61,000
Income taxes-$21-$247
After-tax income$5,104$61,247
IRA+401k/403b/TSP/457 (Savers' credit)$600$7,200
Living expenses$3,908$46,896
Non-mortgage loans$483$5,793
After-tax investable$113$1,358


Filing Status21=S, 2=MFJ
# Exempt.6
# Children <174
# of earners1
Total Income$47,800
Std. Deduct.$12,600
Act. Deduct.$12,600
Exemption$24,000
SL int. (approx.)$2,240
AGI$45,560
MAGI$47,800
Taxable$8,960
Tax$896
Saver's credit$200
Tax after n-r credit$696
Child Tax Cred.$4,000
EIC$1,151
Net Tax-$4,455
Monthly-$371
Mtg. Int. (approx.)$6,168
Charity$5,400
Item. Deduct.$11,568
VersionV6.021

Loans:Orig. Prin.Orig. LengthCurr. Prin.Yrs leftRate
Mortgage$183,50030$178,000283.500%
Student Loan$36,0008$36,00086.550%

use2betrix

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2015, 06:20:09 AM »
Have you factored in child care costs when you're at school? Are you going to have several hours free a night?

Like the other poster said, not trying to dissuade you, but with 4 small children, that's going to be soul sucking.

Are the charitable contributions religious based? If that's the case I'd understand, any other reason, I think you're unable to afford them.

justajane

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2015, 07:02:17 AM »
Since it's utilities in a hot climate, I would find a way to reduce this through judicious use of fans. You can learn how to be comfortable with higher temps. It might take some getting used to, but the payoff could potentially be big. I'm not saying it will be fun, but you've got to find a way to not just tread water on the student loan, especially since you are going to be adding to them in the near future.

The food budget isn't astronomical for a family of five, but once again, something's gotta give. I guess you just have to decide where to cut. If you care more about food or A/C than phones, then reduce your cell phones. Clearly you've already indicated that the tithe is most important, so in order to keep that in your budget and still pay off loans, you have to cut something else. Maybe going to a mostly vegetarian diet? Cutting all beverages and just drinking water? I don't know what can be changed, but there's likely wriggle room there. Don't save for tuition (presumably college tuition) for your kids. Pay off your own tuition first!

I looked into getting a nursing degree with kids and the ROI didn't work out for us. But you're quite a bit younger than me. I do, however, think going to school without childcare sounds incredibly stressful. And you guys can't really afford childcare currently.

Jack

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2015, 07:27:39 AM »
I feel the need to ask a hard question here: what, realistically, are you going to do with that nursing degree once you get it? Do you really think it would make sense for you to go back to work and pay for child care for four kids? Are you expecting your then-11-year-old to take care of his siblings after you graduate? Is your husband going to quit his job and be a stay-at-home dad?

justajane

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2015, 07:32:44 AM »
I feel the need to ask a hard question here: what, realistically, are you going to do with that nursing degree once you get it? Do you really think it would make sense for you to go back to work and pay for child care for four kids? Are you expecting your then-11-year-old to take care of his siblings after you graduate? Is your husband going to quit his job and be a stay-at-home dad?

I'm guessing she would or could do 12 hour night shifts while the husband and the kids sleep, but then there's the question of what will happen during the day when she sleeps. Or I guess 12 hour shifts on the week-end. Full time is just three 12 hour shifts. It sounds stressful to me, but I know there are families that make this work.

RunHappy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2015, 07:46:22 AM »
I know you said the $450 charitable/tithe is non negotiable, but for what you are asking to do it has to be taken into consideration.

$450 *12 months = $5400/year

Currently you are saving $60 for tuition but after a year of saving you won't have enough to pay for even one semester and barely a dent in those interest only student loans you are paying.

Nursing school is a tough path but I know many who made the sacrifice and ended up with a great and rewarding career.  You have the money to pay for nursing school right now, but you are preferring to give it away to someone else.

My question is who deserves your charity more your family or strangers?

jollygreen23

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2015, 08:37:45 AM »
Most of your expenses are pretty good for a family of six.  If anything, the grocery bill would be the place to attack.  Internet for $50 seems very high.  And the idea of paying back interest only on your student loan is scary. 

My first thought though had nothing to do with that:  I'm wondering if nursing school is realistic for a mother of four small children.  My daughter is currently a senior nursing major, and it is a DIFFICULT and TIME CONSUMING major.  It's also an expensive major.  I'm not trying to dissuade you -- I think my daughter is making a great choice by going into nursing; I just want to make you aware of what nursing school is.  Things I didn't know before she started -- she is at a four-year university working towards a BSRN, so filter that through your own circumstances:

- You say you're doing two semesters online.  That means you'll be leaving ALL your lab classes for those later semesters; those will be tough, busy semesters because a lab requires as much time as a regular lecture class ... yet you only get one credit hour. 
- From the moment you begin classes, you MUST make As.  Why?  Because once you've finished those freshman/sophomore classes, you have to apply to enter the nursing program as a junior.  In my daughter's case, about 150 students applied, and they were able to take 40.  My daughter had a B and a B+ on her transcript, and she says she was "middle of the pack" for those who were accepted.  Realistically, a single C will knock you out of the running. 
- Once you're in nursing school, you have NO option to do anything part-time; you're either "in" or you're not in.  Don't like it?  Move aside, about 100 other students wanted your spot and were turned down.   
- Nursing is a 9-semester program.  There's a mandatory summer session between sophomore /junior year.  It can only be taken in the summer.  That summer session cost us as much as a whole semester.  Part of that was that we were required to buy school-specific scrubs that summer at $90/outfit.  That summer she also had to buy her own stethoscope and a number of other items that I can't remember.
- Nursing books are notoriously expensive; of course, used books are an option, but expect them to cost more than other majors. 
- Nursing school constantly "nickel and dimes" you:  Criminal background check before you can go to this Clinical location, $5 for a new ID for that Clinical location, flu shot, parking for this hospital.  It's always something. 
- Once you're in nursing school, you'll only attend school four days a week:  Most semesters, two days will be Clinicals, two days will be in the classroom.  Your Clinical hours will be at a wide variety of locations:  Nearby hospitals, hospitals two hours away, nursing homes, mental hospitals, schools, and prisons.  For some of these locations, my daughter is up and out the door before 5:00 am and is gone 8-12 hours.  It is a RIGOROUS PROGRAM, both physically and emotionally. 
- If you miss two Clinical days in a semester, you are out of the program.  One of my daughter's classmates had emergency surgery ... missed one Clinical day ... but went to Clinicals the 2nd or 3rd day after surgery.  Her friends helped her all they could:  Someone else drove, they pitched in helping her with the heavy lifting, and she made it through ... but she didn't dare miss that second day. 
- In your last year, you'll do a Capstone program, which actually sounds easier than the previous semesters. 
- Finally there's the NCLEX exam, which you'll take shortly after graduation.  All said, it's going to cost about $250 between yet another criminal background check, a passport photo (which they say not to take yourself, but we're going to do so), and numerous other hoops to jump through.   

So, seriously, is this something you can do with four small children?  Again, I'm not trying to dissuade you -- I think nursing is a great career choice -- but is it something you can manage at this point in your life?  I strongly suggest you talk to someone who is in the program you hope to join.  See whether these details I see here are true for your school as well.

I'm working on taking our grocery expenses down to $550 in the typical month. We're eating on the cheap, but I think by cutting back on the number of trips per month, and doing more of our shopping at Costco, we can save at least $50 a month there.

Sadly, we live in the world of Comcast. I haven't found a cheaper option for internet. In fact, every six months, it goes up to about $70. I call them, get back on the "special discount rate" and go back down to $50. I'd love to be able to cut the Comcast cord, though. Love.

I have a bachelor's in Psychology already, with a 3.81 GPA, so a lot of my requirements are taken care of. The prerequisites I have left are all online (all the 2016 classes). They're straightforward, (include labs somehow,) and aren't officially part of the nursing program. 7 credit hours a semester shouldn't be more than I can handle.

Two of the four are in school, and the other is pretty independent. As long as she's not actively seeking trouble, I just need to worry about baby. I'm thinking that reading study/lecture materials while I nurse the baby is probably the way to go.

The ASN is the part I'm worried about. 3 semesters when I have to be out of the house, pretty much full-time.I'll NEED child care for the younger two. I'm hoping I can get everything in while the older two are in school, but we'll see. I won't have any summer courses. I chose my program based on this, since I have school-aged kids. FSU has a RIGOROUS 12-month program that would let me get my BSN in a year, but I'd have zero time with my family, and I'd be going to school over the summer, too. Not good. So I chose a different program. With my chosen academic route, tuition is $14,000 over 3.5 years (plus nickel and diming, as you pointed out. I'll make sure to save extra).

If the RN-to-BSN gets to be too much (1 year), I can always stop and put it off until the kids are older. The beauty of this set-up is that I don't have to go through the crazy stuff all at once. I'm getting my ASN at a community college, then doing an RN-to-BSN program online. If I can find part-time work while I do the RN-to-BSN, I can do my clinicals at work (and get paid to do them).

lbmustache

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2015, 08:40:51 AM »
Most of your expenses are pretty good for a family of six.  If anything, the grocery bill would be the place to attack.  Internet for $50 seems very high.  And the idea of paying back interest only on your student loan is scary. 

My first thought though had nothing to do with that:  I'm wondering if nursing school is realistic for a mother of four small children.  My daughter is currently a senior nursing major, and it is a DIFFICULT and TIME CONSUMING major.  It's also an expensive major.  I'm not trying to dissuade you -- I think my daughter is making a great choice by going into nursing; I just want to make you aware of what nursing school is.  Things I didn't know before she started -- she is at a four-year university working towards a BSRN, so filter that through your own circumstances:

- You say you're doing two semesters online.  That means you'll be leaving ALL your lab classes for those later semesters; those will be tough, busy semesters because a lab requires as much time as a regular lecture class ... yet you only get one credit hour. 
- From the moment you begin classes, you MUST make As.  Why?  Because once you've finished those freshman/sophomore classes, you have to apply to enter the nursing program as a junior.  In my daughter's case, about 150 students applied, and they were able to take 40.  My daughter had a B and a B+ on her transcript, and she says she was "middle of the pack" for those who were accepted.  Realistically, a single C will knock you out of the running. 
- Once you're in nursing school, you have NO option to do anything part-time; you're either "in" or you're not in.  Don't like it?  Move aside, about 100 other students wanted your spot and were turned down.   
- Nursing is a 9-semester program.  There's a mandatory summer session between sophomore /junior year.  It can only be taken in the summer.  That summer session cost us as much as a whole semester.  Part of that was that we were required to buy school-specific scrubs that summer at $90/outfit.  That summer she also had to buy her own stethoscope and a number of other items that I can't remember.
- Nursing books are notoriously expensive; of course, used books are an option, but expect them to cost more than other majors. 
- Nursing school constantly "nickel and dimes" you:  Criminal background check before you can go to this Clinical location, $5 for a new ID for that Clinical location, flu shot, parking for this hospital.  It's always something. 
- Once you're in nursing school, you'll only attend school four days a week:  Most semesters, two days will be Clinicals, two days will be in the classroom.  Your Clinical hours will be at a wide variety of locations:  Nearby hospitals, hospitals two hours away, nursing homes, mental hospitals, schools, and prisons.  For some of these locations, my daughter is up and out the door before 5:00 am and is gone 8-12 hours.  It is a RIGOROUS PROGRAM, both physically and emotionally. 
- If you miss two Clinical days in a semester, you are out of the program.  One of my daughter's classmates had emergency surgery ... missed one Clinical day ... but went to Clinicals the 2nd or 3rd day after surgery.  Her friends helped her all they could:  Someone else drove, they pitched in helping her with the heavy lifting, and she made it through ... but she didn't dare miss that second day. 
- In your last year, you'll do a Capstone program, which actually sounds easier than the previous semesters. 
- Finally there's the NCLEX exam, which you'll take shortly after graduation.  All said, it's going to cost about $250 between yet another criminal background check, a passport photo (which they say not to take yourself, but we're going to do so), and numerous other hoops to jump through.   

So, seriously, is this something you can do with four small children?  Again, I'm not trying to dissuade you -- I think nursing is a great career choice -- but is it something you can manage at this point in your life?  I strongly suggest you talk to someone who is in the program you hope to join.  See whether these details I see here are true for your school as well.

I teach at colleges and I think this is a very straightforward, honest assessment of nursing programs.

jollygreen23

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2015, 09:07:19 AM »
Since it's utilities in a hot climate, I would find a way to reduce this through judicious use of fans. You can learn how to be comfortable with higher temps. It might take some getting used to, but the payoff could potentially be big. I'm not saying it will be fun, but you've got to find a way to not just tread water on the student loan, especially since you are going to be adding to them in the near future.

The food budget isn't astronomical for a family of five, but once again, something's gotta give. I guess you just have to decide where to cut. If you care more about food or A/C than phones, then reduce your cell phones. Clearly you've already indicated that the tithe is most important, so in order to keep that in your budget and still pay off loans, you have to cut something else. Maybe going to a mostly vegetarian diet? Cutting all beverages and just drinking water? I don't know what can be changed, but there's likely wriggle room there. Don't save for tuition (presumably college tuition) for your kids. Pay off your own tuition first!

I looked into getting a nursing degree with kids and the ROI didn't work out for us. But you're quite a bit younger than me. I do, however, think going to school without childcare sounds incredibly stressful. And you guys can't really afford childcare currently.

The charitable giving is religious-based. As far as Christmas goes, we both have fairly big families. I was trying to budget for $25 for each person, but we'll definitely try to shoot under that. Knowing that saving $10 per person means $300 toward my tuition will be great incentive to find good deals or make them ourselves. Also, I have a couple of grandparents that just write checks every year. Those'll help.

I posted in a different thread about how a family of 5 would receive over $678/mo on SNAP, and we're cheaper than that. Even with that consideration, our food budget should come down next month. I don't buy beverages of any kind, unless they come out of the "eating out" budget. So maybe 2 sodas for my husband a month?

We're not saving for the kids' tuition. We'll be financially independent before that happens. I paid my way through school ten years ago, and they can do the same if they have to.

The $250 chiropractor bill is going towards my tuition, starting in January.

We're using the fans and we've had an energy audit from the city. (Everything seems to be efficient.) The thermostat is currently set to 79 right now, and the air kicks in every few hours, but not for long. The weather is starting to cool off, so that should save a few dollars.

I'm still trying to convince my husband to switch phone plans. We're currently sharing a plan with his family and he doesn't want to leave them hanging. Also, he thinks he uses enough data that it wouldn't be worth it (which is total BS, in my not-so-humble opinion. He can't show me the numbers to back this up.) I'll bring it up again and see if we can try it for a few months, just to see. I think we can cut our bill in half, at least.

The idea is to work part time as a nurse while the kids are in school. (They'll all be out of the house from 8am-3pm in 2020, and I finish my degree in 2019). We have lots of opportunities for employment for nurses where I live, including school nurse, hospice, elderly care (TONS of facilities in Florida!), home care, and of course hospitals (we have two huge ones in town). Once the kids are even older, full time work will become more of an option, and I'll have years of experience to add to my resume.

I'm also trying to convince DH to bike to work. I'll bike to school. Selling one of the cars *might* bring in $1500. That would be a big help. I'll bring it up and see if we can work it out.

Thanks for the responses so far, everyone. I hadn't considered vegetarian eating, and I'll definitely bring up the phone plan again.

Easye418

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2015, 10:26:21 AM »
Wowza. Lots of moving parts and mouths to feed.

Like the others have said, Nursing school is extremely competitive and tough. It is a full time job for sure. Clinicals and preparing for NCLEX is no joke. Not to mention, nursing is a burn out job depending on the floor. Pretty backbreaking only to come home to four growing children.

My wife just finished her RN to BSN program yesterday. Not even comparable to how hard she worked on her ASN. Extremely demanding.

Also, don't think a Community College program is easier. My wife went to one and they have one of the highest regarded programs in the state.

+1 to everything MrsPete said. Sounds scary? It is. Be prepared to dedicate all of your time to it.
Good luck.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 10:29:13 AM by Easye418 »

jollygreen23

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2015, 10:35:02 AM »
Wowza. Lots of moving parts and mouths to feed.

Like the others have said, Nursing school is extremely competitive and tough. It is a full time job for sure. Clinicals and preparing for NCLEX is no joke. Not to mention, nursing is a burn out job depending on the floor. Pretty backbreaking only to come home to four growing children.

My wife just finished her RN to BSN program yesterday. Not even comparable to how hard she worked on her ASN. Extremely demanding.

Also, don't think a Community College program is easier. My wife went to one and they have one of the highest regarded programs in the state.

+1 to everything MrsPete said. Sounds scary? It is. Be prepared to dedicate all of your time to it.
Good luck.

Your wife said the ASN was harder? I'm expecting those Community College semesters to be brutal. It's a great program, but there's a reason they produce some of the best nurses in the state.

Congrats to your wife!

Easye418

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2015, 10:37:30 AM »
Well, let me correct that.

The ASN to RN was a tough program AKA the Clinicals and NCLEX.  She's pretty smart tho when she did her NCLEX, her test turned off at the first possible point. She passed with the fewest amount of questions

It's a damn shame they don't pick nurse for jobs based on NCLEX scores like GPA. She's fine tho. Went to a top tier BSN program.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 10:42:38 AM by Easye418 »

MayDay

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2015, 12:07:55 PM »
I thought it was hard to fine nursing jobs now with RN only, that everyone wants a BSN.  But maybe FL is in such need of nurses that it doesn't matter?

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2015, 12:19:51 PM »
When I saw the $450 charitable contribution, Mark 12:41-44 came into my mind. The poor widow put in two copper coins to the temple's treasury, everything she had. You went even further. You give money you don't have, because you are in debt.

That's just my two cents: If you used this $450 to eliminate your debt, you could be debt-free soon. When you reach debt-free status, you could contribute to charity again.

csprof

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2015, 01:37:52 PM »
When I saw the $450 charitable contribution, Mark 12:41-44 came into my mind. The poor widow put in two copper coins to the temple's treasury, everything she had. You went even further. You give money you don't have, because you are in debt.

That's just my two cents: If you used this $450 to eliminate your debt, you could be debt-free soon. When you reach debt-free status, you could contribute to charity again.

The OP said this was off-limits, but I wonder if there's a more out-of-the-box solution:

OP, I'd seriously suggest sitting down and discussing the financial picture with your {pastor, reverend, priest, bishop, rabbi, mullah, whatever}.  One way to view this:  You're paying, what, 6.5% on your student loan, and that's 6.5% you're *not* able to spend on your education -- which will increase your tithe in the future -- or on your tithe now.

Would you rather give money to a bank or to your church?  Because you're giving it to your bank right now.

What if you did this instead:
Maintain a "tithe debt" spreadsheet.  Each month, "borrow" $200 from your tithe to pay down your loan.  Record this in the tithe debt.

Charge yourself interest on the tithe debt at a reasonable rate - say, 3%.

Then, at the end of some time period you're comfortable with -- a year?  six months? -- start paying it back from the interest on your student loan that you're saving.  Example:

MonthTithe DebtLoan RepaidLoan interest saved
0200.0200.01.08
1400.5400.03.25
2601.50600.06.5
3803.00800.010.83
41005.011000.016.25
51207.521200.022.75
61410.541400.030.33
71614.071600.039.0
81818.101800.048.75
92022.652000.059.58
102227.702200.071.5
112433.272400.084.5

At the end of that period, you'll owe $2433 in "tithe debt" (note that you'll have actually paid $33 more in tithe than you would have before), but you will have saved $84.5 in total interest payments on your student loan.  Apply those to the student loan, too, and you'll have paid off $2485 of student loan at a "cost" of $2433 in tithe debt.

A very reasonable approach might be to then just pay interest-only on the tithe debt for a while.  That's an extra $6/month in tithe.  But you'll have freed up $13/month in student loans, which you can apply to paying down the student loan debt faster.  Obviously, you can adapt the numbers in a way that works based upon what you figure out works for you & your church.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 02:52:07 PM by csprof »

lhamo

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2015, 01:39:48 PM »
I would strongly recommend having a discussion with family about gifting expectations.  Everyone may be relieved to reduce the level of gifting.  In our family, we stopped gifting among the adults several years ago.  It has been great in terms of both stress and cost reduction.

If you aren't comfortable having that discussion, I hope you will at least explain to family that since you are supporting 4 kids on one income and trying to do/fund school without taking on debt, you will not be gifting at the same level as before. 

jollygreen23

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2015, 02:37:27 PM »
I had a conversation with my parents about gift-giving. They know we're saving for nursing school and think it's a good idea to cut back. My sisters are probably okay with it, too.

DH's family on the other hand... not very Mustachian. They like having that picture-perfect image of a Christmas tree with too many presents to count. We already give the cheapest gifts out of the group. But maybe talking to them about it would help.

I talked to DH about our phone bill. Funnily enough, it's his family that's holding him back more than anything else. We currently share a data plan with them, and split it six ways. One guy, my brother-in-law, uses 85% of the data. The rest of us just don't need/use data. "But," DH argues, "we're still paying less than we were on our old plan ($150/month) because we're sharing with more people. Now we're only paying $90."

I fail to see how that's relevant, considering we could go down to $40/month or less if we ditched the family's plan. It would suck for them to have to split their bill 4 ways instead of 6, but... yeah. I guess I get him not wanting to stick his family with a higher bill, but...Come on! Why are we paying for 1/3 of the data when we don't have to?

To all who have responded, thank you. This is tremendously helpful.

acrosstherainbow

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2015, 05:14:24 PM »
Most of your expenses are pretty good for a family of six.  If anything, the grocery bill would be the place to attack.  Internet for $50 seems very high.  And the idea of paying back interest only on your student loan is scary. 

My first thought though had nothing to do with that:  I'm wondering if nursing school is realistic for a mother of four small children.  My daughter is currently a senior nursing major, and it is a DIFFICULT and TIME CONSUMING major.  It's also an expensive major.  I'm not trying to dissuade you -- I think my daughter is making a great choice by going into nursing; I just want to make you aware of what nursing school is.  Things I didn't know before she started -- she is at a four-year university working towards a BSRN, so filter that through your own circumstances:

- You say you're doing two semesters online.  That means you'll be leaving ALL your lab classes for those later semesters; those will be tough, busy semesters because a lab requires as much time as a regular lecture class ... yet you only get one credit hour. 
- From the moment you begin classes, you MUST make As.  Why?  Because once you've finished those freshman/sophomore classes, you have to apply to enter the nursing program as a junior.  In my daughter's case, about 150 students applied, and they were able to take 40.  My daughter had a B and a B+ on her transcript, and she says she was "middle of the pack" for those who were accepted.  Realistically, a single C will knock you out of the running. 
- Once you're in nursing school, you have NO option to do anything part-time; you're either "in" or you're not in.  Don't like it?  Move aside, about 100 other students wanted your spot and were turned down.   
- Nursing is a 9-semester program.  There's a mandatory summer session between sophomore /junior year.  It can only be taken in the summer.  That summer session cost us as much as a whole semester.  Part of that was that we were required to buy school-specific scrubs that summer at $90/outfit.  That summer she also had to buy her own stethoscope and a number of other items that I can't remember.
- Nursing books are notoriously expensive; of course, used books are an option, but expect them to cost more than other majors. 
- Nursing school constantly "nickel and dimes" you:  Criminal background check before you can go to this Clinical location, $5 for a new ID for that Clinical location, flu shot, parking for this hospital.  It's always something. 
- Once you're in nursing school, you'll only attend school four days a week:  Most semesters, two days will be Clinicals, two days will be in the classroom.  Your Clinical hours will be at a wide variety of locations:  Nearby hospitals, hospitals two hours away, nursing homes, mental hospitals, schools, and prisons.  For some of these locations, my daughter is up and out the door before 5:00 am and is gone 8-12 hours.  It is a RIGOROUS PROGRAM, both physically and emotionally. 
- If you miss two Clinical days in a semester, you are out of the program.  One of my daughter's classmates had emergency surgery ... missed one Clinical day ... but went to Clinicals the 2nd or 3rd day after surgery.  Her friends helped her all they could:  Someone else drove, they pitched in helping her with the heavy lifting, and she made it through ... but she didn't dare miss that second day. 
- In your last year, you'll do a Capstone program, which actually sounds easier than the previous semesters. 
- Finally there's the NCLEX exam, which you'll take shortly after graduation.  All said, it's going to cost about $250 between yet another criminal background check, a passport photo (which they say not to take yourself, but we're going to do so), and numerous other hoops to jump through.   

So, seriously, is this something you can do with four small children?  Again, I'm not trying to dissuade you -- I think nursing is a great career choice -- but is it something you can manage at this point in your life?  I strongly suggest you talk to someone who is in the program you hope to join.  See whether these details I see here are true for your school as well.

As someone who went to nursing school (and grad school; I'm a NP now), I would say that YMMV depending on the nursing school- the one describe above sounds pretty draconian. Don't get me wrong, nursing school is tough, but what the person describe above isn't something universally experienced.

I had a few mothers that were in my program and they still were able to get it all done and keep their own sanity, but for more help on this subject, I would really recommend allnurses.com as you'll find a lot more first-hand experiences and a lot of threads to look through for advice.

MrsPete

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2015, 09:22:58 AM »
Okay, new thoughts based upon this new information:

I didn't realize you already have one bachelor's degree -- this is very good because it means you have all your general degree requirements.  You may need an odd class or two, but you're much further down the road than I had realized.  However, I think you're viewing everything in a best-case situation:  You're planning on studying while nursing the baby (isn't that a time to talk to the child, build a bond with the baby?), assuming you'll be able to go to Clinical hours while your older kids are at school, figuring day car for the others will just appear ... some of these things will probably work out, but hoping for them all is unrealistic. 

And then after this -- I think another poster chose her words well -- soul-sucking couple of years are finished, you're planning to work part-time 'til the kids are all established in school?  To borrow from another poster, I don't see the ROI.  If you succeed with this plan, your kids will suffer because you won't "be there" during those all-important first years.  In general, I'm very supportive of education and furthering your skills, and I think nursing is a great career ... but I don't see your plans as realistic. 

Is my daughter's nursing program Draconian?  I don't know -- I have no frame of reference; I only know what she tells me about this one program.  However, I do know that she is learning and progressing, and I have no doubt she'll pass the NCLEX on her first try.  I asked her if anyone in her program has children, and she looked at me like I had two heads.  She says one girl was married last summer, and they did have one man in the group who was married/had one child, but he dropped out -- she doesn't know why; she sort of thinks it was about money. 

Here are a couple options I see as more possible for the mother of four kids, one of them a newborn: 

1.  Look into becoming a CNA.  If you have any experience in nursing, you can "challenge" the test and take it without taking any classes -- you'd want to get a book with which to review.  The test costs $110 in my state, and you're licensed for two years /if you work 8 hours during that two years, you can ask for your license to be renewed.  If you take the class to become a CNA2, you'll make more money.  CNAs can work in nursing homes or home health (and you said that in Florida the need for elder-care is huge) or can work in hospitals.  It's hard physical work:  Lots of bathing people, feeding people.  But you could realistically -- after recovering from childbirth -- start working and bringing money in before Christmas.  You could work night shifts, as someone else suggested, so you and your husband could tag-team the childcare.  My daughter has worked as a CNA in a couple places, and she earns $10-12/hour.  No, that's not nearly what an RN earns, but you wouldn't need to go through the years of classes and Clinicals, and you could start bringing in money SOON for your family -- without any additional student loans.  And you could attack nursing school once your children are all older, in school, doing their own laundry, and so forth.  Plus, you'd begin with a wealth of practical knowledge.

2.  Look into substitute teaching.  You're qualified NOW.  In my state you only need a high school diploma and a criminal background check.  Since you have a bachelor's degree, you'd -- in my state -- make about $75/day.  The beauty of this job is that you'd work school hours, and you'd never need to search for child care for teacher workdays /summers (I'm a teacher, and not needing care on these days saved us immeasureable money and stress -- it's one of the reasons teachers put up with the low pay).  You would have the option to say, "No, I can't work on Monday; I'm going to my son's class party, but please do call me next time."  Our best couple subs work as many days as they want; literally, when we know we have to be out, we call them ASAP, and pretty frequently they say, "I'm sorry, but I've already promised Mrs. Smith for that day."  My favorite sub has a personal goal to work 12 days every month -- that's her personal "sweet spot" between having a check at the end of the month and being available for her middle school son.  She never, ever fails to work her goal of 12, and she often works more than she wants just because she doesn't want to say no.  One intangible benefit:  You'd know all the teachers in your children's school, which is a help to them in their education; my own kids always had the best teachers, and being in constant communication with them was a big plus to them -- especially my rowdy youngest.  And, of course, two big benefits:  1) the hours are consistent, and 2) when the school bell rings, you're done -- no homework for you, you belong to your family.   

3.  You have a degree in Psychology.  A bachelor's in Psych doesn't open a whole lot of doors for you, but you could get a job as a Social Worker now.  This is a hard-to-fill job, and it doesn't pay well, but it does come with state benefits and a state pension.  State pensions are stable, and even if you don't intend to put in a full 30 years, you might be glad of a small pension later.  People who enter this field tend to start in Welfare benefits, which is a 9-5 type job, and you wouldn't bring any work home; thus, when you come home, you'd belong to your family. 


MrsPete

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2015, 09:26:59 AM »
I talked to DH about our phone bill. Funnily enough, it's his family that's holding him back more than anything else. We currently share a data plan with them, and split it six ways. One guy, my brother-in-law, uses 85% of the data. The rest of us just don't need/use data. "But," DH argues, "we're still paying less than we were on our old plan ($150/month) because we're sharing with more people. Now we're only paying $90."
Check into what "your own plan" would cost before you speak to your husband (or his family).  Grouping people together can be a money-saver, but not if you're paying for unwanted /unneeded services.

My college senior daughter and I have talked about her finances /transitioning her out of my checkbook and into her own, independent finances.  One of the things I've told her is that she's welcome to stay on our family phone plan as long as she wants -- she has to pay her portion, of course, after graduation, but if that portion is cheaper than an independent plan, I have no problem with us "staying together". 

mm1970

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2015, 10:29:49 AM »
My friend just finished her RN (she already had a BS in Chem).  With two kids (one in elementary, one preschool aged).

It was rough at times. I can't imagine her doing it with four kids.

justajane

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2015, 11:12:59 AM »
I have a Ph.D. in history. When I looked into an RN program at our local community college five years ago, they had prereqs in the social sciences and even in history that I would have still been required to take. It was ludicrous. Hell, I could be teaching the class! If the class didn't measure up exactly with the prereq, then you had to take it anyway. Plus if you had taken them over 10 years earlier, you had to retake. This would have meant that I would have had to retake modern composition. Sorry, but no fucking way. Perhaps I could have met with administrators face to face and gotten a waiver, but I just gave up right then and there. I figured with little ones at home it would have taken me at least four years to get the degree.

I can totally understand having to retake chemistry, even though I took it as an undergrad 15+ years ago. This makes sense, because it is a science class.

 There were accelerated programs in town that were more willing to take into account all my prior education, but they would have been to the tune of 60K in tuition. I would have been done in a year, though. That, however, is a full time job plus. No way could I do it with kids.

OP, have you looked into becoming an ultrasound tech or something like that? I've heard they are in demand, make decent money, and the training program is much, much less rigorous than that for an RN. Plus the hours can be very flexible.

Goldielocks

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2015, 11:19:17 AM »
Given that the $450 is a constant, it shows a real connection to your community.

What about setting up a GoFundMe for your tuition, and sending it to your community?   Maybe ask to make an announcement at the appropriate time?  Talk about your calling to help the sick and elderly....


You don't even need to pose as a needy case, your community will already know how hard you work.

There are so many bad requests, that it would be nice to see a real request in there.

MrsPete

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2015, 11:36:01 AM »
OP, have you looked into becoming an ultrasound tech or something like that? I've heard they are in demand, make decent money, and the training program is much, much less rigorous than that for an RN. Plus the hours can be very flexible.
Bouncing off your ultrasound tech thought, other ideas might include Pharm Tech, Surgery Tech, or Respiratory Therapist.  I would have included Dental Hygienist, but I think that one peaked a couple years ago and new grads are having trouble finding work.  These are jobs in the health care field and the requirements can be completed much faster than an RN.  Yes, the RN makes more money, but the ROI may be higher for these other options.

Easye418

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2015, 07:51:17 AM »
I have a Ph.D. in history. When I looked into an RN program at our local community college five years ago, they had prereqs in the social sciences and even in history that I would have still been required to take. It was ludicrous. Hell, I could be teaching the class! If the class didn't measure up exactly with the prereq, then you had to take it anyway. Plus if you had taken them over 10 years earlier, you had to retake. This would have meant that I would have had to retake modern composition. Sorry, but no fucking way. Perhaps I could have met with administrators face to face and gotten a waiver, but I just gave up right then and there. I figured with little ones at home it would have taken me at least four years to get the degree.

I can totally understand having to retake chemistry, even though I took it as an undergrad 15+ years ago. This makes sense, because it is a science class.

 There were accelerated programs in town that were more willing to take into account all my prior education, but they would have been to the tune of 60K in tuition. I would have been done in a year, though. That, however, is a full time job plus. No way could I do it with kids.

OP, have you looked into becoming an ultrasound tech or something like that? I've heard they are in demand, make decent money, and the training program is much, much less rigorous than that for an RN. Plus the hours can be very flexible.

Nice point in the bold.  Just another way for the educational system to charge you $500 a credit hour.

Dee18

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2015, 08:03:36 AM »
JG23, I have been intrigued by the degree to which people have tried to discourage you from pursuing your plan.  We don't see that often on MMM.  Only you know your energy, your resources, and your determination.  Plus, you can always start down that path and reevaluate as time goes on. Nursing is a great career and one that will not be disappearing. And you are at an age of peak energy.

If you do want to try something else, have you considered doing testing?  My daughter's Girl Scout leader, with a psych BA, worked part time at children's hospital doing the psychological testing for patients.  It was irregular, but paid extremely well ($50/ hour). She was just volunteering at the hospital one day a week when the PhD psych in charge got to know her and realized she worked great with kids, asked about her education, and then trained her to administer the tests.  With that experience, she also got hired by an elementary school later on.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2015, 08:31:08 AM »
Just graduated in May. Probably a similar situation to what you are looking at- I had a previous BS, and did a program to get my BSN.

A couple things-
-Check the "expiration" of your pre-reqs. For my school, they were 7 years. Even though I only took 2 years off before going back to school, I had an entire year of pre-reqs to take before my 2 years of nursing school.
-We DID have several moms. One was older, and her boys were 3 and 5 when she started. Another lady had her second after our first semester of school. This is definitely the exception, though, and the mom of the baby had a partner who could take the kiddos to work with him. They both had a very hard time scheduling clinicals though.
-It's true that you can have clinical schedules at weird times. Weekends mean nothing. Many people were on nights during their senior practicums. I live in a metro area, and had one clinical site 45 miles away. Which I was working 12s at. While sharing one car with my husband. Yeah.... that was a difficult time. And I only have a dog to take care of.
-Overall though, in my experience I had MORE time for my own life than expected in nursing school. It was just at weird times- a whole Tuesday, or every morning until 10. So even when I was free, you end up isolated to your own little world. I was able to stay on top of stuff like cooking and cleaning though, which everyone swore was not possible.
-Nursing school is EXPENSIVE. Like MrsPete said, it's nickel and diming at its finest. Not on purpose, but just by its nature. 45 miles each way for clinical = lots of gas. Scrubs = expensive, even with coupons. I made it through with only two sets of scrubs, but that meant I had to be ON POINT with laundry. And between 12 hour shift 2 and 12 hour shift 3, I wasn't always thrilled about that. Even though there are scholarships and special loans you can get for nursing, they don't cover all the other costs associated. Oh! And medical textbooks are expensive.
-Depending on the area you live, being a nurse is not the career panacea most people seem to think. Yes, there is a *national* nurse shortage. But that's an uneven distribution- some areas are oversaturated, and with the economy, older nurses are not retiring. It can be hard to get a good job right out of the gate as a new grad in some areas. Since moving for work isn't an option for you, be sure you know your local market- ask a new grad, not a veteran nurse, as they see very different hiring worlds.

I actually do think someone's suggestion of CNA is really smart. It is great skills to have before nursing school. I was a CNA first, and some programs even require it. There was a marked difference between the students who had actual clinical time as a CNA and those without. It's a great first step one way or another, and makes you money now. States have very different regulations, though, so be sure to look up the regs in your area.

Best of luck.

Easye418

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2015, 08:41:46 AM »
The books were pricey, but my wife got a TON of them.  Probably close to 10 to 12.  Cost $1,000 dollars for the whole program.

RN to BSN was simple comparative to ASN/RN.

jollygreen23

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2015, 05:23:39 PM »
Bracken: The expiration date is 10 years, and it's only for classes that I haven't taken yet. I consider myself pretty lucky, there.

Easye and Justajane: The only "repeat" I'm going to have to take in Humanities. For some reason, the humanities classes I originally took aren't transferring to this degree. But, there is a CLEP test that will give me all the credit I need. I'm taking a CLEP test this week to get one of my pre-reqs. I'll be able to study for the Humanities CLEP over the summer, maybe sooner if the opportunity presents itself. CLEPs save time and money and I can study on my own schedule.
That leaves me with 18 credit hours to meet my pre-reqs (4 of which can be taken later, during the program, but I want to get them out of the way). I've given myself a year to get these 18 hours, and they're all online.

This isn't about just finding work. I could get a job working for the state that would have great benefits, low expectations, and consistent pay, not to mention job security. My husband asked me (hypothetically) if a job like this would meet my goals. It was an emphatic no. This isn't just about money. This is about pursuing a path that I feel is right for me. I've wanted to go into nursing for years now, and I thought I would put it off until all my kids were in school. But for some reason, my husband and I both got gut feelings at the same time, independently, that I should get my prerequisites now.

Call it divine inspiration or stupidity, but I feel the need to at least take these first steps. Maybe I'll get my pre-reqs and then wait 5 years to actually apply to nursing school? Dunno. But for now, the plan is to move forward until we see a reason to stop.

My parents, mother-in-law, three sisters, and my husband's brother live in town.

I've done the breastfeeding thing before. There are many, many hours at my disposal in the near future. I can either study Anatomy and Physiology, or catch up on Doctor Who. Probably both. There will be no shortage of bonding time during that first year, I guarantee it.

I'm smart and tenacious. I multitask like a beast, and memorize things easily. I graduated with a bachelor's, on the dean's list, while nearly 8 months pregnant. The healthcare industry is in my blood, and I find the setting soothing. (Unlike most people, who hate hospitals. Weirdos.)

To everyone who is expressing concern for my well-being (and suggesting alternatives), thank you. It's nice having options and feeling like there are people out there who care.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2015, 05:37:37 PM »
Well, I won't dispute nursing being a calling. It was my second degree, as I said. Sometimes, you just have to do what you know you have to do.

In that case, I'll just say: embrace freezer meals and/or meal planning. Keeping your health is vital to be in it for the long haul, and you've got some hard times coming. It sounds like you're up for it though. Best of luck.

Be sure to look into nursing scholarships through your state (I applied for one that only had 2 other applicants, so we all got $5,000 per year for 2 years- they can be hard to find, but that means little competition). Look into programs like NurseCorps and see if they fit with your goals and life- I had classmates with their whole tuition floated and a living stipend.

ETA: if you have an interest in the VA, get in as soon as possible as a CNA or student tech. Most of my classmates who did that walked into jobs, which is saying something in my area.

kimmarg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2015, 07:12:03 PM »
Just wanted to say go for it! My spouse just passed the NCLeX last week. Similarly had a bachelors in psychology, then worked as a CNA while taking prereqs, then an accelerated RN program. It's been one hell of a year and a long road but we both thing it's the right career path long term. You can do it!

Also you can legally use student loan money to pay for child care. I know more loans aren't good in the short run but if a few hours of childcare gets you into a well paying job you love it may be the better long term solution.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2015, 07:13:43 PM by kimmarg »

MrsPete

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2015, 08:18:04 AM »
JG23, I have been intrigued by the degree to which people have tried to discourage you from pursuing your plan.  We don't see that often on MMM.  Only you know your energy, your resources, and your determination.  Plus, you can always start down that path and reevaluate as time goes on. Nursing is a great career and one that will not be disappearing. And you are at an age of peak energy.
The issue isn't that we think the OP is incapable -- not at all.  The issue is the four children, who are also at the age for their peak needs.  Can the OP manage both successfully?  Nursing school will be available 4, 5, 6 years from now, but the children will only be in their most formative years now.  No one's questioning the validity of the path, only the timing. 

RunHappy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2015, 10:32:30 AM »
JG23, I have been intrigued by the degree to which people have tried to discourage you from pursuing your plan.  We don't see that often on MMM.  Only you know your energy, your resources, and your determination.  Plus, you can always start down that path and reevaluate as time goes on. Nursing is a great career and one that will not be disappearing. And you are at an age of peak energy.
The issue isn't that we think the OP is incapable -- not at all.  The issue is the four children, who are also at the age for their peak needs.  Can the OP manage both successfully?  Nursing school will be available 4, 5, 6 years from now, but the children will only be in their most formative years now.  No one's questioning the validity of the path, only the timing.

IF OP were a man would we be having this exact same discussion?  Most likely not.

I think OP needs a reality check but not about pursuing the degree but about the finances.  I finally read her other post about the $36k student loans.  OP's hair is on fire and in my opinion can't afford nursing school and trying to get out of debt at the same time unless OP takes on some real budget cuts.  Reducing the phone bill is nice but more needs to be done.

MudDuck

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2015, 10:34:21 AM »
Go for it! You're so willing to accept delays, so willing to compromise... sounds like you've got an understanding of just how much can go wrong and are willing to take the risk.

My two cents: I didn't personally find nursing school to be as terrible as everyone had warned. I spent a lot of time combing through allnurses.com message boards about nursing school in general and the specific program I was planning to apply to, and they had me mentally prepared for sleepless nights, marital discourse, and mental breakdowns. The reality of it was a bit more manageable and, although difficult, certainly worth the trouble. (Alas, not for everyone- we graduated with about 40% of the original class intact.) I attended a night & weekend community college ASN program in which the majority of the class were parents, many single parents, and nearly everyone had at least a part-time job. The way our program was configured, we had 2-3 hours of class 2-3 nights per week and (depending how far along) either one or two 8-hour clinical days per week. I was able to do it and still work my 40-45 hour office job, although I did need to leave early once a week or so.

It was hard... but it was 18 months, and they passed by more quickly than I believed possible. I now work whatever hours I want and made back all of the money my degree cost me in a few months working part-time.

mm1970

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2015, 01:52:18 PM »
JG23, I have been intrigued by the degree to which people have tried to discourage you from pursuing your plan.  We don't see that often on MMM.  Only you know your energy, your resources, and your determination.  Plus, you can always start down that path and reevaluate as time goes on. Nursing is a great career and one that will not be disappearing. And you are at an age of peak energy.
The issue isn't that we think the OP is incapable -- not at all.  The issue is the four children, who are also at the age for their peak needs.  Can the OP manage both successfully?  Nursing school will be available 4, 5, 6 years from now, but the children will only be in their most formative years now.  No one's questioning the validity of the path, only the timing.

IF OP were a man would we be having this exact same discussion?  Most likely not.

I think OP needs a reality check but not about pursuing the degree but about the finances.  I finally read her other post about the $36k student loans.  OP's hair is on fire and in my opinion can't afford nursing school and trying to get out of debt at the same time unless OP takes on some real budget cuts.  Reducing the phone bill is nice but more needs to be done.
Actually...maybe.

Part of it is the breastfeeding thing, which like it or not, involves momma.  Firstly, I'm super impressed with her abilities to multi-task, etc. etc.  I used to be super at that, and am getting better now - but seriously for the first 18 months after #1 and 3 years after #2, I just couldn't do that anymore.  Maybe it's because I've drifted from "mommy brain" into "old lady brain"?  Maybe I would have done better younger.

I agree that finances would be a concern, based on the other post.

But I would also question this path if she were the dad too.  Look, my spouse and I only have 2 kids, 9 and 3, and we're BOTH dialing back on work.  Travel lots, take on more responsibility, run projects?  OR - apply those same tactics to our kids.  I'm on the PTA board, my spouse volunteered to run math club for 4th grade, we both are taking on the music/ baseball schedule, and I just signed our toddler up for swimming.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 04:02:35 PM by mm1970 »

MrsPete

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2015, 03:36:40 PM »
IF OP were a man would we be having this exact same discussion?  Most likely not.
If the man were going to give birth and need recovery time, yes.
If the man were going to breastfeed that child, which is a physical drain, yes.
If the man currently did not have a job and was looking at returning to school while adding another child to the house hold, yes. 
If the man were already deep in debt and was looking at paying for more education, which he might or might not be able to finish, yes.

Easye418

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #39 on: October 14, 2015, 08:41:27 AM »
I hope you go for your dreams, but I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy to raise 4 children and bust their ass in Med/Surg or ER floor.  You will get burnt out.  Divine or not.

msnashstache

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2015, 12:24:53 AM »
CONGRATULATIONS on your *new* baby girl!!! I wish I was pregnant with  another one! Currently, I am blessed with one baby boy (I call him a baby...but he's 4y/o lol) with whom I was pregnant with my last semester in nursing school!
With that said, I was wondering if you were looking for advice or encouragement here regarding the nu: school thing...although with a new baby & 4  kids...I am AMAZED you found time to post/read since the birth! (Maybe it's a good thing I only have one after all.)
You seemed to have a pretty good plan laid out here! And by "pretty good" I mean you clearly have a very clear game plan. (Good Job again!) .... so what are your thoughts now that baby girl is here?

jollygreen23

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #41 on: October 26, 2015, 01:14:36 PM »
As newborns go, Baby #4 is an easy baby. She sleeps well and predictably and isn't fussy unless she wants to eat. I expect her to sleep through the night the way Baby #3 did, by about 4 months old. If I'm getting enough sleep, I don't see any reason why the 2016 online classes wouldn't work. I'm looking forward to having something to occupy my brain while I'm at home. (Leaving the house with a baby and a three year old is a serious feat right now.) So... full speed ahead.

NonprofitER

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #42 on: October 27, 2015, 10:36:11 AM »
Congratulations on the newest addition!  Lots of great responses so far.

My DH is an ICU/ER nurse who worked F/T while completing a BSN program *while* we had a [singular] newborn and shared a car. That period of our life is pretty much a blur. I remember very little except him being gone 80 - 90 hours some weeks. To spend time with the baby he would wake up for every night feeding, change the diapers and bring me the baby to BF'd and/or let the baby sleep on him while he studied.  I think he lived on 4 hours of sleep a night. No joke, he once fell asleep *while biking* home from clinical rotations - tore up his shoulder and had to go to physical therapy because of it.  6 years later, its our funny memory of the insanity that was nursing school was with small child. Granted, he was working 0.75 - 1.00 F/T too because we couldn't afford not to at the time.

It will be extremely difficult - not impossible - for any parent (mom or dad) to do it with 4 kids, but that's mostly because the other parent has to be available to do the heavy lifting on childcare, cooking, cleaning, etc. We have a very modern egalitarian division of household labor in our home, but during nursing school I took on everything domestic so he could survive that many hours of work/school/clinicals.  If your partner works F/T, he'll just have to be prepared to do all pick ups, drop offs, dinners, baths, making lunches, etc. if you plan to succeed through wonky clinical hours. It's vital to have clear communication about this in advance.

Sounds like you want to do nursing because its a passion - excellent. I question how much of an ROI it will be if you plan to only work P/T  or as a school nurse, etc. in the first couple of years. My understanding is that those jobs are worth much less $, and it may be difficult to transition into F/T hospital jobs after the kids are older. Not impossible, just difficult - hospital jobs are highly competitive. Also, be aware that 12 hour shifts are never, in my experience, truly 12 hours. More like 14 - we live 0.5 miles from my husband's hospital, but he's out the door by 6:30am and gets home often after 8pm on a "7 - 7" shift. 

Either way, its doable. I think the other posters are right to give you a clear sense of the dedication and difficulty it will require. The CRNA route is also a good suggestion if you wanted to delay nursing school but bring in income and gain experience that will ultimately help you get into nursing. DH worked as a CRNA for a few months while waiting to take the NCLEX and it pretty much guaranteed him a job working in the unit he was eventually hired in (provided you hop to it and have a good attitude). IE, a strategy that could be maximized to secure a preferred hospital unit.

 


jollygreen23

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #43 on: October 29, 2015, 04:33:19 PM »
Something to consider:

A lot of women build a career first, then have a baby. They take off a few weeks, then go back to work. The baby is in daycare from about 6 weeks on. In my case, my youngest will be about 15 months old before daycare is even considered. I'll also have summers off.

Both on this thread and my journal thread, I feel like I'm being judged for wanting a career after living in the SAHM world.


lhamo

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #44 on: October 29, 2015, 04:55:54 PM »
I don't think you're being judged necessarily -- it is just REALLY hard to juggle everything as a working parent, and most of us who have been through it don't have four kids!  The potential complication factor is just enormous.  You aren't talking about needing to take a couple of days off when your one kid gets the flu -- it is often a couple of WEEKS off as they all get it, in succession, and then you get it too because you are so worn out caring for everyone else.

Personally I think you should definitely pursue the training, because it is relatively inexpensive and you now know you have been blessed with an easy to care for infant.  But don't be afraid to dial back the pace if/when you find you need to. 

Good luck and keep us posted!  We'll all be rooting for your success.

jollygreen23

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #45 on: October 29, 2015, 04:57:00 PM »
Thank you. That helps.

StacheInAFlash

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #46 on: October 30, 2015, 07:32:30 PM »
... The CRNA route is also a good suggestion if you wanted to delay nursing school but bring in income and gain experience that will ultimately help you get into nursing. DH worked as a CRNA for a few months while waiting to take the NCLEX and it pretty much guaranteed him a job working in the unit he was eventually hired in (provided you hop to it and have a good attitude). IE, a strategy that could be maximized to secure a preferred hospital unit.

I'm assuming you mean CNA and not CRNA, right? Bit of a difference between those two!

pbkmaine

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #47 on: October 30, 2015, 09:02:26 PM »
It sounds like you have a great deal of determination and a lot of energy. You will do fine. Good luck to you.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #48 on: October 31, 2015, 07:32:23 AM »
I had a conversation with my parents about gift-giving. They know we're saving for nursing school and think it's a good idea to cut back. My sisters are probably okay with it, too.

DH's family on the other hand... not very Mustachian. They like having that picture-perfect image of a Christmas tree with too many presents to count. We already give the cheapest gifts out of the group. But maybe talking to them about it would help.
  No need to talk to them.  They do not get to decide your financial future.  That is for you and your husband to decide.

Last year, I sent an email to both sides of the family stating how much we valued the time spent with them in the holidays, but that we would not be giving gifts to adults this year.  Only kids.  I asked that they consider doing the same, and, if they insist upon giving us something, then we prefer it be something we can eat (and home made). 

Even within my immediate family, we made home made gifts for each other.  We did buy a few gifts for the kids.  Making gifts at home was a HUGE hit with the kids.  They loved it.  They are still talking about it and planning now on making gifts for this year.  I was worried they would hate it, but it turned out better than prior Christmases.

It made Christmas so much less stressful for all the adults involved.

It was hard to send the email, because I grew up in a family that spent heavily on Christmas gifts.  My parents, who are broke, continued to shower all the kids with gifts well after they were adults.  There would be lots and lots of small gifts and then some big gift for each adult child.  Most of the time, the big gift was not something that was wanted or appreciated.  People would go into credit card debt for Christmas.  How is that, some big expensive thing that you don't even want but must be placed in your house?

I declared no more.

I was really worried about how it would all be received, but things went really well.  I think even my parents enjoyed it more.

purple monkey

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Re: Reader Case Study: Student Loan Debt, Pregnancy, and Nursing School
« Reply #49 on: October 31, 2015, 09:51:25 AM »
Been following this thread with great interest. Many folks intimately aware of what it takes to make it through nursing school and many who struggle with just two kids have attempted to help you with your questions.

Those who have discourged you did so with your health and your family's wellbeing in mind.  You are one illness/one snafu away from not being successful according to your timeline. As a result, you, your husband, and or any one of your children suffering.
Being at a hospital will certainly provide stimulation, but will take away emotionally, physical strength, and time from your family.

When this is brought up, you feel discrimated against. You don't have to do this and that is why others are compelled to look at that angle too.

As far as the CNA option it would really show you how health care is and what slack the nurse has to take up. You might find that nursing might not be for you, like the majority of nurses you encounter already feel.

Nurses are so incredibly unhappy and show it in the care they give every day. There is a reason for this. Try to talk and interview others who are nurses and see what they say.

As for this forum, the ROI is definitely not there for the money and time alone. Not to mention the blood, sweat, and tears.

Regardless, good luck with your journey.