For those who are new readers, I will just give a quick history. I am a part-time work-at-home insurance nurse and I am in grad school to earn my masters in nursing education. We had planned on using tuition reimbursement to cover much of my degree, but when I was forced to leave my full-time position to manage our children’s needs, we had to make a decision: do I hold off grad school, take out loans, or figure out how to pay cash? We had just paid off my loans from degree #2 and we did not want to take out more loans. This graduate degree is #4, and we cash flowed and used tuition reimbursement for #3 while paying off the last of the loans for #2. Yes, it was a little crazy. We knew it would be tight if we opted to try paying cash, but we thought we could do it. That means we have to pay between $2800-3900 every three months between August 2015 and January 2017.
As of the beginning of January, we have made three of seven payments in cash. My program has me taking two online courses each session for a total of seven sessions. I am almost done with session two. In a few weeks I will start my Nursing Ethics and Nursing Research courses.
Our next payment is the beginning of April, and we will have to pull $3900 together to pay for the 6 credit hours. That means we’ll need to save about $1300/month in January, February, and March.
Unfortunately, this month started with being booked for only two shifts, though I have been able to pick up two more. This just barely covers my usual expenses plus the sitter. There is nothing extra left over to put towards tuition or retirement.
Next month, I am booked for four shifts, and my in-laws will be in town and able to babysit for us during one of them. I am hopeful one or two more days will open up.
The good news is that in March, I already have 6 shifts booked, and have several more booked well in advance for April, June, and July. January and February seem to be quite slow for taking time off, and I will have to keep that in mind for next year. Let me tell you how happy I am I chose to make savings automatic. It means I don’t need to dip into the savings from my husband’s pay- the savings that are paying for my graduate school- in order to cover expenses.
We are cutting back on some more expenses, and I expect an extra amount from work to cover part of my business internet for this year, plus the almost $100 in unclaimed funds I filed for this month. We will also be doing taxes once we get our W-2s.
I calculate we should have enough to cover my April tuition without dipping into our savings, plus start the first of our home improvements. We are going to build a play set in the backyard and I’m going to paint our downstairs half bath something other than the dark forest green it was when we moved in ten years ago.
We’ll continue our strategy of $10 date nights through the summer, and I will try to pick up as many shifts as I can as spring and summer come near, save the extra, and hopefully be able to fund the other things in our priority list. My expenses will go down once June hits, when I am no longer paying for dance class and preschool. That will be an extra $200 in our pockets every month, and our littlest one won’t need preschool until September of 2017.
Three down, four more to go!