This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimers for more info.
Prior to attending CRNA school I wasn’t living extravagantly by any means but I also wasn’t watching every penny I spent either. My kids were all in various activities including travel baseball and volleyball which is costly. I knew things would change once I started CRNA school, but I promised the girls they would both be able continue playing travel volleyball come hell or high water.
One would think with all those promises I would’ve had a better plan on how we were going to pay for all of that along with life and school expenses. Initially, I felt really good about where we were at financially but quickly realized just trying to make it everyday was costly and adding up quickly.
Cost of CRNA school
While CRNAs graduate making a mean salary of $174,790, oftentimes they are dealing with debt in excess of $100,000 as well. While the investment is worth it due to the large starting salary you will make as a new graduate, it could still set you back financially. Therefore, you need to get a head start even before you start CRNA school.
Here are some things I wish I knew about keeping costs down while in CRNA school.
1. Kept a monthly budget
Before creating a monthly budget you must take a hard look at your current financial situation. First, you need to gather your bills and bank statements. Give yourself plenty of time as this is an important step. Now you can track your spending by using a budgeting template like this one here or a FREE site like Mint.com.
After deciding on a budgeting template you must choose a simple budgeting method. Some common budgeting methods are 50/30/20, zero based, and envelope budget system.
2. Plan meals at home
It’s extremely hard to keep up with the rigors of CRNA school along with studying, clinicals, and family time. But eating at home or even better meal prepping is a great way for you to eat healthy but also save money and time in the process.
It also reduces your time wandering what you will cook and last minute grocery store purchases. While in CRNA school I often would stop and buy fast food because I was tired and really didn’t have a plan for meals. I honestly was just trying to get through the day. But my point is I could of done better. I found this great meal planner sheet so you can get started.
3. Stop using credit cards for everything
There will likely be a time while in CRNA school where you have to whip out your credit card. During these times depending on credit is a life saver. But before going this route take a deep breath and ask yourself is this expense a necessity or a want.
Also try to limit the number of credit cards you have open. Too many may negatively affect your credit especially if you can’t make at least the minimum monthly payments. Remember if you have an adverse credit history, you may not qualify for the Federal Grad Plus Loan.
4. Lower upfront expenses
You can cut costs during the application process by applying to fewer schools. Because you will quickly find the fees and costs add up. Of course, you still want to apply to your best fit CRNA program to increase your chances of gaining an interview. Find the school which best fits you by using the CRNA School Finder.
Also once you receive your first acceptance letter you could take the other schools off the table and save money on interview expenses. This not only helps you save money but you can also get a head start on preparing for CRNA school.
5. Planned for unexpected expenses
My first year in CRNA school, I received an email that our home in SC flooded and there was damage to the roof from the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin. Well guess what? We were not prepared for the cost of the repairs. To this day I don’t know how we managed during this time.
Whether it’s a “cushion” or an “emergency fund”, having extra cash set aside can get you out of some tough situations. Ideally, you want to save 3-6 months of expenses but for now strive for a starter emergency fund of $1000 for those unexpected events while in CRNA school. This will allow you to focus more on important things like your family and school.
Do you have a plan?
One of the best decisions I ever made was becoming a CRNA. However, it is costly and I wasn’t prepared financially prior to starting school. Use these tips so you go into it with not only a clear plan but peace of mind as you work towards becoming a future CRNA.
P.S. Are you ready to become a competitive CRNA school applicant along with crafting a solid financial plan, if so join CRNA Chase ACADEMY today!