Travel nursing is a very lucrative career. Traveling does not only let you visit new locations around the country but also allows you to make more money. With proper financial management, there’s a huge potential to bulk up on your savings and investments whether you remain in the profession for a few years or the long-term.
Travel nursing income is quite different from the compensation of other nursing positions. While nurses are paid salaries, travel nurses are compensated on contract basis, with average hourly rates around $50 per hour or $3000 per week.
Many factors affect travel nursing income so, let’s dive straight into the 5 ways to make the most of your nursing income while on the go.
Get an Assignment that Pays Well and Offers Good Benefits
While you might have chosen nursing as a career to provide care to others, it comes with the perk of getting paid very well. By following a plan, you can ensure that you’ll always get even better paying assignments.
Here are some tips that will help you optimize your income:
- Location: Travel nursing income is higher in certain locations than in others. The reasons range from a shortage of trained personnel to the high cost of living. While metropolitan areas pay better than rural facilities, you might also end up paying more for groceries and rent. But generally, the extra compensation more than covers the higher standards of living so you can still save some money.
- Choose the less popular shifts: When only think about Monday to Friday day work. Instead, work on weekends, holidays, and night shifts as the pay is much better while the workload is the same. These less-desirable shifts might upset your schedule or travel plans but you get a few dollars extra per hour.
- Optimize your pay through travel stipends: Travel nursing income generally includes per diem stipends for meals and lodgings that are tax-free up to an amount set by the General Services Administration. How healthcare agencies pay varies greatly.
- Try a new specialty: Some specialties pay better than others with CRNA and Nurse Practitioners being on top of the pile. ICU and ER nursing pays well traditionally but these are high-stress environments and have advanced degree requirements. If you are up to these challenges and pursue one of these specialties to get degrees, certifications, and experience, the benefits are clear. You easily go into the six-figure bracket from five.
While trying to maximize your travel nursing income and benefits, finding the right balance is important. Try TactStaff to get the best travel stipends or to get work in a better market at comparatively lower risk. We have a wide range of healthcare jobs in various locations.
Maximize Your Income by Working Overtime Hours
It will pay off (literally) if you can find the time and energy to put in some extra shifts. Most facilities that employ travel nurses generally have a lot of staff shortages – the reason why you were hired in the first place – and quite frequently offer extra shifts to traveling nurses and staff. Here you can rake in around 1.5 to 2 times the rate of your pay for shifts beyond 36 to 40 hours per week depending on the facility. Some healthcare agencies like TactStaff offer additional bonuses for a certain amount of overtime.
A few agencies negotiate overtime rates that are not linked to the contracted rate. This is important and you can utilize this clause to negotiate a higher overtime rate for yourself. Why is this possible? It is because healthcare agencies cover all your expenses and benefits in the contracted number of hours and anything over that is simply a benefit for the agency. Hence, you can negotiate for a higher overtime rate as the more you work the more the revenue for the agency too so they should part with a substantial portion of it.
Stick to a Budget So You Can Save Money
While you are employed, it is critical to save money from your travel nursing income so that you can make it grow through wise investments.
Follow these tips to see your bank balance grow.
- Advantages of the agency: Travel healthcare agencies offer various benefits. At TactStaff, we pay for your travel and lodging while many others do not. Even if you arrange these at your own expense take whatever benefits the agency has to offer.
- Get insurance: Purchase travel insurance and insulate yourself from financial losses. Save medical expenses while on assignment by having valid health, dental, and vision insurance.
- Reduce expenses: While exploring new places is tempting, set a budget for leisure activities and stick to it. Avoid eating out or buying food on the go and instead cook meals at home. Look for coupons in newspapers and discounts at supermarkets before buying your groceries.
- Activate a savings account: Your travel nursing income pays well and typically more than what you need to live on. Invest that extra money into a savings bank account to earn additional income.
- Track spending: You might have worked out a budget but unless you track your spending you will not know whether you are within your set limits.
These are a few ways to save money from your travel nursing income.
Set your Financial and Investment Goals
If you are financially savvy while on the road, you can secure your future, be ready for any financial emergency and keep your bank accounts under control.
- Set financial goals: Have a financial plan to know how much to save after you get the paycheck. Set goals like saving for a car, or retirement.
- Track your income vs expenditure: This might seem an easy one but you should know whether you are living beyond your means, more so if you have credit cards.
- Take the benefit of 401(k): Top healthcare agencies offer 401(k) accounts with employer matching as a part of the investment for post-retirement.
- Build an emergency fund: Always keep a stash of funds in your savings account to take care of emergencies.
- Pay bills online: As you might be in a new place every 13 to 15 weeks, it makes sense to pay all bills online as a part of your financial planning to keep track of expenses. Paper receipts might get lost when you shift locations.
- Use a banking app: An app will have pointers to guide you in making the right investments from your savings as well as any new schemes being introduced.
All these will help you to meet financial goals and invest wisely once you have built up significant funds in your account.
At TactStaff, our goal is to offer you assignments that will give above industry standards travel nursing income. We update ourselves with the latest developments and strive to match the incomes based on the demand for travel nurses in specific locations. You can bank on us to get you the best assignments that can meet your financial and career goals.