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The sun has been out far more than I’d like here in Oregon, and I’ve found myself straying from my financial plans. I’m tempted by not wanting to cook dinners on hot days, spending time with the kids doing something fun, and upcoming vacations. BUT…

There needs to be a balance — and re-focusing on your money goals this summer is awesome and achievable.

Here are some great places to start.

1. Check your credit score.

Looking at your credit score on a regular basis ensures that you know what is going on with your finances. It also ensures that if there is any fraudulent activity you will catch it. Earlier is better. You don’t want to find yourself needing to utilize your credit score only to find that it is not where you expected it to be.

And even if you say I don’t need to worry about my credit – me – it is still a good idea to check it because you don’t want to have to track down fraud charges from years ago because you kept your head buried in the sand.

2. Find your 5 go-to dinner recipes.

These are staples that you can make that are great for your financial goals, simple, healthy, and delicious. Try to find recipes that mimic your favorite take-out orders, so that you can indulge in your favorite dishes without the restaurant price tags. Imagine how long $15 worth of spaghetti would last you?!?

3. Call to negotiate one big bill.

Just one. Get on the phone with a big company like Verizon or Geico or Comcast and (politely) give them a piece of your mind. You can even be more prepared and tell them you will cancel your service and move to another company who will offer you $____ for the same service. You literally could save hundreds of dollars a year from a short phone call. Kevin once saved $100/month by switching insurance companies in just 30 minutes with a phone call to cancel and sign up online for a new company.

4. Sell, sell, sell.

Chances are, you have stuff in great shape collecting dust on shelves or stuffed in a closet somewhere that you know you won’t use again. Sell this stuff on Craigslist, OfferUp, Poshmark, or another site to get some quick cash. And if you don’t want to sell clothes, do clothes swap with friends or donate to your local Goodwill.

5. Calculate your net worth.

This is a great quick snapshot of your overall money situations. It should literally take you 10-20 minutes. You are going to add up the worth of all your assets (savings/investments, value of big possessions like a house or car, etc.) and subtract your liabilities (debt). Positive or negative you’ve got your net worth!

If this net worth is zero or in the negative, your goal is to get it back to positive, as soon as possible.

6. Re-name your savings accounts.

Renaming your savings accounts benefits you in multiple ways. First, you get to put your goals out there by renaming account “Savings – 4” to “Vacation Fund” or “Savings – 2” to “Emergency ONLY Fund” you put a name to your money. You give it a purpose and you get to have fun while doing it. Secondly, you are less likely to remove money from the account if you’re reminded what it’s really for.

It may sound like a silly step but watching your vacation fund grow and being able to use that money guilt-free feels even more rewarding when you go on that VACATION!!

7. Ask for a raise.

This is probably the scariest goal for some of you nurses, but you deserve it. You know you should but you keep putting it off, wondering if it’s “the right time.” But news flash: it’s never the right time. Which means it’s always the right time!

If your employer doesn’t offer raises when you ask you have to option to job hop too. As you gain more experience you can take that experience and often times be offered hire wages just by going somewhere else.

8. Pick up PTO or start a side hustle.

This is the quickest and easiest ways to aid your money problems, increase your income. It’s not a complete solution but one of the best perks of being a nurse is that there seems to be an endless supply of shifts needing to be picked up. Typically, the most lucrative type of extra cash nurses can make is PTO, simply just picking up extra shifts at their current facilities.

Another option that has changed over the years is with the greater opportunity of travel nursing. This opens up for a less conventional way of nursing that can either afford you more money or more time or both.

Another option, is if you’ve had a side project on your mind for ages, but haven’t done anything with it? Now is the time. Your side projects could be earning some serious cash — sometimes a few thousand dollars extra — a month by taking on a small gig a few nights/weekends.

9. Find a budgeting system that’s best for you.

This can be anywhere from starting with a pen and piece of paper, to making your own amazing spreadsheet, finding an app that suites your needs and/or using cash envelopes. Budgeting is be so much easier to do and stick to when it actually makes sense for you and your financial situation. I whole-heartedly believe that cookie cutter options are not best. Take your time experimenting with apps, spreadsheets, and other resources — your budget should work for you, not the other way around. Give yourself 1-3 months of trialing a system to see if it works for you.

10. Find your favorite personal financial resource.

Perhaps it’s a podcast. Or a book. Or this blog.

Find a source of financial wisdom that really connects with you, and provides quality advice that’s easily digestible. Make an effort to consume its content with intent. You’ll walk away better educated, and shocked at how much you’ve learned.

Where are you focusing your energies this summer? What money goals are you prioritizing?