5 Tips for Reducing Housing Costs on Your Next Assignment
Where you’ll live while on assignment depends on whether you accept agency housing or choose the housing stipend and strike out on your own. The housing stipend allows you to choose where and how you’ll live on each assignment. You just need to know how to keep housing costs within stipend limits without hampering your quality of life for the next 13 weeks.
Consider cost of living before you go
Housing costs largely depend on the cost of living in your destination city. Rent and utilities costs can vary dramatically from one city to another. An apartment in Raleigh, NC might cost you $1,300 per month, but a similar-sized apartment might cost $4,000 in San Francisco, CA.
Housing stipends generally reflect the cost of living for a particular region, but it’s still a good idea to calculate the cost of living differences before your assignment begins. Know what you’re getting into, and find ways to save where you can.
Other ways to save with your housing stipend
Choosing the housing stipend, instead of agency housing, puts housing in your hands. With a few strategic choices, you can live the way you want and make the most of your stipend. Here are five tips to help:
- Find a roommate. One of the easiest ways to reduce housing costs is to split them with another person. Finding a roommate is particularly beneficial for travel nurses working with a limited housing stipend. You’ll typically pay less rent than you would by renting on your own, and you may be able to find even cheaper housing by sharing a space with someone who leases an apartment long-term.
- Look in affordable neighborhoods: Trendy and downtown neighborhoods tend to come with loftier prices while neighborhoods located farther from the urban core usually offer lower rents. Start your housing search in affordable areas, but make sure to compare your savings to how much you’ll spend on transportation to get to work!
- Choose furnished housing: Buying new furniture for every assignment or paying to transport your own from home can get expensive fast. Many short-term rentals come fully furnished which can help you save money and make your move-in process that much simpler.
- Find bundled utilities: Utility providers sometimes offer bundles with their own services or with services from other providers at a reduced cost. Before you move, search for these deals, or look for housing that includes utilities in the cost of rent.
- Consider necessities vs. conveniences: You might want an apartment with added amenities such as in-unit washer and dryer or on-site swimming pool, but these things come at a steeper price. Consider which amenities are necessities and which are conveniences you can live without.
At the end of the day, the simplest way to live where and how you want during your assignment is to be conscious of how you spend your money. When you choose a housing stipend, you’re in charge of every dollar. It’s up to you to find your ideal balance between affordable living and lifestyle.