If you’re a travel nurse or getting into travel nursing, you’ve probably wondered at some point or another how much of your stipend should go to rent? The truth is, there isn’t any right or wrong answer – just what makes you feel the most comfortable! I’ve been on assignments where I’ve spent half of my monthly pay on rent and on assignments where I’ve spent less than one week of my paycheck on rent. It all just depends where you’re living and what kind of experience you want to have.
Here are a few things to consider to guide you in deciding how much money to spend on rent.
How Much Money Should Travel Nurses Be Spending on Rent?
What is a Housing Stipend?
For starters, it’s important to know what a housing stipend is before moving on. Travel nurses get paid in three different categories – housing stipend, meal stipend, and hourly pay. The housing stipend and meal stipend are not taxed, while the hourly pay is taxed. (For more information on travel nurse pay, read this post).
A good resource to use to see if your housing stipend is maxed out is gsa.gov. For a more in-depth guide to your housing stipend, purchase The Ultimate Travel Nurse Bundle where I walk you through all of this and more!
Should You Take Company Housing or Find Your Own?
Generally speaking, if you decide to take company housing, you’ll be losing out on more money than if you find your own housing. In my opinion, the only reason to take company housing is if you have signed a contract at the last minute and can’t find anything, or if you just don’t want to look for anything yourself.
If you do plan to find your own housing, make sure to read this post for the best resources for travel nurses looking to find housing.
So How Much Should Travel Nurses be Spending on Rent?
I’ve seen travel nurses calculate their living expenses one of two ways. The first way to decide how much to spend is to take 1/4 of your MONTHLY Pay (not your housing stipend) and spend one week worth of pay on rent. So if you’re taking home $1,500/week ($6,000/month), your rent should cost $1,500 for a month.
Another way to look at this is by taking your weekly housing stipend, multiply it by four, and spend a months worth of your housing stipend on your rent. Again, there isn’t a wrong way to decide – just what feels right and comfortable of you.
For more tips on money managing and budgeting, don’t miss: How to Manage your Money As a Travel Nurse