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Allie Hall: Helping Shift Workers Manage Their Money

Allie Hall is helping shift workers get their finances sorted. Here's how she's tackling the stigma and teaching others how to take control of their money.

Allie Hall is an RN/BSN and Budget Coach from Raleigh, North Carolina. She paid off 46K in student loans and saved 10K in 18 months. Now she’s helping fellow nurses and shift workers tackle their debt and build their savings. Allie talks about the role of FOMO in spending, her pivotal money moment, and the link between happiness and spending.

—As told to Lauren McGill. Edited for clarity and conciseness.

 

Tell me about your work in healthcare.

I followed in my mom’s footsteps and entered nursing. I started as a new grad in 2015 on a step-down floor and eventually transferred to the ICU. Next, I went to the CCU and then got floated and cross-trained to CVICU. Fast forward to now—I just started as a clinical instructor and in a remote triage position. I talk about my whole nursing journey on my latest podcast episode (on Apple and Spotify.)

 

What was one of your “aha!” moments around money?

At one point, I was working five 12-hour shifts per week. But I had nothing but burnout to show for it. Then there was one day—the day before payday— I couldn’t afford gas. I remember thinking: “What am I doing?” 

So I started by reading a couple of finance books. I opened my first high-interest savings account. I got into mindset work. And I used the snowball method to clear my credit card debt.

 

It’s normal for shift workers to feel like they’re missing out and then buy things to make themselves feel better.

 

How did you get into finances for shift workers?

Although I had used Dave Ramsay’s method to pay off debt, I didn’t agree with his overall approach. But I didn’t see a lot of people talking about sustainable finances. Mostly, there was just a focus on getting out of debt. 

One night at work, I was writing out my budget. My coworkers wanted to know what I was doing. One of them said, “Well, I’ll never clear my student debt… I just pick up another shift to buy what I want.” For me, that just reinforced why I want to help shift attitudes around money for shift workers.

At the time, there wasn’t a lot of online coaching for finance. I started hosting calls and going over people’s budgets. People loved it. I realized a lot of people needed this. That’s how my course Three Phases to Financial Freedom came about.

 

Have you ever worked nights? Tell me about your experience.

In the CVICU, I was working weekend nights only which contributed to FOMO. It felt like I never had time to do anything. I didn’t have a great routine. I would stay up all day on Friday, and then work Friday night and then kind of sleep on Saturday before going into work. 

Later, when I was in the PICU, I made night shift more of a lifestyle. When my mindset around shift work was better, I was able to do it better.

 

A lot of our readers are young healthcare professionals carrying student debt. Can you tell us more about how you paid off 46K in student loans and saved 10K in 18 months?

I leveraged premium pay. I took a “weekend option” job,  where I got paid $10 weekend premium plus a night shift premium of $3 on top of base pay. So each two shifts was almost equivalent to working three shifts. 

Then I’d pick up a day shift in the middle of the week. The weekday shift was an incentive shift, which was anywhere between $100 and $200 extra per shift. 

I also got a job offering respite care for parents with medically fragile children. That $1000/month (8 hours per week) went directly towards my debt. 

Most importantly, I had to change my mentality around spending.  I created a sustainable budget based on my priorities, like the gym, healthy food, travel, and my pets. I was intentional about making debt payments every single payday. I also made it a habit to save. So as my debt went down, my savings increased.

 

Happy people do not impulse spend.

 

How can busy shift workers take control of their finances?

First, have a sustainable plan or else the money will just disappear. And you don’t want to make a plan when you’re in survival mode. 

Next, don’t purchase things while you’re on shift. If impulse spending is something that you struggle with, then make it very hard to do. Use the 48-hour rule. Unsubscribe from email lists trying to sell you stuff. And stop watching shopping hauls on social media.

Finally, find a no-spend hobby to do on your work breaks. I took up reading which decreased my anxiety and curbed my scrolling and spending. I also coloured on the night shift. I really needed to get off my phone and stop looking at influencer accounts.

 

Most importantly, I had to change my mentality around spending. 

 

Why do you think we need to have more open conversations about money among healthcare professionals? And how do we make that happen?

We need to start talking about it. That’s why I started my Instagram account. I felt like no one was talking about it. We’ve all learned from a young age that there’s a stigma around money. 

Overall, there’s been progress around pay transparency. But people don’t want to talk about debt or how they feel about debt. And the more we judge and shame about debt and finances, the less we’re going to make progress.

 

How can shift workers let go of the shame around money and debt?

Create awareness rather than avoidance. You need a realistic picture of where you’re at. Otherwise, you’ll live in the grey area. Your finances may not be as bad as you think they are!

If you have debt, ask yourself: “What did debt allow me to do?” It releases the trauma around it. I don’t talk about “good debt” and “bad debt” because that just creates more shame. 

The FOMO is real. It’s normal for shift workers to feel like they’re missing out and then buy things to make themselves feel better. But I’ve learned that a better plan is to get more sleep and to get outside more. When I buy stuff at work or during a shift hangover, I always regret it. 

Finally, it’s important to realize that finances and your mental health are totally related. My students know my favorite expression: “Happy people do not impulse spend.”

 

 

Thank you, Allie, for sharing your financial journey with us. We love a woman who talks openly about money. Follow Allie on her Instagram @the_debtfreenurse or visit her website.

Last updated: 2024-02-05

Lauren McGill

Lauren McGill

I work at the intersection of healthcare and storytelling. As a medical writer, I help healthcare experts publish content so they stand out as thought leaders.

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