My Frugal Nursing Equipment


Frugal doesn’t mean lacking quality. It means that if there is a need for something, you find the best quality for less than just throwing up your hands and buying from the first source you see.

For my first day of nursing school, I was told I needed the following:

  • Bandage scissors
  • A pen light
  • A stethoscope
  • A watch with a second hand or LED second read out

In addition to the above, I need the proper color and style of scrubs, a lab coat and a few other uniform items. Also, I need to get my immunizations up to snuff, prove I had chicken pox, and get TWO (yes, 2) Tuberculosis tests. Good times.

A few weeks ago, while in a visit with a campus advisor, I was told to budget $25,000 for school related expenses: tuition, fees, uniforms, books, etc. This doesn’t include food, housing and transportation.

Some costs can not be avoided. New editions of books that prevent me from buying used; uniforms that require embroidery instead of a sew-on patch.

But here’s what came in this week:

That would be 6 penlights, bandage scissors, and a stethoscope.  Total cost: $0

Yep! You got it! ZERO DOLLARS!

How did this RayofSunshine get brighter – let me tell you. First, on the product side, I researched the comments section and brands available. A friend of mine who recently purchased a stethoscope sent me this link so I would know which ones to look for online. I made sure to investigate the comments section so I would know which defects, if any, to expect. And even though I like supporting the independent guys, I knew my purchase would be over $25, so I looked for “free shipping” products.

Now on the payment side…

I signed up for Swagbucks about 1 1/2 years ago. Every 450 Swagbucks gets me a $5 Amazon gift certificate. If I need to do a casual search online or other little info seeking, I go through them. So far, I haven’t noticed extra SPAM or any breech on my privacy. Some people get super crazy on earning points. Since I have a life, I’ve backed off a bit, but I still can rack up enough points every 2-3 months to make it worth my time.

The next stroke of frugality came with Discover points. I rarely use my card except to pay 1 or 2 bills online. I had enough rewards to be worth something but still under the minimum required by Discover to turn in for cash or gift cards. Then Amazon and Discover wielded their corporate axes and got a direct link of Discover Rewards to Amazon dollars. I was more than happy to use this benefit so that I’m able to walk away from Discover without thinking “But I was so close to some rewards.” Isn’t that a horrible trap to keep people (i.e. ME) using a credit card?

Last thing needed besides scrubs was a watch. I didn’t find a watch that I liked online, so I popped over to Big Lots after work one day. Jackpot. I got a watch I liked (this is a difficult feat!) for $6 +tax. In looking under the price tag, the watch was originally $14.99 from Target.

Original merchandise:

Stethoscope: $20-25 (My brand and style)
Penlights: $1 each
Scissors: $10-15
Watch: $10-20

Estimated total: $66

Actual Merchandise:

Stethoscope: $12.99
Penlights: $6.09
Scissors: $7.06

Total Amazon purchase: $26.14 FREE!

Discover Rewards: $14.96
Swagbucks Amazon Gift cards: $12
Free Shipping saved $5.90

Watch Actual Cost: $6.42

I rest my case.

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