It’s Expensive to Become a Firefighter

firefighterMy husband and I argue about money. He spends a lot, and I would like him to spend less. But the thing that my husband spends money on–and the reason for the biggest re-occurring argument about money that we have– would probably shock most of you:

My husband spends a lot of money on food.

You see, he works at a fire station, which requires 24-hour shifts. This wouldn’t be an issue if he were earning a California firefighter salary (they’re paid well), but he is not yet a firefighter, even though we would love him to be. In fact, he only make a few dollars more than California’s minimum wage–and yet every day, he needs to put $10 into the food pot at work, plus an additional $5 every rotation for food staples, like ketchup, coffee, etc.

As I was calculating our budget today, I realized he had spent $172 in 11 days–all on food for work. I just about flipped my lid.

Because even though he is spending $10 a day on general food, there is also the “snacks” he likes to get when he’s out on the field. And those snacks add an additional $10. For every day he works, it is costing $20-30 a day just to feed him!

Plus, if he makes a station visit, where he visits another station to get advice on becoming a firefighter, it is an unspoken rule (and personally, I think, a stupid rule) that you have to bring some type of food item, so there goes my husband to the store to plunk down another $50 on name brand coffee and treats for firefighters.

This has been the number one source of contention in our marriage the past two years: how expensive the process is to become a firefighter even though you’re getting paid squat on the journey there. Honestly, I don’t know how un-married wannabe firefighters do it if they don’t have a wife financially supporting them.

In addition to food costs, you also have to pay for your credentials, and the fire academy, and you have to pay for airfare and hotel accommodations to go for job interviews and take fire tests, and you have to pay for everything you spend while at those fire tests and interviews.

It feels like he keeps spending money, while I keep trying to make money, and it has definitely worn me down.

But we keep at it, because we are so unbelievably close to my husband becoming a firefighter. And when he does, it will be the second happiest day of my life (the first being the actual day I married my husband).

Because yes, while the road to becoming a firefighter has been so incredibly difficult at times, I know that we are thisclose to it being over. And the reward of having a stable income and a prestigious career will be unbelievably worth it.

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