I don’t think there is a person on this planet that doesn’t understand that it’s important to control spending. Well, except congressmen, but they don’t really count as people. It’s kind of like personal health. Everyone knows that they should stay in shape, but many just lack the will power or motivation to make it happen. How many times have you told yourself that you’re going to start eating better? If you’re like me, that mindset didn’t make it past your first outing with your friends. Seeing people around you devour plates of artery-clogging goodness usually leads to you just caving in “just this once” and ultimately falling off the wagon. Well, spending habits aren’t any different.
Allow me to share my weakness:
Tacos and pizza. These fall under both the health and financial side of the discussion. I freaking love them. No matter how much I tell myself that I don’t want to spend the money or ingest the calories, I just can’t resist the amazing sight and smell. Now, I can usually avoid this by just avoiding the places that sell these slices of heaven. However, being in a station full of guys that eat this stuff on a daily basis, I’m forced to face my temptation head on.
Now, imagine spending your entire shift with a partner that enjoys delicious fast food. This situation can make it very hard to stay in control of your spending. I know this because I live it every day. I know that the only way I can overcome my temptation is to beat myself at my own game. I know my weaknesses and therefore I know how to avoid them.
So without further delay, here are my 3 ways to stay money smart with a peer pressure partner:
Leave the Debit Card at Home
This one may seem obvious, but like our smart phones, we can’t get more than 20 feet away before the separation anxiety starts to kick in. Ever turned off social media for a week? Remember how freeing that felt? Well, imagine life without the temptation to spend your hard-earned money on junk food. If you bring your food to work, there’s no need to bring your debit card. Trust me, you’ll survive. If it’s that much of an issue, then leave it hidden in your car. If you’re working at a station where you’re cooking food, then bring an “emergency sack” with some snacks or something to hold you over in the event that you’re stuck out running calls. If you don’t have the means to spend the money, you won’t. It’s that simple.
Bring Your Lunch
OK, I know I covered this in the previous section, but you have to actually do this or you’ll never get to the point where you stop swiping your freaking debit card every time you get hungry. If you work 10 shifts a month, come up with 10 different lunches that you can bring. That way, you aren’t getting discouraged by eating the same ham sandwich every day. Actually, take it a step further and learn to make something that you actually look forward to eating. That way you won’t be green with envy as your partner takes the first bite of their delicious slice of pizza.
Reverse the Roles
Who said that your partner has to be the “peer pressure partner”? Why can’t YOU be the influence? While your partner is rubbing it in your face about how amazing his fast food tastes, you can turn the tables and talk about how amazing it feels to not have a car payment or debt. Or better yet, get really good at cooking at start making food that other people want to eat. I started doing this a while back and now I save all kinds of money because my partner and I often split the costs of cooking at the station. This is a great strategy, but it only works if you’re good at cooking. Otherwise your coworkers might pay you NOT to cook…but I guess there’s a decent financial strategy in that too…
The big strategy here is just knowing your weaknesses and figuring out how to avoid them. Figure out a system that works for you and stick with it!
What are some things you do to avoid spending temptation at work? Please leave a comment and let’s get this discussion started!
I currently live and work as a paramedic in North Texas. I've been involved in EMS since the age of 18, and have essentially spent my entire adult life doing what I love. My passion is helping my fellow first-responders achieve successful and rewarding through healthy minds, bodies and wallets. I love talking to and meeting new people, so please don't hesitate to reach out and say hi!