In addition to saving $30k this year, another goal Eric and I had was to enjoy our increase in income by allowing ourselves to indulge in some “lifestyle inflation.”
Lifestyle inflation is practically a dirty term in the personal finance community, because a lot of people believe that lifestyle inflation is what causes a lot of people to remain in a debt cycle.
That can be true…but I call B.S.
Two years ago, Eric and I lived in a shack. Are we supposed to remain in a shack for years simply to avoid the dreaded lifestyle inflation?
I think with all things, you can find a balance between improving your lifestyle as your finances stabilize–we’ve paid off $45k in debt in the past few years–and sticking to a budget that still allows you to save for the lifestyle you want.
For us, these are a few of the things that have happened in the past few months, thanks to lifestyle inflation:
- Convenience: Thanks to lifestyle inflation, I can now choose convenience over price sometimes. For example, I no longer go out of my way to find the cheapest gas station. Most of the time, I go to whatever station is closest. Lifestyle inflation has allowed me to be okay with paying $4.09 for gas, rather than driving to Costco and waiting in line for $3.97 gas (which translates to like a $1-$2 in savings per fill-up???)
- Replacements: Little things that we would hold off on buying before, we can now purchase on the spot without feeling like it’s going to make a significant debt in the budget. I remember two years ago when we needed to buy a house phone, I asked everyone if they had a spare. It’s not like a house phone is expensive, but it was an extra expense that we didn’t really have room in the budget for, you know? Now, I make these purchases without having to overthink it–but all within reason. Like I recently bought new pillows, and a curling iron. Can I tell you how RICH I felt being able to buy pillows? I was all like “Oh hey we should really buy new pillows because ours are kinda gross.” And I did the next day at Costco. BAM–and that’s why it pays to be debt-free!
- Treating ourselves: When we lived in the shack, we could only afford to go out to eat about once a month and I always had to really think about whether I needed a second glass of wine. We definitely go out to eat a lot more now–and we thoroughly enjoy it. Another thing? I LOVE buying fresh flowers at the Farmer’s Market. And I do it almost twice a month now. I spend probably between $5 and $10 each time, but man oh man, I love me some fresh flowers on our dining table.
- Giving: We can give more. While we may never tithe the full 10%, we have definitely stepped up our monetary donations. And that’s something that really makes me happy.
Even with all this lifestyle inflation going on, there are some things I still won’t do.
Like go to Starbucks all the time. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been this year. Eric is another story, since he thoroughly enjoys Starbucks, so I guess we balance each other out in that arena.
I still pack my lunch to work everyday–not only is it cheaper, but it’s healthier too.
I cut Eric’s hair now. We could probably fork over the cash for Eric to get a cut every two weeks or so (he has to keep it short for work), but instead we invested in a trim set, and I do his hair. This saves us at least $40 a month.
So there you have it. We’re allowing ourselves to indulge more often, but we’re still loyal to our frugal roots.
What type of lifestyle inflation do you enjoy?
Join our newsletter
Get the latest content straight to your inbox.