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Lifestyle Creep Is A Perpetual Battle

Lifestyle Creep Is A Constant Battle

Since Friday afternoon, I’ve talked to four different Verizon reps on the phone regarding our cell phone plan. Pardon me if I’m a little edgy today. You see, they don’t seem to get the fact that I’m trying to save money here. Or at least they don’t appreciate my efforts. It’s that lovely time again to upgrade phones and Apple (who we are fond of) has jacked up their pricing on their products as you probably know. Yes I know I can go a different route but I like their stuff and we really do need to stick to one of the big two carriers for reliable service around these parts. I suppose that is one drawback to not living in a large metro area. For 99% of everything else, I’m glad we’re not though.

I really don’t feel like paying an extra $40 per month for these two new phones. In fact, I feel like we pay too much the way it is.

Fighting Against Lifestyle Creep

Lifestyle creep is a bitch folks. We must fight it at every opportunity if we want to live life on our own terms and not be slaves to the 40 hour work week until we are 70. The thought of it makes me a little nauseous. Don’t get my wrong, I’m all for work and hustle if you enjoy it. If that is how you want to spend your limited hours on earth, rock on man. We have to do what we have to do sometimes. Some people legitimately love their work and find purpose in it. I am jealous! But for the rest of us, we need to make sure we don’t put ourselves behind the 8 ball by falling into the trap of increasing monthly expenses for unnecessary “stuff”.

It happens fast too. Move into a newer, larger house and nicer neighborhood? Bam, there is a higher mortgage, increased taxes, and more utilities to pay for that extra square footage. Oh and don’t forget to add on extra dollars to maintain the nice lawn! How about a vehicle upgrade? Well not only do we have the additional cost of the vehicle, but insurance usually goes up a bit as well. Netflix and Amazon members? They are waiting with their hands out too. You get the point. This is why I’m always trying to negotiate and find leverage in these situations. If we can prove that we don’t need their services or products, we can come to terms that can be mutually beneficial. Or in some cases not, that is up to the company you are dealing with. Be ready to walk away if that is the case. But it is worth a shot. Also…….

1. Money In, Money Out

If lifestyle creep can’t be helped in some areas, lower what you can in other spots. For example, if my cell phone bill is destined to rise, you can damn sure bet I will be offsetting that somewhere else. I’m looking at you, Directv! With all of the cord cutting these days, they better be willing to deal. I’m constantly looking for ways to lower these things. Not really because I have to, but more so I enjoy it. I like looking at the budget spreadsheet and analyzing what is going where. And I know what needs to be done to reach the end goal. If new money is going out, bring some back in.

2. Invest More, Especially If Given A Raise

One of the best ways to fight lifestyle inflation is simply to invest more. Don’t get me wrong, I love cash. But I do know that inflation eats cash sitting in savings up every year. I just looked at my 401k returns for the year, up 18 percent! Now we know that isn’t going to be the case every year but I think it is wise to keep growing the investment accounts. If your workplace gives you a raise, up your investment contributions. Your future self will thank you. And you won’t be tempted to spend that extra money foolishly. And another trick?

Invest in the companies that you do business with regularly (if valuations and company are sound). Filling up with gas isn’t much fun but it’s better knowing that I’m at least funding one of my companies that rewards me with 4 percent dividends back every quarter. Even Directv that I was complaining about earlier is giving me money back in a round about way since they’ve been bought out by AT&T. I’ll take that 5.5 percent dividend, thank you very much.

3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded People

I am fortunate to be married to someone who gets the big picture when it comes to the finances. Some people aren’t so lucky. Money is the leading cause of relationship stress, and many divorces are caused from this. It is so important to have financial teamwork with both sides pulling in the same direction. When it comes to friends, I have some who are budget minded and some who aren’t. One of my good buddies visited recently and it is usually a costly event when he does. He always wants to eat at restaurants and left overs the next day aren’t allowed. He even scoffs at grilling, can you imagine? It’s a good thing he lives 2 hours away and doesn’t visit often hah!

Speaking of like minds, I very much appreciate interacting with the financial blogging community. Just about every day, there are new posts to read that are educational, encouraging, inspiring, and just flat out entertaining. These blogs definitely keep me focused and on track. Cheers to you folks!

4. Who Cares About The Joneses?

We can’t be jealous of our neighbor’s fancy cars and high rolling lifestyles. Odds are they are probably living paycheck to paycheck with loans up to their eyeballs. Sadly, that is just the way it is now days. In fact, just this evening our neighbors (who have every toy imaginable) purchased a restored rat rod that nearly shook the house when he revved up the engine. I have to give him props, it is pretty bad ass! But so is his Ford Raptor, Explorer, Jeep, Harley, 4 wheeler and so on. The insurance alone must be fairly significant on those things. That kind of stuff will get you eventually. Or it will at least keep you working for many years. Hey at least he’ll look damn cool driving around the block!

Ted and Nancy can continue to do their thing and we’ll do ours. Or whatever their names are. They are usually too busy to hang out outside and visit. I haven’t even met them yet. I’ll just admire their toys and someday soon they can admire my financial independence!

Conclusion

Let’s be diligent and fight the good fight against lifestyle creep. Eliminate or decrease the useless stuff from your monthly expenditures as much as possible. If you need to spend more in one part of the budget, lower another. Find a balance you so can widen the gap to create and increase wealth. Get a great group of people that share your ideals and help each other on this journey of life. We all need a little motivation at times, I know I sure do. I’m hoping we can provide some of that ourselves through this blog.

Question to the readers- Have you found it difficult to avoid lifestyle creep? Any tips and tricks you can share? Thank you for reading and visiting our blog.

8 Comments

  1. Great post, Mr. Defined Sight! I couldn’t agree more that you have to protect your money. Literally everyone has their hands out trying to take some of it. Fortunately for me, I am a fairly simple person and doesn’t even want that much. Most of the time, saving and investing makes me happier than making new purchases. The hardest part for me is explaining that I didn’t do anything on the weekend besides have dinner at home and work on my blog lol.

    Regarding your #3 about the your appreciation for the blogging community, I share that same feeling. It’s posts like this that encourage me to continue pursuing FI. I wouldn’t be nearly as motivating without all the great blogs I read each week.

    In response to your question, I struggle less and less with lifestyle creep the older I get. At a certain point, your personal goals and ambitions become much more important than what others think. However, I do still have spending categories that could use improvement. Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed the read and got a couple laughs out of it too. Take care!
    Graham @ Reverse The Crush recently posted…Dividend Income Update #4 | September 2017My Profile

    • Mr Defined Sight

      September 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Not one thing wrong with keeping it simple my friend. It all boils down to what a person likes doing. Some need to hang out with large groups of people regularly. Some gain energy by being alone and doing their own thing. I relate more with that side. Everybody is different though. That is a good point about struggling less with lifestyle creep as you age. I think when I was younger, having more “stuff” was more of an importance. Sooo not the case anymore. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping in!

  2. Haha! Ted and Nancy. Love it! Too busy working to enjoy their own toys.

    We had a “problem” with Apple some years back. But I think we’ve got it under control now. We’ve somehow managed to hang on to our very dated iPhone 6 models for three years running. Probably doesn’t hurt that I’ve avoided walking into the lake with it in my swimsuit pocket…
    Cubert recently posted…My Pilgrimage to LongmontMy Profile

    • Mr Defined Sight

      September 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      It would be nice if they had a fully waterproof iPhone instead of just splash proof. Fortunately I haven’t had that bad luck yet. We are still rocking the 6 models as well. They seem to keep humming along. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Some very smart advice and thanks for sharing DS.

    Regarding 3 and 4, they are really hard. It’s hard to find like minded friends outside of FIRE blogging community, at least I haven’t had much luck.

    My friends are all major spenders and at times they try to push me to be a spender like them. I think, it would help them validate their spending if I do the same.

    I think, financial stupidity is the norm nowadays while being financially smart is rare and considered weird.

    Take care

    • Mr Defined Sight

      September 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with friends who like to blow through money! At least mine picks up the tab more than his share of times, hopefully yours do too. I agree about financial stupidity being the norm today. Hopefully more and more people will stumble onto our blogs and wise up before it is too late for them. Thanks for commenting Mr. ATM!

  4. Maybe I’m alone, but I convert anyone to the FIRE lifestyle that I spend time with. If not fully, at least they start cutting back and asking me how to one financial thing or another.

    At least I got that going for me, eh?

    As for the Joneses, I don’t think they live where I live! The closest is my backyard neighbor who I hang out with all the time. He is in his 60’s and retired, so when he does expensive things I just let him. You have to remember that people are at different points in their lives. No use trying to keep up with people a decade or two (or three) ahead of you in life. If you do, it usually doesn’t end well.
    MrDoublingDollars recently posted…Are the Phrases “Good Debt” or “Bad Debt” Justified?My Profile

    • Mr Defined Sight

      September 21, 2017 at 9:39 am

      You bring up good points there. We used to live on a street with mostly retired people. The lawns were immaculate, they had corvettes and other nice things. Sometimes I thought, well they have cool cars, I should have one too! But like you said, they are at a different point in life. I’m glad you have the ability to spread the FIRE lifestyle to others. My friends just call me cheap hahaha. Take care buddy!

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