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!
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.