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Once upon a time, there was a youngish girl. This youngish girl thought herself to be smart. She started working at fourteen and had no trouble saving up for big purchases like a car. This plucky youth even managed to pay for a transmission and engine repair on said awful car. She wasn’t in debt and she believed she had her money situation “figured out”.

Then this youngish girl fell into a trap called lifestyle inflation. She shopped when she was happy, she shopped when she was sad, and she shopped to express herself. Her favorite venue was the mall and hung out there with all her free time. Before this less-youngish girl knows it, three years have gone by and there is next to nothing in her savings account. Now, this less young girl wants to go to college but has nothing saved. What is a girl to do? Turns out this girl has a knack at rebelling, so begins the journey of how to rebel against lifestyle inflation.

Are you ready to yell and rebel, BuLL Crew? Grab your black eyeliner and rock shirt!  

Spoiler Alert!

You may or may not have guessed, this story was about yours truly. Do you know anyone who hasn’t made a foolish mistake while participating in the phase called: Youth? The fortunate youth are lucky to survive without lasting impacts. I was fortunate. Was I epically foolish with money? (With a cringe on my face) Yes! Do I feel like it was a big ugly lesson on lifestyle inflation? The answer is unfortunately, yes! Up until that point, I had very little training in the financial department so I had to learn through trial and error. I was really good at errors. My low point was realizing that I had no money after three years of having very few living expenses. I had to change and I had to rebel against lifestyle inflation.

A Chosen Lifestyle

What is lifestyle inflation? Clever Girl Finance does a great job of describing this sneaky mindset. It’s what happens after people get a raise, pay increase, or surprise money. Let’s dream for a moment. Say you win an excessive amount of money. Finally! You win the adulting game, here is your million dollar prize! Now what? Is your instinct to buy an expensive house, a new car, and more shiny things? That, BuLL Crew, is the ugly side of lifestyle inflation. More money, more problems.

Do we need things in our life? Of course, I am not saying dump everything and become a monk. But if you do decide to go this route, keep in touch, I need a meditation buddy! Money should be spent in supporting our values, not supporting our stuff. If you want to retire early, go an epic trips, or buy an ice cream shop, you will have to give those goals their due respect. And money, you will have to save significant amounts of money. Think of it as homage to your goals. I have some recommendations to help accelerate your money building muscle!

Rebel with a Cause

It’s hard to rebel unless you have a cause. Was Luke Skywalker out there learning Jedi tricks for funsies? That’s cute. He was out there with a mission that changed over time but in the end, he always had a goal. How else do you move forward when Yoda is kicking your butt at every turn?

My goal was to save money so I wasn’t broke when I moved into the next phase, that colorful college chapter of life. Now, it’s saving money for expeditions and early retirement. These are visceral goals that feed into my values. Your rebel goal needs to be more powerful than the little vices that will come at you. You have to use your goal as a lightsaber to chop those vices to tiny, less threatening pieces.

Inflating Finances

We are now set with the pitfalls of lifestyle inflation and our rebel goal. Now we need a plan. My plan during saltier times was to take advantage of the food that I was already paying for. I had to squash my urges for fast food, purses, shoes, and many other things that gave me the “puppy eyes” of desire.

Since then, I have become much more skilled at saying no. Now, I don’t even need to say no because I avoid it altogether. Malls used to be my mecca. Now, malls are not even a thought. I used to expressed my feelings by opening my wallet. Now, I express my feelings with writing, drawing, and running. The self-help section is nodding in collective support. I have a plan for when these urges come up and I do what most humans do, I avoid it by doing something else. See, look at all the things I’m learning!

Rebelling & Yelling

Rebelling is a lot easier when you have a crew. Luke had a posse of like-minded aliens. I recommend finding some like-minded aliens, you may have to settle for people. There will be people who don’t understand what you’re doing. Even if you have to tell them multiple times. In detail. Try not to dwell on this, BuLL Crew, in the end, these are your goals. Not theirs. Who cares if they don’t understand, it’s your life and your choice.

Pro Tip: Use it as fodder for your financial fire. There have been times when people have said, “Oh, you can’t do that!” I take exquisite joy in proving them wrong! Your crew will be there to catch you when these naysayers push you down. Luckily, the interweb has various platforms that will support you and your rebel goals. Find these hardy beings, they will be your well of support and may be willing to share their cookies.

Everyone Rebels. Sometimes.

Anything worth striving for is going to require working towards, from physical labor to mental fortitude. Especially when you are rebelling against a norm like lifestyle inflation. This is something most people don’t even realize they are doing until it’s too late and they’re a broke sailor trying to go to college.

How are you going to rebel against lifestyle inflation?

Keep exploring!

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6 thoughts on “Avoid Lifestyle Inflation by Rebelling

  1. Nice post, thanks for sharing.

    I am 22 years old and have currently not experienced any major lifestyle inflation on my path to FIRE.

    That being said I don’t mind spending money on what makes me happy and that is usually traveling and socialising with friends.

    Naturally I think we all inflate out lifestyles slightly as our earnings increase and our net worths but as long as it is kept under control by a large savings rate I don’t see it as an issue!

    All the best!
    Josh

    1. Hey Josh, I appreciate your insight and optimism. You are well on the path of FIRE with your actions as a 22-year-old! Keep up the smart choices and stay away from the dark side (aka life style inflation).

  2. Very interesting reading. I can share my thoughts on shopping. When I see a thing and when deciding to buy it, I weigh how I need it, how justified the price is, and what is better to buy it and set aside this amount in an emergency fund. So I managed to save up for an apartment.

    1. That is awesome, Rick! That cost/befit analysis you do as your shopping looks like it is playing dividends! Now that you have your apartment figured out, what is your next financial journey?

  3. “Since then, I have become much more skilled at saying no. Now, I don’t even need to say no because I avoid it altogether.”

    While of course it applies in many areas of life, saying “no” to all those inflationary pressures are really what seems to make the difference. Naturally, each “no” makes the next one easier, too.

    I think it’s healthy to think of it as a bit of a muscle you build, saying no, keeping that frugal mindset. 🙂

    1. You are so right, TicToc! I am a big fan of the growth mindset, so I adapt it to everything including the frugal mindset. Cheers to “muscles” strengthened and money saved!

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