What Lifestyle Creep is and How to Avoid It

What is Lifestyle Creep?

On the surface, you look successful. You’ve been climbing up the career ladder with one higher-paying position after the next. You earn raises and receive bonuses. Yet, your savings are minimal, and your life goals lie far out of reach.

You may be experiencing lifestyle creep. That’s when your expenses keep increasing along with your income.

That could mean financing a flashy new car or moving into a bigger house each time you get more money. It could also involve less conspicuous purchases, like dining out or expensive hobbies.

“Success should not be based on lavish lifestyles and inflated bank accounts, flaunting your fancy homes, and putting your luxuries on display. You can’t build a future on “bottles” and Benz’s. You can’t retire on rims and Rolexes…Acquisitions are fleeting. Investments are long-term. A sound future is built on stability, not status. — Carlos Wallace

The consequences can be dire for your finances and overall well-being. It could prevent you from having enough money to retire. Or you may be stuck in a job you dislike because you can’t afford to quit.

Learn how to say goodbye to lifestyle creep. Try these suggestions to bring your spending under control and change your relationship with money.

How to Avoid Lifestyle Creep

You can reward yourself for your hard work without draining your bank account. Make strategic choices about saving, investing, and spending. Start by trying these money disciplines. Then monitor your results and make necessary adjustments.

Take Control of Spending
  1. Set goals. Specific objectives can help you stay on track when you’re tempted to splurge. Write your goals down, so you can keep them in sight.
  2. Create a budget. To begin, take control of your future with a detailed spending plan. Then allocate enough money for your top priorities, save regularly, and leave room for surprises.
  3. Adjust your spending. Figure out where your funds are going. Do you need to pay off your debts? Or maybe you need to refinance your mortgage or move to a smaller place.
  4. Monitor your subscriptions. Consumers spend an average of $273 per month on subscriptions, and most are unsure of the exact amount. Cancel services you seldom use and consider rotating between the rest.
  5. Automate savings. Make it easier to build emergency and retirement funds. Enroll in your employer’s 401(k) or 403(b) plans. And deposit your tax refunds into interest-bearing accounts.
  6. Seek professional help. Working with a financial coach is a great way to boost your financial know-how and remain accountable to your goals.
Change Your Relationship with Money

Spending money to make your life more comfortable and pleasant is natural. However, becoming too attached to possessions can distract you from more reliable sources of happiness and fulfillment. Try these tips to avoid materialism.

“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” – Luke 12:15

  1. Explore your purpose. Overspending is often a sign that you’re trying to deal with difficult emotions or find meaning in your life. Try spending more time on spiritual pursuits, life experiences, and connecting with others.
  2. Avoid advertising. How many messages do you receive daily urging you to acquire more stuff? Install ad blockers on your devices and take a break from social media.
  3. Clear away clutter. You may not even realize how many things you already own. Go through your garage and closets to find items you can donate to charity or sell online.
  4. Pause before buying. Give yourself a cooling-off period, especially before major purchases. Ask yourself if you really need whatever it is.
  5. Give generously. Discover the joy of sharing your blessings with others. You will likely find that making others smile brings you tremendous happiness.

Protect your financial security and peace of mind by preventing lifestyle creep. Monitor your spending and make intentional decisions about money that help you create the life you really want.

Lisa L. Baker - Certified Personal, Career, Success and Life Coach

Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.

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