Have we inflated our lifestyle?

This summer we’ve been on a roll updating our home on the inside and it’s costed a bit more than I mentally budgeted for. It doesn’t harm us in any major way, but I wonder at times if we’re inflating our lifestyle now that we’ve made good strides financially?

In addition to some renovation or wood working projects we’ve spent a bit to pick up things that have been on our wishlists for over six months now; including the NES Classic and the Super NES emulator systems! They were ridiculously priced around the holidays and while I knew we’d enjoy them, I wasn’t going to pay more than retail. I either would forgo them or just wait. Luckily, they were rereleasing them this summer.

Come to a day in July when I was reviewing my wishlist and I saw they were back in stock at normal prices so I decided to pick them both up.

After I wondered if it was the right use of the money. Jump to a few weeks later and seeing my boys learn patience and how to use my old favorites like Super Mario Bros. (and Chris having a ball) I knew it was a good decision.

We don’t own any gaming systems, having sold a PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii years ago to put towards debt so I was always on the fence about purchasing any of these time wasters. Chris has always wanted to get another new PlayStation!

I love the old Nintendos because it reminds me of simple gaming fun as a child, which I think was a good thing. Learning patience, strategy, and practice is positive. It’s not really violent like newer games and it just feels like good clean fun, with some turtle shells thrown in.

Analysis Paralysis

Oftentimes, I’ve overanalyzed some purchases and felt guilty about spending money. I try to remind myself it’s okay to spend money on things we’d like that we would enjoy together.

Buying a wok this summer has proven to be the best $10-$15 I’ve spent on kitchen items, it cooks so wonderfully! Even that though I questioned over and over for weeks and compared prices and woks from everywhere. A simple cheap nonstick wok has just been great!

Shifting Focus

When you spend a lot of time focusing on getting out of debt (years) and more time on reaching bigger financial goals it’s hard sometimes not to become a bit stingy or guarded. Buying new clothes this summer for our vacation was the first time in 7 years I bought a bunch of new items (the last time was maternity wear!). It felt weird but finally nice to have clothes that fit my new mom bod (regardless of weight loss some things have just shifted!).

I don’t think we’ve inflated our lifestyle, as I still don’t have a cleaning lady… but I do think we have postponed many purchases for years and it’s all come together at the same time as we feel ready to invest in our daily happiness, ease, and comfort with a nice new inexpensive couch, some new furniture Chris has built, and power tools to enhance future projects.

Sure we could hire “lawn fairies” as my Mom calls them, cleaning ladies, or others to outsource labor around the house but we’re not including that in our independence plan so no need to get used to it now! Plus, it feels good to get a free workout cleaning the toilets… right?

I mean, I love to get a good sweat running but who doesn’t love yard work? Raises hand.

Deflation Ahead

In fact, we’re planning a deflation of our spending aiming to live entirely on one salary for the coming school year. We’re starting with just September to see how it goes, but I think it’s something we can make work. We’ll be aiming to live on my lower salary to prove we can do it if push came to shove.

Also, we’re hoping to put a bunch more toward blowing out the mortgage (payoff updates returning this fall), and investing. I’m nervous, it means less wiggle room when food shopping, but I have overspent a little too often lately so reeling it in will be a good thing. And once the kids are back in school our meal routines should be more concise and better to plan for.

I did splurge on a CSA for a local farm that has proven to be useful to encourage tons more vegetable ingestion by myself and my family. So, that’s a prepaid win, right?

How about you? Have you felt you’ve inflated your lifestyle once past debt freedom? Do you think about it much at all? I wonder if we have but we’ve still been doing well saving, so I feel we’re not inflating in major ways like house or car upgrades or tons of travel ahead. I do think about it and I am wary of falling into new normals.

4 thoughts on “Have we inflated our lifestyle?

  1. What worked for us was to slightly inflate our lifestyle over time but at a much lower rate than my compensation increased. That way we could live a more luxurious life at the same time that our savings rate went from 20% to 60%. However we’ve kind of flattened out the inflation curve. I don’t think our living costs have changed at all over the last ten years. I know they have been flat for the three years since we retired slightly early.

  2. That’s a great idea Steve! I never thought of that before. That would give some breathing room and feel good since we’ve been working more jobs or hours, but also keep us on track. Thanks for sharing!

  3. i’m now trying to remember what we did with the money once the mortgage went away. i bought a new car, which i needed but didn’t have to be new and then saved the payoff balance in the 1st year as the rate was 0.9% we might have slightly inflated but were already doing everything we wanted and the mortgage was dirt cheap to begin with, so it wasn’t like a monthly windfall.

    that’s a good idea to try out living on one salary. we went down to one in early 2017 and it wasn’t too much lifestyle hit, just a little less air travel. anybody should buy good cooking gear if they’re going to use it (want an electric tortilla press that’s been on top of the fridge for about 8 years anyone?).

  4. I’ll take the electric tortilla press 😀 Yes, once the mortgage is gone it’ll be smooth sailing on one salary. I pride myself on the ability to live on one salary as our regular expenses could be covered (just no new things on a whim and a more stick to food budget), but we don’t spend much during the school year which makes it easier. Summer is our spendy time with projects and just finally taking a look around and seeing what needs upgrading! Thanks for stopping by Freddy!

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