Not too long ago I read this quote from the top financial expert, Dave Ramsey, and I knew it was too good not to share. “You can’t get out of debt while keeping the same lifestyle”. Often times we want results for our lives that’s different from our current situation. The thing is, you have got to change your habits if you desire a different outcome. If your goal is to upgrade your financial situation, you have to upgrade the effort you put into your goals to see the results. Increase your income + reduce your spending = the start to a great plan. Last Friday, I had a three-week profit from our BINGO Money Challenge of $383.00 that could have easily paid for a pair of shoes. Instead of living the lifestyle that is keeping me in a stagnant financial situation, I snowballed that $383.00 and threw it directly at my student loans. The gratification I get from a new pair of shoes is nothing compared to the natural high I get from getting closer to my debt free goal.
Today, I encourage you to use this week as a week of self-reflection. What habits do you want to cultivate? What habits do you want to quit? We know what each of our end goals are but we often are blind to the things we do to ourselves that sabotage those goals Start thinking about the things you do every day and how they affect your money goals. Yes, you can upgrade your financial situation, but you have to upgrade your actions first because your actions become habits… good or bad.
Rapper Notorious B.I.G. wasn’t lying when he said “mo money, mo problems”. That because of something called Lifestyle Inflation where your “lifestyle” needs increase as your income increases; thus, keeping you in the same financial situation. This reality creeps up when people have debt, don’t save, don’t invest. They don’t keep up with the Joneses, they are the Joneses. By no means do I believe that one doesn’t deserve nice things. In fact, I believe no one should have to sacrifice a quality lifestyle because of lack of resources. A quality lifestyle comes at a price but let’s try to not dig ourselves into a money pit to experience the finer things in life.
CONFESSION OF A LIFESTYLE INFLATING MILLENNIAL
I remember being at my job out of college and making around an entry level salary. I owned my car outright, had my student loans paid a year in advance, and was on my way to buying my first house. Back then, you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t living a rich life. I wasn’t rich from a financial standpoint but it was the first time where I was “adulting” and was able to fund my lifestyle by myself. This was a big deal considering a year and a half before that, I was a senior at Spelman College eating pizza at 1:00 am while pulling all-nighters. As time passed, income changed, and lifestyle needs matured, I found myself “needing” more. I had to get another car after mine was totaled in an accident but I couldn’t bear the idea of not driving a luxury German car (thanks Dad for that addiction). I spent money on home decor so I could have a “magazine ready” home. I upgraded my wardrobe. I was making a little money and working with people whose hourly rate was a luxury car note. I wanted to show my family and friends that I had it all together….that I belonged in my new life. That all changed when I left a promising career in one field to follow other dreams for another field. It was in the transition that I started to place a serious effort in saving money and making smarter financial moves. I had to. It was my new reality, we were in a recession, and I was no longer constantly surrounded by the Joneses. I took the time to invest in my own financial literacy so I could better understand how to stretch my money. This was also around the time she makes cents was born.
BALLIN’ & BROKE
As you vibrate higher so will your expectations of people, experiences, and things around you. The good thing is there are ways around lifestyle inflation where you can enhance your life without feeling broke. Lifestyle inflation keeps you in a constant state of financial paralysis because your need for “things” is keeping pace with your increasing lifestyle. That’s how a millennial couple with no kids can feel financially stretched in a $100,000+ income household. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the topics of lifestyle inflating from a millennial perspective and explore opportunities to elevate your life without the elevated price tag.