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7 Lifestyle Inflation Choices That You Can Do Without

You have a new job and maybe you got a raise.   10% increase in salary from your last position and already you’re thinking about how you’re going to spend the extra moolah you’ve got coming to your bank account.  Because you know what?  You have arrived and you deserve it!

Stop It.

If you want to savor the extra money then it is important that you utilize it for something meaningful that works to increase your bottom line.  So let’s look at a few ways you may be sabotaging your financial life with lifestyle inflation.  The following aren’t meant to be an all inclusive list and most of them may be necessities depending on where you live.  However, the key is to choose which options you can do without to save more.

Cable TV

Cable TV is expensive.  Some options include Amazon, Hulu, Google TV, Netflix to name a few that will allow you to catch the movies and TV shows you love to watch.  Satellite TV is another option because those prices tend to be much less than the cost of cable.

Car

This is one of those optional, even debatable choices depending on where you live.  If you live in a big city with ample public transportation and you need to cut back?  You might want to consider losing the car and all the associated costs.  There’s a possible car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance, local taxes etc.  In some cases, this can easily add up to $1000 a month, just for a car.  That’s a rent payment for a 1 bedroom apartment!  Or an extra $1000 towards your savings account/emergency fund!

Fancy gadgets

*raises hand*  I’m guilty of this but not often.  But when I do splurge on new gadgets I go —- there!  But luckily for me this doesn’t happen often (once a year?) because immediately after I make the purchase nothing happens.  I often think I’ll be in this permanent state of euphoria with my new purchase but I realized a few years ago that my new toy would just sit in a corner some where looking pretty.  So think about your new toy and how much value it will add to your life before you buy it.

New wardrobe every season

I used to do this because I wanted to be fresh for every season.  What I’ve learned is that it’s more important to buy timeless pieces that transcend the seasons and add a few trendy items here and there.  Otherwise, I try to keep it simple because we can spend money all day in the clothing stores and all that does is make us look good on the outside but our bank accounts are starving.

Gym memberships

I find gym memberships useless.  Personally, I’ve been roped into a few that didn’t work out and I know so many people who buy them and then never use the gym.  I am a fan of buying equipment that I will use at home rather than paying $50-$120 for something I will never use!  I would also rather workout at the park or even find a nice train to run through than getting on the treadmill.  I will say that I love the elliptical so if the opportunity came up to get one (read: affordable), yes I would buy one and use it at home.

Magazine Subscriptions

These are a waste.  Just read them in line at the checkout when grocery shopping.  Once you read them you’re done and your money just went down the drain.

Eating out

This is easily a major vice of mine and has been for some time.  But due to my recent schedule I haven’t had the time to eat out and my savings account and diet goals thank me for this!  I wouldn’t call myself a foodie but I do like to try out new restaurants but with that comes shelling out extra money in addition to gaining weight.  I want none of that so I’ve started eating at home more, especially since I want and need to control the ingredients in my food.  You can’t do much of that when you’re eating out.

Think about all the extra you have chipping away in your bank account!  The crap you don’t absolutely need right now that you only have because it’s “nice” to have it.  Cut then from your budget and see how much you can save  every month by doing so.

  • NancyH

    I’ve already done away with everything on your list, except for cable TV, which I keep looking at and deciding to retain for now. On the subject of wardrobe, I have used a personal shopper at Nordstrom (during sale times) to pick up classic, quality additions to my wardrobe. There’s always the danger of overspending on all the wonderful options she presents, but with a set budget and an iron will, this is a way to get garments that I love and wear over and over. She knows what’s in my wardrobe, too, so new pieces always fit in. She is totally honest about what looks good, so I don’t make mistakes. And she saves a whole lot of time! I did this about once a year when I had to go into the office every day and meet clients. Now that I telecommute more, I don’t have the same need wardrobe needs.

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