Asian Pear went through her income and compared it to her budget at her various stages of life (read it here).
She found that she spent less when she earned less, but when she started earning more, she spent more.
It’s basically what all PF’ers call lifestyle inflation or lifestyle creep.
I don’t knock it at all because when you make more, you DO feel entitled to upgrade a little, and I can totally understand where she’s coming from.
I was and still am NOT a natural born saver like Asian Pear… and I was a whole out, knock ’em down, drag ’em out SPENDER when I started working.
So it’s an opposite story for me, and I am experiencing what I’d call lifestyle DEflation…
(Although I should note that I think my lifestyle has actually improved, not deteriorated, so that may not be the right term.)
When I flipped burgers, I made $7/hour and brought home maybe $300 – $500/month (net), working insane hours (after school, maximum hours on the weekend).
Yet, I spent $300 – $400 on junk (ugh, I can just see my Bonne Bell collection of Lip Smackers now), and saved close to NOTHING.
Okay, let’s just say I saved nothing. Maybe $1000 at the end of 4 years of earning pretty good money for a 16-year old.
When I went to college and hooked a part-time clerical job, plus worked full-time on the side with my side business, I brought home around $2000 a month (net).
I spent every penny save for perhaps $1000.
A lot of it went to rent, food and tuition, but I sure as heck could’ve saved a lot more than $1000 if I had been smarter.
When I graduated and got my first big job, I brought home around $3700/month (net) and it was in that year that I faced my debt & realized I was going to pay it off in never if I kept spending like crazy.
So I buckled down & cleared it.
Now that I’m a freelancer, I can bring home around $10,000 net a month when I actually have a contract, but it has to last for 4-5 months because there are times (2009 I’m looking at you!) when I won’t work at all.
Due to those freelancing circumstances, and because I’ve turned a new leaf (you know, towards minimalism and all), my lifestyle has deflated from spending every penny I earned, to watching my pennies and making the cash last for as long as possible.
And I love every minute of it.
Isn’t that funny?
That being said, I do spend on occasion.
I will willingly plop down $30 for a box of macarons just because I want them. Or take BF out to a $200 dinner.
Or decide to spend $92 just to park 4 days in my building … oh wait, that wasn’t a choice as much as it was a necessity 😛
The major difference now is I don’t spend like that all the time & I know my limits….. plus I don’t want to carry all that junk to Dallas when we move sometime in the near future.