Are you a Creeper?
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 bonuses. Yet, your savings are low and your life goals still lie far out of reach.
If that’s you, you may be experiencing lifestyle creep that is destroying your financial future.
Sure Signs That You’re a Creeper
A lifestyle creeper’s expenses keep increasing along with every increase in 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 and buying expensive phones.
The consequences of lifestyle creep can be serious for your finances and overall wellbeing. For example, you may not have enough money to retire or you may be trapped in a job you dislike.
Learn how to say goodbye to lifestyle creep. Try these suggestions for bringing your spending under control and changing your relationship with money.
Tips for Managing Your Finances
You can reward yourself for your hard work without draining your bank account. Make strategic choices about saving, investing, and spending. Remember, it’s your money and you need to decide where you want it to go, before it slips away on frivolous expenditures.
Follow these strategies:
- Create a budget. Take control of your future with a detailed spending plan. Allocate enough money for your top priorities, save regularly, and leave room for surprises. In the best planned life, the unexpected will occur. Your heretofore successful employer suddenly goes out of business. Unexpected health issues can be brutal, so plan accordingly. Read my article Planning a Budget that Sets You Free
- Adjust your spending. Figure out where your funds are going, and then decide where you really want them to go. Maybe you need to pay off your debts. Maybe you need to refinance your mortgage or move to a smaller place. Financial stability leads to mental stability.
- Monitor your subscriptions. Consumers spend an average of $273 a month on subscriptions, mainly TV and video related, and most of them are unsure of the exact amount. List all of your subscription services, and cancel any services that you seldom use, or can do without, and consider rotating between the rest.
- Automate savings. Make it easier to build emergency and retirement funds. Enroll in your employer’s 401(k) or 403(b) (RRSP in Canada) plans. Deposit your tax refunds into interest-bearing accounts or ETFs.
- Set goals. Having 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.
- Seek professional help. Working with a financial advisor is another option. Your employer, bank, and community groups can help you find services in your price range.
Tips for Becoming Less Materialistic
It’s natural to use money to make your life more pleasant and comfortable. However, becoming too attached to possessions can distract you from more reliable sources of happiness and fulfillment.
Keep these ideas in mind:
- Explore your purpose. Overspending can be a sign that you’re trying to deal with difficult emotions and lack meaning in your life. Try spending more time connecting with family and friends or your own spirituality.
- Enjoy inexpensive entertainment. Living on a budget leaves plenty of room for fun. Go to free outdoor movies and concerts. Spend weekends and vacations camping and hiking. Spend quality time with your spouse and children.
- Avoid advertising. How many messages do you receive each day urging you to acquire more stuff? Install ad blockers on your devices and take a break from social media.
- Clear away clutter. You may not even realize how many sweaters, appliances, and books you already own. Go through your garage and closets for items you can donate to family, friends or charity, maybe sell online.
- Pause before buying. Give yourself a cooling off period, especially before major purchases. Ask yourself if you really need more furniture or stereo equipment.
- Give generously. Discover the joy of sharing your blessings with others. Find volunteer opportunities in your community. There are volunteer opportunities to match everyone’s skill and interest levels. You’ll probably find that making others smile brings you more happiness than any shopping spree.
Only You Can Prevent Lifestyle Creep
Protect your financial security and peace of mind by preventing lifestyle creep. Monitor your spending and make intentional decisions about money that will help you create the future you really want.
As always, I am not a qualified financial advisor. I just relate financial management to my own experience which may not resemble yours at all. Advice is frequently worth exactly what you paid for it. Most of mine came from expensive experiences.