Lifestyle Creep

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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4nursebee
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Lifestyle Creep

Post by 4nursebee » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:00 pm

Thanks in advance for anything you share here!

I have renewed interest in learning about and increasing my own awareness of lifestyle creep. I am hoping others will share personal situations where they experienced or resisted this issue. What have you dealt with? What creep came into your life that you later regretted? What did you avoid and what benefit did you get?
4nursebee

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:02 pm

We are beginning to book longer personal flights Premium Economy.

2pedals
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by 2pedals » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:38 pm

I am not sure I understand what lifestyle creep is. I am 58 yo and I never had a great desire to get too "spendy" and keep up with the Joneses. Although easily I could go out buy a luxury vehicle, I still drive economic cars for a very long time (> 15 years) and paid off my mortgage early. Never took out a loan except for a small car loan ~$4000 and a mortgage and always paid my credit bills in full. I believe this has enabled me to invest, save, save and save some more. I plan on retiring in less than 2 years from now with significant savings (reached my FI), my plan all along.
Last edited by 2pedals on Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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iceport
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by iceport » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:41 pm

The biggest single aspect of lifestyle creep I successfully avoided was buying more house than needed. The vast majority of my (former) colleagues own McMansions, near-McMansions or relatively high-end older houses. I bought a decent little house of a size that used to routinely and comfortably accommodate raising a family of 4 in the 50s and 60s. Nowadays it is considered a starter house, a temporary stepping stone on the way to McMansion ownership. But for me and my significant other, with no kids, it was a perfectly fine size.

The benefit? I was able to save more, eliminate debt earlier, and retire up to 5 years before most of my contemporaries at work (at 55). Undoubtedly, having no kids was necessary for an early retirement, but having the right size house also helped a great deal.

I still consider this one of my best decisions for the financial flexibility it has afforded me over the 19 years of ownership.

(As a side note, I had expected the Great Recession to put more downward pressure on house size than it has. But I see no significant lasting behavioral modifications on that front.)
Last edited by iceport on Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dumbbunny
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by dumbbunny » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:42 pm

I bought a golf (annual) membership for $2500. Since June 8th, I have played 85 rounds which would have cost $6750 without the membership. I factored in the $2500 in my budget but I didn't factor in the drinks and meals bought (both at the club and at at-home dinner parties) as a result of the social component of the game. Oh, and there are opportunities to travel with the men to other courses for tournaments or just for a different challenge that I have not yet participated. Lucky for me I haven't bought a golf ball since taking up the game because I find two or three a day in my deep back yard that fronts a fairway. I won't mention that new set of clubs that will improve my game
“It’s the curse of old men to realize that in the end we control nothing." "Homeland" episode, "Gerontion"

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prudent
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by prudent » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:42 pm

Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.

livesoft
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by livesoft » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:44 pm

Avoided the 3-car lifestyle creep when our 2 kids became drivers. I walked, rode my bike, or didn't go. Or we arranged schedules and "car-pooled." By that I mean that my teen-age son had to get up early and take my spouse to work at 7 am, if he wanted a car any time before 5 pm.

Always avoided hiring a lawn service.

Private kindergarten, since it was full-day versus half-day for public K, so pay for half-day of daycare or pay for kindergarten. But back to public school for grades 1-12.

Did not avoid the following:

My spouse always buys a new piece of furniture before she hosts Book Club. Total waste of money because no one sits on the furniture except once for that once-a-year meeting. A few kitchen gadgets show up, too, like a new coffee-maker when we don't even drink coffee.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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skjoldur
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by skjoldur » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:07 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:02 pm
We are beginning to book longer personal flights Premium Economy.
With the way airlines are shrinking seating space, I think of it as the way economy used to be: Previous Economy rather than Premium Economy.

It's not lifestyle creep, it's lifestyle self defense.

cantos
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by cantos » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:08 pm

First good job: leased a BMW. Ate out for lunch and dinner regularly. Hired a regular cleaner.
First big raise: Bought $1,000 suits. $500 shoes. Didn't think twice about getting gadgets/etc.
Got kids: Moved from small 2BR home to 4BR home in good school district neighbourhood.
Job kept paying well: kept on buying nice things and going out regularly. Didn't think twice about $200 bills for dinner. Took up wine collecting.

Read Millionaire Next door. Changed jobs. Bought $300 suits and $100 shoes. Less eating out. Vegan for most meals. Ditched BMW. Bought Ford. Stopped collecting wines. Drank the wines. Bought occasional craft beers instead. Saved. Invested. Built wealth.

NYC_Guy
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by NYC_Guy » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:16 pm

4nursebee wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:00 pm
Thanks in advance for anything you share here!

I have renewed interest in learning about and increasing my own awareness of lifestyle creep. I am hoping others will share personal situations where they experienced or resisted this issue. What have you dealt with? What creep came into your life that you later regretted? What did you avoid and what benefit did you get?
Hmm. I’ll talk about my current life. Kids are now out of college. I’ll also disregard things like funding an ILIT, funding my kids Roth IRAs and othe transfers to my kids.

Here are my non-kid lifestyle creeps:
- Flying first class whenever the flight is > 2.5 hours
- Second home - and I won’t rent it out via AirBnB
- My boat
- Taking family on trips around the world
- Paying for niece and nephew college
- Drinking good wine
- Drinking really good wine
- Having nice cars that I replace every 8 years or so
- Occassional plane charter (once a year or so)
- Eating out a few times a week at expensive restaurants
- Eating well at home (according to my tastes at home)
- Paying for a personal trainet
- Paying for housekeepers
- Supporting elderly relatives in general
- Supporting younger relatives through crises
- Fixing the money pit that is my primary residence

But, all of this plus regular expenss is still less than 75% of my after tax earnings. Live well below your means. If you make a ton of money, spend a lot but still save more. I am in a profession where my earning power was constrained for a long time. I’m now happily saving most of my post tax income. But it took a while.

Iliketoridemybike
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:18 pm

I would agree with the house. As our income increased, we traded up, but never anywhere near what we could afford. Today we probably have about a third of the house we could afford and we love it.

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Watty
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Watty » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:31 pm

One of the things I did for a while was that I committed to myself to save half of any future pay raises, and I was pretty much able to stick to doing that for that for a long time.

That also meant that I would have some "lifestyle creep" as I increased my spending some when I got a raise.

It's all about finding a good balance.

The Wizard
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by The Wizard » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:46 pm

cantos wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:08 pm
First good job: leased a BMW. Ate out for lunch and dinner regularly. Hired a regular cleaner.
First big raise: Bought $1,000 suits. $500 shoes. Didn't think twice about getting gadgets/etc.
Got kids: Moved from small 2BR home to 4BR home in good school district neighbourhood.
Job kept paying well: kept on buying nice things and going out regularly. Didn't think twice about $200 bills for dinner. Took up wine collecting.

Read Millionaire Next door. Changed jobs. Bought $300 suits and $100 shoes. Less eating out. Vegan for most meals. Ditched BMW. Bought Ford. Stopped collecting wines. Drank the wines. Bought occasional craft beers instead. Saved. Invested. Built wealth.
$500 shoes?
For a guy?
Wow...
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catdude
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by catdude » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:50 pm

iceport wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:41 pm
The biggest single aspect of lifestyle creep I successfully avoided was buying more house than needed. The vast majority of my (former) colleagues own McMansions, near-McMansions or relatively high-end older houses. I bought a decent little house of a size that used to routinely and comfortably accommodate raising a family of 4 in the 50s and 60s. Nowadays it is considered a starter house, a temporary stepping stone on the way to McMansion ownership. But for me and my significant other, with no kids, it was a perfectly fine size.

The benefit? I was able to save more, eliminate debt earlier, and retire up to 5 years before most of my contemporaries at work (at 55). Undoubtedly, having no kids was necessary for an early retirement, but having the right size house also helped a great deal.

I still consider this one of my best decisions for the financial flexibility it has afforded me over the 19 years of ownership.

(As a side note, I had expected the Great Recession to put more downward pressure on house size than it has. But I see no significant lasting behavioral modifications on that front.)
This is my story exactly. When I lived in the D.C. suburbs I bought a modest townhouse and stayed there for 15 years. As the years went by, I could've easily afforded a bigger place, but I didn't particularly want to move, and I had all the house I needed. Now, in Oregon, I have another modest townhouse, though I could certainly afford something bigger & better. Housing was a critical element in allowing me to retire at age 55.
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VictoriaF
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:52 pm

When I moved three years ago I purchased several 6-shelf bookcases for my new apartment. In the beginning they had many empty spaces but now almost all shelves are full.

Victoria
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gator15
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by gator15 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:00 pm

From a lifestyle creep perspective, as I look at our budget the only thing that troubles me is how much we spend on food. We don't eat out much. It's our grocery bill. We spend too much for a family of three. It's something that's gotten progressively worse. I'm working on fixing the problem. The good news is we save a decent amount of money.

student
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by student » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:09 pm

For me, it is ordering alcoholic drinks at restaurant. I like a drink with my meal. Since I do not want sugary drinks or tap water, I order alcohol. However, to save a bit, I have a beer instead of a glass of wine.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:23 pm

Lifestyle creep isn't all bad, if your income and assets can support it.

Premium economy on long domestic flights. Automatic check-in ($15/person) on Southwest flights. I have crossed an ocean in economy for the last time.

Comfortable hotels. We didn't want our kids to expect anything fancier than Hampton or Courtyard. Now that they are launched we stay in hotels that have, as a minimum, glass and ceramic for drinking glasses and coffee. But too much "service" still makes us uncomfortable.
(Sometimes when driving to see our daughter in Texas we stay in towns that don't have that level of hotels. Which is how we know that motels in those towns have waffle irons in their breakfast rooms that make waffles in the shape of the state of Texas. Which is cool.)

Increased giving to charitable causes.

ERguy101
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by ERguy101 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:27 pm

gator15 wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:00 pm
From a lifestyle creep perspective, as I look at our budget the only thing that troubles me is how much we spend on food. We don't eat out much. It's our grocery bill. We spend too much for a family of three. It's something that's gotten progressively worse. I'm working on fixing the problem. The good news is we save a decent amount of money.
Yeah I don't know how people spend $200/month on groceries. I spend that every time I goto the store, and that's usually just for a few meals (it may include a bottle of bourbon too.)

123
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by 123 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:34 pm

When McDonalds has all sizes of hot coffee on sale for $1 I go for the largest size.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by AlohaJoe » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:35 pm

4nursebee wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:00 pm
Thanks in advance for anything you share here!

I have renewed interest in learning about and increasing my own awareness of lifestyle creep. I am hoping others will share personal situations where they experienced or resisted this issue. What have you dealt with? What creep came into your life that you later regretted? What did you avoid and what benefit did you get?
I live in a developing country. In my experience, when people talk want to make moral judgments or create feelings of guilt they use the phrase "lifestyle creep". If they don't they call it "improved living standards" and use it as an example of why modern American is a better place to live than America 50 years ago or a developing country today.

Do you live in the same house as your extended family? Where I live, you often have multiple family members sleeping the same bedroom. Having three generations and 5-10 people in a single house isn't uncommon.

If you're not living like that, it is lifestyle creep.

Have you ever had a beer that isn't a mass market lager? Have you ever had a glass of wine? Have you ever had any kind of ethnic cuisine (say, Japanese or Indian)? Have you ever gone to a restaurant? Have you ever taken a plane? Do you own a car instead of taking public transportation or a bicycle everywhere? Do you own a refrigerator? A washing machine? A dishwasher? Do you have an internet connection? Are you living in a house that is the same size houses were in the 1950s? Do you have air conditioning or central heating? Do your children walk to school like kids used to? Do you have a mobile phone? Do your children?

The examples are endless.

Instead of moralizing lifestyle creep, it's just a matter of tradeoffs. One of the biggest guidelines I've always when making any kind of decision is "how easy it is to undo or reverse this?" For instance, buying the wrong house is harder to reverse than, say, hiring a nanny.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:45 pm

Not sure if this is "lifestyle creep".
I fly first class nowadays. Though it is more because of my aging bionic spine. :(

rosylenm
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by rosylenm » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:58 pm

I am willing to camp a lot less and opt for hoteling instead especially these last couple of years. Small price to pay in the grand scheme of things, enjoying a vacation versus being grumpy and dirty and dealing with vault/pit toilets.

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Watty
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Watty » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:05 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:23 pm
Now that they are launched we stay in hotels that have, as a minimum, glass and ceramic for drinking glasses and coffee.
You might want to rethink that.

Even high end hotels have gotten caught with hidden cameras catching the maids cleaning the water glasses in the room and putting them back, sometimes right after cleaning the toilet.

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household ... lasses.asp

Individually wrapped disposable glasses and coffee cups is a lot better and some hotels intentionally use these just because so many guests are concerned about this. When I am in a hotel with glass water glasses I can't help but think of this so I will ask for plastic glasses, and they always have them handy.

Even the coffee pot in your room is suspect.

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sambb
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by sambb » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:06 pm

I love lifestyle creep. I make more, save more, and I am on track for retirement. So i also spend more on things Ive always wanted, and im not going to fly economy overseas. it is so nice to reward myself for the hard work i do, and enjoy it.

I regret spending some money on entertainment, whcih wasnt as great as i thought, thats it.

Overall i wish i spent more.

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Alexa9
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:30 pm

Things I spend more money on to have nice stuff:
Home, furniture, food, wine, TV, phone, computer, camera, vehicle (newer but not luxury, once you go luxury you can't go back), concerts

Things I don't spend a lot on:
Travel (infrequent, stay with friends, buy tickets with CC points), clothing (simple), restaurants (outrageous these days, usually better food at home), never go to sporting events or movie theater (better on TV on the couch)

JBTX
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by JBTX » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:01 pm

For years we are 2 income family and have done a good job of controlling the big expenses - our house is modest for our income and the most we've ever spent on a car is $24 and we tend to run them to the ground.

However we've definitely experienced creep in the small stuff

- way too much dining and fast food
- spending too much on our kids
- investing in any and every therapy for kids (they have some specific issues) often out of network with no insurance coverage
- pest and mosquito control service
- maid service
- increased use of babysitter/nanny
- DW wastes more money on her own hobbies

Then this year after generally neglecting our house we did a major remodel. At the same time my contract work ended. All of a sudden we are draining cash. We were on pace to spend approx $140k annualized (excluding cost of remodel). DW has 6 figure income but by the time taxes, benefits and 401k come out we were draining approx $4000 a month for a couple of months.

Since then we have been making incremental changes. We are now basically breaking even cash flow wise, excluding occasional major expenditures. Delaying some major expenses. Luckily we're already in good shape in terms of retirement funding and had a good liquid reserve. But we've taken a good bit out of that reserve. We really don't want to dig into it anymore if at all possible.

We keep looking for incremental ways to save money. Sooner or later I'll be back working again but even then hopefully we can maintain a more frugal lifestyle.

randomguy
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by randomguy » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:13 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:35 pm

I live in a developing country. In my experience, when people talk want to make moral judgments or create feelings of guilt they use the phrase "lifestyle creep". If they don't they call it "improved living standards" and use it as an example of why modern American is a better place to live than America 50 years ago or a developing country today.
To some extent yep. People are bragging about living in 2 bedroom townhouses. Isn't that just as big of creep as going from a 0 bedroom room shared with someone you don't know (i.e. college for most people) as going from that town house to a McMansion?:) The problem with lifestyle creep is when either you can't afford it (keeping up with the jones) or you are buying things that don't bring you happiness (or at a certain level maximize your happiness). Spend 10k on a golf club membership? It is vastly different if you play 150 rounds/year versus 3. One is an investment in experiences that you enjoy. The other are some very expensive rounds of golf:).

If you can't afford something it is one thing. Letting money run your life is another. Most people need to find a balance as they can't afford everything they want, but they can afford a lot of things they want.

kjvmartin
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by kjvmartin » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:15 pm

My first new cars in the adult working world were the lowest trim available entry level cars and I didn't think anything about it. I was just happy to have something reliable.

Oddly, as I've progressed a bit in life, the next car I own/lease will be a mid level trim of an entry level car. Why do I want this now? I had never driven anything nicer until an airport Avis upgraded my Cruze to an Acadia SLT without asking me. I perceive a value in combination of convenience and safety features which are not present on the base trim. These will make my life measurably more comfortable and at least a little bit safer each day.

denovo
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by denovo » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:20 pm

Instead of going a 2nd round on the free samples, I spring for the 1.50 hot dog and soda at Costco.

harrychan
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by harrychan » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:35 pm

Our household income went up by roughly $150k on Jan of this year. DW went back to work and I got a job that pays 45% more. We became much more conscious of our spending as we wanted to fully maximize our savings. Because of this, we paid closer to what we spend and budget more carefully. As a result, we are able to enjoy things as long as it fit within our budget. So far we set aside more money to give or bless those around us like paying for meals or buying gifts. We've purchased a new mattress. We actually got rid of our lease and now own two cars outright. Down the road, we will buy a car. All of this by cash. As long as you pay for any lifestyle creep through cash and can make it work in your budget with disposable income, there is nothing wrong with it. Enjoy your money! :sharebeer
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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randomizer
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by randomizer » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:36 am

I've mostly avoided it. Occasionally take a Lyft when I formerly would have taken public transit, but that's pretty rare for me.

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HomerJ
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by HomerJ » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:43 am

We always saved half our raises. That's best advice I can give. You increase your saving with every promotion and raise, but it's not painful because it's new money, and your lifestyle goes up each time as well.

It's important to find a level where you have "enough", and you won't need to increase your lifestyle much at all after that. At that point, you can save almost all your raises, and work on getting to 25x-30x expenses for retirement. If you get there early, you can retire early, or maybe add some more luxuries at that point.

We spent 5-10 years at "enough", saving most of our raises (sure, we took a few extra nice vacations, but our lifestyle didn't change much during that time). This allowed to us to save up a ton of money. We never felt like we were missing out.

But after we paid off the house, and realized we were well on track to hit retirement in our 50s, we did indulge in some more lifestyle creep.

We bought a lake condo, and a boat and a jetski. I'm very happy with that lifestyle creep. We very much enjoy our weekends and occasional weeks at the lake. We hope to retire there half the year someday (spend the winter somewhere else).

But we didn't indulge in that until AFTER we had paid off the house, and saved a good chunk of what we needed for retirement.

bungalow10
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by bungalow10 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:21 am

gator15 wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:00 pm
From a lifestyle creep perspective, as I look at our budget the only thing that troubles me is how much we spend on food. We don't eat out much. It's our grocery bill. We spend too much for a family of three. It's something that's gotten progressively worse. I'm working on fixing the problem. The good news is we save a decent amount of money.
Ours is the same. We had tuna steaks for dinner last night (well, two tuna steaks, plus roasted chicken and veggies, baguette and mackerel salad for a family of five). It was a splurge, dinner was probably 50 EUR in total (two adults, three kids), and that's eating in!

But then we eat vegan/vegetarian quite a bit - breakfast today was steel cut oats with toasted walnuts and chopped up dark chocolate (the rest of the bar from last night's dessert).

Our rent is also a cost creep, although I can't say it's for lifestyle. We moved to Amsterdam and pay EUR2850 ($3400 USD) for a three bed, two bath apartment. Third and fourth floor, walkup, nice area - 1500 square feet, no garage or basement for storage of extra stuff. For five of us it is a bit small by US standards.

I also found this article on NYTImes recently to be very relevant to us. In the US I used to say the best money we spent every month was the $100 or so for a cleaning service. We haven't brought that habit with us to Europe, but I imagine we might at some point.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/scie ... ubz=3&_r=0
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

Volkdancer
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Volkdancer » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:21 am

I really enjoy the socializing, physical exercise, mental challenges, and the music doing Contra and English Country Dancing. But the closest dance weekend which typically run from Friday evening into Sunday afternoon is two hundred miles away and as far away as one thousand miles. Except for the Houston, Austin and Dallas weekends, the others I consider within reasonable distance require at least a day's drive each way and an overnight stay in motel. But spring of this year I decided it was worth the time and the expense (because I am retired) and ended traveling over ten thousand miles from North Carolina to New Mexico and Louisiana to Missouri (I have a hybrid so I get decent mileage), traveling through ten states for eight dance weekends over a period of two and on half months. I loved (almost) every minute of the dancing, and the driving, and look forward to doing it again this coming spring. I did not regret spending the money but I suspect if I ever reach a point when I would have to fly rather than drive that is when the real question of lifestyle creep would come into play. But if I reach that point I may not be dancing that much anyway.

Karl V

b.lock
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by b.lock » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:55 am

When I was 24 I went from making $20,000 per year to $60,000, and so I got a private pilot license. I spent about $25,000 over 2 years getting the license and flying around. I had no debt and the rest of my expenses were very cheap. I hardly fly anymore, it's a lot of fun, but it can also be a hassle.

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Jim85
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Jim85 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:03 am

Never had any creep as my income/assets grew. I always consider cost/benefit for purchases. Don't play for fancy labeled clothes, cars, etc. Not sure I'd ever pay for first class airline seating at the costs I've seen. I still don't see any of this changing. Since I went part time a couple years ago, I do play golf once a week now and when I finally stop working completely I'll probably play at least 2x a week. My green fees with cart are typically <$30 plus $20-25 for beer and food after. Not paying the big bucks for the fancier courses on a regular basis. Sometimes an occasional splurge as I do see some cost benefit in the nicer courses. I see a new set of clubs in the near future as well as increased travel. So there's come creep but I guess this is really just retirement.

Daryl
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:34 am
Location: Malvern, PA (I like to sleep near my money!)

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Daryl » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:39 am

I'm transitioning from single engine planes (Cessna 152/172) to gliders. Not having an engine saves a lot of gas money! First solo was yesterday.

mouses
Posts: 2331
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by mouses » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:44 am

Watty wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:31 pm
One of the things I did for a while was that I committed to myself to save half of any future pay raises, and I was pretty much able to stick to doing that for that for a long time.
I worked for a company that had regular quarterly bonuses. I always used them to make extra payments to pay down my mortgage.

angelescrest
Posts: 878
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Location: The Third Coast

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by angelescrest » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:09 am

I don't know if there so counts, but we moved to a LCOL place, and bought a sizable but simple home for like 200k. Would've cost well over half a million anywhere else we lived. It's nothing fancy, but has made us think twice about relocating for a different job because we couldn't get what we have now. Meaning that in this case, this kind of lifestyle creep actually saved us money, but does make us feel potentially less mobile since we would be loathe to give up a comfortable family home. I wouldn't want to live in an old junky starter home anymore.

I also wear much nicer clothes now, and pay sometimes 3-4x what I would've paid for things in the past. My old self would have been shocked. But this is a very intentional decision for me that relates to my views on consumerism and the environmental tolls of fast fashion. For example, I buy American handcrafted shoes that I can resole every few years and thus extend the life of the shoe for 20-30 years. Dunno if that counts as lifestyle creep, but while I do spend a lot more per purchase, I buy a lot less stuff and take good care of what I have. I even eBay a lot more, once paying $50 for an almost mint pair of Allen Edmond Park Avenues ($400 new).

J295
Posts: 1176
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by J295 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:11 am

When one of our two cars was getting worn out I sold it to our mechanic and went down to one car. I use Lyft/Uber in our modest town (300k residents) and my spouse uses our vehicle most of the time. It's easy for us because we live on a golf course, I'm an avid golfer, and retired.

Oh, another car story. When first child turned 16 back in the day I gave her my SUV and I went without a car for a number of years and rode my bike everywhere (to/from work --- 14 mile round trip). Eventually we had 5 cars in the fleet at one time when everyone else started driving, but we put it off for a while ....

User avatar
iceport
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by iceport » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:19 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:35 pm
4nursebee wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:00 pm
Thanks in advance for anything you share here!

I have renewed interest in learning about and increasing my own awareness of lifestyle creep. I am hoping others will share personal situations where they experienced or resisted this issue. What have you dealt with? What creep came into your life that you later regretted? What did you avoid and what benefit did you get?
I live in a developing country. In my experience, when people talk want to make moral judgments or create feelings of guilt they use the phrase "lifestyle creep". If they don't they call it "improved living standards" and use it as an example of why modern American is a better place to live than America 50 years ago or a developing country today.

Do you live in the same house as your extended family? Where I live, you often have multiple family members sleeping the same bedroom. Having three generations and 5-10 people in a single house isn't uncommon.

If you're not living like that, it is lifestyle creep.

Have you ever had a beer that isn't a mass market lager? Have you ever had a glass of wine? Have you ever had any kind of ethnic cuisine (say, Japanese or Indian)? Have you ever gone to a restaurant? Have you ever taken a plane? Do you own a car instead of taking public transportation or a bicycle everywhere? Do you own a refrigerator? A washing machine? A dishwasher? Do you have an internet connection? Are you living in a house that is the same size houses were in the 1950s? Do you have air conditioning or central heating? Do your children walk to school like kids used to? Do you have a mobile phone? Do your children?

The examples are endless.

Instead of moralizing lifestyle creep, it's just a matter of tradeoffs. One of the biggest guidelines I've always when making any kind of decision is "how easy it is to undo or reverse this?" For instance, buying the wrong house is harder to reverse than, say, hiring a nanny.
I don't detect the slightest hint of moral judgement in the phrase "lifestyle creep" or the OP's use of it. You are reading a huge amount into the OP's question, perhaps colored by some of the responses, which may or may not be address the OP's interest.

While your point is an interesting one, I think it's misplaced in this thread. At least that's my interpretation.

When I hear "lifestyle creep," I immediately think "hedonic adaptation" or "hedonic treadmill." Little did I know that Investopedia would have a more basic definition handy. So it seems even I was reading something into the OP's question, though hedonic adaptation is directly related to lifestyle creep. I fail to detect any intent to make anyone feel guilty with the use of either phrase.

But it is potentially useful to think about the possibility that, due to hedonic adaptation, lifestyle creep might be of little or no use in increasing happiness. Similarly, it is entirely possible that those living in developing countries are just as happy as we are in the US, once basic needs are being met, or that people living in the US 50 or 150 years ago were every bit as happy, in general, as we are today, despite the lack of modern conveniences.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

Dottie57
Posts: 2266
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Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:42 am

I have avoided a major upgrade in lifestyle -buying a bigger home. Lower costs - property tax, utilities, furniture, lack of mortgage.

However I have upgraded my kitchen and after 25 years bought some new furniture.

I have a latte too many times a week. And pick up dinner a large portion of the time. Costs which can be lowered as I go into retirement.

Saving targets are still first priority.

hulburt1
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:17 pm

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by hulburt1 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:46 am

Well at 64 this worked for me-
Own one house 37 years
Had the best job for me-worked for fed-ex and coached cross country and track 23 years still going at a local Hs
Married once 38 years

I tell everyone married ugly they will never leave you. Most say I see your wife followed your advice haha
It really saved me money I'm at 2.2m. no debt for the last 20 years.

randomguy
Posts: 4890
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by randomguy » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:58 am

Jim85 wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:03 am
Never had any creep as my income/assets grew. I always consider cost/benefit for purchases. Don't play for fancy labeled clothes, cars, etc. Not sure I'd ever pay for first class airline seating at the costs I've seen. I still don't see any of this changing. Since I went part time a couple years ago, I do play golf once a week now and when I finally stop working completely I'll probably play at least 2x a week. My green fees with cart are typically <$30 plus $20-25 for beer and food after. Not paying the big bucks for the fancier courses on a regular basis. Sometimes an occasional splurge as I do see some cost benefit in the nicer courses. I see a new set of clubs in the near future as well as increased travel. So there's come creep but I guess this is really just retirement.

Do you find it funny that you start talking about no creep and by the 3rd sentence you are talking about your lifestyle creep?:) Seriously how many people do you know that live remotely like they did when they were right out of college? I know I enjoyed moving out of a shared living situation, going from ikea furniture to the next step up, and so on. That is all lifestyle creep. But you need to decide when you have maxed your limits. Just becasue your lifestyle creep has you buying honda civics, you don't need to keep creeping and buying the BMW and then the rolls royce. You can stop when you get to the point your comfortable at.

Nicolas
Posts: 767
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 am

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Nicolas » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:08 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:35 pm
4nursebee wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:00 pm
Thanks in advance for anything you share here!

I have renewed interest in learning about and increasing my own awareness of lifestyle creep. I am hoping others will share personal situations where they experienced or resisted this issue. What have you dealt with? What creep came into your life that you later regretted? What did you avoid and what benefit did you get?
I live in a developing country. In my experience, when people talk want to make moral judgments or create feelings of guilt they use the phrase "lifestyle creep". If they don't they call it "improved living standards" and use it as an example of why modern American is a better place to live than America 50 years ago or a developing country today.

Do you live in the same house as your extended family? Where I live, you often have multiple family members sleeping the same bedroom. Having three generations and 5-10 people in a single house isn't uncommon.

If you're not living like that, it is lifestyle creep.

Have you ever had a beer that isn't a mass market lager? Have you ever had a glass of wine? Have you ever had any kind of ethnic cuisine (say, Japanese or Indian)? Have you ever gone to a restaurant? Have you ever taken a plane? Do you own a car instead of taking public transportation or a bicycle everywhere? Do you own a refrigerator? A washing machine? A dishwasher? Do you have an internet connection? Are you living in a house that is the same size houses were in the 1950s? Do you have air conditioning or central heating? Do your children walk to school like kids used to? Do you have a mobile phone? Do your children?

The examples are endless.

Instead of moralizing lifestyle creep, it's just a matter of tradeoffs. One of the biggest guidelines I've always when making any kind of decision is "how easy it is to undo or reverse this?" For instance, buying the wrong house is harder to reverse than, say, hiring a nanny.
AlohaJoe, just curious since you're living in a developing country whether you're living a similar lifestyle as the natives there, i.e. multiple family members in the same bedroom, no car, refrigerator, internet, hauling water from the neighborhood well, and etc?

cpumechanic
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:42 pm

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by cpumechanic » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:12 am

This is funny, but as a boglehead... I had to reply

Bought boat needed inboard engine replaced.. bought engine on ebay, installed, had oil leak, uninstalled, re-installed, works fine.
Now in garage last two years.. anyone want a Searay?
:D
Bought BMW hardtop convertible with 25K miles Sandy Flood car.. changed transmission fluid.. no evidence of H20 Now has 40K miles great car love it , only drive it in the summer.

Bought 1973 and 1984 Honda Motor Cycles.. when I drive on any crowded road all I see are folks staring at cell phones and texting. Scares the H*** out of me as one mistake on a motorcycle and you end up dead..
Now in garage anyone want a Honda MC with classic plates?

Bought Espresso Machine, made in Italy.. you dump beans in the top and press a button and great Espresso pours out the bottom. Best purchase I ever bought.. highly recommend. Bought second one for RV for 1/2 price on E-bay... had issue with water not flowing, found Youtube that demonstrated exact fix.. applied fix it works.

Bought 10 year old diesel RV, with 22k miles, now has 36Kmiles 16MPG fun to use, will be in FLA Jan-March and campgrounds are much cheaper than a second house. Visited Acadia NP, and Cavandish NP on Prince Edward Island last month for a 2 weeks. Highly recommend going up to that Island, friendly people, great vista's and beaches, great seafood, not to pricey except the $54 to escape on the toll bridge.
:moneybag

Bought 2015 Honda CRV crashed in front.. with 3k miles..... repaired in driveway with some help from very reputable frame straightening shop nearby . Saved approx $12K on price vs new. You haven't lived until you have replaced a side curtain airbag. Shop instructions from Honda say, please avoid twisting during install.. don't worry I didn't twist it.
:sharebeer

Use my AMEX blue to harvest free money and free gas at local grocery stores. Pay in full each month.
Pay yearly fee for iHG card that allows wife and I free night at the Crowne Plaza in times square each year. Fee $50, Hotel price much higher, great deal. Go see an overpriced Broadway show each fall, one night a year in NYC is about all I can take.

Opened several bank accounts this year just to harvest the $200-$300 bonus they share. (Sorry I hate banks use credit union).
Take that Wells Fargo LOL!

Current Mortgage has 6 years left at 3%. BND and VCIT beat that so hard to pay this off.

Pushed out of job I used to enjoy but hated at 60, was lucky I made double pay the last 3 years and saved for many years so I don't need to go back to work.

Buy restaurant gift cards at 15% off and take wife out to eat every couple of weeks. Best gift card sites now offering 12 month guarantee and refund if someone else uses card before you do.

Retired.. too lazy.. but having fun.. now searching for a flood car for grandma who needs car and has no money.

Thanks for letting me brag. (sorry.)

CPU
We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

Dandy
Posts: 4776
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by Dandy » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:12 am

When in the accumulation stage with 2 children I was very focused on Lifestyle creep. I would avoid most things that added monthly expenses e.g. premium channels, magazine subscriptions, etc. Also, kept an eagle eye on other optional expenses. I probably erred on not doing things I should have e.g. landscaping and home improvement.

Once the children were educated, weddings paid for, mortgage paid off and being retired with a nice nest egg (thanks Mr. Bogle), I decided we needed a Lifestyle Creep. Hard to go from frugal (often straying into scrooge-like behavior), to spending more freely. More dining out, buying theater season tickets, taking an extra vacation, buying a safer/newer car with better options, etc. We are enjoying life a bit more and even with my conservative investment allocation my nest egg has never been higher - retired in 2008. Since you can't take it with you and at age 70 I feel the march of time, it was time to enjoy a bit more the benefits of frugal ways. Old habits die hard but well planned enhancements to lifestyle have been welcome.

AlohaJoe
Posts: 2563
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:00 pm
Location: Saigon, Vietnam

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by AlohaJoe » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:16 am

Nicolas wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:08 am
AlohaJoe, just curious since you're living in a developing country whether you're living a similar lifestyle as the natives there, i.e. multiple family members in the same bedroom, no car, refrigerator, internet, hauling water from the neighborhood well, and etc?
I live in a city of 9 million -- slightly larger than the largest city in the US. Just as there are rich and poor Americans, the same thing holds everywhere. All of my neighbors are locals. I am the only foreigner living in this immediate area -- though I've seen a few others in the general vicinity from time to time.

Everyone has a refrigerator and internet, though they may not have a laptop. There is no neighborhood well; there is municipal water. I don't have a car, though some of my neighbors do.

Our house in the city is large enough to not share rooms. When we go outside the city to visit my partner's family, we all sleep in one room. Well, except for her father, who sleeps in the store most nights to make sure no one breaks in and steals things.

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 510
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: Lifestyle Creep

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:26 am

Better seats for theatre or live concert events and longer vacation time. I used to do 2 weeks every year, now it's months as in 3-4 months every year. Usually 2 weeks in Hawaii in the winter, now it's a whole month. Same with Europe, I bunch my vacation so instead of doing 2-3 weeks, it's now longer like 8-16 weeks, of course it depends on how much I miss home. Business class tickets vs Economy or Economy plus tickets.

I also bought more expensive Indoor and outdoor furnitures. In the past, I spent $300-$500 for outdoor furnitures, now it's more than $2000-$3000. Same with mattresses, I bought two very expensive mattresses, top of the line, because I figure sleep is important. I won't mention the price, because it's already shocked my brother who is an 8-figure guy.

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