Balancing Lifestyle Inflation

Balancing Lifestyle Inflation

Balancing Lifestyle Inflation | brokeGIRLrich

Guys, I have some exciting news. I’m starting a new job in September that is pretty much my dream job.

You know how when you interview for a job, you have a number in your head that you would do the work for? It might be even a little negotiable if you’re really excited about the job (this is probably even more true in the arts).

They offered me roughly double that number.


Now, I know the job is going to be kind of tough, but I am really, really excited about it (and you can all refer me back to this post when I’m complaining wildly about it in six months), but most of all, I’m excited to make the most money I’ve ever made in my life.

I set my 401k contributions to the max for the year and I will still be taking home more money than I’ve ever made.

Doing something that I love. Using skills I’ve spent 13 years refining.

Guys, I’m over the moon.

Oh, and you know what other weird high came with this?

A shopping high.

Oh yeah, that happened.


Me, a personal finance blogger who is all – don’t let your lifestyle inflate. Make the good choices. Do the right things.

I bought two of the bras that Facebook keeps trying to sell me (will they suck like Tieks or be awesome like Thinx? Who knows? Well… I will soon).

I bought a super cute water bottle from Etsy that I’ve wanted for a long time.

Super cute, right?

Super cute, right?

I bought a bunch of other little things.

I paid for lunch out with two friends to celebrate the day I found out I got the job.

And each purchase was a crazy, crazy adrenaline rush of it doesn’t even matter. I can pay all this off with my first paycheck and still have plenty to spare.

It is the weirdest feeling after a lifetime of living in the $20,000-$30,000 salary range.

Fortunately, the personal finance force within me in fairly strong and it went “WTF are you doing?”

  1. You won’t start getting paid this much until September. You are still working at your normal job until then.
  2. Pay attention to that crazy adrenaline rush because a bra probably won’t cut it soon and you’ll be picking up $300 shoes on a whim like a common crack whore to get your fix (ok, maybe an exaggeration, but, like, I don’t know – what do people with money even do??).

I think the personal finance force within me is even fairly healthy because it was like “celebrating is fine, but stop aimlessly browsing Etsy now.”

I also feel more for the folks who do succumb to lifestyle inflation because it’s hard not to. When my lifestyle jumps were back and forth in the hundreds or even thousands, it wasn’t a problem – especially as a freelancer. Squirrel that extra dough away for the rainy day, cause it’s always coming for you.

This job is full time and I could possibly stay forever, but also, nothing lasts forever. Even this show – it went bankrupt and shut down last year after running for 40 years. Who knows if this revival will work or if I’ll be unemployed again at the end of the current season? I think that could actually happen, though I’m really hoping it doesn’t.

So here is my little lesson in lifestyle inflation that I’ve learned from my first week of really dealing with it:

If you can set your 401k to max itself out for the year, you can go splurge $300 on celebratory things in honor of the new job.

Now if I feel a need to shop for something, I start researching index funds and stocks, because that’s probably a way more useful approach for “spending” that extra money.

Do you remember any of your splurges the first time it really felt like you were making money?

13 thoughts on “Balancing Lifestyle Inflation

  1. I normally will splurge as a congratulations but it needs to be a small portion of the money that comes in. My husband got a job, similar to you where it was exactly what he wanted at a high pay increase so we celebrated by going out to dinner. We will probably do the same when I get a new job (we had to move for his job). We also got a few things to make the move/new place easier on us that I might not have done at the lower income. But that is part of being financially independent, the ability to decide based on your needs/wants, not money. We will go back to our normal frugal behavior but I don’t regret the dinner out or the items to make our lives easier.
    Ginger recently posted…Once a Hater, Now a Lover. Why you should love private loans as well.My Profile

  2. Congrats! That’s a super exciting development, but I can see why it would lend itself to a little spending exuberance. I think the lunch out was perfect, and a couple of longed-for purchases are okay. At least you didn’t do what I did and set up recurring expenses. When I got my biggest raise, we joined the Y (at $120 a month) and added to our cable subscription.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…New Grocery Store in Town: How Does Lidl Stack Up?My Profile

  3. That’s wonderful. Remember there is a line between “lifestyle inflation” and “stupid spending”. All of us had first jobs that paid little. We lived in crappy apartments with roomates and had little left at the end of the month. Meeting savings goals is good, but its also nice to move out of the crappy apartment and to buy good stuff–not just for the sake of having it, but because you don’t want to live like a college student forever. Set your goals and set your lifestyle accordingly.

    Can hardly wait to hear about the new job.
    RAnn recently posted…The Law of Supply and DemandMy Profile

  4. Hey, you set your 401k before (or at the same time) as you shopped, so it’s not like you went nuts. The crack whore analogy is funny, especially with the studies out there that connect the high you get from money with the high people get from drugs. Money is a tool, and if you needed to use it for a treat after years and years of pinching pennies, I say go for it! You still have a good head on your shoulders.

    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently posted…5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week 90My Profile

  5. Congratulations on your new job! That’s exciting and well-deserved.

    When I got my previous job (I ended up hating it, so I quit – but that’s another story), we purchased a vacation to Montana. We stayed at a nice B&B and went to great restaurants. We planned it all out ahead of time; even though we spent quite a bit, we knew what we would spend, and we knew we could afford it. It was pretty fantastic.
    The 76K Project recently posted…Why I’ve Ditched My Car and Walk To Work InsteadMy Profile

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