Billboards, television ads, radio commercials, magazines and even interacting with friends and neighbors, all these influences constantly push a message to buy. Consumerism has become a part of our culture, so there is an ever increasing urge to increase your standard of living at pace with or even beyond the means of your current income.
When your income increases, one of the first impulses is to find a way to spend the excess. Of course this is no hardship, because if you are like most people you may already find it difficult to pay for your existing needs and wants.
The good news is that you don’t have to succumb to the pressure of lifestyle inflation. You can actually stop it in its tracks by implementing the following tips:
1. Automatically Save Salary Increases
If you make it impossible to spend your excess income then you will effectively stomp out lifestyle inflation. To do this you must make a commitment to save your increase automatically. Saving it manually leaves it open to the whims of your mood or level of control on that particular day.
2. Review Your Goals Periodically
Goals help you to steer your finances in any direction that you see fit. They are as motivating as they are functional, because without them savings might never take place.
Realistic and personal goals help you to rationalize putting money away instead of allowing it to be used to pump up your lifestyle by immediate consumer purchases.
3. Focus on Keeping Things in Perspective
When you look at things from a different angle you might come to realize that the things that seem important are not really that important after all. Being on top of the next wave of mobile technology may feel like the thing to do, but if you take a look at your goals and then analyze your available income you might see that this is neither realistic nor necessary.
4. Don’t Get Caught Up in TV Ads or Shopping Malls
The power of advertising is hard to deny and shopping malls are bursting with marketing ploys to make you feel like spending money you don’t have on things you don’t really need. If you are trying to cut back on excessive spending you should stay away from shopping malls and try not to soak up too many TV ads.
5. Take a Good Look at Your Friends
It is said that you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. This is also true about the state of your personal finances. Lifestyle inflation can spread like a germ if you are not strong enough to resist it. If you place a lot of value in keeping up with what your friends are wearing, driving, eating or even where they are living you can get struck by the venom of lifestyle inflation.
In the same way that you might avoid going out to have ice-cream with friends if you are on a diet, you will find that it is easier to embrace minimalism if you surround yourself with people who have already mastered the lifestyle or are at least moving in that direction.
Lifestyle inflation can have an overwhelming pull so you need to be prepared to stand up to it.