Lifestyle inflation is the process of how we adjust our spending when we suddenly have more money than we are accustomed to. Although lifestyle inflation can be handled responsibly, most of the time people refer to it as reckless spending and the habits created. I get it. It feels great to be able to reward ourselves by allowing us to do the things we deprive ourselves of. Buying lunch while at work, purchasing a new tv or even getting a massage in Veilstone City. If we don’t catch it early, these little rewards become part of our everyday lifestyle and can slowly damage our finances like a sand tomb.
We are going to run into lifestyle inflation no matter what, and it is our job to prepare for it. Back in September, I received a $3/hour raise with the requirement to work a 40 hour week. This gave my weekly paychecks an approximate $100 boost, after taxes. Having an additional $400 a month to spend led to a sudden battle with lifestyle inflation. The way I battled and caught lifestyle inflation in five steps was to relax, aspire, reflect, strategize and stay calm.
It was a clear Christmas Eve Eve night at my parents’ house in Montana. I stepped outside to look at the stars. I could hear the clock begin chiming in the cold silence as I stood there, admiring the universe. I had been stressing about my current state of debt and needed a minute to remember what a small part of the universe my debt really was. I was concerned about my debt from the last 12 years, the new debt we started our marriage with and the possible debt that could result from starting our family. The ninth and final chime of the hour rang and was followed by a most peculiar sound, the sound of chains. I looked down and saw a delmise with a note attached to its handle.
Ace Trainer Tojo, there’s no need to fear.
If you are patient three ghosts will appear.
They’ll show you some stories, parts of your life.
We know that it’s debt that fills you with strife.
When I looked up from the note, delmise had disappeared. I went inside to show my husband. “What does this mean?” I asked. He read the note and passed it to my sister. “Sounds like you’re going to be busy tonight,” he said. “We’ll just be hanging out, so join us when you’re done,” declared my sister. “Have fun.”
After watching them play a round of cards, I moved to the couch and stared out the window at the mountains anticipating what tonight would bring. What would happen? What would I see? Would there be snacks? I would soon find out.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are officially in the holiday season. Tis the season for joyous times with family and friends, an abundance of delicious and fattening foods, and extra reasons to spend money. In my experience, this is the most challenging time for a lot of people to not cheat on their diets and budgets.
Diets and budgets are a bit like the attacks ice ball and rollout. They may be different types, but they basically do the same thing. The more times the user hit’s their target, the stronger the attack grows. If the user misses, just once, it feels like they are starting over from the very beginning. Unlike the attacks, the goal of my diet and budget are to make them a part of my permanent lifestyle, so if I do mess up I don’t have to start all the way back at the beginning.
However, there is long battle ahead of me before I reach that goal. Whenever I cheat, it lowers my attack’s power and makes the battle longer. There are three ways that I typically cheat on my budget, planned cheating, spontaneous cheating and last-minute cheating.
The year of 2015 brought an evolution to how I saw my personal finances. I had a strong budget that was flexible enough to adjust for a month out of town. I also started working on my credit card relationship by limiting my spending with PP. That Christmas season I over-swiped and I could visually see that I had no control over my Christmas spending.
A year later, I knew I needed to start preparing for Christmas earlier than I had the year before. In October, I started odor sleuthing what I wanted to buy my family and started to build up a plan. I used an Excel template to track my present ideas and the credit I used to purchase them. I kept a keen eye out for deals and ended Holiday Season 2016 without using any extra PP. This year I want to track a few more things with my Christmas budget level it up into an even more useful tool.
I did not like vegetables when I was a youngster. I saw vegetables as a sign of maturity and adulthood. I thought that if I liked vegetables it meant I was a grown-up. Even when I got to college I resisted eating vegetables. On Facebook, I made it clear body clear in my about me section that my diet was meat, grains, fat, and cheese. However, if the vegetables were hidden in my food, like in pasta sauce, I would endure eating them.
As I started to actually behave more like an adult by started cooking for myself, I continued tricking myself into eating vegetables. Whether I made spaghetti, enchilada hot dish or pizza, I found a way to shadow sneak them into the dish. Yes, I knew they were in there and that I was going to eat them, but playing along with the facade helped me not feel like a grown-up. Tricking myself into eating vegetables helped me eat vegetables at a time when I found it hard. Today, I understand that I am a grown-up and I eat salads for lunch almost every workday. I enjoy vegetables as a regular part of my diet.
My personal finances are similar. My financial pokémon team tricks me into doing the things I know I should do but can’t quite do on my own. Its tricks make sure I pay my credit card minimum payments, splits up my money, hides money in secret bases, absorbs extra interest, and steals money for saving.
Welcome to September! The first week in September means that it’s time for August’s Review and Net Worth Update.
For those who are new to The Grown-Up Pkmn Trainer, each month I write a financial review to xatu my net worth by writing down my thoughts on the previous and following months. I share these summaries so everyone can gain insight into my personal finances and my thoughts behind them.
I started tracking my net worth to measure my progress, inspired by Budgets Are Sexy, which has helped me pay closer attention to my personal finances. I have been tracking my net worth since January 2015 and writing monthly financial reviews for myself since 2016. I recommend tracking net worth because it has been such a helpful tool to see my personal finances stat changes all in one place.
It’s back-to-school season again, which means tons of sales and discounts. It also means another class of high school students is making their transition into life as an adult. Some are brave birding right into the work force, which is awesome! Others need a little more training and education and are flying to college first.
I headed to college because I enjoyed learning and felt I needed more education to find my career path. College is a great time to learn about ourselves as students, trainers, and young adults.
Today, I want to share a few tips based on what I have learned since graduating college. I think they can help any college student refresh their personal finances.
A lot of people use the website/app Mint to help them manage their personal finances. Mint is a simple, one-stop shop for people to see the current status of their finances. A user connects their bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments and bills to it. Once connected, Mint can create graphs and other ways to help their users understand their money.
Mint also has a bunch of systems set up to assist their users with their money. It’s like a chikorita using aromatherapy to restore health to a person’s finances. With all of their shell bells and grass whistles, I did not find their aromatherapy helpful and canceled my future appointments.
I tried it for at least three months and did not find it useful to me. Not all of my accounts could connect, there was too much red, my own systems were better for me and I rarely checked it. I am sure it has improved in the past two years, but I think I’m fine without it for the moment.
To my long-time readers, you may remember me mentioning my relationship with my credit cards once... twice... three times a ledyba. To my newer readers, I will probably mention it again, but feel free to frisk my bag pockets anyway. When it comes to my credit card relationship, its frustration has always been much stronger than its return.
I received my first credit card when I turned 18 years old and moved to college. I thought of credit cards as the opposite of layaway. I could use the credit now and pay off the credit over the next couple of months.
I had heard stories of college students getting into trouble with credit card debt and I did not want it double, so I decided to use it only for emergencies. It was a good plan, but what I considered an emergency was not technically an emergency. My emergencies felt urgent and were necessary purchases but I didn’t have the cash at the time. These included doctors’ visits, trips home for holidays, a computer replacement and car repairs with few small purchases. In grad school, I added YOLO to the list when I visited a friend in Japan and spent $300 at Tokyo’s Pokémon Center.
After I moved to New York City, my struggling budgeting skills led me to use my credit card in new ways. I used it for cash advances, daily small purchases, and I even got a second card. As my budgeting began to improve I thought my credit card relationship would naturally follow. I was wrong. I maxed out my American Express within 6 months of having it.