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.
A hot topic that I see throughout the personal finance blogosphere is the concept of the side hustle. Side hustles, or side gigs as I call them, are jobs to earn some extra coin and are optional. Not to be confused with a second job, which is more of a necessity because the first job doesn’t pay enough to pay the bills, keep mouths fed and a roof overhead.
For example, a popular side hustle in Alola is chucking pyukumuku back into the ocean. In Kalos, trainers can side hustle at the Hotel Richissime by making beds, hunting down lost items and helping with room service. These small, short tasks can earn a trainer extra money for just a little bit of time and are not necessary for completing the games. For real-world examples, J. Money, who has had a lot of experience with side hustles, has documented over 70 different side hustles to share with his readers at Budgets Are Sexy.
Now, side gigs seem to be romanticized by the personal finance community as a great tool that can assist with our financial goals while also being fun. However, they also forget to mention that sometimes they share characteristics, and the added stress, of a second job. So today, I am going to share four returns and frustrations, or pros and cons, to explain why I like and dislike the side hustle.
Welcome to February and just in time for the first post of the month, it’s time for January’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 keep a keen eye on my personal finances. I have been tracking my net worth since January 2015 and writing monthly financial reviews for myself since 2016. I recommend both because they have been such helpful tools to watch my personal finances stat changes.
Whether I am playing the video games, the trading card game or other RPGs, there comes a time when my naturally formed team needs direction and training. This usually involves determining my team’s strategy and replacing the pokémon that doesn’t quite fit. I am currently playing Ultra Sun and I determined that my lycanrock needs to be replaced. Her low defenses cause her to faint before she does any damage. Luckily there are many pokémon of different types and species that can fill her position on the team.
In Part I, I discussed that in June 2017 a sludge wave hit my financial pokémon team when our rent checks were stolen. While recovering from the damage, I learned I misunderstood my team’s strategy. I needed to replace my servine, nicknamed Income, with a Checking pokémon to strengthen my team. That meant I had to replace my system of different bank accounts made up Income. Just like the multiples of pokémon, there are also numerous types and species of financial accounts. This is how I found the ones that worked best for my team.
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.
June 2017 started off like every other month. By the first Monday, I knew something was off because my rent check yet to clear. This was unusual and my fiancé, at the time, called the landlord’s office. They told him to not worry and check again on Friday. On Wednesday, we received an e-mail notifying us our rent was late. However, I saw earlier that morning that my rent check cleared. After some odor sleuthing, we discovered our rent checks were stolen out of the mail and deposited.
The following two months were powdered with fraud claims paperwork, collecting documents and signatures, taking time off work to deal with it all and a wailmer of waiting. The landlord’s office understood what happened and was very helpful, but we still owed them June’s rent. We borrowed it from our wedding account and returned it once we got our money back from the bank at the end of July. This annoying adventure became known as "June’s sludge wave" because of all the financial sludge that needed to be cleaned up after it hit. It was a muked up mess. I did some soul searching and exploration while cleaning, which eventually led me to restructure my financial pokémon team.
In Part I, I look at the damage the sludge wave caused and what I realized about how my team strategy.
Over the years I have defeated almost every region’s Elite Four with my starter pokémon as team captain*. We ended each game together, just as we started it, until the more recent games. In Omega Ruby, I deposited my swampert into the pc early during the game. In Sun, a traded incineroar has become my team captain*. What changed?
Well, recently I noticed a phenomenon I refer to as starter pokémon syndrome. It’s when I blindly make my starter pokémon team captain without researching other possible options. I would make the decision based only on loyalty to my starter pokémon, and not use other research to validate my decision was best for my team.
Starter pokémon syndrome also happens in real life too. Take my starter bank, for example. Over 16 years I blindly opened two checking accounts, two savings accounts, and a credit card. Once I realized what was happening, I was able to research a better option to make my financial pokémon team stronger.
Since today is my wedding day, I have a guest post from a fire blast from the past, Breeder Tojo.
I wrote this essay back in 2008 as an assignment for my Sociology class. We were to write about our hypothetical lives where we worked at Walmart, the apparent standard of low-income jobs, (eye rollout) and had a take home pay of $800 a month.
First, I must inform you that besides a little reformatting, the essay remains mostly unedited. Reading it now, I can see it is horribly written, terribly edited and just reads like someone trying to meet a page requirement. It also seems poorly researched and really whiny. I hope that my writing has changed a lot since then. (Please let me know if it hasn’t.)
It is an interesting look into my 21-year-old mindset to see what I understood about personal finances. I just really had no clue. It reminds me of a trainer battling without understanding pokémon types. They know how to cause damage, but they don’t understand why the same attack’s strength differs when attacking different pokémon.
June is Pride Month and to celebrate that I wanted to write about Pride. To me, every event during Pride is about celebrating our authentic selves and knowing who we are. Finding and maintaining my authentic self has been a little bit of a struggle at times, but I am happiest when I am true to me and life is the most rewarding.
Finding My Authentic Self
I was a weird kid growing up, like espurr weird, and I knew I was different. My father made it easier to be unapologetically me. When I would get down about being different, he would always tell me the same thing. “Look at the great artists of the world’s history. What made them so great was that they were different. They saw the world differently and brought that beauty to the rest of the world. They didn’t become great by being the same.” This always picked me back up and strengthened my determination to just be me.
Budgets are like pokémon. They are great tools to help us through our journey and reach our goals. This four-part series takes a look at my budgeting history and my journey to finding my current budget.
In part one, I shared my experiences of how my budgeting developed over the decade before moving to New York City.
In part two, I shared the challenging battles from my first year living in New York City and my wins and losses.
In part three, I shared my process for breeding my new budget.
In part four, I count up through my budget’s biggest level-milestones as we have been training together. These milestones highlight the moments in my budget’s training when I noticed it become stronger or demonstrate its strength.