I love saving money. Obviously.
But, I also love living a good life. I talk a lot about how saving money doesn’t need to mean living a life of denial or feeling deprived – in fact, I would argue that having control of your finances gives you a blissful sense of security and outright joy.
That’s because my philosophy on saving money isn’t one of “making cuts” but of “making choices” and aligning your spending with your priorities. With a few simple tweaks to your life, you could save hundreds of dollars per month and not feel deprived of anything (except stress).
I know—this sounds like a phishing scam or a pyramid scheme, but I’m serious!
I touched on this a few posts back in If You Want to Save More, Focus on Cutting These 3 Categories, but it’s such an important and game-changing concept that I felt the need to talk to y’all about it again.
And it’s my blog, so I get to do what I want.
Buying the fancy chocolate (but not the fancy car) is one ingredient in the secret sauce to becoming wealthy.
That’s because the fancy chocolate gives you that same sense of luxury and decadence, but only costs $5 more than a Hershey’s bar, while that fancy car will cost you hundreds of dollars more every month. The chocolate bar is literally treating yourself, but the fancy car is just treating you to…more expenses. Your chocolate bar doesn’t need cleaning and maintenance. It just needs to be eaten.
If you try to build in daily decadence without designing a life that cost less (by paying attention to the big 3 categories of housing, transportation, and food) you risk living beyond your means and succumbing to lifestyle inflation. That’s really easy to do with influencers and advertisers constantly selling us the *~*new perfect item*~* we simply can’t do without. Sometimes that item is a $300 pan. Sometimes it’s a brand-new car. Often, it’s a bigger, nicer, more recently renovated house.
But you don’t need that fancy car and you can probably be just as happy (if not more so) in a smaller house. Spend time with your loved ones in that smaller house rather than spending time with them at Chili’s. (No offense Chili’s…Okay, maybe a little offense.)
Lifestyle inflation is absolutely a one-way express ticket to looking cool! And to living in stress city. Nobody wants to live in stress city. Especially not you.
At least once a week I turn to Cassie and tell her that I can’t believe how luxurious and awesome our life is.
Part of this is because I’m acutely aware of how lucky we are compared to others in our life (let alone across the country and world) and I try to make it a daily habit to practice gratitude for this.
But it’s also because our life is just objectively pretty dang great.
We eat delicious food at a beautiful table (that we built). We live in a beautiful home that we’ve fixed up to our taste. We buy A LOT of craft beer and enjoy it regularly on our screened-in porch. I top my oatmeal with dark chocolate, fresh strawberries, and shredded coconut (can you taste the luxury?!?). And under normal circumstances, we travel regularly – last year even paying to bring my two brothers along to Ecuador (where we did, indeed, buy a lot of fancy chocolate).
Not to mention we have family and friends who we love and who love us. I must have been a saint in a past life or something.
So I challenge you to build decadence into your everyday life. Spend extra on the things that truly bring you joy and make you pause to appreciate them, but design a life that costs less on the things that are purely superficial (that’s where the real savings come in).
By practicing gratitude and enjoying the simple pleasures in our lives, we can start to free ourselves from the capitalist trap that more or bigger is better. Instead of fixating on the latest status symbol, focus on cultivating your community and small pleasures instead.