Sarah Chisholm, Financial Advisor
O’Farrell Wealth & Estate Planning | Assante Capital Management Ltd.
Grab your favourite cup of tea or coffee and let’s look at ways to combat the impact that lifestyle creep can have on your spending.
Lifestyle creep is a behavioural and financial change that can occur when your income increases due to a salary raise or a new job, or when one liability payment, such as completing your car payment, drops off. You find new ways to spend that “extra” money. It becomes habit to buy fancier clothes or to upgrade one of your many subscriptions from the ad ladened free version to the premium version. Eventually all these little purchases become part of your daily routine and regular budget. They become necessities rather than luxuries. As your lifestyle changes, new costs are added. A new pool seems like a one-time expense until you add in the annual maintenance costs, the increased energy bills to keep the water warm, and the new pool accessories or pool side furniture.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying your successes in life. In fact, with the impact of covid lockdowns, many local businesses need our support. With the Christmas season quickly approaching, many of us will get pulled into a spending whirlwind that seems to increase every year. You constantly want to buy bigger and better presents for everyone on your list. This Christmas lifestyle creep can easily become a budget breaker and put you on the wrong footing for the New Year with expensive credit cards bills to pay.
How can we combat lifestyle creep for the Christmas season?
Start now and begin implementing a Christmas strategy to combat this inherent lifestyle creep. Identify the friends and family members who truly need nothing. Rather than buying them token gifts or gift cards, take the opportunity to provide a meaningful gift at no cost. Prepare a card that details how much you appreciate them, and how much you enjoy spending time with them. Take them out for a cup of tea, invite them over for a visit, or go for a walk.
Spread the word that you would truly appreciate the same. Which would you rather, colourful socks or a visit with a good friend? Does your child need a new game, or would they enjoy an afternoon skating at the outdoor park with their grandparents or cousins?
If you take a step back and re-assess, there will always be ways to combat lifestyle creep.