Mustache Monday: Lifestyle Inflation

From as far back as I can remember till I was about 21 years old, I couldn’t wait to be a grown up. I imagined all of the adventures I would have and the accomplishments I would gain. I wanted to be a captain of industry. I wanted to travel the world and speak 6 languages. I wanted a lovely home and a lovelier family.

When I reached my early twenties, I did not want to be a grownup at all. I wanted to relax. I wanted to attend every worthwhile concert, watch every great movie, and just hang out with my friends.

The husband and I have worked hard to balance the dreams and the fun with our long term goals. Putting money into savings and accelerating our mortgage does not mean we deprive ourselves of treats or comforts.

I recently read an article MSN Money called Doing Well at $125K but still losing sleep about money. This article and its variations are a recycled topic. I like to call them “The dwindling middle class” articles.

These articles are always pretty tough for me to swallow. When the husband and I were looking at our mountain of debt, the last thing I wanted would have been strangers scolding me for my choices. The big thing that I would say goes back to perception or what I think of as lifestyle inflation.

Is the “beautiful home in Plano” worth it if you’re paying $440/month in utilities, a $2700 mortgage, $700/month in whatever “other home costs” means and still you have a commute where you spend $140/month in gas and tolls?

Also, the article does not break down the $3000/month credit card debt or $700/month student loans (beyond stating they paid down a $100K balance to $21K).

Who’s to say the expenses won’t increase, when the one spouse starts earning an income? I’ve heard so many talk about how much money is spent when kids come into the picture, and I’m sure that’s true to some degree. What makes me suspicious is that these same people are writing these articles, making just getting by seem so bleak and miserable.

I guess what I want to say is that I’m not afraid of the future.

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