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Avoid the Trap of Lifestyle Creep and Reach Financial Freedom

Inside: Seriously…lifestyle creep can sweep in and take over without a blink of an eye. Learn the traps and how to avoid lifestyle creep and find money success.

Lifestyle creep is a real thing! Plus it easy for it to slowly creep into your lives without even realizing it.

Seriously…lifestyle creep can sweep in and take over without a blink of an eye. It is simple, gradual spending that seems “normal” until it has completely knocked you off course.

Lifestyle creep is overspending at its finest moment.

You just got a pay raise to celebrate, so you go out to a fancy dinner. Then, you decide that you can now afford that fancy dinner, so you make it a regular thing. Since you have money left over each month, you are thinking of moving into that bigger house or nicer apartment closer to work. Maybe it is time for a new car?

Seriously, lifestyle creep is dangerous territory.

You have to arm yourself with knowledge because you can slip into the trap just like we almost did.

Learn how to stop lifestyle creep. You want to hear this…

Learn how to avoid lifestyle creep and reach financial independence. Learn key signs and cases to watch out for. Get tips for personal budgeting now! Don't allow debt into your life.

Our Lifestyle Creep Story

The dangerous territory that we almost fell victim to last year. We have been debating for a long time whether to buy a new house with more square footage (specifically a usable basement and a fourth bedroom) with a bigger yard. We could afford it according to all the calculators (lifestyle inflation speaking – not financial freedom).

Once we placed an offer on a new house, we quickly realized the trap we were getting ourselves into. Swooped up by lifestyle creep in the United States.

In order to make this happen, we would have to sacrifice on our savings percentage and other things we enjoy like travelling.

Thankfully, our offer wasn’t accepted and we didn’t fall victim to lifestyle inflation. But, it is an easy trap to get yourself into. And a huge eye opening experience for me as a money / personal finance blogger.

After our experience, I want to dive into lifestyle creep, the dangers of lifestyle inflation, and how you can avoid it. Then, you can stay far away from the traps of lifestyle inflation and reach financial freedom.

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Lifestyle Creep Definition

Lifestyle creep or lifestyle inflation is when your spending increases as your income rises.

This is something that happens over an extended period of time, so it is harder for you to notice.

It can be so gradual and sneaks into your life without much regard.

A rise in income equates to an increase in spending.

This happened for many people when the most recent tax changes happened. People found themselves with more money in each paycheck, but when taxes were due their tax refund was smaller than expected.

Signs of Lifestyle Creep to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation

avoid lifestyle creep

There are many warning signs of falling victim to the lifestyle creep. Also, much of this is hidden and difficult to uncover because it happens gradually over time.

Increase of Debt

The more you spend, the more chance you have to get into debt. This is especially true for people who have struggled with credit card debt in the past.

Debt can snowball back at a rate that you are left with an uncontrolled credit card and starting over on how to get out of debt.

This is something I have seen over and over again. Pay off debt only to find themselves in a deeper pile of debt. Lifestyle creep is partially to blame.

An increase in income means you can buy more on credit, which can quickly lead to more debt.

Unable to Become Financial Independent

This is huge!

Becoming financially independent means you are able to rely on yourself to make ends meet and have flexibility in your choices because you have cash on hand.

If you fall victim to lifestyle creep, then you don’t have the ability to make the same choices as someone who is financially independent and doesn’t rely on a paycheck to make ends meet.

If you never want to reach financial freedom, then go right ahead and fall victim to lifestyle creep. However, if you desire more out of life and want to reach your money goals, then be careful to avoid the lifestyle inflation trap.

This was the main reason we stopped our house buying process. We wanted more out of life than just a bigger mortgage payment.

Not Saving Enough

This one is the biggest danger of lifestyle creep.

As Americans, we don’t save. Period. Don’t save for an emergency fund. Not enough savings for retirement. We live in the here and now. Living in the moment and not saving for the future.

When a rise in income happens, a rise in saving percentage should occur at the same time.

However, an increase in income typically leads to an increase in spending. Thus, the lifestyle creep at its full potential.

how to avoid lifestyle Creep

how to avoid lifestyle inflation

It is possible to steer clear of the lifestyle creep. It is something we have managed to do (even in a high cost of living area).

You have to be willing to make conscious decisions about how and where you are spending money.

As well as knowing how lifestyle inflation can derail you without even realizing it.

Be Content

Here is the contentment thing again. We must find contentment with what we have and then we can avoid the lifestyle creep.

For us, when we explored buying a bigger home, we realized that we were content and happy in our current house. A big part of our decision was we couldn’t reach financial freedom as fast with a higher mortgage payment and increased maintenance costs. Also, after reading this book, I quickly realized that getting rid of the extra stuff in our house would make our current space feel bigger (even the kids agreed how much bigger our space was).

Finding contentment is a challenge when comparison traps are everywhere and keeping up with Kardashian’s happens.

To avoid lifestyle inflation, then you have hard decisions to make on whether or not you are content with your current lifestyle.

There is no need to increase expenses if not needed.

Make a Plan

To prevent lifestyle creep from happening set your money goals and be active in managing your money.

Ahead of time, make a plan for how you plan to handle a rise in income.

For example, you are currently making $55,000 a year and getting a pay raise to $70,000. A difference of $15,000 of cash in your pocket. This is a 27% increase in your income (or savings). That is a significant change!

Make a plan for your new income beforehand.

Decide when you get a pay increase and what you plan to do with the money. Where is the money going to go? What plan do you have for it?

Keep your Expenses the Same

signs of lifestyle creep

Did you know that you didn’t have to spend every single penny in your bank account?

This may be a new concept to you and that is okay. Keep your expenses the same and save the remaining amount.

To avoid lifestyle creep, then don’t raise your fixed expenses to your new income level. Pocket the difference in your savings account.

Financial independence is easier to reach when you continuously increase your savings percentage.


If you are regularly budgeting, then you will quickly notice a rise in spending. 

However don’t get caught in the trap of overspending by a small percentage, over time that small percentage adds up and adds up fast.

A budget or using YNAB can help you notice spending trends faster than never budgeting.

You just have to be willing not to become the latest victim of the lifestyle creep.

Save An Increase of Wages

lifestyle creep definition

This tip is easy enough to implement.

Any increase in your paycheck is automatically saved. Then, there is no temptation to spend money and you won’t be able to become a victim of lifestyle inflation.

Ahead of time, make sure you know where you want to save your money:

Those are just a few ideas to help you save any increase in wages.

Wise Spending

I get it. You finally got the rais you deserve and are tired of living frugally all the time. So, you want to release the tight grip on your budget and spending.

That is fine as long as you make smart choices on spending the money.

Don’t make big changes. Look at smaller more gradual ways to make changes in your lifestyle.

The key is to make sure you are reaching your money goals and able to retire when you want to.

Set Money Goals

financial freedom lifestyle

One of the top ways to avoid lifestyle creep is to set money goals. You want a financial freedom lifestyle!

This is paramount! 

Don’t skip this step!! It is way too easy to get caught up in the cycle of life and not pay attention to when and where you are spending money.

By setting money goals, you know what you want to do with your money. You are managing your money and not having your money manage you.

Take the time and lay the groundwork for long-term financial success.

Are You Ready to Battle Lifestyle Creep?

trap lifestyle

The dangers of lifestyle creep are real and can quickly knock you off your strong foundation.

Are you prepared to take the necessary steps to avoid lifestyle inflation in your life?

These simple steps will help you stay on track towards financial freedom and not be stuck living paycheck to paycheck your whole life.

The choice is yours. 

We were close to becoming a victim of lifestyle creep. It took the willingness to say that we are content with what we have and we are actively choosing to pursue financial freedom. Lifestyle inflation is not for us. But, it is very tough to fight off every day.

Are you willing to take a stance against lifestyle creep?

If so, comment below and let us know!

Make sure you read the 10 Money Bliss Steps to Financial Freedom to ensure you are living the life that you desire.

Here are some millionaire habits that you need in your life!

Know someone else that needs this, too? Then, please share!!

Did the post resonate with you?

More importantly, did I answer the questions you have about this topic? Let me know in the comments if I can help in some other way!

Your comments are not just welcomed; they’re an integral part of our community. Let’s continue the conversation and explore how these ideas align with your journey towards Money Bliss.

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