People tend to spend more as their household income increases. This is something that Tom and I talk about a lot because it will happen to us. While Tom’s salary has increased over the past 5 years, our household income is still less than it was when I was working. So far we have managed to avoid spending too much more with Tom’s increasing salary since we are still catching up from me quitting my job. To be honest, we are spending more on cable and internet than we ever have and we need to figure out how to lower that bill ASAP. Other than that, we are spending the same amount we always have. However, with Tom’s loan payments decreasing we do see ourselves having more expendable income in the next few years. It’s hard for me to imagine extra money right now with birth costs and other costs that come with having a second child. All I can imagine is less money as we grow our family.
Even though I can’t see it happening, I know it will. Every so often some well meaning colleague or friend will advise Tom that I will eventually stop being a “spend-thrift” and turn into a typical lawyer’s wife. I hate to stereotype, but this is what has been said to Tom, so I’m repeating it here.
Personally, I think it is sexist and wrong to assume that all lawyers’ wives spend frivolously.
These comments have been said enough to make me wonder, will I be able to avoid the “make more, spend more” trend? Or will I be sucked into some dark hole where I think I have to spend more if we have it? Is this all a matter of avoiding the trap to “keep up with the Joneses“?
I certainly hope I can avoid spending more just because we have more money! Tom and I have some plans in order to avoid this. We plan to continue to live beneath our means and pay for a house faster than the typical 30 year rate. We also plan to continue to save for retirement and education for our children. Once we have a little more money we’d like to start making smart investments again. I like to think that all of those things will keep me from becoming a crazy spender. Don’t get me wrong, I like to spend money and I like the have nice things, but I don’t want to spend money just to spend money.
At the same time I also like to day dream about what life will be like if we ever have a lot of money. I envision spa days, shopping trips to boutiques, and lots of fancy wine in upscale restaurants. I also have a pretty fancy kitchen in these day dreams. Somehow I think I can manage to have all those things while keeping a spend-thrift attitude.
I also have to remind myself that me being a spend-thrift is about more than saving money to me. Environmentally speaking, it makes much more sense to be thrifty instead of buying fancy new things. I’ve always been eco conscience and I can’t image becoming a different person just because our household income increases.
These are just some of the thoughts going through my head these days! Do you think it is possible to avoid spending more when you make more? If so, what tips do you have?