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One of my favorite things about being a personal finance blogger is getting to discover and read some great books.
I want to share some wonderful stories and experiences I read from Clark Howard’s new book, Living Large for the Long Haul.
In it, he shares the stories of over 50 different people from all socio-economic backgrounds who have improved their finances even through The Great Recession.
Included among the numerous stories are couples, young and old, who are working together to get out of debt, build their wealth, and invest in their futures.
Resisting Lifestyle Inflation
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to finances, especially when we start to earn more income and our expenses seem to always keep pace.
While some level of lifestyle inflation may be justified (getting better quality items may mean paying for more upfront), it can also be a sign of being unable to balances needs and wants.
That's why I really admire people like Stephanie Aldrich, who has learned to just with her finances as she seeks to get rid of her debt from her studies, buying and renovating office space while growing her dental practice.
Stephanie and her husband living off less than half her income and taking care of the debt with the rest.
She admitted that at one point she and her husband paid for a country club membership that they never really used.
Realizing that it was a needless expense they quit. When they were getting their house built, they discovered that the estimates would be over what they were comfortable with and instead went with a charming home in a more rural setting.
She's also managed to keep renovation costs reasonable by doing some of the light cosmetic work herself.
Embracing the Frugal Lifestyle
I believe frugality is an essential tool for building your finances.
Decreasing your nonessential expenses can be a great use of your time. Increasing your income or creating an additional income stream can help you accomplish some of your goals.
There are more powerful ways of simplifying your life can help you now and in the long run.
- It’s sustainable. With some tweaks and adjustments you can alleviate some of your recurring expenses.
- You can be happier. It can also help you avoid the stress of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses‘ mentality.
- It can change your mindset. You can start to see that many times, it’s not your income that’s keeping you in debt, it’s your lifestyle.
- Frugality can help others. Not all, but many frugal people discover they have more resources to help others. Some have cut back their hours at work and volunteered. Others can contribute more money to their favorite charities.
I'd love to hear from you.
Where do you fall on the frugality spectrum? Have you ever had to deal with lifestyle inflation?