How to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation … and When to Embrace It

A strange thing happens every time my income increases. My life magically gets… easier, better, and happier.

Getting my very first raise at work made it easier for me to pay off my student loans ahead of schedule. That meant the money I used to spend on student loans could instead be spent on making my life more comfortable. And that meant moving out of the house I rented with six roommates and finally buying decent food.

Getting a job that cut out my daily commute allowed me to spend more time doing things I love instead of impotently cursing the traffic. I could get drinks with friends after work, or go to the climbing gym, both of which cost money. Or, for free, I could stand by the highway yelling “SUCKERS!” at passing commuters at 5:30 p.m. every day!

And getting a new job at almost double my previous salary meant I could afford things I previously thought would take years of saving. Plane tickets to a friend’s destination wedding in Mexico. Drywall for my unfinished basement. Eating at a shmancy restaurant without checking the menu for prices.

If all of this sounds suspiciously like lifestyle inflation, that’s because it is! And yet I feel no guilt over inflating my lifestyle from time to time when my income significantly increases.

This is generally considered a cardinal sin of personal finance. It’s right up there with buying lattes or taking the name of Dave Ramsey in vain. So let’s unpack that.

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Masterpost 2: Career Advice

{ MASTERPOST } Everything You Need to Know about Getting a Job, Raise, or Promotion

You were told never to enter the crypt… told that the sacred knowledge buried there would break the minds of the weak-willed. You were told… and you disobeyed.

Now, as you creep your way forward, guttering torch in hand, you wonder if you’ve made a fatal error. The cobwebs hang thick before you, obscuring your view down the dank and musty corridor. As you descend into darkness, your courage wanes, your resolve falters. Perhaps you are not ready for the secrets buried within the Crypt of the Bitchy Ones. Perhaps no one is…

For in this ancient sepulcher lies the key to all career wisdom, the key to getting ahead and navigating the workplace as smoothly as a serpent along the dusty stones your feet now tread. And no matter the risk, no matter what haunts the hidden crypt, you will not stop until you have attained this knowledge.

When at last you enter the cavernous tomb, your torch illuminates an ancient stone plinth. Upon it rests a dusty tome. You open its cracked leather cover and begin to read…

Welcome, fellow traveler!

One of the most important factors in your path to financial independence (or at least stability) is your income. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and a trust fund worth a tidy million or two… that means you’re going to have to work for your money.

We Bitches know about work. We’ve been cogs in the machine of production and profit for years now! And as depressing as that sounds, what it means is that we’ve both learned a thing or three about navigating the job market.

This means job hopping when necessary, competing for promotions, and yes (OH BOY, HERE COMES MY OLDEST FRIEND, ANXIETY), even asking for a raise once in a while.

We want to share that knowledge with you. It’s what we’re here for! So below is our complete catalog of knowledge on getting a job, getting a raise, getting a promotion, and staying sane at work.

Use it wisely.

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Job Hopping vs. Career Loyalty by the Numbers

Recently a little conversation sprang up on Twitter on the topic of changing jobs frequently as a strategy to increase your salary, i.e. job hopping. Respondents tended to fall into one of two camps on the subject.

One camp is the job hoppers. Desirae over at Half Banked had three jobs within her first five years out of school. Not to be outdone, Cameron at Save Splurge Deny Debt has had four career changes since graduation. Both gave a thumbs-up to the strategy.

The other camp is career loyalists. Included are Felicity at Fetching Financial Freedom and both Mrs. And Mr. Adventure Rich, who’ve held steady for six, five, and ten years respectively. As one user put it: “Lots of opportunities at my current job. For now, little reason to look elsewhere.”

This boggles my mind.

And kinda makes me want to do… this:

Slapslapslapslapslap.

I’m a hardcore job hopper, and there’s a perfect cliché to describe why: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities are available at your workplace if none of those opportunities are yours in writing.

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You Need To Ask for a Fucking Raise

A new whiskey distillery opened near my office. And because we work for a publishing house and some stereotypes exist for a reason, my coworkers and I went for happy hour the day it opened. Which is how I found myself drunkenly badgering three of my female coworkers about their income (if this is shocking to you, you must be new here).

At issue was the fact that none of them had ever asked for a raise. Ever. And as I listened to their lame excuses I felt the worst kind of déjà vu. All of their reasoning and fear sounded so familiar to my own personal experience.

Because if you recall, I too had once waffled about asking for a raise. And I think of the whole miserable time just like the Alamo: NEVER AGAIN. (That’s how the saying goes, right? … right? Right.)

Apparently not, because if my coworkers are still struggling with all the same hang-ups about asking for a raise that I once had, then chances are some of you are too. And it is my sworn duty as a personal finance blogger and Loud Internet Woman to type words at you until you get the hell over it! So here goes.

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