Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

Losing Control To Lifestyle Inflation

Today, my wife and I sent the kids to a friends house for a sleep over, while we went to a fancy italian winery/villa style restaurant.  For just the 2 of us, the experience cost $120.00 dollars!

So what did we have to eat, you might be wondering?  My meal consisted of antipasta salad, sea scallops and red wine (Tuscano).  My wife’s meal consisted of steak, antipasta salad, rose wine and a small piece of cake.

Travel back in time 10 years ago, and I would have never paid for such a meal.  It would be way to expensive for me back then.  Even today, I can’t afford to have meals like this often!  Believe it or not, this is the most I’ve spent on a meal for the both of us.

So you might be thinking it’s a special occassion, but it really wasn’t.  It was just a new restaurant that we decided to try out.  We could have ordered the much cheaper pizza, but we wanted to see if this restaurant was as good as we heard it was.  So we ordered more expensive meals (but not the most expensive)!   The next time we go, we’re going for the pizza!!!

This is called Lifestyle Inflation, and it’s basically where we increase our upper range of spending whereas before we would never conceive of spending so much for such a temporary thing as a meal!

Maybe it is just a one time splurge, but maybe not!  I definitely need to get a better grip around my spending or else I’ll doom myself to never have any wealth someday!

-MR

16 Responses to Losing Control To Lifestyle Inflation

  1. I have been trying to do some lifestyle deflation instead of inflation. I notice the same kind of exaggerated spending when looking over my bank statements, though.

  2. Awe, thanks for the link!

    I know, $120 is a lot for dinner. My boyfriend and I spent about that much when we went out for our belated Valentine’s dinner at this steakhouse downtown.

    I’m sure your wife really appreciated it though (she did, didn’t she?) because you splurged on a night out with just the two of you and it was at a romantic villa!

    I wouldn’t call this lifestyle inflation, unless you started doing it every week or every month! =)

  3. @youngandthrifty
    The sad thing is, we have this pretty good steakhouse near by that I’ve been thinking about going to since I was 19. I couldn’t have afforded it then, but now I’m starting to think about it. Perhaps next quarter!

    The meal and atmosphere was excellent!

    I hope it’s more of a splurge than Lifestyle Inflation… 🙁

  4. I am planning a dinner like this as we speak. I am blowing off my high school reunion and planning a great steak dinner with some close friends and spouses.

    We love Ruth’s Chris, and go a couple times a year. I don’t feel bad about the occasional splurge since we don’t really spend on anything else.

    Glad you enjoyed your night!

  5. We spend about $100 once or twice a year for a meal…once around my birthday at Fogo de Chao’s (Argentinian grill…think the best meat buffet ever that’s actually brought to your table) and the second is Hugo’s Cellar in Las Vegas if we vacation there (superb service and food). I think it’s worth it to splurge occasionally…especially for really great food…

    I’m also really glad you enjoyed your evening out!

  6. I think life inflation is just part of growing up. Sure, flip flops and TGI Friday is fine when you’re young but, eventually, you want to put on a pair of real shoes and eat at a place where the utensils are laid out for you instead of wrapped up like burrito.

    To me, life is about quality and enjoying the best that you can reasonably afford on things that you enjoy the most. It’s not financially irresponsible or materialistic to enjoy a $5 pint of ice cream or a $300 purse, if that’s your thing. I’m tired of people judging my decisions like, “Oh, who do you think YOU are? There’s no way you make enough money to afford that, I bet you’re in debt.” I can afford it, without getting in debt, because I’m selective about how I spend my money. It’s your money and you should never feel ashamed to spend it the way you see fit.

    Besides, the higher my expectation, the less I buy. Once you’ve slept in 400 TC sheets, you don’t want anything else, even if it is on sale for $10 Bed, Bath and Beyond. Eat at a nice restaurant a few times and the idea of going to chain restaurant looses its appeal. Me, I’d rather just make something at home rather than waste money on bad food. I used to love scouring the shoes aisle at Target but now all I see are cheap, fake leather shoes that will hurt my feet- better to just buy one nice shoes every season rather than 10 plastic ones.

    For me, life inflation is a good thing. It’s all about knowing who you are, what you enjoy, having high standards and best maximizing your discretionary income. It’s all about quality vs. quantity and using your money most efficiently.

    Now, of course, the key word is “discretionary income”. If you’re blowing your savings and getting into debt, that’s not life style inflation, that’s just poor money habit.

  7. @everyday tips
    I’m glad to hear this! Now I don’t feel so bad! I just need to keep everything in check 🙂

    Chris Ruth’s is great! I haven’t been there in years (company paid for both times I’ve ever went)!

  8. @Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
    Both places sound like they are worth it! I think I will follow your lead and only go to such great places once or twice a year for birthdays or similar events 🙂

    I guess life should have at least a few moments a year where I can sit in a rich fancy environment.

  9. @Jin6655321
    Great comment! I like the idea of people buying what they want because they enjoy it. If we all bought the same thing and practiced the same purchasing practices, the world would be a very boring place!

    I love your blog by the way! It’s such a great refreshing break for my normal cycle of great financial blogs that I read! 🙂

  10. $120 for restaurant meals??? Are you out of your mind? Hehehe… kidding. If anything, I’m a worse sucker for fine dining.

    Don’t mean to scare you, but this area could be a slippery slope. In my experience, if I let my budget loose a bit for a period of time, it would reverberate to the next period, and before I know it, it’s been 3 months of restaurant binge. But that’s me.

    If this doesn’t affect your savings goals (considering you are mortgage-free… and I can imagine some people can get a bit “lost” with the extra freedom) then great. You might just need to change your mindset about spending and enjoy it. Guilt will only spoil the experience and you gain nothing from it.

    Other than that, you know what to do.
    Hmmm… I miss rose wine. Dessert wine is my favourite kind.

  11. @Bytta@151DaysOff
    I’m trying to build a portfolio of stocks that pay out dividends, then eventually use the dividends some day to cover my expenses.

    But I’ve been weak lately… I think we are secretly celebrating that we are debt-free…

    I just need to get a grip 🙂