JJ is back in New York, and every time he comes we have a great time. This time we may have gone a little overboard and had too much fun. We bordered on the edge of reckless spending! I’m not sure we had a meal that was less than $200, which is very out of character for the both of us. When the dust had cleared we had to really look back at why we spent as much money as we did. Was this lifestyle creep? Was I reckless spending? Or was it a chance to build memories regardless of the price tag? This begs the question;  are some memories worth the price tag? This episode breaks down those very questions as well as looks at how income needs to be a part of your lifestyle! JJ mentions that his biggest fears are not about making money now, but keeping that income continuing into the future. Having a fickle income like YouTube is great, but is it forever? How is Brad’s lifestyle different from JJ’s because of his consistent teaching income vs JJ’s social media income. 

Admittedly, both of us have started to spend a little more than we traditionally had in the past year or so. This reinforced our need to get back to budgeting and understanding where our money is going. Brad tends to budget at the beginning of the month and JJ budgets at the end of the month so there are some differences there. We talk about why those two budgeting techniques both work and it really depends on you! Personal finance is personal!  It’s incredible how simple and basic a budget can be, and how if you push it to the back burner your money situation will start to creep away from your goals. You also must know yourself and what YOU spend money on. If you hop on the internet and try and make your budget align with someone else’s there is bound to be some challenges and disappointment. Some people like food, some like to travel, some like to spoil their kids. You are allowed to cut things from your budget that others may find valuable for things that bring your life value and others may see as reckless. 

Let’s look at all the spending we did on one weekend here in NY. We ate foods that we would never buy, drank drinks we would never drink, and dined at incredible waterfront restaurants. In retrospect, these were not just about the food and drinks. It was creating memories  that will probably last a lifetime. We will tell our kids about the amazing time we had together this past weekend. You may be thinking, “do you need to spend a ton of money to create a memory?” The answer is NO, but the point we want to make is that some memories do cost money! Some of the things we did JJ had never done in his life, and when Brad is in Missouri we will get to do things that he has never done. We put a huge amount of  “life value” on the time we get to spend together because it is few and far between. 

The plot twists when JJ mentions that there was probably a little bit of lifestyle creep AND reckless spending that went on this weekend. We are all for Financial Independence and frugality but you have to enjoy yourself. You have to be happy! There is no sense in being frugal if you are not going to be happy! When you are paying off your debt your life should probably be a little more boring, we agree with that because debt will kill financial progress but once you are debt free you can loosen the reins a little bit. It’s ok to get to FIRE a little bit later in life to enjoy the process! Mental health is so important to us. Spending a few bucks on a last minute flight to help JJ during a time of emotional struggle is worth the price of the flight to us!

At the end of the day it all comes back to knowing where your money is going. If you get to the end of the month and you're broke and have no idea where the money went, that is a bad thing. But, if you plan accordingly and at the end of the month you are broke but know exactly where the money went, that might be ok! It being ok or not depends on how consistent that next pay check is. 

We wrap up the episode discussing ways to avoid excessive lifestyle creep and reckless spending. You shouldn't beat yourself up if things get off track a little bit. We are only human. When things begin to slide you just have to get back on track.

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