Can You Afford The Lifestyle You’re Living?

Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast At Tiffany's", shopping at Tiffany & Co.


Look, I get it. We live in a social media-driven world, where millions of people log into their multiple accounts daily — even hourly! — to promote the illusion of their ideal life. They share snapshots of the highlights of their days: trips to the cafe, lush travels to islands, shopping trips at luxury fashion houses.

We follow celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Hailey Bieber just so we can catch a glimpse of their lavish lifestyles…and if we’re really lucky, we’ll replicate their favorite smoothie recipe or buy the identical Amazon sweatshirt they’re wearing.

We all do it: you show your happiest moments, your biggest accomplishments, and never those low or embarrassing moments. In fact, sharing your lower moments can be viewed as weak, and your mental health and sanity can quickly fall into question.

And, of course, there’s the inherent urge to brag. You want people to know you’re having a blast. That you closed on a new apartment, or you moved cities completely. It’s your way of saying to the world: this is my life update, and I’m killing it.

Regardless of your salary and your bank account status, you still occasionally splurge on a designer purse or that Skims sweat set that’s trending. You live beyond your means because you seek to match up to the rest of the world.

If you’re a part of younger generations like Gen Z, you may be relating a little too much to what I’ve said so far. But the good news is…you’re not alone.

Why Are We Spending So Much When We’re Drowning In Debt?

saving money gen z

Andre Taissin via Unsplash

There’s never been a more expensive time to be alive. Rent is astronomical, buying a car is impossible, and you can forget about your dreams of a white picket fence because you can’t even consider putting a down payment on a house.

With excruciating inflation, student loans and the overall cost-of-living soaring, it seems like we’ll never be financially secure as a generation. I recently saw a TikTok where an older woman claims she once bought a house for $1,200. That’s my share of rent on a three bedroom apartment that lacks a dishwasher or washer/dryer…

And while it would be the fiscally responsible thing to work towards paying off those student loans, or saving for said house, it still feels unattainable. Plus, it’s so hard to even think about chipping away at the debt when you get a dopamine hit of instant gratification from a nice new bag.

Much of it feels like a shift in our generation’s mindset: tomorrow isn’t promised, so buy the damn outfit. All the debt we’ve already accumulated at such a young age is crippling…so why not find some enjoyment in life.

It’s easy for older generations to advise us to “just save up” and “don’t spend frivolously” when they never grappled with inflation. But now, groceries are over $150 per trip alone. Everything in this life is expensive.

And with trends like Little Treats and Girl Math, spending got a lot less serious when you realize everyone else is doing it.

Everyone Feels The Need To Spend More

luxury lifestyle gen z

Erik Mclean via Unsplash

According to an article by Money Wise.

“A recent study from Wells Fargo reveals 59% of affluent millennials — with $250,000 to more than $1 million in investable assets — feel it’s important to appear more financially successful than others, compared to just 35% of Gen X and 14% of baby boomers,”

So yes, the younger people feel obligated to spend more. It’s baked into the generation to live the high life…even if we can’t afford it.

However, there’s still hope for the reckless spender in all of us.

Ways To Live The High Life Without All The Debt

saving money in debt

Sasun Bughdaryan via Unsplash

Look, your debt it’s always going to be sitting there, guilting you and stressing you out. If you don’t deal with it now, you’ll have to later…and interest only makes it worse. So, the first tip is to settle your debt, or at the very least start to.

If you’re like most people and want to chip away at that debt yet still live a little, here are my tips:

Budget Wisely:

Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Allocate specific amounts for your various expenses, including entertainment, dining out, and leisure activities. This can help you manage your finances effectively and cut down on impulsive overspending.

Prioritize Experiences Over Things:

Instead of binging on material possessions that instantly depreciate in value, invest in experiences that leave lasting memories. Traveling, attending free outdoor concerts or visiting museums on pay-what-you-can days, or trying new activities can provide a sense of luxury without the hefty price tag.

Opt for Affordable Alternatives:

Look for more affordable alternatives to high-end products and services. For example, consider shopping at outlet stores, thrift shops, or online marketplaces for discounted designer clothing and accessories. (And check out our drugstore makeup recs here!)

Negotiate and Bargain:

Don't be afraid to ask for discounts or negotiate prices, especially when dealing with high-ticket items or services. Many vendors are willing to offer lower prices or additional perks to secure your business.

Stay Financially Disciplined:

Make a habit of regularly reviewing your finances, tracking expenses, and saving for future goals. I know — even glancing at your bank statements can be anxiety-inducing…But, by staying disciplined and mindful of your financial health, you can enjoy the high life without the burden of excessive debt

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