As a student, I’ve always tried to keep my living expenses as low as possible. I’d find the best deals on rent, cook food rather than eat out, and budget diligently. Like many students, I do this out of necessity because tuition is expensive and my only source of income is through internships.
But now that my next internship pays well, I can afford many things I couldn’t before. I can afford a nice apartment with an ensuite washroom, I can buy the latest airpods, and I can uber anywhere I want.
That’s how lifestyle creep gets you. As your salary increases, so does your standard of living. Silicon valley companies are infamous for their lucrative salaries. And many of these companies will incentivize you to stay longer through equity, promotions, or bonuses. It then becomes a trap.
Maybe you want to start a company, take a sabbatical, or pursue a lifelong passion. All of that becomes much more difficult the higher your standard of living.
Personally, I’m not optimizing for material wealth, freedom in my work and attention are what I value. For me to acheive that, I can’t fall into the lifestyle creep trap.