Punch this quote in the face

May 2, 2011 · 10 comments

On my way back to Seattle after an amazing weekend in san diego. I have one last guest post for ya this morning.

Tim is the author of Faith and Finance, a personal finance blog that isn’t afraid to talk about reasons why you shouldn’t tithe and other cool things like that. In his spare time, he likes playing the sax, a good game of Catan, and eating Andy’s frozen custard.

You’ve probably heard this quote before, ‘The more you make, the more you spend.”

I hate it. Why? Because as much as I don’t want to admit, I’ve seen this quote’s ugly face peer its way into our finances, and I just want to punch it – right in the face.

About a year after my wife and I were married, I had an itch to buy a different car. Did I NEED a newer car….no. Did I just get a raise and justify the ‘great deal’ as something we ‘deserved.’ Yes, yes I did.

Dumb.

Since then, we’ve done a better job in putting to use any raises and have even set ourselves up to lose an income while my wife goes to med school this fall. The next four years should be interesting, but I’m expecting the years after med school to be even more difficult with respect to this nasty quote.

I’m not digging for sympathy here…we’ll be just fine with a doctor’s salary. The problem is that we’ll be hacking away at 200k worth of school debt for a few years and I DO NOT want to fall into the trap of spending more because we’re making more. I know a few doctors and lawyers who are making great money, but have a boatload of debt because they’re living it up with their super salaries and ignoring their debt.

The cruel part about this quote is that it doesn’t care how much you make. You can pull six figures and be broke, while someone making $50k laughs because they’re in a much better financial position.

So what’s the solution?

I think contentment is a huge piece of the equation. If you can’t be content with the small things, how can you expect to be content with the big ticket items?

Automated savings is another way to break free of the ‘make more, spend more’ curse. If there were one quote that could punch the ‘make more, spend more’ quote in the face it’d be this: ‘If you don’t see it, you won’t miss it.’ This is how we were able to replace one of my wife’s checks. We started setting aside a little extra from my paychecks each month and now we’re automatically saving an amount equivalent to one of her checks.

Have you ever been sucker punched by this quote ‘The More You Make, The More You Spend.” If so, how did you come out from under it?

1 psycharah

I agree wholeheartedly that the automatic savings are the key to avoiding this trap. I make small periodic increases that we don’t miss and boom, you spend less than you make.

2 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

Save half of your raise, spend the rest. That way you can reward yourself and still increase your savings.

3 Tim @ Faith and Finance

Thanks for posting my article Ninja!!

Tim

4 CityFlips

Contentment is key! Amen! I just wrote a post for later this week about sustainable finances and contentment is a big part of finding sustainability in personal finance. Stay tuned! hahaha.

5 Erica

I’ve been sucker punched by this, but not in the traditional sense. I didn’t buy anything; it’s just that my bills were already a little ahead of me. I keep seeing extra money in the budget, then something pesky comes up, like having to buy groceries so I can eat, or gas for my car–you know, luxuries. :-)

Seriously, I have found I spend more when I make more. I get over it by doing little things. If I get a 1 or 1 1/2% raise, I add that to my 401K contribution at least until I max out the matching. I put “extra” money in savings, save a small bit I want to use to cushion my regular spending.

I haven’t quite outpaced my bills yet (student loans out of deferment, you know), but I managed to start saving while reducing debt. I completely ignore the make more spend more quote. I focus on Punch Debt in the Face!

6 Austin

I like the “live one raise behind” method. When I moved jobs in 2010 I got a 30% raise, and unfortunately spent the majority of that on a new car. Womp womp. But after my raise earlier this year, I bumped up my IRA contributions as well as increased our cash savings. All in all I think we’re pretty content with our way of life, but we still analyze it from time to time and make sure our outward lives are reflecting our priorities and beliefs.

7 Tim @ Faith and Finance

That’s a great tip. Getting in the habit of putting half of your raise into long term savings, or putting every other raise into savings is a good goal. It helps you to keep from getting ahead of yourself with respect to spending more on ‘stuff.’

8 krantcents

Savings is our first priority and I make it automatic. We live on what is left. Can I spend more? Probably! I choose not to, because I know the consequences of overspending.

9 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

I still act like I make as much as I did with my first job out of college. This practice has served me well.

10 StackingCash

What about the more you have the more you want to spend it. Money is burning a hole in my pocket. We are far from rich but dang it I have money in my savings that wants to play with me. Or is it vice versa :P

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