I want ALL THE THINGS – Aka Lifestyle Inflation 101

I want ALL the Things

There are a lot of awesome things in the world.

A lot.

The trouble with lots of things, is that they cost money.  Until I become a rich, rich person, I have to strive for balance.  There are future things that I would also like to have, and if I dropped all of my money on things that I want today, future Marie would be pretty pissed.  I can’t blame her, either, future Marie has big plans too!

There are a lot of misconceptions in the world about what wealthy (or rich) people do with their money.  One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that rich people buy everything they want.  Sure, some rich (high income) people do, but that generally doesn’t make them wealthy.  A case in point is the wildly viral Financial Facelift in the Globe and Mail this week.  A dentist and a doctor, with a household income of $450,000 are struggling to make ends meet.

Your reaction was probably very similar to mine, “what on earth is wrong with them?”

They want all the things.  They’ve given in to lifestyle inflation.  They want to send all five kids to an expensive private school.  They want a $2 million house.  They want a live-in nanny.

That’s just not reality.  Tom and I don’t make $450,000 (yet?), but no matter what your income level.  No matter what (perhaps Bill Gates excluded), you have to limit your choices and make decisions.

To put this into perspective, here are some purchases that I simply am not making, even though I would like to do so.*

  • $3,500 New Kitchen Counter Tops – I have cheap counter tops, with a weird texture to them.  I’d love new ones, but it’s not worth it to sink that kind of money into our place.
  • $8,000 Hardwood Flooring – I’m not someone who professes their undying love for hardwood.  I do have a problem with the fact my carpet is literally pulling up and raveling in the corners, though.  To replace it all is mighty expensive.  It’s a nice result, our neighbours have done so, but comes with a hefty price tag.
  • $800 Replace the Bathroom Vanity – Let’s just say that it had a boo-boo and when it comes time to sell, it’s going to be a problem.  For now, it’s just an ugly annoyance that I have to live with.
  • $400 Vitamix Blender - My blender broke a few months ago and this past week was the first time I really noticed it was gone.  As soon as I was unable to do something in my kitchen because I didn’t have a blender, I also started craving smoothies.  Go figure.  This one is on the horizon, I think.
  • $200 Winter Gloves – My hands get very cold, very quickly.  My gloves get worn out and then I want more.
  • $5000 Month Long Vacation – It could be to nearly any destination, but I would love to travel more, and to further afield, more expensive places.
  • $1200 Touch Screen Laptop - Tom and I are sharing one laptop right now.  It is less than ideal, but we make it work and it saves a lot of money in the interim.
  • $1000 Power Tools – There are some things that I want to own that just aren’t practical to have when you live in a condo.  That doesn’t stop me from wanting them.
  • $400 Roomba This is more of a Tom thing, but if it keeps the house cleaner, that is awesome.
  • $500 Photography Course – I have a reasonably nice camera.  (A canon).  I barely know how to use it.
  • $1500 House Keeping – We briefly had a housekeeper.  It was amazing.  They are extremely expensive.
  • $350 Leather Boots – I’d love a pair of quality ones, for work and for play.
  • $1000 Champagne – Not $1000 all at once, per se, but nice champagne.  Fairly frequently.
  • $400 Family Pictures – Tom and I never had engagement pictures taken and I would love some nice looking photographs of the two of us.
  • $200 Vehicle Detailing - I hate cleaning out the vehicles, but to get them done professionally is stupid-expensive.  For now… they are fairly dirty.
  • $500 Assorted Books – I love to read (though do not do enough of it) and there has to be at least 50 books on my Amazon wishlist.


You’ll note that, save for the vacation, these are all things that I could go ahead and purchase today or tomorrow.  Heck, we could even “afford” to buy all of these things.  That said, they don’t fit into the grand vision that future Marie has for herself.

I simply cannot have ALL THE THINGS, and I have to accept that and make value decisions for each of them.  Many of these things I will eventually purchase, some I will never purchase, but the important part is that we are exercising restraint, not rushing out to buy these things.

While some of my wish list is big-ticket items, many of them are smaller indulgences, that add up to big, scary numbers when looked at on the whole.  A $15 book every week and a half is $500.  That’s a doable number to buy, for a lot of people.  Getting the vehicles cleaned twice a year?  An easy choice to make, and another example of lifestyle inflation.

Adding up the list, there is $24,950 worth of purchases there.  $24,950 worth of things I would love to have.  $24,950 worth of things that I do not get to have today.  If I can hold out for a year, and for some of these things I have already held out at least that long, an eight percent return would mean $1996.

TWO GRAND that I get, by opting not to indulge myself.  That’s enough to buy myself the laptop that I would love to have, plus a few other things.  Future Marie is happy with this, because future Marie can better afford a laptop.  (Plus, prices on technology are constantly dropping!)

I have never done the math on the return on the savings (and yes, money not spent on this list is making its way to savings) until now.  Two thousand dollars.  That’s more than I used to make in a month.  I like it.

I like it a lot.  I want all the things, but I can’t have all the things.

What’s your number?

*There are affiliate links in this post.

What kind of things are you not purchasing, despite wanting to?

About Marie

Marie is a young professional who is prone to angry verbal outbreaks directed at the TV when politicians and journalists don't understand math and economics. Delicious food, traveling near and far, attempts to learn other languages and books about global development keep her happy.


  1. I’m not much of a “wanter”, but I have to admit, I’ve wanted a Roomba for a very long time now! I just can’t imagine paying that much for a vacuum of any kind. Those are some crazy expensive gloves you’re looking at! Are they designer gloves? I’d love to see a picture of them! As for household updates, that’s a really slippery slope. As soon as one thing gets updated, something else looks like crap in comparison, and the domino effect starts. I don’t even know what to say on this one. I don’t like that feeling at all. Loved this post! It was extremely thought provoking! :)
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