Save. Spend. Splurge.

You can’t afford your lifestyle if you’re going into debt for it

Sounds pretty simple right?

If you are currently going into debt each and every month, you simply can’t afford your lifestyle.

I am not even talking about the fact that you recently cut out that daily latte, and you’re limiting yourself to going out only once a week to eat.

Even after all those changes, if you currently going into debt each and every month, you simply can’t afford your lifestyle no matter how bare bones you think it is.


If you have cut it back to the bare bones of all bare bones of budgets and you are STILL going into debt each month, then you need to consider these two things:

  1. You haven’t cut back enough
  2. You need to make more money
Of course, all of the above is assuming you have a budget, and you’ve been tracking your expenses to know that you’ve cut back enough.


You’re probably outraged at this point because you think you’ve cut back enough, but I can’t tell you how many times I hear this, only to find out any or all of the following:

  • You are still allowing yourself a “little” vacation or two every year
  • You are still saddled with that mortgage you can’t pay…
  • ..or that car lease that you couldn’t afford to begin with
  • You are still going out to eat once a month
  • You are still buying convenience foods, or frozen crap rather than cooking
  • You are still buying expensive foods to eat (meats are a big budget buster)
  • You think having a TV, a new couch, and a smartphone is a necessity
  • You are still going out with your friends once a month clubbing/partying
  • You are paying for a pet you can’t afford
  • You think your kids need to have toys — not if you can’t feed them, they don’t!
These things are all great. I am ALL FOR SPENDING for them, but as long as you aren’t spending on credit and going into debt to have them.
Enjoy your money responsibly.


  • Food (cooked from scratch)
  • A safe place to sleep and live in (rented or “owned”)
  • Basic utilities — water and electricity for instance
  • Basic clothing — one warm winter jacket, not two
  • Basic transportation to get to your job if you can’t walk there

If none of the above applies to you and you are seriously on the edge of poverty because you are the working poor, and already eating oatmeal every morning and walking to work rather than driving, then it brings me to the next part:

You need to make more money.


It’s not really my place (or my problem) to tell you how to make more money.

All I can see is that you are going into debt to pay for your lifestyle, which tells me you can’t afford it.

So therefore, you simply need to do it.

Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Pick up a part-time job, any job
  • Ask for more shifts at work
  • Work overtime
  • Offer your services on the side to friends/family/neighbours
  • Sell your stuff

Do something, ANYTHING as long as it’s safe, legal and you can make money doing it.


No matter the income, and no matter the expenses, if you go into debt for your lifestyle, you cannot afford to live the way you are living. Period.

A great example is a couple I know.

They bring in a very healthy income (over $200,000 gross a year), and net, that’s about $100,000 in their pockets after taxes, give or take.

$100,000 / 12 months = $8333.33 a month

Their lifestyle is so inflated, they can’t even see that they can’t afford to send their son to competitive swim training at $10,000 a year, because they are already wasting $5000 on putting food in their mouths each month (going out to eat rather than cooking, etc).

That leaves them $3333.33 a month to cover their rent, utilities, car payments, private schooling….. you get the picture.

Frankly, they can’t even afford to pay for what they’re paying now.

They think that because they earn $200,000 gross a year, they are entitled to give their kids all the things they never had or even needed, even if it means going into debt for it.

They see it as an investment in their kid’s future, rather than the fact that it is NOT A NECESSITY and there is no guarantee that their son will be a swimming star or a champion.

What’s ironic about all of this?

Their kid can’t read at his age level (10 years old), but they wouldn’t consider paying a tutor to really invest in making sure his education is taken care of, before any extracurricular activities.

So you see, even if you make a lot of income, you aren’t always the brightest crayon in the box if you don’t realize that $10,000 a year translates into a monthly cost of $833.33 a month, which is a significantly insane amount of money when your incomes barely cover your inflated expenses.

No one needs to be a genius at math to divide $10,000 a year by 12 months.


  • Michael

    Hi Sherry,

    Couldn’t agree with you more. A budget is a must but you don’t need that if you’re carrying debt. My expansive attitude has alwaus been; Spend it all every pay check if you want to – just as long as there is no car or card debt at the end of that month. I know it’s sounding smug. But, a lot of my working life was spent struggling with a big income. So, I’m not being smug, just relieved that debt is a thing of the past.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I’d agree with that, but I find a budget (and tracking my expenses) helps me stay on track to see where I am each month. I have more than enough to not worry about going over, but it still keeps me in line.

  • Kathy

    Your paragraph about people not paying for their kids’ education hit a chord with me. I once worked with a woman who went on vacation to Disney World and/or Las Vegas twice a year. When her daughter wanted to go to a very reasonably priced in-state 5 year public university instead of the local community college, this woman refused to pay anything toward the tuition beyond what the local 2 year college cost. I said, why not give up the vacations for a couple of years and she was enraged, declaring she would never give that up. I think the daughter somehow found funding, probably through student loans she may still be paying off.

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