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I was fortunate to read about golden handcuffs in Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work, many moons ago, at the start of my career ~16 years ago.

“The term ‘ golden’ handcuffs means that you voluntarily live at, or very close to the edge of your current means (or, in many cases, well above). It means that, in effect, you trap yourself into keeping a job or career (or moving in a career direction), and/or working too many hours because, while you may enjoy the benefits of, and completely rely on, a certain level of income, you may not enjoy (or may even resent) what is required of you to earn that level of income. In other words, the rewards of your income are overshadowed by the stress of maintaining your lifestyle.” – p 110

goldenWe have tried to consciously avoid golden handcuffs and not live at the edge of our means by living a relatively simple life (although comparing ourselves to someone like Mr. Money Moustache [MMM], we still have a long way to go). Thankfully, neither Mel or I are interested in fancy things. (Well, except for bicycles, in Mel’s case). We try very hard not to spend money that we don’t have, and are more interested in making extra payments on our mortgage than spend our money. That said, I recently analyzed our spending habits over the last year using Quicken, and we are spending waaaay more money than we should be on groceries and dining (~3 times MMM’s annual food and dining spending).  (Our grocery bills are high because gluten-free and other allergy-free items are very expensive, we purchase way more roasted chickens than we probably should, and we don’t like to cook on the weekends).

We are going into 2016 with the intention of being more mindful with how we spend our money. How about you?

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