Keeping Up With The Joneses

Keeping Up With The JonesesDo you ever feel like you are trying to keep up with the Joneses? It seems like everywhere I turn, a big purchase is happening to someone I know. A massive 3 story house, nice cars, fancy vacations, a new iPad every other month and everything else.

When a friend goes out and buys the next greatest phone or buys a new car every couple of months, it kind of makes you wonder, and maybe it makes you jealous?

I’m not going to lie, the jealous monster takes over my life every now and then. This is something that I am working on and something that I need to change in my life. Am I the only one? Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who is jealous and no one else has these crazy feelings. Since my extra income seems to be continually increasing, sometimes I feel the urge to spend it.

Maybe the jealous monster has taken over your life as well and you are trying to keep up with the Joneses.

We know someone who isn’t showy with his money, he is careful with how he spends his money. He doesn’t buy all the latest gadgets that don’t mean anything to him. Instead he spends money on his family, vacations, making his house into a home, family gatherings at his home, and other things that truly mean something to him.

He is the perfect example that just because you “might” have money to spend, it does not mean that you should. Buying all of the newest things all of the time doesn’t always mean everything in life.

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Life’s Little Splurges

Traveling isn’t a little splurge, but I love it.

There are a lot of things that I spend my money on that I guess I could live without, but I really enjoy having them (and I don’t mind spending money on them). I’m sure we all have specific items or events that we don’t mind spending money on.

I honestly don’t think I have a lot of splurges. I don’t spend as much money on clothes that I used to, and I carefully watch what I spend, but still have fun. 

I recently told some of you about a comment/e-mail I recently received. This person told me that I am frivolously wasting my money and that I should be eating cheaply (they said I should be eating Ramen for most of my meals) and not going out or hanging out with friends until my student loans and mortgage are gone.

This kind of shocked me, and while I do know that others think this way as well, this is not my way of thought. There will most likely be some sort of debt that we will have, which in the future hopefully will just be a mortgage, so I don’t think it’s completely avoidable. And yes I do agree, there are certain areas that I can cut out, and I’m working on that.

Yes, my student loans and mortgage would most likely be completely gone if I gave up my health by only eating Ramen all day long, but that’s not something I want to do. Maybe I don’t have the willpower…

We are currently spending around 50% of what our take home pay is. When I say “spending,” I mean the mortgage, bills, food, and debt payments. Then other 50% is thrown towards savings, investing and extra debt payments. So I wouldn’t say we’re in a bad position at all.

I know I have debt, that obviously isn’t hidden anywhere. However, I can’t give up everything forever. I do have a plan to get rid of my student loan debt, and then I will eventually get rid of my mortgage as well.

I don’t view spending money as always bad. I love my life, and life entails spending money. I enjoy the things I “splurge” on. That’s why I work!  :)

What I don’t mind spending money on:

  • Eating out with friends. I enjoy going out with them. I save money though by not ordering the most expensive thing on the menu, and drinking the specials.
  • Going out for drinks. We know what bars will give us free drinks, so we try to go to these ones. We also will drink at home before we go out, and so on. I definitely don’t like spending $10+ on one drink.
  • Dancing. I guess you could say this is free, but most places where I live charge a cover no matter what.
  • Cable. Yes I realize that cable is a ridiculous thing for me to rely on. However, I love my tv shows and they are a great source of entertainment and laughs for me. We have cut our bill down though. We don’t have the greatest package (but it’s enough for us).
  • My car. I wouldn’t be able to get to work fast enough without it. I have a 2008 car that gets good gas mileage though. It’s completely paid off and my full coverage insurance is less than $700 a year.
  • My dogs. I know there are those out there who think having a pet is a waste of money. But honestly, I think you are nuts. I love my dogs.
  • My cell phone. We save money on this because the boyfriend gets a discount through his work off the plan of 20%. This is a great way to save!
  • Internet. I like having the internet. I like to blog as well. Our plan isn’t too expensive either.
  • Travel. This gets expensive, and usually I get a little worried about money when I’m on vacation, but sometimes you just have to let loose. I save and pay for vacations with my “extra income” that I make every month.

Of course if anything went badly such as if we lost our jobs, I would get rid of some of these things (probably most if we really needed the money),

Life cannot be all about money, you have to have fun as well and enjoy the things in life.

What are some things that you don’t mind spending money on or that you can’t give up?

Spending, Life, Income and Food Updates… 1/3/2012

Here are some pictures that I took recently.  An awesome French Bulldog thing from Urban Outfitters, food, Christmas, some presents and more food. It’s not fun having a full five day work week this week. And the week is hardly even over, not used to this! Anyways, here are my updates:

Extra Monthly Income: It’s a little depressing that the holidays are over, because now the BF’s job will be slow again. So he won’t be making all of that overtime, but that’s ok! We will think of other ways to bring in extra money.

  • Due to all of the extra income, we were able to save around $7,000 in December. I threw a bigger payment towards my debt as well. I plan on doing an updated net worth update post soon, stay updated! I think I’ve only done one of those since I started this blog, the numbers just kind of scare me, so much debt!

Volunteer work: Volunteering starts on January 7th. I have training for 3 days in a row I think. This will be interesting and something new for me. I’m excited, but I’m a little nervous. I’ve only ever had two jobs (including the one that I have now) in my whole life, so I’m nervous for meeting new people and screwing things up.

Budget Cutting: We cut out budget by a little, but it’s the little things that add up :)

  • We got our car insurance renewal papers, insurance went down $11 per month! Not a ton, but our insurance is super low already.
  • We’ve kept the heat lower than what we usually do (around 72 degrees) and have saved a significant amount over last year. It also helps that it has been super nice out this past week (around 60 degrees). I can’t remember what our last heat bill was, but it was around $60 or $70 I think. Last year at this time, it was around $150, which is amazing!

Food: I actually cooked a decent amount last week. It was pretty nice! The food was good (of course, since I’m cooking it! ha). I want to start menu planning soon also. Not sure though, usually I’m not in the mood for something that I thought about earlier, I’m weird like that.

  • Be sure to check out Jenn @ Bliss to Bean’s giveaway! This will definitely help me with my cooking if I won.

Shopping: We definitely came in under our Christmas budget, and all of our other budgets for the month. Did some last minute shopping on New Years Eve, and found really great prices on a lot of things. We were very happy about this. Tons of toys were half off and of course all of the Christmas stuff was too, which was nice since one of our Christmas dinners was on New Years Day.

  • However, I’m a little ashamed to say how much we spent, as our Christmas budget is very high. If this gives you any idea, the BF got two pretty nice guns for his present (which is sorta mixed in with his birthday present as well, since his birthday is a month away). Anyways, we used the month of December as our excuse to splurge a little more, as we both tend to have way higher incomes in this month.

$100 Ticket: Still need to pay this. I think I have a couple more days to pay it. I plan on paying it today online.

Vacation planning: We haven’t really thought about this a ton. Hopefully soon. We’re thinking Puerto Rico again. We get really cheap plane tickets (as talked about here), so we can pretty much plan until the last very last second. Our budget is probably going to be around $1,000 for the vacation (food, hotel, airfare, miscellaneous). Since we usually book things so late, there are usually great deals everywhere, so it’s a win win.

  • We want passports though for our vacation after this first one. Hopefully soon we will get on that.

Buying my own Domain: This is a big question that I have right now. How much does this usually cost? Is there a preferred provider for this?

How’s everything going for you?