I'm sure almost everyone at one point in their life has felt the need to keep up with the Joneses.
Whether you are five years old and want that new toy everyone is playing with, or if you are 50 years old and are feeling the need to upgrade your house, car, etc., everyone has experienced it.
The problem with this is that keeping up with the Joneses can actually make you broke.
When trying to keep up with the Joneses, you might spend money you do not have. You might put expenses on credit cards so that you can (in a pretend world) “afford” things. You might buy things that you do not care about. The problems can go on and on.
This can then lead to an excessive amount of debt and potentially set someone back years with their financial goals, if not decades.
Keeping up with the Joneses will make you broke and unhappy because:
- You will never be happy no matter how much money you spend.
- You will constantly compare yourself to EVERYONE.
- You will go into debt because that's the only way you feel like you can keep up.
- You will have a loan payment for everything because that's the only way you can “afford” everything.
- You won't have any money leftover for retirement, an emergency fund, etc. because you're spending it all on things you do not need.
Here are some things to think about if you want to live your own life and start ignoring the Joneses:
Are the Joneses broke?
You'll never know how rich or poor the Joneses are, and honestly it shouldn't matter to you. You don't know the whole story behind the Joneses. They could be rich, they could be poor, they could be anything. Maybe they won the lottery, they were given the item for free as a gift, or something else. Maybe they coupon their brains out and that's how they afford the things they have.
They also might just be putting everything on a credit card. They might be drowning in all different kinds of debt (house, car, student loans, etc.) and putting on a happy face for show.
Just because someone has a lot of material items and/or spends their money frivolously does not make them rich.
Stop wondering how they are paying for the things they have. Start living your own life and stop trying to live someone else's.
The fact of the matter is that you do not know what the financial situation is. It shouldn't matter to you anyways because you are supposed to be living your own life.
Figure out why you want to keep up with the Joneses.
One question that everyone needs to ask is WHY you want to keep up with the Joneses. What makes their life so much better that you feel the need to put your life on hold to mimic theirs?
Figuring out the answer to this question can help solve a lot of financial mysteries. Once you figure out why you have these feelings, you can come up with an action plan to stop. If you don't, it will most likely just turn into a vicious cycle that constantly eats away at you until you become broke.
Think about your own life and your own goals.
What do you care about? You should only do what makes you happy. Just because another person loves buying the newest iPhone the second it comes out or loves having a new car, it doesn't mean that you have to as well.
Everyone is different.
It doesn't make your decision better or their decision better, it's all about what is best for you, and whether or not it can fit in YOUR budget and if it lines up with YOUR goals.
Jealously won't get you anywhere.
I used to be a fairly jealous person. I would come up with excuses for why things weren't working out for me and why everyone else had all the newest things. Then I realized something…
Being jealous wasn't doing me any good.
Instead, I was wasting time and wasting my own happiness. Being jealous about the things that other people have isn't going to get you anywhere.
- Don't be jealous that your neighbor has a nicer house than you.
- Don't be jealous that your best friend just bought a nicer car than what you have.
- Don't be jealous that your cousin just went on a fantastic tropical vacation.
You don't know their circumstances, and you have to realize that everyone values different things. Focus on yourself and bettering your own situation. Don't be preoccupied with tearing others down and making them feel bad.
If you want something, then save up money and reach your own goals!
Live within your means.
The point I'm trying to get at with this whole entire post is that you should always aim to live within your means.
Have your own budget, spend money on things that you can afford (I don't care if your neighbor can afford it even if you work just as hard as them), create your own financial goals, and more.
Do you try to keep up with the Joneses? Why or why not?
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