Who Cares What The Joneses Have? Not Me.

by Pam on August 7, 2009

It can be really tempting to want to have as much or more than our neighbors, colleagues, friends, family members, etc.  It’s like we want to prove a point – that we are successful and important.   What most of us don’t realize is that we will be a lot more content and enjoy our lives a lot more if we are satisfied with what we already have.  “Keeping up with the Joneses” is an unhealthy lifestyle choice that can cause serious debt problems among other things.

Instead of focusing on what others have and trying to attain those things, why not be thankful for what you’ve got?  You will be more likely to save for things that are important to you rather than wasting your money to keep up appearances.  Half the time we don’t really want the things we buy anyway – we just don’t realize it until it’s too late to return them.

It’s not that we shouldn’t buy anything – there’s certainly nothing wrong with having things.  The main thing is the motivation for buying things should be because they will be good for you, not just because someone else has them.

My goal is to be willing to make small sacrifices now so that I can achieve future goals.  For instance, my husband and I try to take a 2 week vacation every year. We forfeit eating frequent restaurant meals and other expensive forms of entertainment so we can save enough to take an enjoyable vacation.  Rather than worrying that our neighbor recently landscaped their yard and feeling like we have to keep up with them or rather than being concerned that we are not going out all that often compared to other people our age, we are content because we know that we will soon be able to take a vacation and that we won’t have to borrow money to do it.

Not caring about what the Joneses have is very freeing, and it’s a lot easier on the pocket book.  In the long run a lot of people who live expensively are often in debt up to their eyebrows, and I would much prefer to live more simply and work my way towards becoming debt free and ultimately financially free.  I know this goal will take a lot of discipline but I am up for the challenge because I know it’s worth it.

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