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“Keeping up with the Joneses” is a topic about which I write frequently because, no doubt, it can do some serious financial damage. Even beyond the injury to your wallet, comparison will destroy your contentment and happiness and forces you into a never-ending rat race for the biggest and best of everything. Today’s information is coming from a different perspective thanks to our guest writer, Barbara. She has guest written on several financial blogs and is coming to us today with a fresh point of view about the detriment of material competition:
Keeping up with the Joneses
Have your friends influenced you on financial matters in the past? Can you recall?
Have you ever tried to match your lifestyle with any of your friends, and invited debt in the process? Have you bought anything or spent dollars on something because your friends have done so?
Can you recall something now? If so, then beware brother! You’re one of those guys who get easily influenced by others on financial decisions. If you don’t change your attitude, then you can be in big trouble anytime.
So what can we do now? Should we let others influence us and get into debt or should we find out a solution to this problem?
Let’s find out why we get so much influenced with others’ lifestyle and material goods and how we can avoid doing it. We need to restrict ourselves from doing so to remain debt free.
Why you should never keep up with the Joneses
Here’s why it is not worth it:
You need to know the truth about it
Do you know that when you try to keep up with the Joneses, you actually don’t try to match your lifestyle with the rich people, which are just 1% of the American population? We actually try to match our lifestyle with our neighbors and friends, who might be a bit wealthier or who splurge on unnecessary items. It might be that they are in debt for such a lifestyle.
You can’t be happy by doing so
Imagine – Will you be happy if you swipe your cards to buy material goods which you actually can’t afford? By doing so, you’ll be unhappy because you’d be stressed out to repay that amount. If you can’t pay it back, you’ll be in debt and you might have to struggle to get out of debt. Extravagant lifestyles, in most cases, are funded by credit.
Will you knowingly invite such a situation? Just think once before you splurge to match with someone else’s lifestyle!
Contentment and happiness are inner feelings. So, try to find out what actually makes you happy.
How you can avoid keeping up with the Joneses
It is not difficult to avoid doing so. Go through the following points and analyze yourself:
Try not to gain happiness from material things
Will you be happy if you get whatever material things you want but you don’t have any friends? No, right? We get happiness by sharing good moments with friends. So, focus on having good company instead of thinking about what they have.
What is the use of swiping your cards to buy expensive material goods and then search for options to get out of debt?
Appreciate what you have
If you continuously focus on what you don’t have, you’ll never be able to appreciate what you have. So, at first, try to appreciate what you already have and be grateful. Your friends might not possess what you have.
Focus on your achievements
Instead of eyeing on the achievements of your friends and neighbors, focus on what you’re doing or what you want to do. If you overly focus on others, your won’t be able to appreciate your achievements. So, focus on yourself and plan your actions.
If you think about your dreams and aspirations, you’ll realize that most of them are different from the Joneses.
Have your own peer group
One of the best ways to avoid keeping up with the Joneses and avoid experiencing debt problems is to have your own peer group. Often people experience debt problems but since money talk is a taboo; people hesitate to say that he/she is experiencing financial difficulties. But, if you have your own peer group, you can discuss amongst yourselves and you can say that you can’t afford an item for the time being.
Doing so, you can avoid debt and won’t have to struggle to come out of debt. It’s always better to avoid incurring debt which you can’t manage with ease.
Set your own benchmark
Next time, when you plan to buy something, ask yourself – Will you still be happy if you can’t show it to anyone? If your answer is ‘No’, then think twice or thrice before making the decision. Don’t be an impulsive buyer. Purchase things consciously.
Make a mark for kindness and generosity
Instead of making a mark for keeping up with the lifestyle and luxury of others, be famous for your kindness and generosity. Help people who are in need and give good suggestions. Doing so, you will be renowned in your locality.
So, what have you decided? Is it difficult to avoid keeping up with the Joneses? Not really, right? Focus on yourself and enjoy a debt free life!
Barbara has written for several blogs. She has expertise in writing personal finance articles and is quite active on social media. While she is not writing, she spends most of her time exploring new places, people and their culture. Get in touch with her on twitter @DelinskyBarbara or on her site debtconsolidationcare.com.
The temptation to keep up with those irritating, money-flinging, flashy-car-driving, in-ground-pool-instal
ling, top-of-the-line-car-buying, hypothetical Joneses will always be present. No matter what you have, someone will have something better. It’s true in every area of our lives. Someone is always going to seem smarter, prettier, wittier, more
successful, better liked, wealthier, or more fun. That does not and will not ever subtract from what you can bring to the table (don’t you wish you had embraced that a long time ago?!?). Be your best you, friend, because the world needs it. There are plenty of Joneses already.
By now, you should all know how much I love reading and recommending books. I’m including one from my reading list because it is so relevant to this message and Rachel Cruze is such an inspiration to me. If I wasn’t a PA, I would want her job. Her book, Love Your Life Not Theirs, is a definite must-read to help us keep our competitive spirits in check.
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