We are all influenced by those around us and it is hard not to compare ourselves to them. Seeing all the pictures on social media of friends and family having an amazing time on holiday, going on nights out, showing off a new car makes us want the same things. As we spend more and more time with those that have a seemingly better lifestyle it is only natural to want the same and ‘keep up’ with them. No one wants to be the odd one out, but is it really worth the expense?
Let me tell you why I stopped ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’. I have a friend who shops for new clothing nearly every weekend, she didn’t want to be seen wearing the same dress twice on a night out. Shopping was sort of a hobby for her. I would see her most weekends and because always wanted to go shopping I would go with her and began spending more and more money on clothing just like she was. But then she revealed to me that she had stacked up credit card debt. I just couldn’t get my head around this, she is well educated with a very well paying job and at the time living with her parents. She should comfortably be able to save a few hundred pounds a month. That was the moment the light bulb moment for me, I realised I was wasting money just like her and if I carried on I would end up in debt as well.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Everyone has different paths in life, we have different incomes and different priorities. You will always know people who have more than you, so it is near impossible to keep up all the time. Even people who you think have it all, it’s likely they still want more and are comparing themselves to somebody else. Trying to keep up with the Joneses is a losing battle.
The grass isn’t always greener
You may know people who are the perfect couple and have the perfect family with a fancy car and a massive house. But do you really know their financial position? They may be living paycheck to paycheck, they may be drowning in debt. In research carried out by Aviva, half of Brits admit to living beyond their means. Instead of saving for their retirement people are spending their money things of little value.
You will never be happy
If you are measuring your own success and lifestyle against others then you will never be happy. Will buying a new car really make you happy just because someone you know has purchased a fancy car? Increasingly buying more possessions and spending more money will not make you happy. Material possessions only provide happiness for a short period of time, to maintain this feeling you will need to keep spending money and therefore will never be satisfied.
Live by your own values
Think about yourself and what you and your family truly need. Have your own values and goals and live by them. Know your own finances, set your own financial goals and stick by them. If someone thinks you are being ‘cheap’ by driving an older car or going on holiday locally rather than long haul, then that says more about them than you. Don’t get into debt to keep up with others. Live for yourself and your family.