The Joneses Are a Bad Influence

Tonight I was doing some YouTubing and catching up with a famous vlogger who I used to watch regularly. After a few videos about her favorite tech gadgets of 2019, newest top of the line computers, and back to school shopping, the jealousy hit me.  Everyone knows that feeling.

Why can’t I have that too?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.”  You know the Joneses.  They’re the coworkers who always have the latest gadget and the most trendy outfits. They’re your neighbors across the street with the brand new luxury SUV.  And they’re even those friends and relatives posting on Facebook about their latest extravagant vacation – including photos!!

This is called conspicuous consumption.  People with insecurities spend themselves into debt in order to impress those around them to try to gain social validation. But the fact is, there is always someone with more money, a bigger house, and nicer things.  You will literally drive yourself into a depression by trying to keep up with the Joneses because there is always someone with more.  So the lesson is that you should be happy with what you do have and dismiss jealous feelings about what you don’t have.

Don’t get me wrong, I love going out to eat, wearing nice new clothes, and having the latest Apple products. But moderation is the key.  You can have nice things, but they need to be a part of your budget and they cannot take you off track from your goals.  Impressing the Joneses today with a new boat that you didn’t budget for will make you feel good for a couple days, but you’re hurting yourself in the long run and jeopardizing your long term goals.

Life is rarely fair.

Everyone’s situation is different, and life is not a competition.  It’s important to set goals based on your own situation and not based on other people’s lives.  Do you want to pay off your student loans and be debt free?  How about starting an emergency fund?  Or maximizing the return on your savings?  These things are not as flashy as a new car or a sweet new laptop, but these are much more important to your financial health.

Do you have any stories about the Joneses?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below!