You are not trying to keep up with the Joneses.
A new home is being built just down the road from you.
You pass it by every day to see what else is new and start thinking “I wish I would have/could have/should have…” when you pull in your own home.
A co-worker volunteers to drive to lunch so that everyone can take a ride in his brand new car.
Ahhhh, the new car smell… nice. Suddenly you feel a little self-conscious about driving your car the next time.
Your family has saved up for a fun weekend getaway.
While on your trip, you scroll through Facebook to see that one of your friends is on a weeklong all inclusive cruise. All of a sudden a weekend seems so short.
You know that you have similar incomes to these people so you start to question what you’re doing wrong…
Why is it you are having to shop at consignment sales for used children’s clothing but your friends are buying expensive new boutique clothes?
If you’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses, what are these feelings?
Is there a way to silence them and keep working on your goals?
Let me ask you this.
When was the last time someone started chatting with you about their financial struggles?
Most people are quick to share all the shiny details but not so quick to share the dull “normal” details!
So, let’s chat about what the Joneses are not sharing on Instagram!
New doesn’t buy happiness.
Something new and shiny is undoubtedly exciting, but any happiness associated with a new “thing” is short lived.
The shine fades.
New things become old things and stuff doesn’t make us as happy as we thought.
It doesn’t make the Joneses happy either. Appearances can be deceiving.
The things that really do make you happy… more than likely those things only costed your time, and it was time well spent.
Shiny is not simple.
A funny thing happens in neighborhoods where someone gets an in-ground pool.
Suddenly families who have never even considered a pool start to think they need one too.
They envision lazy days spent by the pool and everyone having a good time.
We’ve never had an in-ground pool but I’m told by people who do that they are a lot of work. And time. And money.
The Joneses don’t share the details about the broken pump or leaking seal. They don’t show you the collection of leaves and tadpoles that took hours to scoop out.
That’s the reality of the pool, and a case of the Joneses could lead to serious regret over a big purchase!
Debt is not sexy.
As it is with human nature, we’re curious about where the Joneses get all this money to spend.
Maybe I’m not giving the Joneses the benefit of the doubt and they are managing their money well and reaching their goals. I hope that is the case!
However, a GoBanking Rate survey that show only 69% of households in the U.S. have less than several hundred dollars in savings and most have zero!
If that is true, then there’s a story that’s not being told when it comes to having the latest and greatest new gadgets.
The Joneses don’t really own them, they owe on them!
No one wants to brag about their most recent credit card statement, or the fact that the balance keeps growing!
They are actually caught in the debt trap, but no one wants to see or hear about that, right? Debt is not sexy.
Social media is a sham show.
Have you heard about this company in Russia where people pay hundreds of dollars to get a fake picture in a private jet that never leaves the ground?
This is crazy to me, yet it is exactly what is happening on the social scene!
Let’s talk donuts and cupcakes a minute. Stick with me.
If I really wanted to impress my friends, I could post the image below with a caption of “Had fun making these donuts with the kiddo!” (Complete with emojis and #familyfun)
First of all, my friends would know that it was fake because I have zero culinary skills!
But that would be a long way off from reality! Not gonna take place in my kitchen unless someone else is doing it. That is a free stock photo. I zoomed in and cropped it to alter it from the original.
Now, the one below is entirely real! THIS is what baking looks like with my kiddo…a box of cupcake mix & dollar store icing and a jar of sprinkles!
And guess what?
I wouldn’t trade that reality along with the experience and giggles behind it for the world.
Don’t waste your time with comparisons to someone else’s social media sham show!
* * * * *
Let’s be honest. We have all dealt with these feelings.
Recently, I had a colleague share a picture of their newest shiny object.
It was a hot tub complete with a built in bluetooth stereo system, LED lighting under a waterfall, and too many jets to count.
Oh, yeah, I was already planning out in my head where ours would go!
However, it was quickly replaced by when would we ever use it, how much would that add to the cost of our power bill, our dog would find a way to demolish it!
Yep, I was over it just about as fast.
I’ve found three effective ways to get over keeping up with the Joneses.
What are those ways?
- Sincerely wish them well.
A funny thing happens when you wish the Joneses well with their shiny objects.
You stop wishing it were you instead.
It’s just a way of knowing and being confident in your priorities, and what they have starts losing its appeal.
We don’t know what’s going on behind their closed doors.
But we do have to be content and at peace with what happens behind our doors.
Why get stressed out and worried about what you don’t have?
If what is going on behind your closed doors is working well, that’s worth much more than any new shiny object!
2. Stay true to your goals.
If your goals are a healthy savings and not living paycheck to paycheck, then stay true to those goals.
Those are awesome goals that will do so much more for your family than any new gizmo or gadget can do!
When you recognize your priorities are different, then you stop wanting what anyone else has.
You start to live your own life instead of obsessing with someone else’s.
Will the Joneses be working well past you to pay for these fancy things? Will their retirement be spent doing the things they’ve always said they would do?
If those are your goals, stay true to the path because your future self will thank you.
3. Consider the domino effect.
Much like I described above with the new hot tub, training your brain to look past the shiny and see the dull will help you get over the Joneses really quick.
When you consider the long term pain over the short term gain, that “thing” just loses its appeal.
The domino effect is looking past the vision of the new shiny object and seeing what happens next… then next… until you see if this is really a wise use of your time and money.
I will recommend one book for anyone who really struggles with this issue. I’ve attended a conference where Rachel Cruze talked at length about this, and I highly recommend her book.