Today I want to share with you why I think you should stop keeping up with the Joneses. Start focusing on yourself and live a happier & richer lifestyle.
Why can I share this story? Well, because I used to play the same game. I used to always want the best of everything, not for me, not for enjoyment but mainly just to impress others. When I look back at it now and how much money I wasted, it’s scary.
Before I get into how you can start living a better lifestyle, let me explain exactly what Keeping Up With The Joneses actually means.
Keeping Up With The Joneses
According to Wonderopolis, keeping up with the Joneses is a common phrases used to describe people who strive to keep up with other people around them. For example, if one family in a neighbourhood bought a new car, another neighbour might feel they should buy one too. Maybe one that is better to match or beat another in terms of recognition.
As you can imagine, it is a very dangerous and costly game to get involved in. One that so many people do without even realising and one I am ashamed to say I feel into the trap of in my early 20’s. As another example, all my friends had designer trainers so I wanted designer trainers, but not just the same, better! I am sure most of you understand what I mean.
Why Keeping Up With The Joneses Is Bad For You
It isn’t just your bank account that will suffer from too much of this, there are actually much worse things that can happen.
Mental Health Issues – People have been know to experience depression and stress due to playing this evil game.
Lack Of Self Confidence – Sometimes people may think they are “not good enough” or “they don’t belong somewhere” if they are not at the level they believe others to be at.
Financial Difficulties – Of course the obvious one. So many people get themselves into money problems from buying things way out of their budget and using things such as instant loans to feed this competitive game.
My Keeping Up With The Joneses Story
While I write this blog, one thing I never want to come across is that I’m a saint and I have never been like any of this. In fact, I used to play keeping up with the joneses all the time, so here’s my story and here’s how it cost me.
When I was 21, I was working at a local holiday camp with absolutely no clue in the world what I actually wanted to do. However, one thing I can assure you is that I worked extremely hard. Even at that age, I had my sights on buying a property that I could rent out to bring in passive income. During the 2 years that I worked there, I managed to save £11,000. I bet you’re thinking, this all sounds perfect right?
Well, yes it was actually until someone who worked at the camp went a bought themselves a 2009 Audi A3. Now at the age of 21, not many people could afford a car like that and what immediately happened was my mindset completely shifted. My goal of owning a house changed to wanting to buy a nicer car. I’m sure you can work out the next bit. Of course, a month later I spent the entire £11,000 on a VW Scirocco. Whilst it served me for nearly 9 years with no repairs, it was a terrible decision to make at that time.
Fast forward 5 years to the point where I could then finally move out in a place of my own. I now reflect back at that time with so much regret on how further along on my own personal journey if I didn’t worry about Keeping up with the Joneses. In fact, come to think about it I left my job at the camp around 2 weeks after. So it was basically £11,000 to say I had a nice car for 2 weeks, ridiculous.
This was just one story that came to mind. I have many others like this, maybe not quite as costly but a true statement as to how doing something like this can really hold you back from the true goals and ambitions that you have.
How to stop Keeping up with the Joneses
There are many different ways that you can stop yourself from falling into the “Joneses Trap”. Some work better than others depending on the person, but for me there were 3 main things that made me want to stop immediately.
Write down your true values.
This is something I did around 4 years ago and it pretty much sparked the end to me playing this game. I took a pen and wrote down what my own values were and every time I want to purchase something, I now ask myself if it goes against those values.
Oh and by the way, if you really want to have a nice car or nice clothes, then go for it, but only if it’s your true values. The main message here is to not let anybody else decide how you live your life and what you spend your money on.
Surround yourself with like minded people
If you surround yourself with people that are constantly playing keeping up with the Joneses, it’s going to be very hard for you naturally not to play it yourself. Instead, surround yourself with people that have the same values, same goals and those that don’t live their lives based on other peoples decisions.
Very similar to the values, it’s very important to set financial goals and revisit these goals before you make any lavish purchases. I do this all the time even with my business. For example, with my YouTube Channel, I set myself a goal of earning £2000 a month in revenue before I could upgrade my camera. This stops me from buying over the top stuff that won’t benefit me as much as when the time comes when I do actually need it.
Another goal I set was to not buy a “luxury car” until I had over £250,000 invested into the stock market. This way I know I have my money working for me and when I have that much invested, I will be receiving passive income from dividends that could potentially pay for the car anyway.
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Start Focusing on Yourself
During this pandemic, I have realised how important it has become to put yourself first. Having lost close family members and friend’s during this tough time, It really hammers home the point that there is way more to life than a nice watch or some fresh trainers. Instead, focus on what can bring you freedom. What can bring you true happiness and what isn’t there to just impress someone, that most likely doesn’t even care about it anyway.
I’ll leave you with this great quote from Suze Orman which has stuck with me even since the day I saw her speak the words.