Why You Should Stop Trying to Keep up with the Joneses
Conspicuous consumption, or "keeping up with the Joneses" used to be reserved for only the rich and famous but that has all changed. Now there are millions of average people who want a lifestyle that emulates that of the affluent but there is one huge problem, they don't have the means
We all know them, people who earn a good living but are always broke or worse, in debt. They may drive expensive cars, live in huge houses and wear designer clothes but all of this comes at a cost to both themselves and their bank balances.
So why has this become a way of life for so many in modern day society?
There are a few reasons
- Clever marketing which makes us believe that we will feel happier, be cooler, and be envied if only we have….. (you can name the item, you can choose from thousands.)
- Easy credit. The banks and lending societies will make it very easy for you to get yourself into debt.
- The inability to delay gratification. Our society has become one that reveres instant pleasure over hard work and saving.
- A desire to prove our worth to the world, or at least our neighbours.
The big problem here is that a lot of “The Jones’s” are broke
A lot of those people you see walking around in designer clothes, driving their expensive cars and holidaying in exotic locations are doing it all on borrowed money.
Is the pleasure of having what you want today really worth the pain that comes from sleepless nights worrying how it’s all going to be paid back? Or being stuck in your job for the next 30 years just to make ends meet, while paying back the money (plus interest) on all the fun you had years ago? Or worse, what if you lose your job and have no means of paying for any of it?
Even if you are not like “The Joneses” and in debt for almost everything you have, chances are you may find yourself just barely getting by with the lifestyle you have. If you have no savings for a rainy day and are living paycheck to paycheck then there are some things that you can do to make a change.
It’s time to make a change
If you are tired of the way you are living then it’s time to make a change. It’s time to stop being concerned with what other people have or what other people think and start focusing on what it is that you have and think.
Here are some tips for living a better, more stress free life:
- Things will never make you happy. The big house and the fancy car may bring momentary pleasure to you but the fun soon wears off when you are forced to meet the payments for them every month. Not only the payments just to own them but the cost of upkeep and maintenance on these is also going to be high. Think about how much house you really need and what the car is for…getting from A to B.
- Set your own priorities. Figure out what is important to you and your family and start from there. If you are in debt work out the ways you can pay that down as soon as possible. Stop comparing yourself to other people and instead look inside of yourself to find what you want out of life. Work out what your true needs are and then pare down your life to match these.
- Find meaning in your life. One of the reasons people spend, spend, spend is that they are looking for something to fill a hole they feel inside. We were not born to be consumers and yet that is just what a lot of us have turned out to be. Figuring out what life means to you and spending your time in line with those values can reduce your desire for acquisition and increase your feelings of happiness in life.
- Consider a different way of life. A lot of people who have discovered minimalism have found that a life with less stuff actually creates more happiness. When you are not living a life that is cluttered it can open up a whole new way of living and a freedom that a life full of stuff cannot bring. A couple of great sites about minimalism are The Minimalists and Becomingminimalist.
One of the most important lessons you can learn in life is to stop worrying about what other people have and what other people think. Life is not a competition, nobody wins. Find something in your life that brings meaning to you, that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. Ignore “The Jones’s” and start living a life that makes you happier today.