How to Stop Keeping Up With the Joneses

How-to-Stop-Keeping-Up-With-the-Joneses-by-Max-Jaffe

How-to-Stop-Keeping-Up-With-the-Joneses-by-Max-Jaffe

How many times a day do you see something that you’ve just got to have? You see the car, house or clothes someone is wearing, and you get envious of the owner.

Here are some tips to help you get over your desires:

The Whole Story

So you love the Lexus parked in your neighbor’s driveway; perhaps aunt Beulah died and left it to them. Maybe they went out, bought it on a whim, and they’re going to owe hundreds of dollars for the next six years to pay for it. In either event, what they’ll probably never tell you is how much they have to spend to maintain it. Not to mention that their insurance went up $300 per year.

Once you see all the facts on the other side of the fence, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that you really don’t want to be in their situation.

The same goes for the trendy clothes your co-worker always wears or the exotic vacation your friends from church took last month; they’re all still paying for it.

Consider the Future

You have to pay for whatever it is you’re currently salivating over. Think about how useful the item would be; would you use it continually? Often we think we really need something, only to find out, once having made the purchase, we really don’t use it after all.

I was once speaking at a workshop in Louisville and a participant exclaimed that she always “sleeps on it” when she sees something she thinks she absolutely cannot live without. When she wakes up the next day, very rarely does she still want the item. If she does, she goes to the store; if it’s no longer available, she figures she wasn’t meant to have it.

Season the thought of owning the item before you have to go into debt (or forego paying off current debt) in order to buy it.

Have Patience

My late mother used to say, “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.” When I was a child I learned to save for the things I wanted. When the time came to go to the store after saving the money, not only was I proud of the fact I was able to discipline myself for having saved for it, but the item had a rare value to it. Things you want, and for which you sacrifice, have a more profound meaning to you. You will use them until they’re absolutely threadbare, ragged and shabby.

Keeping up with the Joneses is not all it’s hyped up to be. Having things you can afford is much more satisfying than being submerged under mountains of debt.

Max Jaffe, founder and CEO of Spending Solutions, Inc., teaches people how to handle their money in everyday life. He is a CPA and the author of Maximizing Your Money. He also conducts money workshops at conventions and corporate meetings.

Max Jaffe – who has written posts on CashNetUSA Blog.


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