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First of all, the Joneses are broke, and so are many Americans. According to a recent poll, 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. That is a LOT of people who live paycheck to paycheck and actually count on that job security. Otherwise they can't pay their rent, put gas in their cars or put food on the table.
With the Joneses being broke and using debt to buy things they don't really need; they just want to impress people who really don't care, why do I really need to keep up with them? It doesn't get me anywhere, except into further debt and my paychecks not reaching quite as far as they should.
To be honest, I never really kept up with the Joneses anyway. I have always been a girl who danced after the beat of my own heart and got the things I wanted when I wanted. I didn't care what other people had or wanted. But there were times that my human nature of comparison crept in.
But why do we really compare ourselves to others and what they have versus what we have? Where does this comparison really get us?
We are humans and we are nosy. We always want to know what someone else is doing. That's where the comparison comes in.
But then, we let these comparisons into our wallets. And we spend money we don't have to buy things that we really don't even want at the end of the day. This then puts us further into debt.
Part of being humans, being nosy and always want to know what someone else is doing, doesn't include actually talking about money. We were taught when we were younger that we don't actually talk about money. You never ask someone else how much they make. So when we are comparing our situation to our neighbor's situation, the amount of money that is made is never a comparison factor.
So what if Joe down the road bought a brand new souped up truck that cost more than what you make in a year. Do you really want to drive that souped up truck? Do you want a car payment right now? Your car is already paid in full and you don't even have a car payment right now.
So what if Julie from work bought that $400 handbag this weekend. What are you going to do with a brand new handbag when yours is perfectly good just the way it is?
So what if Sarah from Accounting bought herself a new pair of shoes this weekend from the discount rack at the store. Do you really need new shoes? Or the better question is, are you even going to wear the new shoes when you have 12 pairs in your closet that haven't even been worn once yet?
So what if Dave who owns the store around the corner from your house upgraded his kitchen this past month. Maybe he actually needed this new kitchen or maybe he's been saving to do this upgrade for a while. His kitchen doesn't affect your kitchen, which has been serving it's purpose in your life for the past 7 years just fine.
STOP comparing yourself to anyone else. Just do you.
There is a reason why Marie Kondo's book and Netflix series are so popular right now. We are a society of consumers who like to compare themselves to everyone else and get jealous when someone else has something that we don't. But in reality, we don't even want that thing anyway. We think we do in the moment.
Do you even know how much stuff is in your house that doesn't even get used once a year and you bought it just because you were jealous of someone else having it when you didn't?
Comparison gets you nowhere but further into the hole. I see it every day.
If you really want to get out of living paycheck to paycheck or buying things you don't need and are never really going to use and actually having money in your bank account at the end of the month, then you need to start living your own life. What someone else has or doesn't have, doesn't affect you one little bit. There is no need to impress anyone else with your stuff. They really don't care.
But when you let it affect you, it affects your wallet. And that's when you start to lose the game.
The Jones', Dave, Joe, Sarah and Julie (and anyone else for that matter) do not affect you one little bit. Let them live their lives and do what they want with their money.
Do you want to be able to enjoy your life and have the experiences now? Or do you want to fill your home with useless stuff, that at the end of the day is never going to get used and just cause clutter for you?
It always is your choice. And I finally made my choice that I'm done living a life of comparison. I don't care what anyone else has. (Well, actually I made this choice a while ago when I decided to live my life for me and no one else.) I have a 10 year old car with no car payment and a decent car insurance cost that is affordable. I may dream of owning a new car, but I think I want to be able to save up for that new car and pay cash for it instead of having a monthly car payment. It really is nice not having a monthly car payment on top of everything else.
I used to always see something that everyone else had, and think that I wanted it. But several months ago, seeing someone buy a new computer, I wanted one in the moment. But then I realized how much I actually love my desktop computer and dislike my laptop computer and wanting a new computer just went right out the window. I no longer wanted what someone else has. I made myself pause for a few minutes and realized that it was jut my comparisonitis kicking in. And I've been happier ever since. I don't spend the money on things I don't need (except books, but that's another story!).
And that moment was my big turning point in stopping my comparison in what I had versus what someone else had. I don't like having all this stuff that I'm not using and most likely never going to use. So why do I need to keep wasting my money. Plus I'm planning to move homes soon and I need to cut back on the amount of stuff that I have. This means that I'm going to go through all of my stuff and donate a lot of it because it no longer serves me. And it got me thinking about how much money I have wasted and what I really could have been doing with that money instead.
Now it's your turn. Do you really need that thing you thought you wanted? Or do you just want it because someone else has it? These two questions alone have stopped me from buying a lot of things over the past several months and I'm sure they can help you too.
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Clarissa Wilson is a financial strategist and online educator who holds two master’s degrees in Forensic Accounting. Also creative and spiritual, she is an intuitive empath and introvert. Clarissa is the host of The Prosper + Profit Podcast, where money conversations occur on a daily basis -- as she believes that money shouldn’t be a taboo subject. After growing up on a dairy farmand learning to work hard for money, Clarissa awakened to a path that allowed wealth to flow easily to her. Clarissa currently lives in Pennsylvania with her two cats.