Finances, New

Screw the Joneses

Let’s talk money, honey!

I am about to ruffle some feathers.

I shared a motivational graphic last week that said ” living in a smaller home or driving an old car doesn’t make you broke. You’ve got goals to reach not people to impress”. Man, did people come out of the woodwork with feelings about that. In my opinion, social media has amplified how much we compare ourselves and the things we have (or don’t have) to not only those around us but people we ‘follow’ all over the world.

Well I am here to say – screw that sh**.

I am way more impressed by someone who has the discipline and ambition to achieve financial freedom then by someone who put themselves in debt by not acting their wage.

Let me preface by saying everyone has different priorities.

If it is a priority for you to be the household that hosts ALL the big family gatherings, then go ahead invest in your home. If you drive for your job and spend the majority of your day in your car, go ahead invest in your vehicle. If your passion is to travel and see the world, go ahead invest in your vacations. Invest where your priorities are not where social media, your best friend or society says. Please, please, please, please do not sacrifice your potential financial freedom just to impress other people.

I believe in being transparent.

Both our cars are roughly a decade old. Having a new car isn’t our priority. Being able to own cars and not have a car payment is a priority. Being able to have something considered a financial asset that we can use as collateral if an unforeseen major expense arises is a priority.

Our house is a whopping 1400 square feet. Having lots of space isn’t our priority. Having the financial cushion to be able to make our home functional and a reflection of us is a priority. Having a house payment that gives us financial freedom is a priority.

Also, I have a pretty high level of anxiety. If worrying were an Olympic sport I would really be a contender. Becoming a financially independent adult right when the recession hit really had a big effect on how I see money, so feeling financially secure is also a very high priority.

Photo credit: Miss Camera Obscura

While we are here, let’s also discuss financial maturity.

I would be lying to you if I told you we didn’t occasionally struggle with making the tough calls when it comes to things we WANT vs things we NEED. We’re adults, we make money, we should be able to spend it on whatever we want, right!? Well yes & no. There have been a handful of times we have put off a big purchase or even canceled a trip because the numbers just didn’t add up. We didn’t gain financial freedom without making these tough decisions over and over again. Making the financially mature decision and putting your future first is so worth it in the long run. Making these decisions is the only way to change your life & financial trajectory.

Easy choices hard life, hard choices easy life.

-Jerzy Gregorek

Is attempting to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ costing you financial security?

Think past the initial expense.

You buy a house at the top of your budget. That’s more house to cool/heat. More house to furnish. More house to maintain. More house to insure. More house to clean. You are not only sacrificing more money but more time. This means you will also sacrifice opportunities to spend that time and money doing other things you care about. Again, if this house is your biggest priority and you don’t mind making all the sacrifices then power to you.

You lease a car. That means (usually) a good chunk of money down. Full coverage insurance. Monthly payments equivalent to (if not more than) a car payment. At the end of a 3 year term you walk away with nothing? Or buy a car that you would never pay that much for in the first place? Or you switch to a new lease and perpetually makes payments until the end of time? Again, if this car is your highest priority then right on.

You book a trip. That means stupid expensive drinks at the airport (you have time to kill). Additional hotel fees (inevitable). Who knows how many ubers or cabs (if not a rental car). Paying for every single meal. Tours. Cover charges. Souvenirs. International phone plan. House sitter/dog sitter. The list goes on and on. Again, if seeing the world is your priority then go explore.

My point is – focus the spending you do on the things that are the highest priority to you.

Ask yourself:

‘Do I really want this or do I just want people to see that I have it?’

‘Do I feel I need it just because someone else has it?’

‘Is this expense a high priority for me?’

‘Do I want this more than financial freedom?’

Make your spending work towards your priorities & financial goals, not against them.

You are the only person you need to impress.

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8 thoughts on “Screw the Joneses

  1. Living minimally and debt free while traveling and working in my van is the best decision I’ve made in a very long time.

    Great article – thank you for writing it and sharing. 💯

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