Why I’ll Never Keep Up with The Jones


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It’s a daily struggle.  The wants vs. the needs of life.  Even as an adult, I have to remind myself that I don’t need to give into every impulse in life.   I don’t NEED to keep up with the Jones.  I may WANT to….but, I don’t need to.

The urge is constantly around us to buy bigger and better things.  The moment I set foot in a store, my mind instantly sees all the big bright shiny object that I just HAVE to have.  Do I need that $15 new bestseller book?  No, but you better believe I want it….so, how do we combat our impulse purchases?  How do we still enjoy life by having things we want but balance it out with the things that we need?

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For me, it’s all about the goals.  I’m a list maker.  A little over the top on this..I have a daily list, a weekly list and a monthly list.  Some days, I even get fancy and color coordinate! (Oh la la!)  I write down EVERYTHING.  Things that need to get done, things that have to get done, things that I want to do, things that are on sale that we NEED to have in our home (toilet paper, hello!) and things that we WANT to have in our home.  Then, I sit on it.  (No, not literally….)  I mean, it’s written down, it’s out in the limbo of space and I just let it sit out there to see if I still need it or want it after so much time has passed.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been to the store, been adamant that I’ve absolutely had to have something, walked out the door without it because I have willpower (;-/) and forgotten what it was by the time I got home.  Guess I didn’t need it that bad, huh?

But, those are small puppies in comparison to bigger ticket items when keeping up with the Jones.  The new cars…the big houses…the designer clothing.  Ugh, it all sounds seriously amazing, and looks so nice and shiny…those big ticket items carry an unsaid worth with them, an unsaid knowledge that those people must want for nothing, they must be so happy with all their brand new things…but…guess what?  MO’ Money, MO’ problems. (Bills, bills, bills!!) It’s the truth.  My personal thought and opinion is that once you start trying to keep up with the Jones, you can’t stop.  (2 legit to quit) – and may I just say that my song references are ON POINT today!  🙂

Starting is easy, realizing and stopping is hard.  To some, money is no limit and they have no reason not to have the best of the best.  and more power to them.  I’m not here to judge anyone based upon their things. I’m here to state that for me and my family, it isn’t the lifestyle that we have chosen to live.  We have chosen to live a lifestyle of spending time together making memories rather than spending money on things.  That’s it.  Plain and simple.

So, how do I NOT keep up with the Jones?  There are a few ways.

  1.  Our cars are less than pretty, but they are PAID for.  No full coverage needed, no car payments – just free.  They get us from point A to point B.  Maybe not in style, but – they get us there.
  2.  We live in a smaller home that we got a great deal on.  We used patience, knowledge and negotiation power to get us in the neighborhood that we wanted for 1/2 the cost.
  3. Have I mentioned I’m blessed to have a husband who can cook?!!!!!!!!!!  Yahoo!  So, this means – we don’t spend money eating out.  We eat at home, we make our breads homemade, we experiment with cupboard cooking and we save those dollars!
  4. We buy our needs, not wants.  Plain and simple.
  5. We utilize the free resources in our town for fun.  Parks, library, Art district, movies, festivals, markets, sporting events – a ton of FREE family friendly activities every week.

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There are ways to live a wonderful, full life without it being full of things.  Each family and person is different and has to find their own path.  While our journey for our family is different than others, we don’t ever feel like we are missing out on things when we see the amount of debt and money that people spend on materialistic items each and every month.  We have been living this life for over 10 years now, and I honestly feel richer now than I ever have.  <3

How do you NOT keep up with the Jones?

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83 thoughts on “Why I’ll Never Keep Up with The Jones”

  1. Andrea says:

    Its more important that we are able to meet our own needs. Not to be keeping up with anybody else!

  2. I love this! So beautifully written! I’m also a list maker! Hehe

    1. Thena says:

      To list or not to list…. 🙂

  3. Erin says:

    This is so spot on for me! (I’m also a major list maker 🙂 ) I know a ton of people who need to have the best and most expensive things and I just can’t relate. I use a lot of the same tips you do and life is a lot easier! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Rose says:

    The Jones have been so far ahead of me that I don’t even try to keep up. The hardest thing is the kids struggle to keep up with the little Jones’s .
    Rose recently posted…Goals for week of October 30My Profile

  5. Hilary says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been struggling with want vs need for the last couple of months. Thankful to hear I’m not alone and even more thankful for the mantras and tips to help navigate my thought process in the right direction.

  6. Paige Flamm says:

    I love so much of this post. My husband and I are recent college grads and are in the world of paying off student loans, car payments, etc… and it feels like we’ll be paying off this debt for the rest of our lives, even if it’s really only two years. But when we see things we want now, we keep reminding ourselves, “Live like no one else will for five years, so you can like no one else can for the rest of your life”

    It’s all about perspective!
    Paige Flamm recently posted…10 Minute Weeknight Stir-FryMy Profile

  7. YES Please! And it is so hard to teach your kids to not keep up with everyone else or want everything!

  8. I am with you on the local free stuff! My kids and I are always looking for something to get into but having 4 kids, it can really add up.
    Brigette Collins recently posted…How To Host Brunch On A Budget (with Paperless Post)My Profile

  9. Kathryn says:

    Yes it’s great to have a partner that cooks. I know a few people that thrive on the stuff they buy, but their broke.. lol thanks for sharing. Enjoyed

  10. Yes to all of this. I hate all this pressure to live up to the Jones… who are probably in so much debt it’s ridiculous. I have debt now but it was due to school and will be paid off in two years, same with the car. It sucks for the moment but I’d rather go without than have a shirt that’s going to be full of holes in a month.
    Angela Tolsma recently posted…Recognizing VeteransMy Profile

  11. Liz W. says:

    Great post! I love your ways to save and NOT keep up with the Jones. It’s so hard to stay strong sometimes, but so important to get ahead and stay ahead.

  12. Nothing wrong with using the free available resources that are there. That is why they are there actually. Good way to save too. Nothing like free

  13. just like what i do, my focus is more on my needs, rather than on my wants. well written.

  14. This is what we would call living within your means. We don’t have to keep up with whoever just to impress people, we can have a perfectly stable and comfortable life by living with what we can. There are far more important things than that.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…NEW! online affirmation subscriptionsMy Profile

  15. Kara says:

    It is really difficult to not want what you haven’t got, but I am the same as you. I won’t spend money for the sake of it and if we really want something we save for it
    Kara recently posted…JoJo Bow Maker – ReviewMy Profile

  16. I’m with you! It takes a lot of determination and energy to keep up with the Joneses! While I do have a car payment and like my car, I didn’t buy a BMW or a Mercedes. And while I live in an affluent neighborhood (rentals are hard to come by on the coast of NC and pet free rentals are almost impossible to find, so here I am!), I could care less about all the money they (pretend to) have. Are their houses gorgeous? Absolutely. But do I want to be one of them and go to one of of the five all inclusive clubs that are here for only the people who live here to enjoy? No. First, I could care less about socializing in that way. And two, I like to stay in my pajamas as much as possible so dressing up and putting on jewelry and makeup just feels like too much work LOL! I’ll gladly cook at home and binge on Netflix instead. Great post!
    Kristi McAllister recently posted…Eclectic Spirituality: A Different Perspective On BeingMy Profile

    1. Thena says:

      Yes to Netflix! 🙂

  17. Great post! Its most important that we are able to meet our own needs. Not to be keeping up with anybody else!
    Sonja Josipovic recently posted…Beige + whiteMy Profile

  18. Tyra says:

    GREAT !!!. We live in a small home, we have everything we want and need in it. We are not extravagant people, our RICHES lies in our FAITH, FAMILY, & FRIENDS!!

  19. I really feel you on this post. Never try to keep up with the JONES. Its more important that we are able to meet our own needs.

  20. Preet says:

    What an amazing post. I agree starting is easy but realizing and stopping is hard. Great points and tips, you are so lucky your husband cooks 🙂
    Preet recently posted…Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait de Parfum – Maison Francis Kurkdjian ParisMy Profile

  21. Prima andrea says:

    Hey girl. This was such a wonderful post I read at the right time. Even I started making list recently. First it was just things to buy list but now I write down what no to buy too. When I like something in the store I ask myself the question whether I want it or need it? It’s good to keep ourselves in check. Thanks for sharing it!

  22. Jagriti Roy says:

    I have found much similarity with this article and me because I also make a list first before going to shop something.. It helps me to remain focused on the necessity based marketing only…nice post.. 😊

  23. Eloise says:

    A husband that can cook, you are blessed with that woman ; ) … does he by chance have a brother? only kidding!
    It’s all about being content and thankful for the things you have! I have a 1997 car all PAID for…lol I would love to keep up with the Jones, but it’s just not in the cards for me and I remind myself that I have what I need to survive and that is good enough!
    Great post!
    Eloise recently posted…Family Bathroom Design Guide By: Emma LawsonMy Profile

  24. SharonKay says:

    It is so easy to get caught up in the race to keep up with the Joneses, sometimes you are engulfed in it before even realizing what has happened. I once took a year off from all magazines and catalogs. It was amazing how much I did not need when I did not know it existed LOL Since then I have been more aware of advertising and its intended effect of making consumers buy … which is not all bad, we do need things afterall 🙂 However, it is good to keep it all in perspective and separate the wants from the needs and then focus on the real wants and needs that fit within our budgets.

  25. Melanie says:

    Yes! Such a spot on article. Live your life the way you want and mot to impress or keep up with others x

  26. Fiona says:

    I love this post. You are so right. The older l get the more wiser I’m getting. Currently I’m trying to get rid of things l don’t need. I feel like it’s just cluttering my life. I love lists too. Thanks for this reminder x

  27. Mel says:

    I think it is so important to not keep up with the Jones as it can be so stressful for a family and not financially viable. It can be very tempting to try to keep up with them though.
    Mel recently posted…Top 3 Treatments You’ll Learn On Beauty Therapy CoursesMy Profile

  28. I live the life I love by focusing on my family and being together rather than on ‘things’. Kaz

  29. Herlina Kwee says:

    Totally agree with your family’s approach. At the end of our lives, it’s the love that we share with others that matters the most. We can’t bring any of the materialistic thing to the grave. I lost 90% of my belongings when I had to move to the other side of the world and started over from scratch 2 years ago. It hurt when it happened, but I feel lighter now. I have never been much of a spender, but I am even more focused on experiences that contribute to my growth and happiness now.

  30. Addie says:

    Being thrifty and not liking major name brands helps me to not keep up with the joneses!

  31. I am 100% with you on this … We too keep it simple and never try and ‘keep up with the Jones’ – we decide what we want to spend on not because someone else has it.

    Tanvi Rastogi recently posted…A Fun Date Idea With ofoMy Profile

  32. Great Post! I heard a quote one day “Comparison is the thief of joy” Comparing yourself to someone else will do nothing but bring you misery, they don’t have your issues, their situation could be completely different than yours.
    Erica D Ardali recently posted…Holly Jolly Chunk Bar Premiere and Giveaway: Let Life Surprise You Giveaway HopMy Profile

  33. Never keep up with the Joneses cuz they are broke lol! To bad this type of info isn’t taught in school!
    Michael @ Super Millennial recently posted…November 2017 Monthly Goal ReportMy Profile

  34. Deb B. says:

    Other than my husband (and me) not being a big cook – I’m doing all the same things that you have done to not keep up with the Jones’. I also try to stay away from shops that I know I will want to buy something, but won’t need. So if I know I’m looking for a particular thing like rainboots for my kid, I’ll just go to the store that sells it and try to go right to that section. Or I go online. I don’t trust myself to saunter and windowshop. It always becomes a spree! Great post on being smart about money!
    Deb B. recently posted…The Balinos aka The Beatles :: FAM-O-WEEN 2017My Profile

  35. Fran says:

    This is great! I have lately been trying to stick to simple living as well to save some money so this gave me some great ideas, thanks!

  36. Jen Temcio says:

    I love how you live and so glad that you are proud of that. There is truly too much instant gratification and waste in the world. The best is finding free things to do with the kids and discount days at things like museums and zoos.
    Jen Temcio recently posted…This & That for the Holidays Giveaway HopMy Profile

  37. Stephanie says:

    These are great tips! We actually just talked about this in my MOPs group today. It’s important to learn the difference between wants and needs. It’s tough and that’s what we are working on the most here lately.
    Stephanie recently posted…Easy Slow-Cooker Potato and Cheddar SoupMy Profile

  38. Amy Dong says:

    I just wanna sit down over coffee with you and say Yes! to all the stuff you wrote. My kids think we’re the only fam that doesn’t buy this or that….but we do our best to live within (and even below) our means so we can wisely save for retirement, kids’ educations, etc. It’s SO important to model to our next gen how not to be in debt. I still drive my mom-van that I don’t love but it’s paid off. And we buy what we need vs. want, at least most of the time 🙂 Sometimes we cave 🙂 Thanks for sharing all this great motivation. And it’s awesome to know I’m not the only one who does all this.
    Amy Dong recently posted…The Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Surprise Ingredient)My Profile

    1. Thena says:

      Coffee date for sure, if you lived close! We could chat for days!

  39. I love the idea of conscious shopping. If we can take a moment to get present and get beyond the impulse, we can definitely make better choices. I’ve learned to leave things in my Amazon cart for a while to let the urge pass. 🙂
    Tanya @ Intimate Explorations recently posted…Love Notes: Katy and Steve – Married 40+ YearsMy Profile

  40. Nikki Arnold says:

    Thats all super smart of you!! I need to find more ways to save money…the cooking one gets me sometimes though haha tbh when we eat out its normally out of laziness ugh.

  41. Agnes says:

    Great tips! I love the finer things in life but I believe in only buying what I can afford, not using credit and not concerning myself with the Joneses. After all no-one really knows how much the Joneses have in their savings 🙂
    Agnes recently posted…Hershey kiss topped ice cream sundaesMy Profile

  42. We have been trying to stick with simple living rather than going for materialistic stuff .
    Pooja Kawatra recently posted…Meet Jeff Kinney|Diary of a Wimpy KidMy Profile

  43. People may think I’m crazy, but I have never had the desire to keep up with the Jones. I shop at a thrift store or yard sales. I use coupons. While I’m stuck with a van that my ex husband bought and I’m now paying on, I refuse to trade up. I keep repairing it and making payments. I’ve refused to get treatments for spinal injuries so that I can pay our other bills. I may never be rich, but I will at least give my kids a good life that teaches them how happiness doesn’t come from money. To live simply and enjoy the little things daily.

  44. Oh man, I never bother comparing my life to others… As you said, our car isn’t as nice as my neighbours, but it’ll be paid off in a few months, and he has years left to pay. It’s better to just do what is right for you! 🙂
    Gareth Torrance recently posted…Equestria Syndrome: The Effect Of Kids TV on ParentsMy Profile

  45. Yvon Lux says:

    Sounds like you have all your ducks in a row! I love lists too but sometimes I’m not consistent. One thing that is consistent is that I don’t spend on random things out of impulse. I only buy things I need – usually they’re for work or an upcoming event or something else specific.

  46. Love this! It’s really not worth keeping up with the Jones if you can’t afford to! x
    Stephanie Merry recently posted…New in | Soap & Glory She’s A Natural Day To Night Face PaletteMy Profile

  47. These are some great tips, well done on paying for your home and car, there is no point in buying huge flash items if you can’t afford them. At least you’re happy and have less worries 🙂 x

  48. I think I am the most jealous that your hubby cooks, mine can’t boil an egg!

  49. Shubhada Bhide says:

    This is a really great article. I totally agree with you, being simple is great as always Thanks for the helpful tips and reminders!

  50. JeeYoung says:

    I completely agree. Living outside of your means to keep up makes absolutely no sense to me! I look inwardly for happiness!

  51. michenn says:

    Yes, perfect suggestions on how to save and how to live within your means. It takes up too much energy to try to keep up with everyone else!

  52. Nikki Gwin says:

    I wish I was as smart as you at your age! ha! It’s no problem now that I am 50+ but if I’d been more aware back then, I could probably retire now.
    🙂 gwingal

  53. Beola Lawal says:

    This was a nice read for me, I appreciate your ability to differentiate your needs from your wants and stick to these lists. I am sought of like this too, actually I am the one who keeps the family in check, I don’t keep up with the Jones. I believe in moulding my family around our finances. My hubby does love to go overboard, but I am right there to keep him in check. Its was amazing reading your insight on this.
    Beola Lawal recently posted…Here Comes Halloween!!!My Profile

  54. Donnica says:

    Yes, I relate to this so much. I used to justify buying things I didn’t really need when they were on sale “Hey, I’m saving money”. .. But would have so much buyer’s remorse. Now, I make my list of the things I need and make sure there aren’t just impulse purchases on that list. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with living simply.
    Donnica recently posted…7 Healthy Changes to Make TodayMy Profile

  55. Linda Hobbis says:

    Great post. This is exactly how we live. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing we’d loads of debt. Actually in the end it’s more fun to live within your means because there’s less stress.
    Linda Hobbis recently posted…Winter Family Travel Health Tips For A Happy TripMy Profile

  56. You have really great tips. I struggle with the want vs need issue regularly. I need to use these tips.
    Brandi Crawford recently posted…Meal Prep Sheet Pan Steak and VeggiesMy Profile

  57. Ithfifi says:

    This is some great advice. I am looking to move out next year, nothing fancy but a place to call home so I know I will end up being pretty frugal even though I am already not careless with money. I am also the exact same with lists. I don’t go to bed until I’ve got a nice list to welcome me the next day!!
    Ithfifi recently posted…Finding The Perfect Seasonal Nail Polish Shades With Maggie AnneMy Profile

  58. I make lists too. I need to get a few more going at the moment including one for Christmas gifts I need to buy and those I have. My hubby has been teaching himself to cook recently although just for himself but at least it’s one less mouth for me to feed.
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  59. I couldn’t agree more! It’s not worth it and I love my life!
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  60. Katie says:

    It’s so refreshing to just be content and enjoy the life each of us has. Stuff will never satisfy. Memories and relationships are the things we will remember!
    Katie recently posted…5 Helpful Tips for Successful BreastfeedingMy Profile

  61. Aitza B says:

    The jones can’t even keep up with the Jones these days. I have expensive taste but my main goal is to grow my net worth.
    Aitza B recently posted…What’s on My Bookshelf | Autumn 2017 Reading ListMy Profile

  62. You have some great tips! We have paid for our cars as well and that feels great! I do appreciate a little bit of wants in my needs list. Relationships and memories trump everything! xo
    Debbie Savage recently posted…Healthy Skin, Beautiful You with Ayr Skin CareMy Profile

  63. Hannah says:

    I definitely agree with you as im an impulse buyer. I like how well written this is

  64. I a
    Trying with everything in me to become a minimalist but it’s not easy bc it is not a usual lifestyle for me. But it is important to start somewhere. Good for you for having a husband that cooks by the way. You got lucky!

  65. Francesca says:

    I have to admit I can totally relate. I feel like I have a bit of a shopping addiction because I always find things I don’t NEED and buy them!! Sometimes I canMt though, we just don’t have the money (blessing in disguise)!

  66. Angela Ricardo Bethea says:

    This is such an awesome post. I totally agree with you. I just bought my needs like groceries and other stuff. Being simple is the most important.

  67. Jennifer L says:

    Yes its all about keeping a budget and balancing our wants and needs. When I go away from giving into all my wants and saving it for a rainy day I find I have a nice savings so that if I want I can buy something that I really wanted and still have cushion in my budget.
    Jennifer L recently posted…James Vincent Talks Beauty Trends to Watch for Fall 2017My Profile

  68. Helen says:

    I really love this post. These are all great tips.
    I stopped trying to keep up with others and I’m so much happier (and financially comfortable now) We’re in a house we can afford and I don’t have to worry about the bills. We don’t have the latest electronics, luxury goods or designer clothes but we have everything we need and extra money for the things we really want like travelling lots.
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  69. This is a big deal in our house. Both my wife and I are often guilty of this.

  70. It’s so powerful when you get to this place. You don’t have to keep up with anyone. You just continue doing what helps your family and allows you all to be your best. <3 Needs are much more important that wants and paid cars are everything!
    Jessica Bradshaw recently posted…Five Facts Friday Instagram ChallengeMy Profile

  71. GREAT post! Thanks for sharing. We need to be focus and enjoy on the really important things in life, that they are not objects/labels/brands, etc, the most important is our balance and our inner life. Xx

  72. Nicole Flint says:

    It’s so important for me to live within my means. I don’t get the point of living like you got it when you really don’t. Act your wage!

  73. Elizabeth O says:

    This is a really great post. I totally agree with you, being simple and living a simple life is so fulfilling. and these tips are very useful and helpful.

  74. Becca Talbot says:

    This is a great post – sounds like you’re living a very similar money-saving mantra to me in fact! I used to work at, as a tech writer – it amazed me how many people always wanted the latest gadgets, and the savvy ones used the site to get them for less. But the even savvier ones were the ones that realised you don’t NEED all the newest gadgets and mod cons! x

  75. I’m with you on this list. we don’t have flash cars either. It’s just a waste I think
    Zena’s Suitcase recently posted…Beautiful Easy Christmas Ideas For The HomeMy Profile

  76. Cassie says:

    I’m so with you here. It’s exhausting and pointless trying to have the latest flashy things! More important to appreciate what you have!
    Cassie recently posted…How to stay motivated to eat healthyMy Profile

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