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.

Related Post: Bathroom Remodel Demo Date

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?

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

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Angela Tolsma says:

    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

  6. 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.

  7. Kristi McAllister says:

    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

  8. 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!!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.. 😊

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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!

  17. 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

  18. Emily Terrell says:

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. Olivia Thristan says:

    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

  21. 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!

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. MELANIE EDJOURIAN says:

    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.
    MELANIE EDJOURIAN recently posted…Air Wars Battle DronesMy Profile

  25. Stephanie JNote says:

    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!

  26. 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)!

  27. 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.

  28. 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.
    Helen recently posted…Favourite monthly photographs OctoberMy Profile

  29. Style Everywhere says:

    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

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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 MoneySvingExeprt.com, 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

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