How to Stop Keeping Up With the Joneses
If you’ve ever watched the movie “Keeping up with the” with Demi Moore and David Duchovny, you know what a mess it turned out to be in the end. Without giving too much information away in case you haven’t seen it, they are a fake family that moves into a wealthy neighborhood who tries to get their neighbors and friends to spend lots of money.
Does that seem familiar? I mean we are surrounded 24/7 with advertisements on social media by influencers, friends, and marketing companies to buy their products.
While some of the products and services are very helpful, most of the time it’s to promote the FOMO in us. The fear of missing out. The fear that you won’t be relevant anymore if you don’t have the latest iPhone, the luxury car, or have gone on an amazing trip.
Today I want to give you three tips on how you can stop the cycle of Keeping Up With The Joneses and live the life YOU want and were meant to have.
- FIND JOY IN YOUR HOME
One of the books that changed my life was “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. I thought this was going to be just another book of decluttering my stuff and becoming a minimalist, but what I found was that instead of mindlessly getting rid of stuff, she talks about actually holding up the item … asking yourself if it sparks joy… and if it doesn’t… thanking the item for being a part of my life… then letting it go.
As I went through the process, what happened is that contentment and gratitude started to fill my heart. I only kept the clothes that fit right and made me feel good, the kitchen utensils that I absolutely needed and used, and the home décor that fit my style. I started to love and value my things. I found things in the back of my closet that I forgot about. Things that I loved and cherished.
I started to respect my things and actually liked seeing my closet organized and not overflowing with clothes that I didn’t use. I didn’t need another handbag, I didn’t need another black dress. Everything I needed and loved was right in front of me.
But before you start to declutter and throw everything away and become a minimalist, take some time to step back and evaluate what brings you joy. If it’s a bookshelf full of beautiful books perfectly displayed on your shelf, keep it that way. There is no need to get rid of your books if it brings you joy.
Maybe the thought of becoming a minimalist makes you cringe. That’s okay! The point is that when you start to actively go through your things one by one, you will start to appreciate what you have. Maybe you’ll find treasures hidden in the back of your closet that you now want to display for everyone to see. Be creative and decorate your space with your sense of style.
- HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
One of the great motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, used to say that you need to have an attitude of gratitude.
I think for me, I take for granted the necessities and basic luxuries I have today. Basic necessities like running water, a roof over my head, clean air, food in my kitchen, and clothes on my back.
Basic luxuries like a cell phone, access to the internet, working from home.
Even before we started our financial journey, we were actively tithing in our church and donating our time and money to our local charities.
But I remember one day in church, we had a guest speaker from Compassion International. If you’re not familiar with Compassion, they are an organization that pairs sponsors with children living in extreme poverty to release the children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty.
This guest speaker who was now an adult said that she was one of those sponsored children that grew up in poverty. The sponsorship provided her with basic essentials, medical care, and access to education. Now as a grown adult, she is thriving and helping other children overcome the life of poverty.
Just hearing her story of how far she fought to get to where she is today made me feel so selfish and ungrateful. All of the things that I took for granted was PURE GOLD to these children.
We immediately signed up as a sponsor and now we have two children (one from the Philippines and the other from Ecuador) that we sponsor through the program. It just fills my heart so joy and happiness every time I get a letter from them. They are always so grateful and appreciative for providing them with the basic essentials that we take for granted everyday.
Maybe you’re thinking you know that would be great if I could freely give back to my community or support a charity of choice but since I’m on a budget, that just doesn’t seem possible right now.
I totally understand where you are coming from. Even though our financial resources were tight, we still felt it was important to give. Even if you start with a small amount per month, there’s something about being generous that changes your heart and your attitude.
You can also give back with your talents. We have all been gifted with unique and valuable talents. Are you gifted in crocheting, cooking, sewing, or gardening? Can you teach a class even if it’s virtual? Do you have the gift of encouragement and know someone who needs to hear your words? Can you help a struggling mom and run her errands while she tries to focus on her job while teaching her kids through virtual school? Whatever it is you decide to do, not only will it benefit the other person but it will increase the gratitude in your heart as well.
- STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE
When you are running in the rat race so that you can one up everyone else in terms of having a nicer car, a bigger house, expensive handbag… whatever it is… you have no time or energy to focus on your own goals.
Your mind is spinning at 100 miles an hour thinking about how you can increase your income or borrow the money so you can get that new shiny object too.
You’ll end up feeling frustrated, depressed, and envious of others.
I am no different. Even after years of practicing contentment and gratitude, I still have shiny object syndrome.
So now that we’ve paid off all our debt, we want to buy a house. And when we do our budget, I try to convince my husband that we’ve got all this money leftover and we can afford the bigger payment.
He’ll ask me what’s more important… the bigger house payment where we know our money will be stretched OR buying something we can afford so that we can reach our other financial goals.
Even though I know the right answer, I still want the nicer and more expensive house. I want to have that Pinterest perfect house with the white walls and beautiful big windows.
But the thing is… even though I may not be able to get what I want now, I know I’ll eventually get there if I just stay in my own lane.
Here’s the tip: put your blinders on and focus on YOUR goals because it’s YOUR life.
Not what everyone else is doing… not what everyone else has… but what YOU want to do with your money. You are talented, gifted, and beautiful just the way you are. If you try to live up to someone else’s expectations, you are going to miss out beautiful and FUN opportunities you could’ve had in your own life. When you realize that you don’t need to prove your worth to ANYONE, you will reach your financial goals.
So I hope these three tips on how to stop keeping up with the Joneses has helped you today. Until we meet again, just keep moving forward one step at a time.