Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 10 - How To Stop Spending Money To Impress Other People

Do you find yourself trying to "Keep Up With The Joneses?" They get a car, you try and get a bigger, better car. Their kids go to a private school, you try to send yours to the same school or one a step up. They are taking a 2 week vacation all over the USA with their kids over the summer. You KNOW you don't have the money for that or the time but you decide you are going to do it anyway. "Let's apply early for a couple more credit cards to finance our vacation with...." Trying to keep impress others is sort of like throwing money down the drain.

Have you ever asked yourself why keeping up or trying to impress your friends is so important? What if you made a choice NOT to do it? Would your friends NOT be your friends anymore? I've got news for you.... if that's all it takes to wreck a friendship, it wasn't a friendship to begin with!

All good questions! Maybe a little soul searching is in order. We were all created to be "different" people and it is those differences that makes life interesting. Why not focus on being who you REALLY are, YOUR hobbies, YOUR lifestyle. Get off the "keeping up with the Joneses" train and begin to make your way. 

I used to work at a bank. Every day people would come in to explain their money problems to me. How their checkbook wouldn't balance, wondering how they bounced 6 checks, not understanding finance charges or how interest is calculated, up to their eyeballs in debt and wondering why they didn't qualify for a credit card or loan. It's so crazy to me why schools teach you all kinds of History and Science you may NEVER need, but they don't equip you for LIFE 101. Maybe if we were taught more about how money works, we would be better at living within our means and NOT trying to live like someone else. Unfortunately, most of us spend up to our last penny of money, and even over sometimes, just to live, look, and do what others are doing. 

So today's post at Frugally Sustainable asks us to write down ways in which we can stop spending money trying to impress others. We've been at this for a while so I'll share some of the things we are doing. 

1) We don't impress others with what we choose to wear. I developed my own kind of "uniform" that I wear daily. Most days it's jeans and a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt and tennis shoes. All pretty economical. I have some dresses if I absolutely HAVE to dress up and shorts and tops for summer but mostly it's just jeans and t-shirts. 
2) We don't impress others by going out to eat at fancy restaurants. We eat at home more than we eat out, buy food in bulk and have a food storage pantry. That gives me "options" come dinner time. AND I make the commitment to get in that kitchen everyday and make something. I usually write down menu ideas for the week based on what I have in my freezer and pantry and that's what we eat. I have spent money on kitchen tools that make "making dinner" easier such as a crock pot, pressure cooker, rice cooker, kitchen grill, etc. 
3) We don't impress others by buying so much stuff that we are in debt up to our eyeballs! We save money every month. It's the first thing I do after we get paid. We take the money out of the bank so we are dealing with physical CASH and put it away. Out of sight, out of mind. Then we forget about it. If we absolutely need to have a bit more to make ends meet (we are only paid once a month!) then we will take out only the bit we need and no more. 
4) We don't impress others by continually buying new stuff to decorate our house with. Instead, we use our God given skills to decorate, paint, sew up cute pillows and things that make our house homey and inviting.
5) We don't impress others by taking expensive vacations, buying the latest electronic gadgets and seeing movies a couple of times a week. We take vacations we can pay for with cash, keep our electronics years or until they break, which IS usually years and buy discount tickets for movies at Costco, wait for them to come out on TV or rent them for $1 at our local Redbox if we really can't wait.

For a really cute little "read", visit Beth Berry of Revolution of the Home and find out why she says Keeping Up With The Jones is LAME!

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