3 Simple Ways to Fight The Urge Of Keeping Up With The Joneses

The Jones have everything... Fancy Disney World trips, other expensive travel and fancy cars, too. Sadly, they might not have any money left! Check out these 3 simple ideas to stop keeping up with the Jones on MoneyManifesto.com. Your budget and bank account will thank you. (#1 is the most powerful by far.)Just the other day I took a quick break from work to run up to the grocery store and grab a snack. I work in an industrial part of town and the residents that live in the area are much less fortunate than I am financially.

Walking through the grocery store, even to just grab a quick snack, made me reflect on how fortunate I am to be in the financial position that we’ve worked so hard to obtain.

This experience made me realize that we take a lot for granted that many others struggle for day in and day out. It was a great reality check for me and it can be for you, too. In fact, I’ve come up with three ways that you can fight the urge of keeping up with the Joneses from this experience.

Volunteer Your Time To Directly Help Those Less Fortunate

The first thing you can do to fight the urge of keeping up with the Joneses in your neighborhood is to go out and help others less fortunate than you directly. It is important that you physically help these people as it will allow you to adjust your mindset after seeing how thankful others can be for the smallest things.

Whether you decide to go assist at the local food bank, soup kitchen, homeless shelter or even an animal shelter, you’ll quickly realize that many of the financial issues you are fighting with are first world problems that many others in our country and even more so abroad would love to have.

Shop In The Stores Located In Less Fortunate Areas

Shopping in stores in less fortunate areas in town can really open your eyes to how well off you already are. This is exactly what happened when I went on a quick trip to the grocery store near my work. I realized that I don’t struggle with many of the basic needs that so many of us take for granted every day.

Ideally, you could help someone else out while you’re at the store, maybe pay for someone else’s grocery bill if you can afford it. Regardless of whether you can help someone else today, it will help you remember how well off you are and subdue your urge for a new car to keep up with the Joneses down the street in your fancy neighborhood.

I believe that a local resident was performing this very exercise just the other day in my town. My wife mentioned that she saw a newer Maserati shopping at the local Dollar General. That or this person has a serious case of keeping up with the Joneses and can only afford to shop at Dollar General because their car payment is outrageous.

We’ll never know because they didn’t tape their net worth and income statements to their windshield… darn. Even crazier, I once saw a newer Bentley at Pet Supermarket… no joke! I guess rich people have to shop, too.

Remember Your True Priorities – Family, Friends and Health

Finally, one of the best ways to realize how fortunate you are is to reflect on three of the most important things in anyone’s life, family, friends and the health of your family and friends.

These three things are even more important than money and if you have them in your life you can consider yourself very wealthy even if you aren’t wealthy financially.

It is very difficult to keep everything in perspective in our consumption driven world. Take a few minutes to slow down and realize how well off you already are, even if you can’t afford that BMW you want in order to keep up with the Joneses. After some reflection, you may realize that you don’t even want those expensive things that are just out of your reach.

What do you do to help fight off the urge of keeping up with the Joneses? Have you ever tried any of these tips? How did they work out for you?

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. I used to care about what others thought about me and tried to impress with appearing successful. Then I realized that most people confuse success with showing off, so I just decided to let go. Right now, all I care about is our family and our health, the rest is not important to me anymore.

  2. InvestingGator says:

    Lance, great way to end the article. Those 3 things are very important, especially family! We all need to slow down from time to time and be grateful for the things we have in our lives. Cheers!

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