Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stop Keeping Up With The Joneses

There is a fine line between what we want and what we need. I usually tend to allow a need to arise first and then I actually buy it. People have been keeping up with the Joneses for centuries, and what have they achieved which is worth boasting about? We have just become another Jonese.

I like to consider myself as a late buyer, in other words just because everyone else wants to keep up with everyone else I like to wait and then think about buying something. Let me explain this to you in a totally different context. Try to picture this, the plane has just landed and the belt sign has gone off, everybody is in a rush to get off their seat to take their personal belongings from the overhead lockers and exit the plane as quickly as possible (as they do), I repeat as quickly as possible. Whilst this is going on you happen to still be seated. Once the aisles have cleared and the majority of people have exited the plane you decide to get up and finally make your way out effortlessly and stress free. This is the kind of attitude that needs to be adopted especially by those who can’t afford a mentality such as keeping up with Joneses. Be the shepherd and not the sheep if you know what I mean.

High definition and Smart TVs have been out in the market for some time now, I personally have currently acquired a High definition smart TV very recently. Prior to this I had a simple 32 inch Sony TV that needed a digital box to pick up the channels. On another account, I had purchased my first ever smart phone in March 2012. Prior to that I had a simple Nokia with 12 buttons, yes old school mobile. My point here is, don’t rush to upgrade to new technology when everything works just fine.

The Joneses mentality needs to slowly stop. We are aware of the impact this has on us but this has become a thought less activity for us all. This is why this article is aimed to trigger a new thought process to override the current stressful process which is complicating our lives and leaving us dry or in debt.

We can see some of these impacts in the 2010 American film The Joneses. The movie may exaggerate things slightly however it captures the important lessons for us all. I recommend that you take a couple of hours out of your “not need to be busy schedules” and watch it. If you adults are not interested then let your kids watch it, bearing in mind the age restrictions.

Let us not forget that there are some individuals out there who can afford a materially fulfilled life, sure if you can afford it why not. However there are others who are struggling trying to live a life that is above their pay grade. Did I say pay grade? Oh yeah, what happens if you suddenly lose your work? How will those overdrafts be paid off? You can guess the rest…

A Joneses lifestyle tends to rub off on our children because they will eventually be the new generation wave of Joneses. I personally want to stop that in whatever way possible. Do you?

How we can we change:

1. Ask yourself a simple question; do I need to buy it or want to buy it? Be honest now!
Most of the time your answer to the question will be “I want it”. So stick it out.

2. Whilst you have decided not to buy anything or tempted to buy something, ask yourself another question: Can I make more use out of what I have? Most probably yes. Longevity is key here. Exhaust the product until it cries for help.

3. Stop looking over the fence and around you and focus on what you have rather than what you do not have. I want you to keep your true identity and stop being a follower.

4. Last but not least, cancel your credit cards. Just keep your debit card so you can pull money directly from your own funds. Plastic money is valueless and makes your life valueless.

When you have been use to a certain mode of thinking trying to keep to the above is not easy. It is a challenge, I have been in the situation and I did not surrender that easily. You will notice that after a few minutes once you have made a conscious decision not to buy you will feel quite powerful and proud.

There is nothing wrong with wanting something, the issue is that wants never cease to stop. The secret is to learn to enjoy less.

Adopting a "stop keeping up with the Joneses” attitude will allow you to have more disposable income since you will have fewer desires and you will lead a healthier life.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”


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